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It's never too hot to dream about hunting
By Doug Burt, public information officer, AGFD

The temperatures have hit 100 degrees and summer is finally here. While temperatures like these might have some folks running indoors for the air-conditioning,personally I'm glad the heat is on.

After 20-plus years in Arizona, I've learned to appreciate the dry summer heat and all the great outdoor activities it brings. The skies are blue nearly every day, and trips to the lake or to the mid desert offer great treks along trickling creek bottoms.

Another thing the heat of June marks is the fall draw deadline on Tuesday, June 9, and the dreaming begins about going hunting after that elusive whitetail or monster mule deer. And, let's not forget the promise of Arizona's extensive small game season for dove, quail, rabbits, squirrel and waterfowl - I can see the covey rise now.

Right now, the two-year hunt guidelines are being revised, and the department wants to hear your thoughts. The guidelines are used to formulate the hunt recommendations, which translate to the hunting seasons that you participate in. The focus for the revision is for standardization, simplification, and to increase hunter participation. Comments can be sent by e-mail or mail through the end of May, and a series of public meetings will follow in June.

There is still an open invitation to sportsmen’s groups, rod and gun clubs and conservation organizations to join the department's Hunter Heritage Workgroup meeting June 20 at Vincent Ranch on the Mogollon Rim east of Payson. The department received a financial grant from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) to start a sportsmen’s group based mentor and hunter recruitment game camp program, and this should be a key topic of discussion. For details, contact Craig McMullen at cmcmullen@azgfd.gov.

Now is a great time to start taking note of wildlife activities when you’re out at the lake or doing some desert exploring. I've been seeing a lot of dove activity and it looks like we should have another great dove opener in September. The quail are still calling and the babies are starting to show up - let's keep our quail fingers crossed that they survive this drying trend and make it to the opener in October. If you want to keep your shooting and hunting skills sharp, rabbit season runs year round, and despite the old tale, healthy rabbits harvested in the summer are fine to eat. Hunting the washes in mid-desert elevations can prove to be very productive at first light.

Until next time - enjoy the heat, happy hunting and be safe.

Doug Burt is the department’s public information officer for hunting and shooting sports. He's also involved in the Hunter Heritage Workgroup, which is focused on increasing public awareness, acceptance and participation in hunting. He has been an avid small game, upland and waterfowl hunter since moving to Arizona in 1986, from Michigan.

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Hunt Guideline review period:; Your input will help shape and preserve Arizona’s hunting heritage
Revamped Web page offers detailed explanation and timeline of process
By Doug Burt, public information officer, AGFD

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is accepting public input for revising the state’s hunt guidelines now through the end of May. Comments may be submitted either electronically via e-mail or mail them directly to the department headquarters in Phoenix.

The hunt guidelines set the framework (biological and social) that the department uses to develop specific hunt recommendations and set permit levels, season dates and season structures.

Every two years, on odd-numbered years, the department reviews and revises the existing hunt guidelines and recommends changes that address the direction given by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. The guidance for the 2009 package, which will be the framework for setting the 2010-11 and 2011-12 hunting season structures, is for standardization, simplification, and increasing hunter participation.

“This is your opportunity to get involved. The department needs your thoughts and ideas on how to meet the demand for hunting opportunities,” said Brian Wakeling, chief of game management. “What can we do different with our hunt structures to make it better for hunters, while still managing within biological sideboards? And what are your thoughts and ideas on how we can get more hunters engaged and in the field?”

The current hunt guidelines to be revised can be reviewed and downloaded at www.azgfd.gov/pdfs/h_f/huntingrecommendations/2009/HuntGuidelines.pdf.

Please submit ideas and comments through May 31 via email or mail to:

azgamebranch@azgfd.gov

Hunt Guidelines
Arizona Game and Fish Department,
5000 W. Carefree Highway,
Phoenix, AZ 85086

After all the comments are received, reviewed, and processed, the department will host nine public meetings across the state, from June 10-25, to present the proposed revisions, answer questions, and to collect any additional public input. A final draft will then be prepared and posted at the department’s Web site prior to being presented to the commission for approval at its Sept. 11-12 meeting in Phoenix.

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission and Department want to accommodate the many varied desires of our hunting and nonhunting public. Wildlife is managed in the public trust for all Arizonans; this is how the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is perpetuated.

To learn more about the hunt guideline process, go online and visit the completely revamped hunt guidelines and hunt recommendations Web page where you'll find all the information about the two processes and how they relate to each other, process flow charts, process timelines and more at:

www.azgfd.gov/huntguidelines

After the comments are compiled, the draft guidelines will be presented at a series of public meeting across the state, from 6-8 p.m. The dates and locations are:

  • June 10 - Kingman: Kingman regional office, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road

  • June 11 - Prescott: Yavapai County Board Chambers, 1015 Fair Street

  • June 15 - Flagstaff: Flagstaff regional office, 3500 S. Lake Mary Road

  • June 16 - Mesa: Mesa regional office, 7200 E. University Drive

  • June 17 - Payson: Best Western Payson Inn, 801 N. Beeline Highway 87

  • June 18 - Pinetop: Pinetop regional office, 2878 E. White Mountain Blvd.

  • June 23 - Yuma: Yuma regional office, 9140 E. 28th St.

  • June 24 - Sierra Vista: Buena High School, 5225 E. Buena School Blvd.

  • June 25 - Tucson: Tucson regional office, 555 N. Greasewood Road

For more details about the hunt guideline and
the hunt recommendation processes, visit:

www.azgfd.gov/huntguidelines

 

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Outdoor learning flourishes
during youth turkey camps in the mountains
By Rory Aikens, public information officer, AGFD


Courtesy photo: Successful junior spring turkey hunters

COLCORD RIDGE, Mogollon Rim – The mountains, mentors, wildlife officers, volunteer instructors, gobblers, guides and even the wind had a lot to teach 180 or so camo-clad youngsters during the opening weekend of the spring turkey season.

With a lot of able assistance from sportsmen’s organizations, the Arizona Game and Fish Department conducted two youth turkey hunting camps, one along the Mogollon Rim and the other in the White Mountains. Kids and parents flocked to both.

It was a momentous weekend of learning in the pine-scented woods with shotguns in hand at first light or during the afternoon in-camp workshops while gripping steaming mugs of hot chocolate or frosty cold sodas.

Even though youngsters and turkey hunting have long been mainstays on the hunting learning curve for generations, there is something new this year putting big smiles on the faces of kids and parents – this is the first spring hunt ever with over-the-counter youth turkey tags available.

In past years, youth and adults had to enter the big game drawing for the available tags. Now any youth between the age of 10 and 17 can get a turkey tag over the counter that is good for both the spring and fall hunts, although only one turkey can be harvested each year by an individual.

One smiling dad, Mark Arnold of Phoenix, said it is tremendous to have over-the-counter tags for kids, especially since they can use the tags again this fall if they don’t harvest a bird this spring. “It really gives them something to look forward too even if they don’t get one now.”

 

Arnold and plenty of other dads pointed out that it isn’t always about harvesting a turkey, but learning and even sharing experiences in the wild with family and friends.

Dylan Stewart, age 15, from Yuma said it was pretty exciting when a bearded gobbler came running up at full speed as they were setting up their decoy. “It took one look at us and took off flying. That was our only chance that day.”

Not getting that gobbler didn’t affect the excitement in his voice or the gleam in his eyes while relating the tale of the one that flew away.

For 20-year-old Jason Arnold, it was an opportunity to put his turkey-calling skills to use to try and call in a gobbler for his younger brother. For the Arnolds and most others as well, hunting is a cooperative family endeavor. But youth hunts are even more special – it’s family mentoring time.

Jr. turkey hunters - keep gobbling

Juniors-only spring or fall turkey over-the-counter nonpermit-tags can be purchased at any department office or license dealer. The cost is $10.

Hunters younger than 14 are required to complete a certified
hunter education course prior to the hunt.

The spring season for bearded turkey only ran from April 17 – May 21.

Open areas for the spring turkey season include Units 1, 3C, 4A, 4B, 5A, 5B, 6A, 6B (except Camp Navajo), 7, 8, 10, 12A, 23 and 27.

If you were unable to fill your tag during the spring season, keep your chin up and don't throw that tag away. Your over-the-counter nonpermit-tag is valid for the juniors-only fall hunt of the same calendar year.

The fall shotgun shooting shot only season runs from Oct 2-8 (in sync with the small game and duck opener) and is valid for any turkey (not just gobblers) in Units 1, 6A, 8, 10, 12A, 23, and 27. If you did discard your unused tag, visit your local deparment office and pick up a duplicate tag for $4.

Did you know Arizona has three subspecies of wild turkey?

1. Merriam's

2. Gould's

3. Rio Grande's

Good luck young hunters!

Plenty of other youngsters had even more to cluck about. With a note of confident pride in his voice, 13-year-old Nick McMullen related the tale of how he harvested his gobbler, which he pointed out, was his third one in four years.

“My dad pre-scouted and knew where the roost was, but on opening morning, it was so windy that we couldn’t even find them,” Nick said.

But the next day dawned on a near-perfect day in the woods with no wind. “We set up the blind and started calling across the drainage from the roost. We could see one large gobbler strutting around, and finally it flew 300 yards across the drainage straight to us in just a few seconds. I shot it seven yards away,” Nick said excitedly.

Nick quickly added that the gobbler had a seven-inch beard.

What a tale. By the way, Nick is the son of Wildlife Manager Craig McMullen, who helped coordinate the youth camp on the Rim. “Every kid seemed to have an exciting tale to tell. This is what it’s all about, why we do what we do,” the veteran wildlife officer said.

Michael Godwin, the Game and Fish wildlife manager supervisor who helped organize the youth camp for Game Management Units 1 and 27, said it was a huge success. “Every kid and parent I talked to had great things to say about the camp and all of the people that were there to help.”

Godwin added that all the parents were very complimentary of the Game and Fish Department establishing over-the-counter junior turkey tags.

Sitting side by side in a turkey blind is a perfect mentoring situation for youngsters.

Both Godwin and McMullen pointed out that lots of organizations stepped forward to help with the camps, and for working with the parents and kids in the field as well.

Groups involved included the Arizona Deer Association, the Arizona Elk Society, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Chandler Rod and Gun Club, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and Outdoor Experience 4 All.

The universal opinion of everyone involved from kids and dads to wildlife managers and sportsmen was – “Let’s do this again!”

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Fall hunt application deadline is Tuesday, June 9
New this year: Pheasant applications due the same day
By Doug Burt, public information officer, AGFD

Sportsmen, women and children looking forward to hunting in Arizona this fall have until Tuesday, June 9 by 7 p.m. MST (postmarks do not count) to apply for a hunt permit-tag for fall deer, turkey, juniors-only javelina, bighorn sheep, buffalo, bear, mountain lion and pheasant (antelope and elk draws are already complete).

There is no online application process available – it is a manual paper-permit process only.

Printed copies of the 2009-10 Arizona Hunting and Trapping Regulations should be available at license dealers and Arizona Game and Fish Department offices throughout the state. Regulations and application materials are also available at the department’s Web site at www.azgfd.gov/draw.

The Hunt Arizona 2009 Edition is online now and hard copies will be available for purchase for $6 by the first week of June.

Apply for the draw before 5 p.m. on May 28 to take advantage of the correction period. If there is an error in your application, the department will make three attempts, within a 24-hour period, to notify you by telephone (if a phone number is provided) to get the application corrected. After that date, mistakes can cause your application to be rejected.

Pheasant hunters should note that the deadline to apply for a pheasant tag has changed. The new deadline to apply coincides with the fall draw deadline of Tuesday, June 9 by 7 p.m. MST – postmarks do not count. Pheasant applicants are reminded there is a nonrefundable $7.50 application fee for successful and unsuccessful applicants.

Here’s something to make your life easier. Applicants should take advantage of the editable PDF application available at www.azgfd.gov/draw. Just type out your information on the computer, then print it out, sign, include your payment, and drop it off or mail it in (along with the correct fees using check or money order). Applicants are encouraged to use the form to prevent some of the common mistakes (missing information, using the unit numbers instead of the four-digit hunt number, etc.) and for improved legibility.

Applicants should note, there is a new P.O. Box for submitting hunt permit applications. This address, which is reflected on the new envelopes, is:

Arizona Game and Fish Department
Attn.: Drawing Section
PO Box 74020,
Phoenix, AZ 85087-1052.

However, applications mailed to the old address will be automatically forwarded to the new address.

Junior hunters will find the following hunting opportunities in the new regulations starting on page 21:

  • Deer hunts
  • Over-the-counter fall turkey hunts
  • Fall javelina hunts
  • Pheasant hunts
  • and of course small game opportunities abound starting on page 61

For information about the hunting in Arizona, visit:
www.azgfd.gov/hunting

 

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Prime camping season is here – Be bear aware
By Rory Aikens, public information officer, AGFD

The prime camping season is underway and the Arizona Game and Fish Department wants to remind everyone to “Be Bear Aware” while recreating in the cool pines.

“The root cause of most human-bear conflicts is typically food. Please keep a clean camp, don’t intentionally feed wildlife, and be sure to keep your food stuffs well away from your sleeping area,” advises Ron Thompson, a furbearer biologist with the Game and Fish Department.

Biologists said all outdoor recreationists should take the following precautions to minimize potential conflicts with bears and other wildlife:

  • Never intentionally feed wildlife;
  • Secure all garbage;
  • Keep a clean camp;
  • Do not cook in your tent or sleeping area;
  • Store all foods, toiletries and other scented items well away from sleeping areas and unavailable to bears;
  • Wash up, change clothing and remove all scented articles before retiring to your sleeping area;
  • Walk or jog in groups. Pay attention to your surroundings when hiking, jogging or bicycling.
  • Supervise your children (especially toddlers) and keep them in sight at all times.
  • Keep your pets on a leash – don’t allow them to be free roaming. Or better yet, leave them at home if you can. Pets can easily get into conflicts with a wide range of wildlife from skunks to coyotes.

“Following these simple tips will greatly minimize your chance of having an undesirable encounter with a wild animal while visiting the outdoors. So please exercise your common sense and be safe out there,” said Thompson.

If you encounter a bear in a developed campground, notify the campground host. If you have a problem with a scavenging bear in the forest, notify the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

If you are confronted by a black bear (the only bear species in Arizona), it is advisable to follow these tips:

  • Don’t run. Running elicits what is called a predator-prey response – if you run, the animal might instinctively want to chase and catch you. Despite their imposing size, bears are quick and can reach speeds of 40 mph.
  • Stay calm.
  • Continue facing it, and slowly back away.
  • Try making yourself look as big and imposing as possible; put young children on your shoulders.
  • Speak loudly or yell and let it know you are human (don’t scream).
  • Make loud noises by clanging pans, using air horns, or whatever is available.
  • If attacked, fight back.
  • Never get between a female bear and her cubs.

Biologists advise that bears and other predators can be unpredictable, so the situation should dictate your actions.

To learn more about being "bear-aware", visit
www.azgfd.gov/w_c/urban_bear.shtml

 

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Big Game Super Raffle offers all 10 big game species
Special hunt tags raise funds for wildlife conservation;
offer hunt of a lifetime

By Doug Burt, public information officer, AGFD

For as little as five dollars you can get a chance at a great hunt. For $25, that highly sought-after tag for desert bighorn sheep or a bull elk may be yours.

The Arizona Big Game Super Raffle now has 10 special big game tags up for raffle to raise money for wildlife conservation in Arizona. The deadline to purchase tickets by mail is July 3 (postmarks don’t count). The deadline to purchase tickets online is July 12.

The big game tags up for raffle include one each for pronghorn antelope, black bear, buffalo, Coues whitetail, desert bighorn sheep, elk, javelina, mule deer, turkey (Gould’s or Merriam’s), and now mountain lion. In addition, there will be a Swarovski optics package raffled, which will pay for the administration costs of the Super Raffle.

What makes these tags so special? The season dates for each hunt will be 365 days starting Aug. 15 and there are very few limitations on hunting areas.

Launched in 2006 by a consortium of sportsmen’s / conservation groups in cooperation with the Arizona Game and Fish Commission as a way to raise money for wildlife conservation, the Arizona Big Game Super Raffle returns all ticket proceeds to the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Every dollar raised for each species will go directly toward the management of that particular species.

Last year’s raffle raised $478,860.

Raffle tickets cost between $5 and $25, depending on species, and a ticket for all 11 raffles is only $150. Tickets can be purchased by mail using the downloadable order form and making a check payable to AZBGSR. Mail the form and payment to AZBGSR, P.O. Box 61713, Phoenix, AZ 85082. You can also buy tickets online at www.arizonabiggamesuperraffle.com. The site is a verified Authorize.Net merchant site and accepts VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards.

The public drawing is Saturday, July 18. The time and location will be announced soon.

Special big game tags are granted to qualifying nonprofit organizations, dedicated to wildlife conservation, by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission through a public application process each year per A.R.S. § 17-346 and R12-4-120.

Wildlife conservation and management of game animals by the Arizona Game and Fish Department is made possible by funding generated from the sale of hunting licenses, hunt permit-tags, and matching funds from federal excise taxes hunters pay on guns, ammunition and related equipment.

So, the next time you see a herd of elk near Flagstaff, or antelope in the open plains near Prescott, or if you’re lucky to spot a desert bighorn sheep peering down from a cliff in the desolate desert, remember to thank a hunter – wildlife’s original conservationists.

For information, visit:
www.arizonabiggamesuperraffle.com

 

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Great American Deer Raffle helps benefit Arizona’s deer herds

The Arizona Deer Association is sponsoring the Great American Deer Raffle to benefit Arizona's mule deer and Coues deer herds.

One of the hunts available for raffle is an Arizona Commissioner’s Coues deer tag. The winner of that drawing will receive a license and tag to hunt Coues whitetail deer throughout Arizona from Aug. 15, 2009 through Aug. 14, 2010 (per Commission Order 29). The raffle also offers other hunt opportunities and merchandise.

You may order tickets for the Great American Deer Raffle online or by mail. Online orders must be received by June 22. Mail-in orders must be received by June 15.

The drawing will be at the Arizona Deer Association’s annual fundraising banquet on June 27, 2009 at Chaparral Suites Resort, 5001 N. Scottsdale Rd.
in Scottsdale.

For more information, visit:
www.azdeer.org

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Fire restrictions implemented at some wildlife areas
Habitats are dry, fire danger is high at some wildlife areas
By Rory Aikens, public information officer, AGFD

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is following the lead of other agencies and has implemented fire restrictions at some of its wildlife areas.

Wildlife officials said a good rule of thumb to follow is that if a state wildlife area is located within a national forest or other jurisdiction such as the BLM or State Land Department that has implemented fire restrictions, then expect Game and Fish to follow suit.

For the latest updates on fire restriction in Arizona, visit the Public Lands Information Center at www.publiclands.org/firenews/AZ.php.

The Game and Fish Department has implemented restrictions at:

  • Alamo Wildlife Area
  • Aravaipa Wildlife Area
  • Arlington Wildlife Area
  • Base and Meridian Wildlife Area
  • Powers Butte Wildlife Area
  • Robbins Butte Wildlife Area
  • Roosevelt Lake Wildlife Area
  • Three Bar Wildlife Area
  • Upper Verde Wildlife Area

In those affected wildlife areas, no open fires are allowed – including charcoal-burning barbecues. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, is prohibited. However, you can still use gas and propane stoves, lanterns or heating devices.

For more information about the department's wildlife areas, visit:

www.azgfd.gov/outdoor_recreation/WildlifeViewingAreas.shtml

Lend a hand, wildlife projects need your help
Compiled by Doug Burt, public information officer, AGFD

If you are looking for a way to give back to wildlife or just to help out some organizations doing good work for Arizona, here's a project that can use your help.

June 13-14: Elk habitat improvement project (water catchment & fencing)

Who: Arizona Elk Society (AES)

What: Burro Creek Fence Removal and 26 Bar Adopt-A-Ranch Work Project
We need approximately 80-100 people to accomplish these projects.

When: June 13-14. Due to the remote location, it is suggested that volunteers come up on Friday and camp. Be sure to RSVP because AES will provide dinner on Friday evening, 3 meals on Saturday, and breakfast on Sunday morning. Breakfast will be at 7 a.m. and we will meet at camp at 8 a.m. to start working. Volunteers should plan on working until late afternoon on Saturday. Crews may also work on Sunday morning.

Where: Main Camp will be at Rudd Knoll campsite three miles north of Crescent Lake, SW of Springerville. From Show Low, take Highway 260 east toward Springerville, turn south on paved Highway 273 (3 miles east of Springerville) and head south 17 miles. Look for signs at campsite on left side of the road. This is primitive camping (there are no facilities). Camping is also available at Big Lake campground. Meals and meetings will take place at Rudd Knoll Camping area.

Description: Volunteers are needed to help with two AES work projects, south of Eager. On this weekend, AES will split its volunteers to tackle two projects that will benefit wildlife. An Adopt-a-Ranch project in cooperation with the 26 Bar Ranch will involve repairing a 20,000 gallon water catchment. The other crew will remove up to 6 miles of fence from the Burro Creek Allotment east of Big Lake. We need approximately 80-100 people to accomplish these projects.

This project will be near Big Lake, so be prepared for cool mornings and possibly rain. Please bring pliers, gloves, and wire cutters if you have them. Some of these items will also be provided. Please make sure you bring appropriate hats, long sleeve shirts, sunblock, etc. for sun protection. Old clothes would be recommended for those grinding on the tanks. Rubber boots will be needed for those that can work in the tanks.

We are a family oriented organization; however projects are potentially dangerous working with barbed wire, power tools and vehicles. Kids under 18 need to be supervised by an adult.

This project will involve hiking and physical labor. Training will be provided. There is a very good chance of seeing lots of wildlife during this project. if you would like to carpool to save on expenses and driving, please contact Tom Schorr. There may also be extra sleeping areas in tents or trailers available.

Contact: Please RSVP to Tom Schorr thomas.schorr@fcssw.com or (602) 431-4131.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s volunteer program provides opportunities for volunteers to participate firsthand in managing Arizona’s wildlife resources. Our goal is to provide you with a congenial and cooperative atmosphere where you can build relationships with staff and other volunteers, as well as gain knowledge about Arizona wildlife and wildlife management. We recognize that your time is important and strive to provide rewarding and educational volunteer experiences.

For a list of volunteer opportunities in which you may have an interest, or to submit information about a project that would benefit from our volunteers, visit the department's volunteer Web page at:

www.azgfd.gov/volunteer

 

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Vol. 5 No. 2 May 2009
In this issue:

It's never too hot to dream about hunting

Hunt Guideline review period; Your input will help shape and preserve Arizona’s hunting heritage

Been hunting? Outdoor learning flourishes during youth turkey camps in the mountains

Fall hunt application deadline is Tuesday, June 9

Prime camping season is here – Be bear aware

Big Game Super Raffle offers all 10 big game species

Great American Deer Raffle helps benefit Arizona’s deer herds

Fire restrictions implemented at some wildlife areas

Lend a hand, wildlife project need your help

 



Hunter's Planning Calendar

May
28 - Correction Period for fall hunt applications end
31 - Deadline to e-mail public comments for Hunt Guidelines (Public meetings to follow in June)
31 - Unit 33 squirrel season closes

June
6 - National Free Fishing Day
9 - Fall Draw deadline (including pheasant)
10-25 - Statewide public meetings for Hunt Guideline changes (public input accepted) starts
13 - National Free Fishing Day
14 - Flag Day
19-20 - AGFD Hunter Heritage Workgroup Meeting campout - sportmen's groups welcome
19-21 - Wapiti Weekend AZ Elk Society
21 - Father's Day
26-27 - Commission meeting in Phoenix (dove orders, special big game tags)

Other dates:
July 3 - Mail order deadline for Arizona Big Game Super Raffle (AZBGSR) tickets
July 12 - Online deadline for AZBGSR tickets
July 18 - Drawing for AZBGSR

August - Commission meeting (spring hunt orders)

 



Kurt Bahti receives 2008 Shikar-Safari Arizona Officer of the Year Award

Kurt Bahti, the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Region 5 Tucson wildlife manager supervisor, received the 2008 Shikar-Safari Club’s Officer of the Year Award for Arizona for his lifelong service and impeccable record.

Bahti, a 30-year veteran, has more than 20 years experience as a field-training officer impacting a generation of new wildlife managers in Arizona. He draws from his vast experience in weapons identification, animal tracking, animal trapping, livestock brand identification, interview and interrogation, and his intimate knowledge of the region.

By blending his vast knowledge of proven techniques passed on by game rangers before him with the modern-day methods of wildlife management, Bahti has become one of the most respected and successful field officers in the department. As a leader, he is passionate, hard working, and has a genuine love for the state’s wildlife resources.

“It’s truly an honor to receive this award alongside so many other well respected officers,” said Bahti.

When asked to what he attributes his success, Bahti replied, “You can’t treat this as just a job; it’s a way of life.”

Bahti’s “way-of-life” attitude has garnered him many awards during his tenure, including the Cliff Sorrells FOP Officer of the Year Award, the Coronado National Forest Resource Conservation and Development Special Recognition Award, the FOP Lodge 32 Officer of the Year, and many Arizona Game and Fish Department commendations for excellence.

Awards aside, one thing that stands out is his commitment to his fellow employees. Bahti is well known for never asking his people to do something he is not willing to do himself – another sign of a great leader and officer.

Here are just a few examples of his accomplishments:

  • Since 1994, cases in which he has been involved have netted over $50,000 in fine monies and civil assessments, and 125 years of license revocation.

  • Made some of the department’s most important wildlife cases, including a case involving multiple violations of the state’s trapping laws. The results shaped how the department issues trapping licenses and changed, for the better, the way field officers worked with trappers.

  • Employed inventive interrogation techniques on a poaching case of a 402-inch trophy bull elk that resulted in criminal fines of $14,000, an $11,000 civil assessment, and a total of 10 years of license revocation for the two subjects.

  • In the absence of a regional investigator, Bahti carried out the investigation that resulted in the arrest and conviction of several repeat offenders and the seizure of multiple weapons and illegally taken game meat.

The Shikar-Safari Club International was founded in 1952 for the purpose of advancing knowledge concerning wildlife of the world. Each year, the group honors one officer from each of the 50 states for service during the previous year that demonstrated outstanding performance and achievement among the state agency’s sworn law enforcement personnel.

The award was presented to Bahti during the April 18 Arizona Game and Fish Commission meeting by Joe Melden of the Shikar-Safari Club International and Donna “Didi” Foss of the Joe Foss Institute.

To learn how to become an Arizona Game and Fish Department wildlife manager, visit www.azgfd.gov and click on the "Become a Game Warden" button on the left side of the page.

 


 

Archery-only deer hunters:
Some hunting areas require a permit via the draw
Some popular hunting units no longer open to over-the-counter tag holders

Archery deer hunters are reminded that some game management units formerly open to over-the-counter archery nonpermit-tags will now require a permit issued through the big game draw application process for the 2009-10 hunting season.

Archery hunters interested in hunting deer in the following units will need to submit an application through the big game draw application process:

  • 1 – White Mountains / Big Lake area
  • 3A and 3C – Heber-Overgaard, Show Low, Snowflake and Holbrook areas
  • 7 – Areas north and west of Flagstaff
  • 12A and 12B – North Kaibab
  • 13A – Arizona Strip
  • 13B – Arizona Strip

The deadline to apply is Tuesday, June 9 by 7 p.m. (MST) – postmarks do not count. Applications will be accepted by mail or may be hand delivered to a department office – there is no online application process.

Since the permitting change of last year, the number of units requiring a permit-tag issued through the draw for archery-only hunts have not increased or decreased. However, a minor change was made to the “open areas” structure. Hunts on the Kaibab for Units 12A, 12B and 12B West are now all one hunt rather than three separate hunts as last year. The number of permit-tags available in Unit 7 decreased to 400 from 800 of last year. All other permit-tag levels are the same as last year.

Deer hunters who purchased a 2009-10 season archery-only nonpermit-tag are reminded that you are required to adhere to the new 2009-10 hunting regulations, and these draw units are not open for hunting with a over-the-counter nonpermit-tag. Hunters are also advised that some archery-only season structures (dates) have changed, so refer to the regulations for specifics.

To download a copy of the 2009-10 Arizona Hunting and Trapping Regulations and to learn how to apply through the draw process, visit www.azgfd.gov/draw. If you have additional questions, call your local department office.

Harvest Reporting
Nonpermit-tag holders: Mandatory harvest reporting is still required by archery deer hunters with an over-the-counter nonpermit-tag. Please call (866) 903-3337.
Permit-tag holders: Archery deer hunters with hunt permit-tags obtained through the draw process are NOT required to call the harvest hotline. However, you will receive a hunter questionnaire in the mail. Please return your questionnaire.

CWD Sampling
Regardless of hunt permit-tag type, all successful archery hunters are encouraged to participate in the voluntary chronic wasting disease (CWD) sampling program. Hunters who are successful in Game Management Unit 12B are especially encouraged to submit heads. Because this unit borders Utah, deer from this area of the state may have the greatest potential for initial detection of CWD. To submit a sample, heads can be brought to any Game and Fish Department office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. You will be notified of the results of this test and there is no charge for this service. Lab tests from the sampling during the 2008-09 season found no presence the disease in Arizona.

To learn more about hunting in AZ., visit:
www.azgfd.gov/hunting

 


Five men arrested in alleged poaching incident

PINETOP, Ariz. — Arizona Game and Fish Department officers have arrested five men in connection with alleged poaching activities that occurred north of Springerville in December.

Four of the men — John K. Parks, Michael E. Mangum, Jeffery D. Phillips and Frederick P. Dobson — were arrested May 15 at the Tucson Electric Power/Salt River Project generating station outside of Springerville. The four were taken into custody without incident with the assistance of power plant security staff and the Apache County Sheriff’s Department.

A fifth man, Freeman L. Kartchner, was later arrested off-site by officers.

Parks, Mangum and Kartchner were charged with unlawfully killing four mule deer does during the closed season and with the aid of a spotlight. Most of the meat was left to waste. They were also charged with vandalism for damage caused to ranchers’ fences, gates and locks. In addition, Parks and Mangum were charged with littering for allegedly leaving a string of empty beer bottles in the area.

Phillips, who was not present during the alleged poaching incidents, was charged with providing false and misleading information to officers to protect two of the other individuals. Dobson, who also was not present during the incidents, was charged with eight counts of fraudulently obtaining resident Arizona hunting licenses and tags.

The alleged poachings occurred during the night and early morning hours of Dec. 20-21, 2008, near Richville, a rural farming and residential community located along the Little Colorado River between Springerville and St. Johns. The arrests were made as a result of a tip called in to the Game and Fish Department’s Operation Game Thief hotline.

“I’d like to recognize and commend the high level of cooperation our staff received from the power plant administration and its security personnel,” said Jim Hinkle, law enforcement program manager in the department’s Pinetop office.

Hinkle emphasized that poaching is not hunting. “The vast majority of people who hunt have a deep respect for wildlife resources and the laws established to protect them, and they are outraged by poaching. Unlawful killing of any wildlife is considered a major loss for the residents of Arizona and our wildlife resources.”

If convicted of the criminal charges, each of the men, except Phillips, will face potential license revocations and/or civil assessments from the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. The commission may civilly assess the men a minimum of $1,500 or more for the loss of each mule deer to the State of Arizona.



To report a poaching or wildlife-related violation, hunters and non-hunters alike are strongly encouraged to call:

Operation Game Thief
toll-free hotline at:
(800) 352-0700
24 hours a day, 7 days week

Callers are eligible for a reward if the information leads to an arrest. Caller identities can remain anonymous upon request.

 


 

Thank you for your hunting tips
Winners will be announced in the
July-August issue of the "Arizona Wildife Views" magazine

Recently we invited you to send in your best hunting tips for possible publication in Arizona wildlife Views magazine. The response was exciting!

More than 200 people sent in great tips for success in the field. Narrowing them down to the best of the best is a tough assignment, but that’s what we’ll have to do before publishing the results in the July-August issue of Arizona Wildlife Views magazine.

To get Arizona’s award-winning wildlife magazine for your very own,
call (800) 777-0015, or go online at www.azgfd.gov/magazine
and click the link “subscribe or give a gift subscription online.”

Six issues a year are just $8.50.

Interested but not sure? We’ve posted sample stories about legal methods of take, cast-‘n’-blast expeditions, cottontail hunting and more on our sample stories page. Try it — you’ll like it!

 


 

Game and Fish to consider alternative sites for the Northern Arizona Shooting Facility

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has surveyed 13 alternative sites for consideration along with the Willard Springs site for the establishment of a public shooting range in northern Arizona.

The commission directed the department in March to produce a list of potential alternative approaches due to a multi-year timeline forecast by the Coconino National Forest to complete a land exchange for the Willard Springs site.

Since the March commission meeting decision, the department has surveyed new and previously evaluated sites for the much-needed shooting range in the Flagstaff region. Alternate site selection has been in coordination with private property owners, the Coconino National Forest, the current forest grazing permittee at Willard Springs, representatives of the Hopi Tribe, Camp Navajo, and representatives from the Munds Park community. The department is continuing to look at other alternative approaches prior to the commission’s June meeting in Phoenix.

To assist in the selection process, the department hired an independent firm to survey potential users for their opinions on, and demand for, a public outdoor shooting range in the northern Arizona region. The study entailed a telephone survey of hunting license holders from the Flagstaff area, a list of supporters who attended previous public meetings regarding this range proposal, and local law enforcement agencies. Survey questions included the distance/time they are willing to travel, past and future shooting participation, and preferred capabilities of the proposed range. Click on the links below for survey results.

A briefing of the survey reports was presented at the commission meeting on Friday, May 18. The complete list of viable alternative approaches will be presented at the June commission meeting, June 26-27. The meeting will be held in Phoenix at the Arizona Game and Fish Department headquarters at 5000 W. Carefree Highway. However, the meeting may be viewed at any of the six regional offices by video conference. The public can offer comment remotely via blue slips during the appropriate agenda item. For a list of department offices, visit www.azgfd.gov/offices.

Flagstaff is the largest city in Arizona without a public shooting facility, forcing recreational shooters to use makeshift areas, such as cinder pits in the forest, and causing law enforcement personnel to travel to other cities with shooting ranges for training.

 


Hunter education, online or in a classroom, take a class today

The fall big game draw deadline is fast approaching, Tuesday, June 9. Don't forget, once you put your youngster in for a big game hunt, if he or she is between the ages of 10-13, they must have completed a certified hunter education course to go on that hunt once drawn.

Beat the heat of the summer and take advantage of the convenience of the department's online self-paced hunter education course today.

Designed to accommodate today's busy schedules, online classes are still focused on making you a safer and more knowledgeable hunter. Attending a field day is still a requirement of the program.

Besides the fact hunter education is required for youth 10-13 hunting big game, there are many other good reasons to take hunter safety, including:

  • hunter responsibility and ethics
  • wildlife identification
  • wildlife conservation and management
  • survival and first aid
  • interests
  • how firearms work
  • firearm safety and use
  • hunting techniques

Plus, taking a hunter education course is a great way to make new friends with similar interests.

For more details visit:
www.hunter-ed.com/az

Remember our safety phrase:
T.A.B. + 1

T = Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
A = Always point your muzzle in a safe direction.
B = Be sure of your target and what is beyond.
+1 = Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.

Happy hunting and be safe!

 


Upcoming Commission meeting

The next meeting of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission is scheduled for:

June 26-27: Dove hunt orders & Special Big Game Tag selection are anticipated to be on the agenda (the full agenda is not yet available).

All of the commission meetings in 2009 will be held at the Arizona Game and Fish Department headquarters in Phoenix, located at 5000 W. Carefree Highway, just west of I-17.

For those outside of the Phoenix metro area, the department is offering video conferencing of the commission meetings at each Game and Fish regional office to allow constituents across the state to stay engaged in these public meetings.

There is no regularly scheduled commission meeting in July. The next meeting will be in August where the spring hunt orders and the two-year hunt guidelines will be set.

Meeting agendas will be posted at: www.azgfd.gov/commission
Select "commission agenda."


The legalities of picking up wildlife parts


A common question that needs to be addressed is the issue of whether individuals may pick up and keep the head, antlers, or any part of wildlife they find dead in the field. What may appear to be an easy question actually requires a complicated answer.

State law requires an individual to have evidence of legality when possessing or transporting wildlife carcasses or their parts. A hunting license and/or big game tag meets this requirement for wildlife lawfully taken during hunting season. However, if an individual in the field finds dead wildlife, or any part of an animal he or she did not legally take during the hunt, then that individual may not automatically possess and /or transport any of it. An exception is that there are no restrictions on the possession of naturally shed or cast antlers.

If an individual wishes to keep wildlife parts found in the field (other than shed antlers), he/she must contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department so an officer can determine the cause of death of the animal. If it is determined the animal died from a natural cause, such as predation, disease, fights, falls, drowning, lightning, etc., the wildlife part may be possessed by the individual. If the officer determines the animal died from an unnatural cause, such as wounding loss, illegal activity or vehicle collision, no part of the wildlife may be possessed or transported.

If the cause of death cannot be determined and the wildlife part is fresh, meaning bone or tissue moisture is present and the part is not oxidized, possession will not be allowed. This also applies to parts, such as skulls, where the age cannot be determined because the finder has boiled and/or cleaned them. If the cause of death cannot be determined and the part is old (with no moisture and oxidized), possession will be allowed.

Clear? Just remember, the key is to contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department prior to picking up the part. There is no way these parts may be lawfully possessed until the department has determined the cause of death.

Reference Arizona Revised Statute, Title17-371 and Arizona Game and Fish Commission Rule R12-4-305.



Find out what is happening in the outdoors at
www.azgfd.gov/calendar

Wildlife and outdoor recreation enthusiasts can learn about upcoming fishing clinics, hunting seminars, nature talks and more by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Outdoor Calendar.

Outdoor groups are encouraged to add their public events to the Outdoor Calendar. Examples of events include hunting workshops, fishing clinics, birding/nature hikes, wildlife presentations, shooting sports and archery events, off-highway vehicle programs, boating safety fairs, and public meetings.

As an added perk, selected events will be listed on the department’s home page, which is viewed by more than 125,000 visitors each month.

www.azgfd.gov/calendar

 


 

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www.azgfd.gov/h_f/highlights.shtml


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Quick resource links:

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Frequently asked questions


Wildlife's answer to 911
Report Wildlife Violators

OPERATION GAME THIEF is a public awareness program that allows people to call in on a toll-free hotline, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to report wildlife violations. Poaching is serious business in Arizona. There are only 156 commissioned officers in the Arizona Game and Fish Department and many of these officers only do enforcement part-time. The department relies on the honest citizens of the state to assist in the reduction of wildlife law violations.

Poachers are thieves and they are stealing Arizona’s most precious natural resource—its WILDLIFE! It doesn't matter if you hunt or fish in our great state, wildlife is here for ALL of us to enjoy. The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Operation Game Thief Program is asking that you report any suspicious activity to the department. You can do this by either calling our toll-free hotline at 1-800-352-0700, or filling out as much of the information as possible (all fields are optional) on the link to the online form below.

We will keep your report CONFIDENTIAL upon request, and REWARDS of $50-$1,000 may be offered in certain cases. Eligible cases will pay rewards upon the arrest of the violator.

OPERATION GAME THIEF
1-800-352-0700
24 HOURS A DAY

Or report a violation online at:

www.azgfd.gov/ogt_form.shtml


Thank you hunters!

Arizona’s rich outdoor heritage is enjoyed by all, thanks to hunters like you, whose purchase of hunting equipment supports wildlife management and habitat enhancement in the Grand Canyon State.

When you purchase a rifle, ammunition, archery equipment and other sporting gear, you pay a federal excise tax and import duties.

Since 1937, this money has been collected by the federal government and redistributed to the states using a formula based on hunting license sales and the state’s land area.

In 2009, that meant more than $8.3 million for game management in Arizona.

This money paid for game surveys, hunter education classes, wildlife water catchment construction and wildlife research, among other projects.

Hunters like you are part of the largest and most successful wildlife conservation programs in the world. Thank you.

federalaid.fws.gov


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