Women who hunt deer
By Sherry Crouch, wildlife planner, and Dee Pfleger, wildlife manager
Arizona Game and Fish Department

Sherry CrouchFor this 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

Sherry Crouch
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.

In college 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.

We built 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.

I learned 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.

Dee Pfleger
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.

On one 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.”

My biggest 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.

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Hunting outlook
By Mark Zornes, small game biologist, and Brian Wakeling, big game program supervisor, Arizona Game and Fish Department
Map of regions

Interested 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 map). Monitor 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 fires.

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.

Desert cottontail rabbitCottontail
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.

White-tailed buckStatewide, 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 in size.

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.

Regardless of where you were drawn this year, know the boundaries of your unit. Check 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 animals.

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.

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Gary Huish with his javelinaBeen hunting? 
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.

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Coues white-tailed deer hunting in Arizona 
By Jim Heffelfinger, Tucson regional game specialist, Arizona Game and Fish Department

White-tailed buckCoues 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 feet.

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, hybridization between 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 what glassing 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 this year.

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 of country 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.

5) Concentrate!
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.

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Junior hunters 
Anthony King of Phoenix with his first turkeyBy Anthony King, Phoenix

I was so excited come opening morning this spring for my first turkey hunt. We got 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!

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Ask a wildlife manager
By Ron Day, law enforcement branch chief, Arizona Game and Fish Department

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.

Archery-only 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.

Rifle 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.

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Learn more about: chronic wasting disease
By Jim deVos, research branch chief, Arizona Game and Fish Department

Department continues actions to protect deer and elk herds from chronic wasting disease: 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 Web site. 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 and reporting 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 Web page 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 difficult to eradicate.”

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 and Prevention 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 (also 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 at 1-800-352-0700.

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.

Conservation spotlight 

Arizona Deer Association
By Domenick Lopano, president

How 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 their progress.

While the conservation spotlight is shining on ADA, what would you like to say? We are the largest and most active association in Arizona 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 visit azdeer.org.

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 communities. The Arizona chapter of FHFH has been going for more than four years now.

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 to us. 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 to waste; 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 interested in serving on our advisory board or setting up local chapters and affiliates. We invite all hunters to participate and extend the hunting 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 organization.

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Volunteer opportunities for hunters 
By Sandy Reith, 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, 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 other opportunities, or submit information about a project that would benefit from our volunteers, check our volunteer page.

Upcoming projects:
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.

Oct. 22
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.

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Vol. 1 No. 2 Oct. 2005
In this issue:

Manage your account:
Follow the link below to unsubscribe from this mailing, to change other account subscriptions or to change your e-mail address and contact information. Edit your account.


Hunter education:
Hunter 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.

If you are planning on hunting in another state, please check with that state well in advance of your hunt to see if proof of hunter 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!

Wanted: 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.

Game 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
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 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. Or, dry them on cookie sheets for a few hours in a warm oven at the lowest setting.

Been hunting?
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 Highlights editor.

Junior hunters

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 Highlights editor.

Conservation spotlight
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 Highlights editor.

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 you’ve got a question for our wildlife managers, e-mail the Hunting Highlights editor.

Dates to remember
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 units
Oct. 14–Nov. 6: Visit the AZGFD Wildlife Building at the Arizona State Fair
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

Hot links

Return your hunter questionnaire
The 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!

Attention deer hunters
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.