Women who hunt deer
By Sherry Crouch, wildlife planner, and Dee Pfleger, wildlife
Arizona Game and Fish Department
issue of Hunting Highlights, we invited some of the women
here at the Arizona Game and Fish Department who hunt
deer to share their stories with readers, as a way of encouraging
other women to get out hunting this fall. Sherry Crouch and
Dee Pfleger responded to the call. We think their words express
quite clearly that women who hunt are not much different from
men who hunt. They have the same excitement and concerns—and
about the same luck. ~The editors
Growing up in Arizona, I spent a lot of time exploring the
outdoors. My dad hunted small game, and I’d watch fascinated
as he cleaned each animal. At that time, I didn’t hunt,
but did enjoy target shooting with handguns.
I met my future husband, Pat. Through him, my interest in
hunting grew. Pat went with me through a hunter education
course and spent hours helping me hone my shooting skills.
I drew life-sized silhouettes, and then Pat would have me practice
shooting. With his help, I was soon shooting accurately. It
was the next year before I drew my first antlered deer tag.
On an October morning we started hiking, looking for deer.
Even though we had good binoculars, we hiked instead of glassing.
I spooked a mule deer buck but had no chance to shoot. To make
a long story short, we went home with no deer, but vowed to
use binoculars on the next hunt.
Pat was able to hunt midweek and got a nice mule deer. On
the last day of the hunt, I got to go again. This time, instead
of hike and hope, we decided to sit and glass. We glassed a
lot of country, but saw no deer in the morning, so we waited
for late afternoon when the deer would again be active. Glassing
across a draw, we spotted seven whitetail bucks.
a rest using jackets and settled on a small buck offering
a broadside shot. At the sound of my shot, the buck
stood alone. The other deer scattered like a broken quail covey.
The buck I shot at didn’t flinch. We watched the buck
for several minutes, and he didn’t move. We decided something
wasn’t right, and moved closer. At about 30 yards, I
could see my buck, still on his feet, but barely. My shot had
resulted in a low hit. With a final shot, I was able to tag
my first deer, a fork-horned whitetail. Elation, honor, humility,
delight in having meat in the freezer, relief that this one
would be easy to pack out, and awe describe only a few of the
emotions running through my mind.
a couple of valuable lessons during that hunt. You can cover
more ground with binoculars than with hiking boots,
and always stick with the ammo you used in practice. In packing
for the day’s hunt, I grabbed a box of .270 shells that
were a different brand and different bullet than I had used
in practice. Their trajectory was different—thus the
low hit. Lessons learned, and mistakes never to be repeated.
On one memorable hunt, three of us had tags in Unit 36C, in
the Baboquivari Mountains. I was fortunate enough to get
drawn with Tice Supplee, who was chief of the Arizona Game
and Fish Department’s Game Branch at the time. Tice
taught me patience, which was required for the hours of glassing
for deer from ridge tops. Buns of steel helped too, for sitting
on the hard ground. From Tice I also learned the meaning
of a “death march.” Tice always believed in getting
out, stretching the legs, and taking extended hikes up ridges
and around mountains.
such ridge, we ran into another group of hunters. I guess
the guys were not used to seeing women hunters, because
while we were out in the middle of nowhere, on top of a windy
ridge, dressed in camo and carrying guns, they had to ask us
what we were doing. One of the quicker-thinking gals in our
group responded, “Taking our guns for a walk.”
lesson of that hunt was: Never walk anywhere without your
firearm or bow. After sitting on a ridge for several hours
(that seemed like days) and not seeing much of anything moving,
I left my gun with my backpack and walked over the back side
to relieve myself of some early morning coffee. I don’t
know who was more startled, me or the young buck that had bedded
down just behind where we were glassing. I must have awakened
him from his mid-morning nap. I stood there gaping as he bounded
off down the hill to some other napping place.
back to top
By Mark Zornes, small game biologist, and Brian Wakeling, big game
Arizona Game and Fish Department
in going after some of Arizona’s abundant small
game, such as quail or cottontail? Planning a fall deer or elk
hunt? Here are our regional forecasts for these species.
Hunters are expected to be pleased with the 2005-2006 quail season,
particularly for Gambel’s quail. Brood size and chick survival
generally increased this year in response to favorable precipitation
levels and milder summer temperatures. Look to central Arizona,
the eastern portions of the Yuma region, and the Kingman region
for the best Gambel’s quail hunting. Quail will likely
be well dispersed throughout suitable habitats due to increased
cover and winter-spring precipitation (see
local precipitation levels when planning a trip. Be
aware that portions of central Arizona were impacted by large
wildfires, particularly north and northeast
of Phoenix. Do your homework prior to the season to find birds
in unburned areas or along the periphery of some of these large
Region I (Pinetop)
Quail hunting is rarely good in this region, with the exception
of the south end of game management Unit 27. Both Gambel’s
quail and Mearns’ quail can be found in appropriate habitats.
Since much of the region is unsuitable as quail habitat, finding
huntable numbers of birds can be a challenge.
Region II (Flagstaff)
Field personnel expect some good Gambel’s quail hunting in
the southern portion of Region II in Units 6A, 6B, and 8. For hunters
who frequent the Arizona Strip, lower elevation habitats in Units
13A and 13B should produce some decent Gambel’s quail hunting.
Region III (Kingman)
Gambel’s hunting should be good to excellent, particularly
in the Hualapai, Peacock, Music, Cerbat, Black and Aquarius Mountain
ranges. Bird numbers were up in many of these areas last year,
post-season carryover was good, and a very good hatch occurred.
Expect some productive trips.
Region IV (Yuma)
Region IV is expecting the best quail hunting in a decade. Gambel’s
quail will be particularly good in northern and eastern game management
units like Units 20A, 39, 42, 44A, and 44B. Quail post-season carryover
was good in many of these areas, and well-above-average winter-spring
precipitation produced a good hatch.
Region V (Tucson)
While most of Arizona received above-average precipitation last
winter and spring, southeastern Arizona was not so fortunate.
Local areas of above-average precipitation occurred, but most
areas received average precipitation. Survey data suggests this
year will be average in Region V for Gambel’s quail, with
pockets of better hunting. Scaled quail hunting is likely to
vary from good to poor, depending on location. The Sulphur Springs
Valley will yield the best scaled quail hunting. Mearns’ quail
populations were impacted by the late monsoon. Expect some young
birds in the bag during the early portion of the Mearns’ season.
Bird abundance will be spotty, and should correlate well with
areas that received adequate precipitation.
Region VI (Mesa)
Central Arizona should offer some good to very good Gambel’s
quail hunting this year. Much of the region was impacted this year
by large wildfires, so pre-scouting is a must. Pockets of exceptional
chick production were noted this year, and quail numbers should
be higher than during the past few years. Good Gambel’s quail
hunting will be found this year in game management Units 21, 22,
23, and portions of Units 24A and 24B. Be prepared to work those
unburned areas and expect to find pockets of very good hunting
in many locations.
Expect some of the best cottontail rabbit hunting in more than
a decade. Cottontail numbers exploded due to increased precipitation
and cover throughout much of the state. This often overlooked,
great-tasting game animal provides a welcome addition to the hunter’s
bag, whether alone or in combination with dove and quail. If you
spend any time in washes, rocky foothills, or areas of dense brush,
you will encounter this species regularly this year. Cottontails
offer a great opportunity to introduce a youngster to hunting,
and provide a challenging hunt for old and young alike. Still-hunting
(i.e., “sneaking”) along desert or mountain washes,
ridgelines, or in areas of dense brush armed with a .22-caliber
rifle, a shotgun, or archery equipment can provide hours of enjoyment,
hone your big game hunting skills and yield a great tasting meal.
Region I (Pinetop)
Hunters should encounter good to excellent cottontail hunting in
2005-2006. Forecasts from all game management units rated cottontail
hunting at least good, with the exception of Unit 3A, where hunting
will likely be fair.
Region II (Flagstaff)
Hunting will be above average. Expect good to excellent hunting
throughout, with fair hunting forecasted for Unit 7.
Region III (Kingman)
Much of the region is suitable habitat for cottontails. Abundant
numbers have been reported, perhaps yielding the best cottontail
hunting in the state this year, so opportunities will be numerous.
Region IV (Yuma)
Good to excellent cottontail hunting will be available this year.
Cottontails prefer certain habitat characteristics, and hunters
should focus their attention on these for highest success. Any
big washes or areas near agriculture or the rivers should hold
a lot of cottontails.
Region V (Tucson)
Cottontail hunting will be excellent this year in the lower- to
mid-elevations. Get out early and enjoy some of the best hunting
of the year. Rabbit hunting before quail season gives an opportunity
to scout for other species and hunt without much competition.
Combine this species with a quail or dove hunt for added fun.
To increase the challenge, try hunting cottontails during the
early morning hours along desert washes with a .22-caliber rifle
or archery equipment.
Region VI (Mesa)
Central Arizona should offer some good to excellent cottontail
hunting this year. Concentrate your efforts around desert washes
and in the rocky foothills. As with quail hunting, avoid those
severely burned areas when hunting for this species.
Statewide, deer fawn recruitment increased for both white-tailed
deer and mule deer this past year. What that means to hunters
is that more yearling bucks (spikes and forkhorns) will be available
this year than in the recent past. Do not expect droves of deer,
but you should note a moderate improvement in numbers, and possibly
Regions I–IV are known mainly for mule deer, and provide
good hunting opportunities for this species. Regions I–III
have seen improved recruitment, and populations are slightly increasing.
Even with recent improvement, Region IV mule deer tend to be low-density
herds, so plan to wear out the seat of your pants while using binoculars
rather than your boots if you want to be successful. This can be
an important strategy regardless of where you are hunting, but
it can be more difficult in forested areas. Mule deer in Regions
V–VI are also stable to slightly increasing. Unit 21 deer
hunters should not be discouraged by the Cave Creek Complex fires:
Fresh green growth can be a powerful attractant for deer.
Regions V–VI have the most popular white-tailed deer units,
and glassing is essential for finding these elusive ghosts. Increases
in fawn recruitment from last year should translate into more young
bucks this year. Look closely: Many “skin heads” turn
out to be young bucks on closer scrutiny. Regions I–II have
some excellent white-tailed deer hunts that are somewhat lesser
known. Areas recovering from recent fires can be productive areas
to hunt, especially near steep terrain and canyons that white-tails
seem to favor.
of where you were drawn this year, know the boundaries of your
your tag to be certain of the area for which
you were drawn. Every year a few hunters assume they were drawn
for their first choice when they were actually drawn for an alternate
unit, but don’t find out otherwise until they get to camp
or (worse yet) until a wildlife manager checks their harvested
deer. It can be an expensive mistake. And don’t forget to
sign your tag.
Although our fall survey data is preliminary, many areas are reporting
high calf numbers. Elk habitat that suffered from fires two to
five years ago is producing good herbaceous vegetation as a result
of recent rains, and elk herds are responding to last winter’s
favorable conditions. In addition to recruitment, favorable forage
conditions are also good for antler development. Those with antlerless
permits may be in luck. Mountain men in the 1800s were convinced
that “fat cow” was far better than “poor bull” for
table fare, and younger animals are more tender and generally
easier (lighter) to pack out. For those looking for larger antlered
bulls, search somewhat off the beaten path. Herds that are expanding
their range often include more mature bulls. Some of the largest
bulls we have seen were at lower elevations in what many consider
to be pronghorn habitat.
Regions I and II (Pinetop, Flagstaff)
Wildfires did not play a large role this year. Older burned areas
are going to be attractive to elk. Elk often respond to early
accumulations of snowfall by moving to lower elevations, but
a single snowfall event will not immediately drive all elk out
of an area. Rainfall and snow can cause unfavorable road conditions.
Always try to minimize the impact you have on primitive roads.
Region 3 (Kingman)
Elk populations have been productive and wide-ranging. Much of
the elk habitats are large landscapes with interspersed pinyon-juniper
woodland. These animals can be highly mobile and may seem to
vaporize once hunts begin. Being in the field early and late
can be important, especially later in the hunt. This strategy
can be critical regardless of your unit and region.
Region V (Tucson) and Region VI (Mesa)
Although Region V has elk hunts in Units 28 and 31, these areas
are managed for elk at low densities. These can be tough hunts
in nontraditional areas. You may need more than your share of
good luck to be successful. Region VI elk populations are doing
well. Units 22 and 23 continue to be good producers of quality
Virtually any unit in Arizona has the potential to produce a record
book bull. To make the most of your opportunity, be certain that
your rifle is shooting accurately before you get to the field.
Judging distances can be more challenging with elk hunting than
with virtually any other hunt. Distances in forested habitat just
seem closer than they really are; you expect long distances with
pronghorn or deer hunting, but mistakes that change the outcome
of a hunt are easy to make when pursuing elk.
By Gary Huish, Phoenix
For years, I have found javelina in the same area (Unit 35A by Sierra
Vista) every year I have looked for them, and this year was no exception.
I filled my tag after firing one shot from my Remington Inline .50-caliber
muzzleloader, about 30 minutes after sunup on Feb. 14, 2005.
white-tailed deer hunting in Arizona
By Jim Heffelfinger, Tucson regional game specialist,
and Fish Department
Coues white-tailed deer (Odocoileus
virginianus couesi) are found
in scattered populations throughout southeastern and central Arizona.
They occur primarily in partially isolated mountains above 4,000
Cooz or cows?
Early naturalist and army surgeon Elliot Coues never actually collected
a whitetail in the Southwest. However, in 1874 another army surgeon,
Dr. Joseph Rothrock, collected and saved two from the Santa Rita
Mountains in Arizona and noted (correctly) that these were merely
a smaller version of the common eastern whitetail. He suggested
that they be referred to as Coues white-tailed deer, in honor of
that pioneering naturalist. The Coues family pronounces their name “cows,” like
the bovine. Just please do not talk loudly in public about the
big “cows” you shot last year.
Distribution and habitat preference
Coues white-tailed deer occupy relatively rough, wooded terrain with
steep canyons. Typical whitetail habitat is mixed oak woodland,
but they can be found anywhere from ponderosa pine/mixed conifer
at 10,000 feet down to the upper limits of semi-desert grassland.
Although elevations with the highest deer densities vary among
different mountain ranges, most Coues whitetails are found between
4,000 and 7,000 feet.
At lower elevations, there is considerable overlap
in habitat use with desert mule deer. In these areas of overlap,
the two species happens, but is extremely rare. Most hunters who
shoot “hybrids” find that they have the right tag on
the wrong species. There is a lot of variation in tails, ears and
antlers of both species; it is almost impossible to discern a true
hybrid through binoculars.
The Sonoran Fantail
Within the range of Coues white-tailed deer, there is a common
misconception that several different local types exist, the most
common of which
is the notion that there is an extra-small whitetail (Rock, Sinaloan,
Sonoran Fantail, Dwarf) that occurs in localized areas of the Southwest.
Young deer, with small 3x3 racks, are often the cause of such rumors
because observers mistake them for unusually small, mature bucks.
Another contributing factor is the wide variation in the color
of the back side of the tail of Coues whitetails. The back surface
of the tail may appear gray/brown (same as the animal’s back),
reddish, blond, very dark brown, or black. These are not different
types of deer, but instead are color variations found in some individuals.
Take your whitetail sitting down
Hunting is 100 percent luck, but there are things you can do to increase
your chances of getting lucky. Many hunters do not want to hear
this, but the point is you have no control over, and cannot forecast,
where your quarry will be each day. However, there are things you
can do to greatly improve your chance of being in the right place
at the right time.
The most important is to spend most of the time
sitting down. “Glassing” is
the act of searching for game with binoculars and then sneaking within
range for a shot. This is also called “spot and stalk” for
obvious reasons. Many people hunt with binoculars, but do not really
glass for game. Glassing has become much more common in recent
years as hunters learn how effective this method is.
The old adage that good hunters wear out the seats
of their pants before the soles of their boots describes perfectly
is all about. At least 90 percent of your time should be sitting
down behind your optics. I talk to hunters every year who say they “walked
and walked and walked” and saw no deer. I tell them the reason
they didn’t see any deer is because they “walked and
walked and walked.”
Here are six tips to make your deer hunt more successful and enjoyable
1) Be prepared
Scouting is vital to a successful hunt, yet it is difficult to get
time to scout adequately. These trips allow you to find locations
from which to glass, and to verify what roads are open to the public,
what the turnoffs look like (especially in the dark!), and how
you will get to your preselected glassing locations. Access to
public land can change from year to year as private landowners
lock gates where the access crosses their private land. Maps are
an important part of your preparation. Even if you know the area
and have been hunting it for years, a topographic map helps you
plan where you will glass from and what areas you can cover.
2) Look on the bright side
When planning where you will glass from and what direction to cover,
consider the direction of the sun. Always have the sun to your
back. Not only does this prevent you from looking into the sun,
but it assures that the deer will be. You will also be looking
at canyons and hillsides illuminated brightly by the rising or
setting sun behind you. Study your maps before going afield and
select a few potential sites that allow you to look to the west
or northwest in the morning and east or northeast in the afternoon.
3) Climb high and lay low
When glassing, climb as high as possible to get the best view.
It is always tempting to convince yourself you can see a lot
and don’t need to climb any higher, but for every 50 feet
in elevation, more and more country opens up for your inspection.
Climbing higher may make your stalk longer (back down to the bottom),
but would you rather have a longer stalk after spotting a deer,
or never see the deer in the first place? However, do not set up
and glass from the crest of a hill or ridge where you will be silhouetted
against the sky. Always come down the slope enough that you have
a solid background.
4) Come early and stay late
To be successful, make sure you are active during the early morning
periods because deer certainly are. The first hour after the sun
breaks is the “golden hour,” not only because everything
glows in the early golden light, but because this is when I see
most of the deer in any given day. You have to plan so you are
in your glassing location before it gets light. Be there until
it is too late to initiate a stalk before dark.
Cryptically-colored big game animals are not going to be standing
out like a neon sign on the other side of the canyon. If you are
not concentrating, you will miss deer right in the middle of your
field of view. Remember: the deer you glass up are not going to be
moving in many cases. Ideally you become one with the binoculars
and forget you are looking through them.
6) No room for random
Glassing does not entail looking around willy-nilly hoping to spot
something. Glassing efficiently and effectively means you search
your visible area in a systematic way. A tripod is a must if you
are serious. When I first saw binoculars mounted on a tripod, I
thought that was going a little overboard. Then I tried it. Wow,
what a difference! The tripod allows you to search the area systematically,
while stabilizing the field of view. A stable background is important
if you are trying to detect a subtle ear flick or tail wag.
By Anthony King, Phoenix
I was so excited
come opening morning this spring for my first turkey hunt. We
up and got to where we needed to be, and I
said to my dad, “I see them coming down the hill!” We
quickly put up the canvas blind, and sat next to the closest tree
as they were coming in fast! We had a hen decoy between my grandpa
and mom and my dad and me.
Suddenly the toms turned around and spread out! There were five
toms in full strut, and I took the closest one! My tom weighed
19.5 pounds, and had an 8.5-inch beard. The feathers were worn
and a spur broke. I used a 20-gauge Benelli pump and turkey load.
My first turkey hunt will be a day I will never forget; it was
the best day of my life!
a wildlife manager
By Ron Day, law enforcement branch chief, Arizona Game and Fish
Each year before the archery
deer hunt, wildlife managers are asked the same basic question
many times in different ways: “Can
I carry a firearm while archery hunting?” The answer is—it
depends on the type of hunt.
or muzzleloader hunts: You may not possess a firearm,
even if you have a concealed weapons permit. It does not matter if
the firearm is visible or concealed. When the Arizona Game and Fish
Commission designates an archery-only or muzzleloader season, these
restrictions are put into place, as shown in the descriptions of
these hunts in our hunting regulations.
hunts: Almost all
of our rifle hunts are described as “general” hunts.
In the notes section of the hunt description, you will find a section
titled “Lawful Methods of Take.” Any or all of the weapon
types found in this section for that species may be carried or used
during one of these hunts. For example, during a general deer or
elk hunt, a person may hunt with archery equipment and carry a centerfire
handgun. Both methods are lawful during these hunts. But keep in
mind that centerfire rifles are lawful too, and this is what most
people are carrying.
HAM hunts: These are designed for handguns, archery, and/or muzzleloaders.
Since all three weapon types are legal for taking game in this hunt
structure, an individual may lawfully carry any or all three weapons.
That means an archery hunter may lawfully carry a centerfire handgun
while hunting during a HAM hunt.
Another common question
is, “Can I bring a gun to camp but
not take it with me hunting?” The answer is “yes.” It
does not matter what type of hunt you are participating in—you
may have a firearm in camp or in your vehicle. But here’s a
hint for those of you who keep a firearm in your vehicle: If you
are running a spotlight, you may not possess an accessible method
of take (firearm, archery equipment, muzzleloader). Keep it out of
reach, or expect to be cited.
These answers should help you determine whether you can carry a
gun while you are out enjoying the wild places of our state. Keep
safe, and happy hunting.
more about: chronic wasting disease
By Jim deVos, research branch chief, Arizona Game and Fish Department
continues actions to protect deer and elk herds from chronic
Hunters asked to assist in surveillance efforts
Arizona wildlife officials continue to be on the lookout for a
silent killer of deer and elk. It hasn’t reached Arizona yet, but
could possibly arrive here someday. It’s called chronic wasting
disease (CWD), and although it has not been found to affect humans,
it is fatal to deer and elk.
Signs of CWD in deer and elk include low weight, stumbling gait,
drooping ears, rough hair condition, visible salivation, excessive
thirst, and loss of fear of humans.
“Although we haven’t had a confirmed case in Arizona,
we’ve been studying and preparing for this disease for years,” says
Jim deVos, research branch chief for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “It’s
in several other western states, including three that border Arizona.
We’ve taken steps to try to keep it out of the state, and
have a plan in place to deal with it if it arrives.”
The effort to deal with CWD requires the support of sportsmen. Here
is some information that every hunter should know about CWD.
How can hunters help protect our deer and elk herds?
Bring in the head of recently harvested deer or elk to any office
of the Arizona Game and Fish Department between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.,
Monday through Friday. Addresses are listed on the department’s
Place the head in a heavy plastic garbage bag for delivery. Keep
the head cool and out of the sun if possible.
To better assist the surveillance effort, you will be asked to fill
out a form when you drop off your deer or elk head. Please include
the following information: county and game management unit in which
the animal was harvested, hunt number and permit number, and a phone
number where you can be reached. Note: If this information is not
provided, the department will be unable to test the head.
You will be notified of CWD test results by postcard within six
to eight weeks. There is no charge to you for the testing and notification.
What is chronic wasting disease?
CWD is a wildlife disease that affects deer and elk. It belongs to
a family of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies
(TSEs), which attack the brain and turn it into a sponge-like material.
Other TSEs are mad cow disease in cattle, scrapie in sheep, and
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.
CWD is thought to be caused by mutant proteins called prions. Scientists
believe the disease may be spread both by animal-to-animal contact
and by soil or other surfaces to the animals. It is thought that
the most common modes of transmission are via saliva and feces.
When was CWD first discovered?
Researchers discovered CWD in the late 1960s in captive deer at a
Colorado wildlife research facility. Initially, the disease appeared
to be confined to deer in research facilities and game farms in
limited areas of Colorado and Wyoming. Since then, it has been
found in captive and wild deer and elk in other states in the West
and Midwest, and recently in some eastern states.
What is the Game and Fish Department doing about CWD?
Because CWD has not yet been found in Arizona, we have focused on
three things: (1) reducing the chance of the disease entering Arizona,
(2) watching carefully to ensure early detection, and (3) planning
on how to deal with it if it arrives.
In 2002 the Arizona Game and Fish Commission introduced
emergency rules (now permanent) prohibiting the importation of
live deer and
elk into Arizona, and restricting the movement of deer and elk
within the state. Captive deer and elk are subject to marking
requirements. The department has also been advising hunters of
precautions to take when bringing back harvested deer or elk
into Arizona from
other states (visit our CWD
for a list of these precautions).
Surveillance is an extremely important component of the plan to
deal with CWD. “Aggressive monitoring is essential,” says
deVos. “The earlier the disease can be detected in an area,
the better. Once CWD becomes established, particularly in areas
with high population densities of deer and elk, it can be extremely
The department has been conducting surveillance efforts since 1998.
All department personnel have been trained to recognize clinical
signs of CWD. In addition, an extensive testing program has resulted
in the examination of 3,500 samples, primarily from hunter-harvested
deer and elk, with no positive cases of CWD detected in Arizona.
Testing involves taking brain stem (obex) tissue or lymph node samples
and sending them to a special lab for evaluation. There is no practical
way to test live animals for the disease at the current time.
If CWD is found in Arizona, the Arizona Game and Fish Department
has developed a comprehensive CWD management plan. The action steps
for responding to a CWD-positive test depend on a number of variables,
including where the disease is found, how prevalent the disease is
in that area, population density of deer and elk in the area, and
other factors. Potential actions include intensified testing and
possible herd reductions in the affected region to reduce the risk
of spread of the disease.
Is chronic wasting disease a threat to humans?
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.
Occasionally, unsubstantiated rumors surface that suggest eating
CWD-infected game meat can cause Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a TSE
that occurs in humans. There are two forms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob
disease: conventional and variant. The Centers for Disease Control
says conventional Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease occurs randomly throughout
the world in one out of every one million people over the age of
65. Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease has been associated with
the domestic livestock disease Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
called “mad cow disease”).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reviewed the
best available science and says there is no evidence that CWD can
cause either form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. In two states where
CWD has been present in wildlife for years, Colorado and Wyoming,
there has not been an increase in the incidence of Creutzfeldt-Jakob
disease in humans.
While science has not shown evidence of a connection, common sense
would suggest that hunters avoid harvesting or eating meat from any
animal that appears to be sick. Take precautions when field dressing
an animal, including wearing rubber gloves, boning out the meat from
your animal, and minimizing the handling of brain and spinal tissues.
Team effort needed
Healthy deer and elk populations are important to Arizona. We all
have a stake in doing our part to be informed of and watchful for
this disease. If you see a deer or elk with signs of sickness that
you think could be CWD, contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department
For more information on CWD, visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s
Web site (link: azgfd.gov/cwd)or the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance
Web site.(link: cwd-info.org) For more information about CWD and
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, visit the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention Web site.(link: cdc.gov) Use their search feature
to search the site for chronic wasting disease.
Arizona Deer Association
By Domenick Lopano, president
did your group get started? The Arizona Mule Deer Association
formed in 1996. In 2002, we changed our name to the Arizona Deer
Association (ADA), to better reflect our interest in conserving
and enhancing all of Arizona’s deer populations.
What is ADA’s purpose? ADA is a
nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to improving habitat
and expanding Arizona's mule deer
and Coues white-tailed deer herds. We raise funds from members,
the public, and private sources to support efforts that directly
benefit Arizona's deer herds and their habitats.
How many members do you have? 550
What does ADA do? We work on projects such as
habitat improvement, piñon pine and juniper removal, water developments and fire
restoration. We also fund research projects, like the one currently
being conducted on the Kaibab Forest. We work closely with the
department to identify and implement these projects and to monitor
While the conservation spotlight is shining
on ADA, what would you like to say? We are the largest and most
dedicated to preserving Arizona’s whitetail and muley populations.
All funds raised by ADA stay in Arizona, where they directly benefit
our herds. Over the years, we have raised over $1.5 million through
the special tag program and other fundraising efforts (such as
our annual banquet).
How can people reach you? Call 602-395-3337 or
Arizona chapter, Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry
By Kerry Ketchum, regional coordinator for FHFH and executive director
of Northern Arizona Food Bank
How did your group get started? I saw a television show about Rick
Wilson, the founder of a national organization called Farmers and
Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH), in 2000. The idea of hunters donating
game meat to provide high-quality protein to the needy in our home
communities got me so excited that I started our own program right
away. I also began to research FHFH and other similar national programs,
and eventually decided that what Arizona needed was a state chapter
of the national FHFH program. They provide great organizational support.
What is your group’s purpose? We work with hunters, ranchers,
farmers and meat processors throughout the state to offer big
game and domestic donated meats to people in need in our local
The Arizona chapter of FHFH has been going for more than four
How do people get involved in FHFH? Any hunter can donate legally
taken game meat. We work with meat processors to advertise the
program. The hunter fills out an authorization form, which is mailed
We send a donation receipt and a thank you letter for participating
in the program. It’s as easy as that.
What does FHFH do? Some hunters donate meat because
they realize that the deer or elk they took may be too much meat
for their family
to eat. Others donate just to extend the ancient tradition of
hunters feeding their communities. Nobody wants to see meat go
we work to ensure that it doesn’t. In the past four years,
we’ve had 18,723 pounds of game meat donated—that’s
almost 75,000 quarter-pound servings offered here in Arizona.
While the conservation spotlight is shining
on FHFH, what would you like to say? It’s one thing for a food bank to offer beans
and bread; it’s another to give people a serving of delicious
wild game meat… now, that’s a meal. As the program
grows, we are always looking for more processors, and for people
in serving on our advisory board or setting up local chapters
and affiliates. We invite all hunters to participate and extend
tradition of sharing game meat with the community.
How can people reach you? Call 928-526-2211, or visit the Arizona
chapter of FHFH or the national
opportunities for hunters
By Sandy Reith, volunteer coordinator, Arizona Game and Fish
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, and gain
knowledge about Arizona wildlife and wildlife management. We recognize
that your time is important, and strive to provide rewarding and
educational volunteer experiences.
We’ve listed some opportunities below that
we think you might find interesting. To take part, learn about
or submit information about a project that would benefit from
our volunteers, check
our volunteer page.
Construct a shade structure for a pronghorn facility
Volunteers are needed to add shade cloth to the Sonoran pronghorn
captive breeding facility near Ajo, and to help build an irrigation
system that will provide natural forage for pronghorn. Work will
be done throughout October and November. Contact our volunteer
coordinator at 623-236-7680.
Help clean up the Table Mesa Road area
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is working with the Good Gun
Foundation and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to organize a
volunteer trash cleanup along Table Mesa Road west of I-17, about
35 miles north of Phoenix. The Good Gun Foundation will provide
lunch and a free t-shirt to participants. Preregistration
is requested; visit goodgun.org
or call Monica at 800-367-7730 to register or for more information.
1 No. 2 Oct. 2005
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education classes are scheduled throughout the year in many
locations around the state. This list is updated weekly and
new classes are being offered all the time.
you are planning on hunting in another state, please check
with that state well in advance of your hunt to see if proof
education is required.
Remember our safety phrase: T.A.B. 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. Happy hunting!
Hunter education coordinator
The Arizona Game
and Fish Department is seeking an energetic, motivated hunter education
coordinator to join our team. This position conducts hunting workshops,
and recruits and trains volunteer instructors to support the hunter
education program. The position will work closely with sportsmen’s
groups, volunteers and other agency customers and constituents.
The ideal candidate
has knowledge and experience in hunter education, firearms safety,
program planning, and volunteer recruitment, and has a strong working
knowledge of federal and Arizona laws related to hunting. The application
period closes Oct. 20. To apply, visit azstatejobs.gov, click on
“search for jobs,” and type “hunter education”
in the keyword search.
recipe: teriyaki barbecue or jerky
Cut 3 pounds lean meat into one-quarter-inch
thick strips. This can be any red meat, from beef to deer or elk.
Make a marinade of the following:
- 1/2 cup of liquid smoke
cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup
- 2/3 cup
- 1 inch cube fresh ginger root, grated
Heat the marinade until fully mixed and pour over the strips
of meat. Marinate the strips for five to six
hours, then barbecue quickly for a wonderful taste treat.
on cookie sheets
for a few hours in a warm oven at the lowest setting.
Do you have a photo and story you’d like to share about your recent hunting
trip? We’d like to include one hunter's story in each issue of Hunting
Highlights. Send your picture and a brief story to the Hunting
Do you have a photo and story about a youth hunt (your own, or
that of your child or grandchild)? We’d like to share one
junior hunter’s story in each issue of Hunting Highlights.
Send your picture and a brief story to the Hunting
Are you excited about the mission and activities of your
wildlife conservation organization? In the Conservation Spotlight,
our readers will share your excitement. To get your group into the
spotlight, e-mail the Hunting
Ask a wildlife manager
Is there something you’ve always wanted to ask your local
game warden? All questions are fair game
in this regular feature. If
got a question for our wildlife managers, e-mail the Hunting
Oct. 7: general quail season begins (Gambel’s, Scaled
and California quail)
Oct. 11: Spring hunt application deadline at 7 p.m. (MST)
Oct. 14–20: Juniors-only and general elk seasons in selected
Oct. 14–Nov. 6: Visit the AZGFD Wildlife Building at the Arizona
Oct. 22: Altar Valley Ranch cleanup
Oct. 22: Table
Mesa Road cleanup
Nov. 18: Mearns’ quail season begins
Year-round: general cottontail rabbit season (see Commission Order
12 for details)
March 25 and 26: Arizona Game and Fish Shooting
Showcase, Ben Avery Shooting Facility
your hunter questionnaire
department uses the hunter questionnaire to estimate harvest and
hunter participation levels. Accurate
data are necessary
for making sound wildlife management decisions. Your response,
whether you were successful or unsuccessful, or even did not
hunt, is essential for obtaining accurate data. Your response
is voluntary and in no way affects your chances of being drawn
for a permit-tag in subsequent years. Unreturned questionnaires
cost money, while providing no data. Help us use sportsmen’s
dollars more efficiently to manage wildlife—please return
your hunter questionnaire!
Successful archery deer hunters, including Kaibab
archery hunters, must contact the department in person
or by telephone at 1-866-903-3337 within 10 days of taking
a deer. Thank you!
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
2004, that meant over $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.