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Small Game, Big Fun: This is the year!
By Doug Burt, public information officer, AGFD

Temperatures are cooling, gas prices are falling, and small game season is open and in full swing.

For those in the Valley, in a little over an hour you can be in great country for hunting rabbit, quail and late season dove. The desert offers youngsters a platform to learn much about the outdoors, wildlife and themselves. They will learn about exploring waterholes, following drainages, and what constitutes good habitat and how to find animals that dwell there.

Another hour and you'll be in the tall ponderosa pines near Flagstaff with tassel-eared squirrels in your sights. If the hunting is slow, try skipping rocks at the nearest mountain lake, casting a line for trout, or walking along a stream and discovering all that is exciting along the water’s edge.

There is no better time in Arizona to be outdoors than in October and November. Cool, crisp mornings are followed by warm, sunny days perfect for afternoon naps, and evenings that are perfect for a warm campfire and a sweatshirt.

In this issue you will find a wealth of information about small game, including forecasts, outlooks, tips, new hunter seminars and camps, season dates and calendar information, pictures of successful hunters, and upcoming hunting opportunities.

The season runs well into 2009, so check back often for the latest updates, reports and other activities to help you enjoy the season.

Until next time, 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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2008-09 small game hunting outlook:
Abundant seasonal rains provide food, cover and anticipation
By Randy Babb, Mesa information & education program manager,
and Doug Burt, public information officer, AGFD

Hunters want the bottom line when it comes to hunting forecasts. Here are the statewide outlooks for small game hunting:

  • Gambel’s quail: “Most of the quail that hunters will be encountering in central Arizona will be this year’s birds, and that should provide some excellent hunting, compared to last year.”

  • Scaled quail: “They are doing much better than last year, it should be a fair to good year, and there is typically little hunting pressure in the region of the state that they occupy.”

  • Mearns’ quail: “High carry-over of adult birds from last year and several years of generous summer rains in southern Arizona should make for superb Mearns’ quail hunting.”

  • Dove: “Thanks to good seasonal rains and plenty of agricultural shifts to grain crops, dove numbers in the late season should be very good and provide plenty of late season action.”

  • Band-tailed pigeons: “Good acorn and seed reproduction plus full stock tanks should keep migrating birds in the state throughout the season. Look for fair to good hunting this year.”

  • Blue (dusky) grouse: “Populations remain stable for this rare bird and should provide fair hunting for those willing to work for them.”

  • Chukar partridge: “Populations remain limited, but areas that hold chukar should provide typical results as past years.”

  • Rabbits: “Go now! Rabbit populations are abundant throughout the state. The season should be very good to excellent nearly everywhere you go.”

  • Squirrels: “Abundant food sources in the high country should provide good to very good hunting for tassel-eared squirrels. The Kaibab squirrel populations have stabilized and offer fair hunting.”

  • Ducks and geese: “Water levels are poised to hold good numbers of ducks depending on weather conditions in states north of Arizona. If that happens, we should have a good season this year.”

  • Snipe: “The wet conditions from the first half of this year are very favorable for this long-billed migrating bird.”

Even without reading any further, you should be making a note to get your general hunting license and plenty of ammunition, and start planning your trips. Now that everyone is excited, let’s look into the details.

Small game season for quail, squirrel, ducks and more opened Oct. 3. In addition to the season opening earlier, general squirrel season runs nearly a month longer, ending in late December, with some units open year round.

The waterfowl season is liberal, opening in the mountain zone the same day (Oct. 3) and running until the end of January 2009. However, canvasback ducks are not allowed for harvest due to declining numbers, and there is a shorter / restricted season for scaup ducks.

Abundant snow and rainfall has occurred since the end of 2007. Much of the precipitation fell at the right times and in the right areas, resulting in full stock tanks, running streams, and many lakes full or near full. In addition, ground cover is thick and dense in many areas of the state.

In short, plenty of rain, ground cover and food made for good reproduction. The outlook for small game hunting statewide looks very good.

Note: As with all wildlife outlooks, there will be some areas that are better and some that are worse due to natural variables in rainfall, reproduction, habitat, etc. However, overall, this should be a very good small game season.

Quail (Gambel’s, Mearns’ and scaled)
Arizona has enjoyed three average to above-average rainy seasons in a row (two summer rainy seasons and one winter rainy season). Gambel’s quail came into the breeding season in good shape, even though their numbers were low due to very poor rains in preceding years. However, all observations at this time indicate that Gambel’s quail were quite successful this nesting season, and this bodes well for quail hunters in central Arizona.

Monsoon rains have especially benefitted Mearns’ quail. Last year was one of the best seasons in years, and the back-to-back successful nestings should prove to be an incredible season for this polka-dotted bird.

Scaled quail fall somewhere in the middle of the other two species. They are not entirely tied to winter or summer rains for reproduction success. Fortunately, rainfall has been steady and consistent since the beginning of the year, and this should provide a good season for these blue birds.

All this good news means one thing for upland hunters: a chance at a quail grand slam. This could be one of the best years for a hunter to harvest all three quail species in the same day.

Rabbit (cottontail and jackrabbit)
Rabbits are another species that abounds with good seasonal rains; expect to see excellent rabbit hunting statewide this year. While a majority of rabbits are harvested by quail hunters as part of a mixed-bag, they certainly deserve to be a primary pursuit. Rabbits are very challenging to hunt, offer a great hunting introduction to youngsters, and they are excellent table fare.

Squirrel (Abert’s, Kaibab, gray, red and fox)
While cold winters can increase squirrel mortality, the extra moisture from the snow and rains provided abundant food sources for squirrels this year. This healthy food supply provided existing populations the trigger for new recruitment and should make for a good hunting season.

The most common squirrel is the tassel-eared (Abert’s), and it is found in the ponderosa pine forest. There are more different squirrel species in Arizona than any other state. Other species that can be hunted include the Kaibab, gray, red and the small fox squirrel.

Touted as the “New Arizona Grand Slam,” some hunters are taking the challenge to harvest all five species in a season.

Dove (mourning, Eurasian collared-dove and band-tailed pigeons)
Although not open until late November, late season dove hunting should be very good this year. The late season offers all-day hunting hours, and hitting a desert stock tank an hour or two before sunset can be very productive and a great way to experience the incredible desert weather in the fall. It is also a great way to capitalize on a mixed-bag hunt when chasing quail or rabbits. Dove are another great introduction for young hunters.

Band-tailed pigeon season opened in mid-September and closed the first week of October (a separate report was provided before the season opened).

However, Eurasian collared-doves are open all year long and there is no bag limit. They are mostly found in urban areas; however, they can also be found on the edges of agricultural fields and some desert lands. If you are hunting Eurasian collared-doves, be certain of your identification and leave a feathered-wing on for verification.

Mountain upland birds (blue “dusky” grouse and chukar partridge)
Both of these species offer limited hunting from one season to the next. The overall forecast for these birds is fair, but that is relative to the low population densities. Their range and distribution is very limited and make for hunts that are more like quests. However, success does happen and many hunters consider both to be trophies due the effort and uniqueness of the hunt. Each has different season dates and bag limits, so consult the 2008-09 Arizona Hunting and Trapping regulations for more details.

Waterfowl (ducks, geese and snipe)
As part of the Pacific Flyway, migrating waterfowl make their way to Arizona as the winter weather hits the states in the northern continental U.S. With that said, there is plenty of water in Arizona to hold migrating birds throughout the season, when and if they come. Stock tanks in the lower elevations should prove to be productive for waterfowl hunters late in the year. Snipe hunting should also be good around marshy areas, flooded creek areas, as well as stock tanks.

Hunters are reminded to post photos of their outdoor expeiences at www.azgfd.net/photos.

Happy hunting, be safe and introduce someone new to hunting.

For more details about small game hunting, visit:

www.azgfd.gov/h_f/small_game.shtml

 

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Overcome the high fuel costs
by maximizing your outdoor experience

By Rory Aikens, public information officer, AGFD

Clean and oil your favorite .22. A superb mushroom crop combined with plentiful acorns in Arizona’s high country means this is a good year to go tree squirrel hunting, and the season is even longer this year, remaining open until Dec. 31.

In fact, to squeeze the most out of your recreational dollars, the Arizona Game and Fish Department has a tip for you: mix squirrel and grouse hunting (grouse season is open from Sept. 12 - Nov. 12) with trout fishing and camping.

You might even team up with others to share experiences and expenses.

This is a pretty good year for a hook-and-bullet expedition.

“The acorn, mushroom, pine cone and berry crops are looking pretty good this year in Arizona’s high country,” said Randy Babb, a department biologist and avid small game hunter. “So hunters of all ages can expect fat, healthy tree squirrels.”

Although blue grouse are not abundant in this state, they do offer hunters an opportunity for diversity. Blue grouse like the spruce and mixed-conifer habitats where red squirrels are found. And our biologists report seeing lots of red squirrels this year.

The blue grouse season opened Sept. 12 and the squirrel season opened Oct. 3.

Plus, last year’s abundant snow pack resulted in significant runoff, filling and spilling most high country trout lakes last spring.

Even lakes that had been very low in past years due to drought, such as some of those in the Williams area, filled this year.

Big Lake in the White Mountains is experiencing its highest lake level in more than a decade. Here’s another idea – if you want to get the most out of your gas dollars, take a friend, relative or neighbor along.

It’s a similar theory to car pooling, but you would be pooling your resources for a high country adventure everyone will be talking about for years.

Fall is one of the two best times of year to catch trout. The fish feed aggressively to put on fat before winter conditions arrive, so we typically see catch rates increase for most anglers. That means you can catch more fun.

We are also entering the prime time of the year to hear bull elk bugling in the forest during the rut. Who knows, you might even see or hear bull elk clashing their antlers in the forest. It’s an exciting time to be in the high mountains.

 

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Young and new hunters: Learn how to hunt
By Doug Burt, public information officer, AGFD

Are you interested in hunting, but don't know how to get started?

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is continuing to provide new outlets for beginners interested to find their way into the field.

During this hunting season the department is hosting a number of introductory programs, including mentor-assisted hunting camps, informative hunting clinics, and general outdoor recreation programs:

Hunting Clinic Seminars

Waterfowl Hunting 101: Learn the basics of waterfowl hunting and identification in Arizona. Friday, Nov. 7 from 6-8 p.m. Free, no registration required.

Small Game Hunting Clinic: Learn about hunting quail, rabbit, squirrel, dove and more. Wednesday, Nov. 12 from 7-9 p.m. Free, no registration required.

Wildlife Speaker Series

Turkey Talk: Learn all about wild turkeys in Arizona. This is a great event for the public and for homeschool teachers. The first hour is informative with fun activities, followed by an educational session. The event qualifies for two hours of professional development credit. Thursday, Nov. 6 from 6-8 p.m. Free, click here to register online.

Chiricahua Leopard Frogs: Learn all about this rare and threatened frog. This is a great event for the public and for homeschool teachers. The first hour is informative with fun activities, followed by an educational session. The event qualifies for two hours of professional development credit. Thursday, Dec. 4 from 6-8 p.m. Free, click here to register online.

*Unless otherwise noted, all speaker events are at the Game & Fish headquarters at: 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086 (1.25 miles west of I-17).

Hands-on Mentored Hunting Camps

Small Game Camp (Region 3): Learn to handle firearms safely, go hunting for quail and rabbit and enjoy your harvest. Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 15-16, near Wickenburg. This free event requires a $20 refundable deposit per person or $30 per family. Signup deadline is 5 p.m. Oct. 31, call (928) 692-7700.

Dove Hunt (Region 6): Learn about dove hunting and firearm safety. Event date to be announced soon. Location is just west of Mesa.

Juniors-only Dove Hunt (Region 4): Learn about dove hunting, firearm safety and the Quigley Wildlife Area. Dec. 6, near Yuma. Free, to register, contact Debbie, (928) 210-7304, deltadeb@gmail.com.

Small Game Camp (Region 5/6): Learn about hunting dove, rabbit, quail and camping out. Dec. 13-14, between Florence and Tucson. Registration information coming soon.

Juniors-only Duck Hunt (Region 4): Learn about duck hunting from experienced waterfowlers at one of the best wetland areas in the state. Dec. 12-13, Cibola NWR near Blythe, CA.

Small Game Camp (Region 4): Learn about hunting dove, rabbit and quail at the Texas Hill Farms annual event. Jan. 17-18, near Yuma.

For a list of frequently asked questions about small game camps, visit
www.azgfd.gov/h_f/sgc_faq.shtml

 

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Hunter recruitment: First dove hunt - what an experience!
By Kellie Tharp, environmental education program manager, AGFD

I never thought I would have so much fun and instantly get hooked on dove hunting. I was fortunate enough to get out four times during the early dove season. For me, it wasn’t how many doves I was able to harvest, it was the outdoor experience.

We saw tarantulas, bats, nighthawks, a Cooper's hawk (which tried to steal one of our doves), dragonflies and a beautiful buck.

I have to admit that I was a little nervous on the first day, wanting to make sure that I knew what to do, when to do it and how to do it safely. I asked a lot of questions, and fortunately I had a seasoned hunting mentor to guide me through the process. The only experience I had to compare it to was clay target shooting, and this was totally different.

My first hunt was in the afternoon on a tank in the north zone. We didn’t have a lot of doves coming in, but the experience was still extremely memorable. I was a bit hesitant to take my first shot, but once I felt more comfortable it was a blast! I was so proud of my first harvest, not only a great feeling of accomplishment, but a sense of pride that I could take the meat home and prepare it for dinner.

If I wasn’t invited to go on my first hunt, I would have never known how exciting and enjoyable it could be. I have always wanted to learn to hunt but was a little apprehensive to jump in and go on my own without a bit of mentoring. This experience has opened the door to an array of outdoor experiences that I never knew I would be so excited about. For my next step, I am putting in for my first javelina hunt!

So here is my challenge to you: Ask your friend or your neighbor or niece if they might be interested in joining you for the late season dove hunt. You never know who might be waiting to learn and just needs someone to guide them through their first hunt.

Kellie oversees the department's Environmental Education Program. She continually works to incorporate the message of wildlife conservation into classroom curriculum and education programs. As a wildlife biologist by trade, Kellie spent many years in the field, served as a wildland firefighter, and was a high school science teacher. She grew up in northern California.

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Been hunting? A picture is worth 1,000 words
By Doug Burt, public information officer, AGFD

While we love to see those big game successes of young hunters, small game hunting season lasts for months and one is of the best tools to teach youngsters about hunting, harvesting, anatomy and getting outdoors.

Here are just a few of the small game hunting success photos of junior hunters we received.

 

 

  

 

  

 

  

All these photos and others can be found at the Arizona Game and Fish Department's free outdoor photo gallery.

Your successes are the future of our hunting heritage, and maybe you will see your photo used on the department's Web site, newsletters, or here in Hunting Highlights.

www.azgfd.net/photos

 

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Junior hunters: There are big game tags waiting for you
By Doug Burt, public information officer, AGFD

Hey kids, are you looking to hone your hunting skills even further? There are still some fall hunting permits available for deer, javelina and sandhill crane.

All of the tags are available on a first-come, first-served basis by mail only using a hunt permit application form. For a list of remaining hunting permits, visit www.azgfd.gov/draw. For sandhill crane, use hunt number 9006.

  • Deer: General deer hunts are available during early and late November. All the deer tags are for the antlered Coues' whitetail, which is considered one of Arizona's most revered big game animals. They are challenging to hunt and inhabit the beautiful topography of southern Arizona. A success is considered one of a lifetime.

  • Javelina: Javelina hunts are during the last week of November. Javelina are unique to the Southwest, with a wide distribution in Arizona. Javelina offer an excellent introduction to the skills needed for other big game hunting like deer and elk. As for edibility, they make very good chorizo breakfast sausage, Italian and bratwurst sausages, as well as roasts and stews.

  • Sandhill Crane: The sandhill crane hunt is the second week of December. Sandhill cranes are large (5-foot wingspan), spectacular birds, which closely resemble a terradactyl. They migrate to the state and winter in wetland areas. They are very wary birds and are challenging to decoy within shooting range, making for an amazing hunting experience. Most surprising is they provide incredible table fare, often referred to as “the flying rib-eye steak.” The department will have check stations with mentors and guides to offer help.

For instructions on applying for javelina or sandhill crane tags, visit www.azgfd.gov/draw and find the hunt number of the area you wish to hunt from the list of left-over fall hunts and/or the left-over list for sandhill cranes. Fill out the “Hunt Permit/Tag Application Form” per the instructions and mail it to: Arizona Game and Fish Department, P.O. Box 52002, Phoenix, AZ 85072-2002.

Young hunters ages 10-13 are required to have completed a certified hunter education course to hunt big game (javelina and turkey only). All youth hunting big game are also required to have a general hunting license.

There is no hunter education requirement to hunt sandhill cranes, although it is encouraged. Additionally, youth hunters 10-13 do not need a general hunting license when accompanied by a licensed adult when hunting sandhill cranes.

 

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Hunters asked to assist CWD monitoring
By Doug Burt, public information officer, AGFD

Deer and elk hunters: Your assistance is needed again this season to continue the monitoring efforts in Arizona for chronic wasting disease (CWD), a wildlife disease that is fatal to deer and elk. Currently, there is no evidence that CWD poses a risk to humans.

Although CWD has not yet been found in Arizona through testing since 1998, it is present in three neighboring states: Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.

“To remain vigilant, we will increase our sampling efforts in the Game Management Units (GMUs) closest to these bordering states,” says Clint Luedtke, department research specialist on CWD. “Assistance from elk and deer hunters in GMU 12B, which borders Utah, as well as GMUs 1 and 27 which border New Mexico, are crucial in assuring CWD is not in Arizona in these potential corridors. However, samples from all regions of the state are still needed.”

A check station at Jacob Lake in the Kaibab Plateau will be operational from Oct. 31-Nov. 9, Nov. 14-17 and Nov. 21-30. The department will conduct sampling on the weekends of Oct. 31-Nov. 3, Nov. 8-10, and Nov. 14-17. Additional sampling will be available throughout the week.

A check station will be in place in Unit 27 on Nov. 7-9 in Alpine at the at the U.S.F.S. Alpine Ranger District Office, just south of the intersection of Highways 180 and 191. The voluntary check station will be operated between the hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hunters can assist the monitoring effort by bringing in the head of their recently harvested deer or elk to any Game and Fish Department office between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Place the head in a heavy plastic garbage bag for delivery, and keep it cool and out of the sun. If the weather is warm, it is best to either bring in the head within a day of harvest or keep it on ice in a cooler before delivery.

To better assist the surveillance efforts, people will be asked to fill out a form with their drop-off. Please include the following information: county, game management unit in which the animal was harvested, hunt and permit number, and a contact address and phone number. If this information is not provided, the department will be unable to test the head.

Test results will be sent by postcard within six to eight weeks. There is no charge for the testing and notification.

CWD is a neurodegenerative wildlife disease that is fatal to cervids, which include deer, elk and moose. Clinical symptoms include loss of body weight or emaciation, excessive salivation, increased drinking and urination, stumbling, trembling, and behavioral changes such as listlessness, lowering of the head, and repetitive walking in set patterns.

No evidence has been found to indicate that CWD affects humans, according to both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

The department also has had rules in place since 2002 restricting the movement of captive deer and elk into or within the state, and subjecting those animals to marking and reporting requirements.

Here are some guidelines for hunters when out in the field:

  • Don’t harvest any animal that appears to be sick or behaves oddly. Call the Arizona Game and Fish Department at 1-800-352-0700 if you see an animal that is very thin, has a rough coat, drooping ears and is unafraid of humans.

  • When field-dressing game, wear rubber gloves and minimize the use of a bone saw to cut through the brain or spinal cord (backbone). Bone out the meat. Minimize contact with and do not consume brain or spinal cord tissues, eyes, spleen, or lymph nodes.

  • Always wash hands thoroughly after dressing and processing game meat.

  • If you hunt in another state, don’t bring back the brain, intact skull or spinal column. It’s OK to bring back hides and skull plates that have been cleaned of all tissue and washed in bleach. Taxidermied heads, sawed-off antlers and ivory teeth are also OK to bring home.

  • If you intend to hunt out of state, contact the wildlife agency in the area you intend to hunt. Several states have regulations on carcass movement.

For more information about chronic wasting disease, visit:

www.azgfd.gov/cwd or www.cwd-info.org

Volunteer opportunities for hunters 
By Les Bell, volunteer coordinator,
Arizona Game and Fish Department

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 deparment's volunteer Web page at:

www.azgfd.gov/volunteer

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Vol. 4 No. 5 Oct.-Nov. 2008
In this issue:

Small Game, Big Fun: This is the year!

2008-09 small game hunting outlook

Overcome the high fuel costs by maximizing your outdoor experience

Young and new hunters: Learn how to hunt

Hunter recruitment: First dove hunt - what an experience

Been hunting? A picture is worth 1,000 words

Junior hunters: There are big game tags waiting for you

Hunters asked to assist CWD monitoring

Volunteer opportunities

 



Hunter's Planning Calendar

October
3 - Fall turkey season opener
3 - Quail season opener (Gambel’s & scaled)
3 - Squirrel season opener
3 - Juniors-only (nonpermit-tag) turkey season opener
5 - Close of band-tailed pigeon season
10 - Juniors-only deer season opener
10 - Juniors-only javelina season opener
10 - Juniors-only elk season opener
10-11 - Commission meeting, Phx.
13 - Columbus Day
14 - Spring hunt application deadline
24 - Expected fall deer season opener

November
1 - Half-price 2008 fishing licenses go on sale through Dec. 31, 2008
2 - Sandhill crane season (by permit only)
4 - Election Day
7 - Juniors-only archery javelina season starts
10 - Urban lake catfish stocking ends and trout stockings begins
11 - Veterans Day
14 - Juniors-only 12A deer season starts
16 - Close of blue grouse season
21 - Dove late season opens
21 - Juniors-only deer season starts
21 - Juniors-only javelina season starts
27 - Thanksgiving Day
28 - Mearns’ season opener
15 - Special goose season GMU 1, 27, 22& 23

 



Ask a wildlife manager:

What is the bag limit for junior hunters when small game hunting

Answer: Unlicensed junior hunters under 14 years old are allowed the same bag limits as licensed hunters (14 and older) as noted by each species in the appropriate regulations.

For example, the limit for rabbit is 10 rabbits per day. A young unlicensed hunter, when accompanied by an adult, would have a bag limit of 10 rabbits as well.

Since there is no restriction on the limits for junior hunters, there is no rule or law addressing the information.

If you have a question about hunting or fishing laws, rules and regulations or just an ethical situation, email:
HuntingHighlights@azgfd.gov.
Use Subject title: Ask a WM

 



AGFD wants photos of your kids hunting small game

Small game season is an exciting time for kids and adults. Rabbit, squirrel, quail, and dove hunting set the groundwork for teaching young sportsmen (boys and girls) about the outdoors, wildlife, anatomy and much more.

When you capture those shining moments of a youngster's eyes and happiness, please share them by submitting them to the new Arizona Game and Fish Department photo gallery Web site.

Your successes are the future of our hunting heritage, and maybe you will see your photo used on the department's Web site, newsletters, or here in Hunting Highlights.

www.azgfd.net/photos

 



ATTENTION DUCK HUNTERS:
Canvasback duck season is
closed for 2008-09

Waterfowl season opened in the mountain zone on Friday, Oct. 3. However, duck hunters are reminded that the season is closed for canvasback ducks and there is a shorter season for scaup ducks for 2008-09.

Canvasbacks and redhead ducks are similar in appearance and are commonly misidentified in the field. To complicate the matter, both of these ducks inhabit the same habitats and hunting grounds.

However, if you are uncertain, refrain from shooting either species. Hunters are encouraged to focus on pursuing more commonly identifiable ducks like teal, mallard, widgeon, and gadwall ducks to avoid accidently shooting a canvasback out of season.

In addition, there is a shortened season for scaup ducks. The season start date is delayed for both the mountain and desert zones, Oct. 18 and Nov. 1 respectively, with a bag limit of only two scaup permitted.

Regardless of zone, waterfowlers need to be aware of a duck that is slightly similar to scaups - the ring-necked duck. Their coloration is very similar, but there are a few noticeable differences, even in flight.

Hunters are reminded to be sure of their duck identification prior to shooting due to these conditions and to be familiar with the 2008-09 Arizona Waterfowl and Snipe Regulations for other seasons, bag and possession limits.

To improve your duck identification, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Web site on "Ducks at a Distance: A Waterfowl Identification Guide" by Bob Hines. The information can be viewed online, downloaded or ordered in a printed pocketbook version.

 


Meet renowned waterfowl artist at Game and Fish for open house

The public is invited to meet Sherrie Russell Meline, the winning artist of the 2006-07 Federal Duck Stamp contest, at an open house on Friday, Nov. 7 from 1-5 p.m. at the Arizona Game and Fish Department headquarters at 5000 W. Carefree Highway in Phoenix.

Meline won the prestigious federal contest with her painting of the Ross’ goose. Throughout the years, Russell-Meline’s artwork has graced the faces of over 30 state duck stamps, many of them for Arizona, including the current stamp for the 2008-09 season featuring a majestic pair of swimming canvasbacks.

Meline will be signing autographs, displaying samples of her artwork, and will have signed collector prints available for sale.

Also on display will be the artistic expressions created by some of Arizona’s dynamic young artists, ages 6-18. Their waterfowl artwork was created for the annual Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program. Margot Bissell, from the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and state coordinator for the junior program, will be available to talk to educators interested in getting this interactive science/art based program integrated into their curriculum.

Department wildlife biologists will be on hand to teach visitors about Arizona’s waterfowl, geese and cranes, discuss where they can be found in the state, and offer tips for identifying them in the field. They will also discuss how the sale of duck stamps provides funding locally, nationally and internationally, and how those dollars are used to conserve wetland habitats.

Stamp collecting is very popular and this is a great opportunity to meet the artist behind the art. The 2008 Arizona Waterfowl Stamp is available for purchase at all Game and Fish offices for $8.75.

If you have never purchased a duck stamp but support wildlife, buying a duck stamp is a very easy and effective way to give your support. Every dollar raised from the sale of Arizona’s Waterfowl Stamp is used to improve habitat for waterfowl.

 


Hunting Highlights has a blog
www.azgfd.net/hunting

Are you searching for some information on elk hunting? Do you want to find all you can about junior hunting stories? Well, now you can.

The entire archives of Hunting Highlights have been added to its new blog Web site. What's nice about it is the convenience of categorizing by topic and date of entry, which makes the entire archives a searchable database.

We will continue with this magazine-style layout with the email notification; the blog is just an additional tool to help you quickly find relevant information and stay connected with Hunting Highlights.

 


Arizona Quail Hunting 101

New hunters and old hands alike will enjoy the November-December issue of Arizona Wildlife Views magazine. Kirby Bristow will share lessons learned during a lifetime afield in “Arizona Quail Hunting 101.”

We’ll also look into the recent transplant of blue grouse to the Mogollon Rim and the development of overpasses to help bighorn sheep in the Black Mountains in our upcoming issue.

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

Interested but not sure? Sample stories about legal methods of take, cast-‘n’-blast expeditions, cottontail hunting and more are available for free online. Just click the "Sample Articles" link on the right under "Magazine Infomation".

Six issues a year are just $8.50. And right now you can take advantage of a special deal: Give a gift subscription, and you’ll get a 2009 Arizona Wildlife Calendar, free (a $3 value). The calendar features handy reminders of draw deadlines and other big dates. Give a gift, get a gift — what could be better?

 


Hunter safety class, it's not too late

Just because hunting season has started doesn't mean it is too late to take a hunter education safety class.

Those interested can still go online and take the Internet study course and then take the field day to get your certificate.

Youth ages 10 through 13 who wish to hunt big game (turkey, javelina, deer, elk, etc) must have a hunter education certification in addition to the licenses and tags required.

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 meetings

The next meetings of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission are scheduled for:

Thursday and Friday, Nov. 6-7, at the Department headquarters at 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix.

Friday and Saturday, Dec. 5-6, at the Francisco Grande Hotel, 26000 W. Gila Bend Highway, Casa Grande.

 



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

Wildlife and outdoor recreation enthusiasts can now 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

 


 

Need more Hunting Highlights?

Visit the archives at:

www.azgfd.gov/h_f/highlights.shtml


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Quick resource links:

Rules and regulations

Big game draw info

Where to hunt

Hunter education classes

Fishing page

Ben Avery Shooting Facility

Ben Avery Clay Target Center

Wildlife and Conservation page

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 2006, that meant more than $6.5 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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