Did you get your javelina?
Facts you may not have known about this unique big game animal
By Jim Heffelfinger, regional game specialist,
Arizona Game and Fish Department
The general spring javelina season concluded last week, and you may be one of the several thousand hunters who took to the field to test your skills. Whether you are a seasoned javelina hunter or a relative beginner, here are some interesting facts you may not have known about this interesting species.
A relative newcomer
Javelina are relative newcomers to Arizona. Archeological remains prior to 1700 show no evidence of the species in the state. The javelina is thought to have evolved in the thick thorn scrub of subtropical South America. Its distribution has spread northward and increased from a scattered presence in low river valleys of southeastern Arizona to the ponderosa pines near Williams, west of Flagstaff.
The javelina is also known as the collared peccary, named for the white band, or collar, that runs across the shoulders. Contrary to popular myths, javelina are not members of the rodent family, nor are they actually members of the pig family (although many hunters commonly refer to them as pigs). Their characteristics are unique enough to place them in a separate family with two other species of peccary: the white-lipped and the Chacoan.
Much maligned for their lack of intelligence, the javelina is not any less intelligent than our other native wildlife. They simply developed a different combination of attributes to survive in their environment. Their eyesight is very poor at distances greater than 100 yards. This is understandable for an animal that evolved in the thick brush, where food, water, shelter and predators could only be seen at very short distances. Their sense of smell and hearing abilities, however, are very well developed.
Javelina travel about in large groups, or herds. These herds occupy a territory of about one to two square miles, which is defended from other, adjacent herds. In good javelina habitat, each territorial boundary abuts the boundary of adjacent herds. This makes it somewhat difficult to answer the question: “Where are the javelina in this area?” The answer is, they are everywhere in good habitat.
The number of javelina per herd averages eight to 12 throughout the state. Herds numbering 40 or more are reported annually, but they are uncommon. Arizona Game and Fish Department researcher Gerald Day counted 500 herds during his 25 years of javelina research. He saw only six herds with more than 30 animals, and none with more than 40.
Javelina spend their time resting and feeding. Resting occurs primarily in traditional bedgrounds located in low areas of thick brush or caves throughout their territory. Bedgrounds offer soft soil to lie on and protection from predators and the weather.
When feeding, javelina concentrate heavily on succulents such as prickly pear, hedgehog, barrel cactus, lechuguilla and cholla. The fruits and fleshy parts provide not only nutritious feed, but water as well. When javelina feed on prickly pear pads, they grasp the pad and pull, which shreds the pad and leaves the stringy interior fibers visible. When javelina feed on small cacti such as hedgehogs, they knock the cactus over with a front hoof. The insides are eaten out so that only the tough outer skin and spines remain. Lechuguilla leaves are pulled apart and left scattered as the javelina eats the fleshy heart out of the plant. Roots and tubers are also dug or "rooted" up by javelina in search of nutrition.
Although javelina are “everywhere,” they never seem to be where you are (even when you’ve seemingly been everywhere). Knowing how javelina feed and what signs they leave behind is the key to successful javelina hunting.
Javelina meat is considered by some to be less than palatable. Some people have even gone as far as to suggest this is the reason we find no evidence of javelina in pre-1700 archeological sites (during what paleontologists call the “Pre-crockpot Period”). However, if properly cared for in the field, javelina provides good eating. The key is to field dress the animal immediately and skin it at your first opportunity. Don’t worry about the scent gland; it is attached to the skin and will come off when you skin the animal. The hairs of the javelina are covered with this scent; make sure you do not touch the meat with the hand that has been holding the hide.
Hunting opportunity and harvest goals
The Arizona Game and Fish Department offers hunt permits for javelina based on trends in biological data, which is collected annually. Biologists in each game management unit monitor trends in factors such as the average herd size, number of adults per herd, javelina seen per hour of helicopter survey, hunter success, days expended per animal harvested, and reproductive rate. By tracking this kind of information year to year, the department can provide hunting opportunity for this species, while making sure the harvest won’t affect the overall population for future generations.
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Experience the great outdoors at the Arizona Game and Fish
Department Outdoor Expo
By Tom Cadden, public information officer, Arizona Game and Fish Department
Outdoor enthusiasts: You won’t want to miss the FREE Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo on March 31 and April 1 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix.
Want to try your hand at target archery? Learn firearm safety and test your skill at target shooting on the shooting range? Participate in activities on our hunter education field course? View live wildlife and learn about wildlife conservation?
You can do all this and more at this year’s Expo. You'll have a chance to visit with more than 100 exhibitors--sportsmen's/conservation groups, shooting organizations, OHV groups, government agencies, and vendors of outdoor products and services--involved in every aspect of outdoor recreation. The family friendly event offers hands-on opportunities, demonstrations and exhibits on a wide range of outdoor activities, including hunting, archery, fishing, recreational target shooting, off-highway vehicle recreation, boating recreation, camping, wildlife conservation and more.
Here are some of the activities you can experience:
- Try out the latest firearms, in a safe, supervised environment on the shooting range, from manufacturers such as Smith & Wesson, Sturm, Ruger & Co., and Glock.
- Learn and develop your skills at international-style target archery.
- View horse and hunting dog demonstrations and attend workshops on hunting with bird dogs.
- See live wildlife such as birds and reptiles, and attend wildlife workshops by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
- Learn about map reading, GPS and orienteering.
- View off-highway vehicle demonstrations, take a test drive in our OHV area, and find out about OHV recreation opportunities.
- Learn fishing techniques at our fishing workshops and test your skill on our fishing simulator.
- Try out specialty shooting disciplines, such as cowboy action, rifle and pistol silhouette, black powder and other disciplines, at venues hosted by local shooting organizations.
- Attend the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) Commissioner’s Cup sporting clays state championships, the Arizona Archery in Schools (AAIS) state championships, and Arizona State University collegiate archery competitions.
- Learn about Dutch oven cooking.
- Attend workshops on predator calling, falconry, and how to improve your draw odds.
- Become educated on watercraft recreation opportunities and boating safety.
- Test your rock-climbing skills on a climbing wall.
- Have your child audition to be a "guest host for a day" for a future episode of the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Emmy Award-winning Arizona Wildlife Views television show (limited to children ages 7-18).
- Visit with representatives from more than 100 exhibitors.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 31 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 1. Admission and parking are free. Free trolley transportation within the 1,690-acre Ben Avery complex will enable you to explore all of the action. To get to the Expo, take I-17 to Carefree Highway (exit 223) and go west 1/2 mile on Carefree Highway to the entrance at Long Shot Lane. For more information and to see a list of exhibitors, visit azgfd.gov/expo.
Been hunting? Collin English's javelina hunt
By Kevin English, Glendale
My son, Collin English, 14, has been active in many sports for years. He's an 8th-grader at Cheyenne Elementary School in the Peoria School District, plays on the school football and basketball teams, and is currently the starting catcher for the softball team.
But one of his biggest passions is hunting. Hunting is a tradition and lifestyle for our family. Collin has been big game hunting since he was 10 years old.
Collin drew a cow elk tag for his first hunt, the Unit 6A youth hunt, and successfully harvested an elk. Since then he has gotten two deer on Kaibab youth hunts, and two javelina.
Collin's most recent javelina hunt was the juniors hunt in Unit 37B. His group jumped a herd in thick cover around mid-afternoon. The javelina were running all over. Collin spotted one on a small hill about 75 yards away. He surveyed the area, took aim at his target and took one shot with his .223 Thompson Contender. The javelina fell by a nearby bush, where Collin retrieved it.
The junior hunts are an excellent opportunity to teach hunting skills to youth. They give me a chance to work on hunting basics in the field with Collin and my other son, Darren.
Don't risk your hunting privileges by littering
By Tom Cadden, public information officer, Arizona Game and Fish Department
Most of us who love the outdoors are taught at a young age that you should respect the land on which you hunt, fish and recreate. Sportsmen are typically conscientious about protecting our resources by not littering and by keeping a clean camp.
A small number of individuals, unfortunately, do litter. Some are egregious offenders, others are just momentarily careless. Either way, hunters who litter should be aware that a littering conviction could cost you the ability to legally hunt or fish for a long time.
“Arizona law makes littering while hunting or angling a class 2 misdemeanor,” says Pat Barber, law enforcement branch chief for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “Littering while hunting or fishing are revocable violations, so a conviction could cost you your license privileges for up to five years.”
In fact, two individuals recently had their hunting and fishing privileges revoked for five years after a hearing at the February meeting of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission in Yuma. Their abandoned campsite in the White Mountains last August was documented to have had a noticeable amount of trash strewn about.
"I periodically hear stories from ranchers and hunters about the messes being left behind in the field," says Arizona Game and Fish Commissioner William McLean. “Sometimes it’s hunters who are responsible, sometimes it’s others. Unfortunately, hunters are often unfairly blamed for acts of littering and vandalism that are committed by other outdoor recreationists.”
Regardless of who is doing it, it’s the kind of practice that has to stop, says McLean. “It's bad for the land, bad for wildlife, and could ultimately cost us access from private landowners who are generous enough to allow outdoor recreationists to use their land."
Don’t take a chance on losing your hunting and fishing enjoyment. Leave your camp area clean. Pick up shell casings and associated debris. Pack out everything you brought in.
By not littering, you'll help keep wildlife habitat in good shape, help ensure continued hunting access from private landowners, and help keep your hunting privileges intact.
Junior hunters: Josh Boak’s first elk
By Gale Boak, Tucson
My son, Josh Boak, 14, has enjoyed the outdoors since an early age. My family has long enjoyed camping together, and hunting comes along with it. I learned to hunt at an early age from my dad and wanted to pass that tradition on to my son. I began teaching Josh firearm safety with a BB gun, and a few years ago we went through the hunter education class so we could apply for big game hunts together.
Josh drew a tag for the youth hunt in Game Management Unit 6A last fall. We enjoyed the barbecue dinner at Happy Jack the night before the hunt, and Josh joined the Arizona Elk Society that evening. The anticipation of the hunt began to build.
We took the field the next day and did a fair amount of hiking. At one point, we stopped for a break, and four bulls soon strolled to within 30 yards of where we were sitting. My son was very excited and breathing loudly. As the bulls turned and walked by us, we noticed another elk at the end of the group—it was a cow! I moved to the side and Josh carefully assessed his target before firing.
Josh was using a .308 that my father bought for my first elk hunt, when I was in high school. I was unsuccessful on that hunt, but my father, who passed away three years ago, was with us in spirit on this hunt. Josh fired the 38-year-old Mossberg and made his shot count, taking a fine animal.
Now the work began. We didn't realize we were two miles away (and part-way up a mountain) from the truck and the ATV. Thank God for the radio and our hunting buddies—they came to help us quarter and carry the elk down the mountain to the ATV.
It was a long day, but I will never forget the excitement on my son’s face as he stood over what we came so far to get. I was a very proud (and tired) dad that day. Two days later our hunting buddies took their elk. This time the boys had better knowledge of how to use their knives when field dressing a game animal. Now my son wants to be the meat cutter on every hunt.
This was Josh's first elk, as well as his first big game animal, and we are hooked! He wants to put in for every youth hunt he can before he gets too old. All in all, the junior hunt experience was a very good time for everyone.
ISE show gets a new domed home in 2007
Visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department booths and wildlife assets sale
Rory Aikens, public information officer, Arizona Game and Fish Department
Don't miss the 7th annual International Sportsmen's Expo on March 9-11 in its new domed home at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale just off the Loop 101.
Visitors to ISE will enjoy the largest gathering all year of outdoor products and services. An estimated 400 exhibitors from around Arizona and the world will take part in the three-day expo. There are also product-testing areas, multiple seminar stages, contests and a large youth fair with a fishing pond. More than 20,000 outdoor-sports enthusiasts are expected to attend the show.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department will once again have a significant presence this year and will operate the kids fishing pond, as well as live wildlife, an archery area, and much, much more.
The department will also conduct its annual wildlife assets sale. The sale gives the public a chance to acquire, generally through some form of auction process, various wildlife parts (antlers, etc.) that have come into the department’s possession, either through donations or though seizures during the course of law enforcement proceedings. The funds obtained through these sales help support department law enforcement efforts to address poaching. The assets will be available for bid at various times during ISE show hours on Friday, March 9 and Saturday, March 10.
Seasoned sportsmen will take notice of the roster of experts presenting at this year’s event. Outdoor-survival guru Greg Davenport, a regular on national news programs, highlights a deep group of experienced professionals, including fly-fishing legends Dave Whitlock and Jack Dennis; outdoor-magazine editors and television hosts Chad Schearer, Guy Eastman and Cameron Hanes; Arizona-based author Bob Robb, as well as local fishing experts Terry and Wendy Gunn, Margie Anderson, Mark Kile, Rob Vander koi, Art Chamberlin and Tony Sarkis.
ISE show hours from March 9-11 are Friday, noon to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $12. Children 12 years and under receive free admission. Parking is free. Get your tickets online now! All tickets are valid for one-day admission.
Shed hunters: Use off-highway vehicles with care this spring
By Ian Satter, public information officer, Arizona Game and Fish Department
A popular spring pastime for many is hunting for shed deer and elk antlers, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department is asking shed hunters using off-highway vehicles (OHVs) to act responsibly and not harm the delicate wildlife habitats or wildlife.
“Responsible OHV use lies in the operator’s knowledge of the terrain, trail conditions, which trails are open to OHVs and wildlife that inhabit that area,” said Arizona Game and Fish Department Assistant Director of Field Operations Mike Senn. “Traveling off of roads and trails, especially during the spring, can cause serious damage to delicate wildlife habitat areas that can take many years to recover.”
Riding off of designated roads and trails can cause significant erosion by creating ruts, which heavy rains and melting snow can expand into deep gullies, destroying critical habitat for a wide variety of wildlife.
Riding cross-country may also displace deer and elk from their habitat. This can cause them to avoid important foraging areas and deplete critical energy reserves while wandering outside of their normal, preferred ranges, especially for pregnant females. These effects are intensified by winter conditions like colder temperatures, the presence of snow, and the limited availability of food, which combine to make survival generally more difficult than during much of the rest of the year.
Below are a few suggestions for shed hunters to keep in mind when using an OHV:
- Stay on marked trails and roads, away from water sources and meadows.
- Avoid wet soil or climbing steep slopes.
- Do not harass or pursue wildlife.
- Avoid areas posted for wildlife and natural area protection.
- Know the terrain before you ride.
- Know the weather forecast and conditions.
- Make sure the OHV is in top mechanical condition.
- Wear protective clothing, as well as a helmet, goggles or face shield to prevent injury from branches and twigs, stones, ice and other debris.
“Wildlife habitat can be protected, and most mishaps can be avoided if OHV users stay on marked roads and trails, stay away from wet or unfamiliar ground and operate in daylight when visibility is good,” Senn said.
For more information on responsible off-highway vehicle use, log onto the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Web site at azgfd.gov/ohv.
Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society
By David McCasland, 2007 vice president
How did your group get started?
In 1967, a group of 46 concerned sportsman and conservationists got together for a single purpose dedicated to increasing the desert bighorn sheep population within Arizona. Out of these humble beginnings the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society was formed. This year we celebrate 40 years of working to improve bighorn sheep habitat and numbers within the state of Arizona. We have evolved into an organization that is now working to increase both desert bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep populations in the state.
What is the purpose of the ADBSS?
Since 1967, the purpose and mission of the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society has been guided by eight goals:
- Develop water resources for bighorn sheep.
- Reintroduce bighorn sheep into suitable historic ranges.
- Prevent human encroachment onto bighorn sheep habitat.
- Assist government agencies with bighorn sheep population surveys.
- Support the reduction of feral burro populations in bighorn sheep habitat.
- Educate the public about bighorn sheep and their survival needs.
- Promote research needed for better management of bighorn sheep.
- Support efforts to reduce competition with domestic livestock and predators where necessary.
The first two goals, waterhole development and bighorn sheep transplants, have been the primary focus of our organization.
How many members do you have?
At the present time we have approximately 1100 members.
What does the ADBSS do?
The ADBSS holds five to seven waterhole development and habitat restoration projects annually. These occur between January and May. In late February to mid-March, the Sheep Society holds a fundraiser. This year’s event is scheduled for March 17. In September, the ADBSS hosts a Sheep Hunter’s Clinic. This clinic provides an opportunity for those successful in drawing a sheep tag to learn how to recognize, age and score bighorn sheep prior to going hunting. In November, we are often assisting the Arizona Game and Fish Department with transplants. We also have board meetings, which anyone may attend, that occur the second Wednesday of each month from January thru November. Since we started back in 1967, the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society has built and restored more than 160 waterhole developments. We’ve assisted in transplanting more than 500 desert bighorn sheep in 40 years, and in the last two years have assisted with transplanting 60 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep into the West Clear Creek area, north and east of Camp Verde.
While the conservation spotlight is shining on ADBSS, what would you like to say?
The drought, and in some areas predator populations, have negatively impacted bighorn sheep in the state. We are working with state and federal agencies to address the impacts these issues have on bighorn sheep populations. New homes sprouting up across the state sometimes threaten important travel corridors for bighorn sheep. The Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society works with the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other agencies to help identify these important corridors. Where necessary, we are willing to spend money to keep these important corridors open. We work to raise money year-round that can be used to help pay for the costs of the water developments, transplants and habitat restoration.
We are always looking for new members that want to take an active part in bighorn sheep conservation. Anyone interested in helping is welcome.
This year, we have started a new program that takes our conservation story into the public schools. To date, we have made presentations to two schools in Chandler. We hope this program can grow. If anyone is interested in hearing about this new program, please contact us.
Come join us on a project or two and learn what is meant by “Cine Aqua Mortis,” which means “Without Water, Death.” Once you have a chance to explore the fascinating world of the bighorn sheep, you too, may want to join our organization, helping to “put sheep on the mountain.”
How can people reach you?
You can learn a great deal about us by visiting our Web site at www.adbss.org or by contacting us directly at (480) 854-8950. Our mailing address is: P.O. Box 21705, Mesa, AZ 85277.
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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. To learn about other opportunities or to submit information about a project that would benefit from our volunteers, check our volunteer page at azgfd.gov/volunteer.
Host wanted for Upper Verde River Wildlife Area
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is seeking a volunteer to serve as host at the Upper Verde River Wildlife Area, about eight miles northwest of Chino Valley in north-central Arizona. The duration of duty is unspecified, but a year-round host is preferred. The wildlife area host assists the manager with a variety of duties, interacts with visitors, and maintains the facility (picking up litter, cleaning visitor restrooms). The host is on duty from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays, and on weekdays when there are large groups of visitors. Interested candidates should have good communication and interpersonal skills, enjoy talking with different types of people, be able to provide excellent customer service, and accept and follow supervision and instruction from the wildlife area manager. If you would like to apply, please contact Sandy Reith, Arizona Game and Fish Department volunteer coordinator, at (623) 236-7680 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summer host wanted for Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery, April 1 through Oct. 31
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is seeking a volunteer to serve as host at the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery from April 1 through Oct. 31, 2007. The hatchery is located off Highway 260, about 20 miles east of Payson, in north-central Arizona. The hatchery host interacts with visitors and assists staff with hatchery duties and maintenance, including picking up litter, cleaning visitor restrooms, providing change for feed machines, and other duties as needed. The host is on duty from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays, and on weekdays when there are large groups of visitors. Interested candidates should have good communication and interpersonal skills, enjoy talking with different types of people, be able to provide excellent customer service, and accept and follow supervision and instruction from hatchery employees. If you would like to apply, please contact Sandy Reith, Arizona Game and Fish Department volunteer coordinator, at (623) 236-7680 or email@example.com.
2nd Annual Burro Creek Fence Removal project, May 18-20
Volunteers will remove 5+ miles of unneeded fencing for the benefit of wildlife at Burro Creek, near Big Lake in northeastern Arizona. The Arizona Elk Society is coordinating this project. They will also provide snacks and food, so please R.S.V.P. if you plan to attend. To sign up or for more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adopt-A-Ranch Project: Riparian Restoration at Griffin Ranch, April 7
Volunteers will help restore riparian habitat on the ranch, near Globe. The event is sponsored by the Arizona Predator Callers. To sign up or for more information, contact Troy Christensen at email@example.com or (623) 236-7492.
26 Bar Adopt-A-Ranch Project, June 1-3
Volunteers will complete improvements on two springs to improve flow/storage for the benefit of wildlife and the ranch, near Springerville. The Arizona Elk Society is coordinating this project. To sign up or for more information, contact Troy Christensen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (623) 236-7492.
Adopt-A-Ranch Project: Boquillas Ranch Cleanup, June 23
Volunteers will help clean up wildlife habitat and remove litter from the ranch, near Seligman. The event is sponsored by the Mohave Sportsman Club. To sign up or for more information, contact Troy Christensen at email@example.com or (623) 236-7492.
Range safety officers needed at Ben Avery Shooting Facility
Responsibilities include checking the safe condition of customer firearms, observing participants while they are shooting on the range, maintaining safe operation of the shooting line, and providing superior customer service by answering customer questions about firearms. Volunteers shoot for free at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, located just west of I-17 and Carefree Highway in north Phoenix. Contact Arizona Game and Fish Department Volunteer Coordinator Sandy Reith at (623) 236-7680 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
3 No. 2 March 2007
In this issue:
News and notes
New elk and antelope draw garners record applications
Arizona’s first-ever separate draw for elk and antelope last month garnered a record number of combined applicants for those species. Here are the numbers:
Elk - 102,325 applications
Antelope - 36,813 applications
Total - 139,138 applications
Elk - 102,653 applications
Antelope - 31,435 applications
Total - 134,088 applications
“We worked long and hard to get the word out about the new draw for elk and antelope,” said Leonard Ordway, the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Game Branch chief. “We were gratified to see that a record number of people applied for the antelope permits, and the number of elk applications was almost the same as last year.”
Ordway said this new early drawing was actually created at the request of hunters themselves. This way, they can find out whether or not they are drawn for elk and antelope prior to applying for deer, turkey and other species.
Wildlife assets sale at ISE show
Don't miss the Arizona Game and Fish Department's wildlife assets sale at the upcoming International Sportsmen's Expo. The sale gives the public a chance to acquire, generally through some form of auction process, various wildlife parts (antlers, hides, etc.) that have come into the department’s possession, either through donations or through seizures during the course of law enforcement proceedings. The funds obtained through these sales help support department law enforcement efforts to address poaching. The assets will be available for bid at various times during ISE show hours on Friday, March 9 and Saturday, March 10.
Hunters team up to clean wildlife habitat
About 180 volunteers came out to remove trash and clean up wildlife habitat at the Hunters Who Care spring cleanup south of Green Valley on March 3. The participants at this semi-annual event worked together to remove thousands of pounds of trash, including clothing, water bottles, backpacks and other items.
“We filled up a full dumpster at one site and could have filled up two more at camp,” said Gabriel Paz, a Game and Fish Department wildlife manager. “Each of those dumpsters is 30 feet long and about 12 to 14 feet high.”
The cleanup was profiled in a news story on Tucson television station KVOA-TV. Many thanks to all of the hunters who donated their time and effort at the cleanup.
Juniors: Mark your calendars for Trailblazer Adventure Day
The Arizona Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation are teaming up to offer a one-day "Trailblazer Adventure Day" program at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix on Saturday, April 21. The program gives young people ages 8-18 the chance to learn outdoor skills and experience target archery, target shooting, hunter education field course activities, and other activities. The program is ideal for boy scout or girl scout troops, youth groups and families. More information will be posted soon at azgfd.gov.
Enter the Arizona Big Game Super Raffle
Give yourself a chance at one or more hunts of a lifetime in Arizona. This is the second year for the Arizona Big Game Super Raffle, a collaborative effort between the Arizona Game and Fish Commission and several sportsmen’s groups, which raises money to benefit this state's big game species. The commission sets aside one tag per big game species each year for the super raffle. These super raffle tags include antelope, black bear, buffalo, Coues whitetail, desert bighorn sheep, elk, javelina, mule deer and turkey (Gould's or Merriam's). All the proceeds raised from raffling each tag are used to benefit that particular species.
All the super raffle tags are for special season dates, and each hunt is 365 days, starting Aug. 1, with very few limitations on hunting areas. The cost of the raffle tickets ranges from $5 to $25, depending on the species. The deadline to purchase a raffle ticket is June 25, 2007. A public drawing will take place in July 2007, and the time and place will be announced at a later date. You can obtain ticket order forms at arizonabiggamesuperraffle.com.
Game and Fish Department relocates pronghorn antelope
In an effort to enhance existing populations of pronghorn antelope, the Arizona Game and Fish Department recently relocated a number of the animals from a Prescott area ranch to an area outside Winslow. On Feb. 7, biologists captured 67 pronghorn (a 3-to-1 ratio of does-to-bucks) at Granite Dells Ranch outside of Prescott and moved the animals to an area near Meteor Crater east of Flagstaff. The majority of the pronghorn were ear-tagged, and eight were fitted with telemetry collars to allow for continued studies of movement patterns and to aid in locating them. This will allow for Game and Fish Department researchers to understand the types of habitat the pronghorn are using, whether they remain near the relocation site, and how the herd does over time.
Kaibab Plateau to undergo habitat improvement for mule deer
Recently the North Kaibab Ranger District of the USDA Forest Service approved a project to increase the amount and diversity of mule deer forage on approximately 30,000 acres of winter range west of the Kaibab Plateau. The planned project includes planting shrub seeds to reestablish forage on burned uplands and drainage bottoms, using a combination of methods to prepare seed sites. The plan also calls for removing certain trees and seeding grass and shrub species on pinyon-juniper woodlands and old pushes, and specifies extensive treatments to remove weeds and restore native species around Slide Tank. Work could begin as early as this spring.
The Kaibab mule deer herd is considered one of the premier herds in Arizona. Concern has increased in the last decade over the relationship between the herd's size and available winter range forage, which is now considered the herd's limiting resource.
"Wildland fires, harmful weed invasions and the increasing takeover of grasslands by pinyon and juniper woodlands have reduced the west side's ability to support a large, healthy mule deer herd," said Ron Sieg, regional supervisor of the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Flagstaff office.
The West Side Habitat Improvement Project area is located west of Forest Roads 423 and 427, between Snake Gulch to the north and Ranger Pass to the south.
Cowboy action shooters coming to Ben Avery
The Single Action Shooting Society's national championship of cowboy action shooting, Winter Range 2007, will be held March 7-11. The mounted shooting national championships will be held on those dates as well.
Nearly 700 competitors from across the country and overseas, decked out in Old West-style clothing, will compete using a combination of pistols, rifles and shotguns of the late 1800s. Spectators are welcome to view the competition and also roam the streets of a temporary cowboy “village,” where vendors will be selling period clothing, arts and crafts.
Admission to Winter Range is free. Visitors to the event will be asked for a $5 per car parking donation to cover the cost of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office deputies that will be handling parking and traffic control. For more information, visit winterrange.com.
Youth archery, sporting clays championships to be held March 31
Two youth championship events will be held at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility on Saturday, March 31 during the Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo.
The state championships for the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Archery in the Schools program will be held on the Ben Avery archery courses. More than 150 young archers are expected to compete.
The Scholastic Clay Target Program’s Commissioners’ Cup state championships in sporting clays will be held at the Ben Avery Clay Target Center. About 180 young shooters from all across the state are expected to participate. Winning teams will be eligible to compete in SCTP national championship events this summer.
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!
Dates to remember
March 9-11, 2007: International Sportsmen's Exposition, Glendale, Ariz. (visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department exhibit area).
March 23: General spring bear opens; archery-only spring bear opens in some areas.
March 31 and April 1, 2007: Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo, Ben Avery Shooting Facility.
April 20: Juniors-only spring turkey opens.
April 27: Spring turkey opens in some areas; May 4 in some other areas.
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Send us your stories and questions! We welcome mail from readers and will try to feature the following in each issue:
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.
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.
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 a game warden? All questions are fair game in this periodic feature. If you’ve got a question for our wildlife managers, e-mail the Hunting Highlights editor.
2-3 pounds javelina, boned
4 tbsp. olive oil
6-8 cloves garlic, chopped
Two cans chicken broth
Cut javelina meat into strips. Cross-cut those strips into small pieces and finely chop them. Heat Dutch oven or heavy cooking pot with olive oil. Add chopped meat and garlic, stirring rapidly with wooden spoon. Keep meat and garlic moving. Do not allow garlic to burn, because it will change the flavor dramatically. Stir in thyme and tarragon. Add chicken broth and stir to mix. Heat thoroughly.
Cooking Tips: To liven up this dish, add 1 pound chorizo, a Mexican sausage. Buy prepared chorizo and cook well. Microwave on paper towel for 1-2 minutes on high before adding to pot. In addition, 1 pound of cooked macaroni can be added with the chicken broth. Garlic is currently seen as a healthy food. The garlic used here cooks into the meat fairly well and is not as overwhelming as it may seem. This spicy dish needs rice and a salad for a complete meal.
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 more than $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.