A turkey hunter gets in position.

What happens to turkeys after Thanksgiving?
Relocation programs help turkey populations

By Brian Wakeling, big game program supervisor,
Arizona Game and Fish Department

Click Here For the July 2007 Issue

Many sportsmen think about turkeys maybe two or three times a year. Generally speaking, the “hunter-turkey cycle” goes like this. Hunters apply for fall hunts right after the spring season is over. Turkeys are gobbling during the spring hunts while hens sit on nests. The hens raise their broods during the summer. Then hunters apply for spring hunts about the time that they hunt turkeys in the fall. Oh yeah, hunters think about turkeys on Thanksgiving. But what happens to turkeys after Thanksgiving?

Well, biologically, there are a lot of things that happen. They feed on mast crops like acorns and pine seed and typically move to lower-elevation winter range. They spend the winter losing weight, avoiding deep snow and avoiding predation. The Arizona Game and Fish Department is actively involved in relocation programs to help restore and expand the range of turkey populations, and winter is prime time to capture and relocate turkeys.

History of translocation efforts

Historically, turkeys were among the first wildlife species to benefit from trap and translocation endeavors. According to the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), this species has increased from about 30,000 at the beginning of the 20th century to well over 7 million in North America today, as a direct result of management activities like trap and transplant actions. Arizona got into the program in the 1930s, and our efforts are still ongoing today.

Gould's turkeys

The Arizona Game and Fish Department, with the help of NWTF, volunteers, other governmental and private cooperators, and the Mexican government, has reestablished the Gould's turkey in Arizona. This subspecies of turkey historically occupied the southeastern river corridors and mountain ranges in Arizona, but was extirpated by 1920. Arizona currently supports about 800 of these birds in historic habitat and offers limited hunting opportunity annually, due to the translocation efforts from Mexico. To date, about 230 individual birds have been relocated from Mexico to Arizona. An additional 100 turkeys have been moved from an established population in the Huachucas. Currently, Gould's turkeys inhabit the Huachuca, Chiricahua, Pinaleno, Catalina, Santa Rita, and Galiuro Mountains.

Merriam's turkeys

Merriam's turkeys (the other subspecies of turkey native to Arizona) have also benefited from translocations, although their numbers were never eliminated from the state. Arizona currently boasts about 20,000 of these birds, which range throughout the ponderosa pine belt of Arizona. Within the past two years, the department, again with NWTF and volunteer assistance, has moved about 150 turkeys into Pine Mountain in Game Management Unit 21, Big Bug Mesa in Unit 20A, and Mingus Mountain in Unit 19A. Their numbers are doing so well statewide that 6,246 permits were authorized this spring (a new record high), and 5,870 were authorized for next fall.

The trap and transplant program has served hunters, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, NWTF, and the turkey well. The enjoyment you get from hearing a spring turkey gobble or watching a brood chase bugs along a meadow roadway in summer can be attributed to the active management exercised by wildlife managers. Should you be fortunate enough to draw a tag, your next Thanksgiving meal may be attributed, in part, to these management activities as well.

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Application deadline for fall big game hunts is June 12
By Rory Aikens, public information officer, Arizona Game and Fish Department

Application deadline for deer, bighorn sheep, turkey, javelina and buffalo is June 12.It’s time to apply for the remaining fall big game hunts.

Arizona big game hunters can now download a copy of the 2007-2008 Hunting and Trapping Regulations and apply online at azgfd.gov for the available fall big game hunts, such as deer, javelina, turkey and bighorn sheep, or they can apply manually by mail.

The hunt application deadline is June 12 at 7 p.m. (MST). Applications must be received by the department by that time; postmarks don’t count.

Keep in mind that the draw has already taken place for elk and antelope. Now hunters already know whether or not they have been drawn for those two species prior to applying for other fall hunts.

The printed copies of the regulations will be mailed to license dealers throughout the state on May 16 and should be available at stores by that weekend.

Those applying via the paper hunt permit-tag application form have a grace period; if a submitted paper application contains an error and is received by May 30, the department will make three attempts within a 24-hour period to notify the applicant by telephone, if a telephone number is provided on the application.

No grace period is needed for the online process, which allows hunters the assurance of entering a correct and complete application when submission occurs.

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission approved the fall big game hunts for deer, turkey, javelina, bighorn sheep, buffalo, bear and mountain lion on Saturday, April 21.

Hunters this year will see a slight increase in deer permits and a continuation of fall javelina seasons.

Something new for the fall are juniors-only archery and muzzleloader javelina hunts in Unit 39. The commission also set a 400-permit juniors-only antlerless hunt in Unit 12A on the North Kaibab.

Although an early archery deer season starting on Aug. 31 had been directed for this upcoming fall season, the commission opted to move that season a week earlier to start on Aug. 24, thus preventing an overlap with early archery elk seasons that were previously set by the commission in December 2006.

Don’t forget that the small game seasons were set by the commission last year for a two-year period. However, the commission did make a slight modification to the season for blue grouse due to a planned grouse transplant effort.

Been hunting? Carrying on the tradition 
By Melissa Durazo, Nogales

Melissa Durazo (right), with her dad, Tony, gets her first deer.Hunting has been in my family for the past three generations. I’m 15 years old and am proud to say I’m carrying on the tradition as the fourth-generation—and first female hunter—in my family.

The person who got me interested in hunting was my dad, Tony. I’ve accompanied him on hunting trips since I can remember. I took the hunter education course in 2004.

After applying for the past three years, I was drawn for last fall’s juniors’ hunt in Game Management Unit 36A.

On November 18, 2006, my dad, my great uncle Memo, and I went out early in the morning to see if we could spot any deer. All we saw that day were a couple of does and a little 2x2. I was unable to take a shot because it was too far away. The next day we woke up early and saw seven does together. I was disappointed because there was no buck with them.

I was unable to hunt the first few days the following week because of school, but on Wednesday my family and I headed out to do some camping and hunting over the Thanksgiving weekend.

On Thanksgiving Day, we went out early again to see if we could spot any deer while the sun was coming up. We spooked a white-tailed doe as we walked, then headed back to a place that we thought would be better for spotting.

Sure enough, I spotted a deer under a mesquite tree, bedded down and looking at us. I got my binoculars just to make sure it wasn’t a doe. I glanced at my dad and whispered, “It’s a buck, and it’s huge!” I aimed my rifle and took the shot at approximately 150 yards. The buck ran for about 80 yards and went down.

My dad and great uncle took pictures and then brought the truck to the side of the road where we had dragged the deer. It was so heavy that the three of us struggled to load the deer onto the truck. We went back to camp to show my mom, my great aunt Olga, and my little brother. They were surprised at the size of my kill—it was a 5x6.

This year’s junior hunt was a great experience for me—it was my first year getting drawn and taking a deer. Even if I hadn’t harvested the deer, the experience of spending time outdoors with my family was special. I have to admit, though—I sure am proud I got that deer!

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Free seminars teach shotgun safety, sporting clays shooting 
"First Shots" classes offered May 30-June 3 at Ben Avery Clay Target Center
By Tristanna Bickford, hunter recruitment and retention coordinator, Arizona Game and Fish Department

Free "First Shots" classes teach sporting clays fundamentals.Are you interested in learning about shotgun shooting and the exciting sport of sporting clays, but don’t know where to start?

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is partnering with the National Shooting Sports Foundation to offer a FREE introductory class on shotgun shooting. Each class includes instruction in firearm safety and shotgun shooting fundamentals, information on shooting sports opportunities, and the opportunity for hands-on shooting in a safe environment on the sporting clays course, supervised by qualified instructors.

Sporting clays has often been called “golf with a shotgun.” Participants shoot at different targets launched into the air or on the ground from different positions on a desert course. It’s a fun and exciting sport.

Classes will be held at the Ben Avery Clay Target Center in Phoenix on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, May 30 – 6 to 9 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 31 – 6 to 9 p.m.
  • Friday, June 1 – 6 to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 2 – 7 to 10 a.m.
  • Saturday, June 2 – 6 to 9 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 3 – 7 to 10 a.m.

The class is free, but pre-registration is required due to space limitations. To register, please e-mail Lori Jarrett at ljarrett@azgfd.gov or call (623) 236-7219. Please provide your contact information, and indicate which class date and time you would like to register for.

The Ben Avery Clay Target Center is located at 37016 N. Archery Drive in Phoenix (take I-17 to Carefree Highway, go west 1/2 mile to the entrance at Long Shot Lane and follow the signs).

For more information about the First Shots program, visit the First Shots Web site at firstshots.org.

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Junior hunters: First elk hunt 
By Chase Karvanek, Anthem

Chase Karvanek (right), with his dad, Randy, gets his elk.I went on my first elk hunt last year at the age of 12. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.

My dad (Randy) and I hunted up near Mormon Lake. On opening day, we went out in the morning but only saw four cows, running hard.

We headed back out in the afternoon and heard some bugles. It sounded like they were getting closer, so I kept moving to get into position. We soon saw about 40 elk together, including two big bulls and some little ones. Finally, I had a good look at a big cow and took the shot at 150 yards. I used my dad’s .30-06 that's 18 years old and made the shot count.

I was lucky, because we were able to drive up close to the elk. We took it to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation/Arizona Game and Fish Department camp at the Mormon Lake Lodge. We checked the meat in, and I joined the Elk Foundation and was given a new knife.

I developed my interest in hunting through my dad, who has always been an avid hunter and skeet shooter. I always wanted to do the same and asked him to take me hunting with him some day. I not only ended up taking the hunter safety class, but also joined the Scholastic Clay Target Program, competing on the Ben Avery Clay Crushers team. My squad won first place at the 2006 Commissioners’ Cup state trap championships, and we represented Arizona at the national SCTP championships.

This hunt was such a great experience. I hope some day to harvest a big bull, but I’ll always have special memories of my first elk hunt.

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Sportsman’s club partners with SCTP team to teach
quail hunting, bird dog skills

By Dave Higgins, president, Cochise Bird Dog Club

Members of the Cochise Bird Dog Club and the Huachuca Hot Shots SCTP team.For the second consecutive year, the Sierra Vista-based Cochise Bird Dog Club partnered with the Huachuca Hot Shots team from Arizona’s Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) to conduct a youth quail hunt on the Empire Ranch, near Sonoita, on April 22.

The event gave the SCTP youths a chance to hone their shotgun-shooting skills under actual hunting conditions in the field, while observing and learning about top-notch bird dog work. Ten youths and five hunting dogs participated.

More than 45 bobwhite quail were released for the hunt. The outing was enhanced this year with the release of five ringneck rooster pheasants donated by local hobby breeders Mike Skiles and Erick Haldorson of Sierra Vista. The birds were released under the authority of a permit issued by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

The SCTP youths were divided into teams of two and paired with a member of the Cochise Bird Dog Club and their dogs for a 30-minute hunt. The dogs found and pointed the birds, and the young hunters flushed them, allowing the youths to observe the skills and safety practices associated with using a bird dog while hunting.

The manner and safety practices exhibited by these young people were an excellent testament to their instructional shooting program at the Ft. Huachuca Sportsman’s Center. Several of the hunt guides commented that the youngsters were “darned good shooters” and would be great additions during quail season.

As an interesting side note, Christin Crounse and her brother Lamar became the proud owners of a 12-week-old pointer pup at the hunt’s conclusion. They are now officially part of the bird dog community. Christin was designated the “Annie Oakley” of last year’s hunt.

The SCTP program is a youth development program that teaches trap, skeet and sporting clays to youths from 5th grade through high school. It is administered by the Arizona Game and Fish Department through volunteer coaches and various clubs throughout the state. The Huachuca Hot Shots completed their second year of state competition this year.

The Cochise Bird Dog Club plans to invite additional SCTP shooters to next year’s event. The experience provides the young shooters with a natural extension of their practical learning in the SCTP program. These youngsters represent potential future dog owners, and the education will help them understand the responsibilities associated with raising, owning and training a bird dog.

The club is able to donate efforts and funds toward this special project due, in part, to the support received during its annual fall shotgun raffle project. For more information about the Cochise Bird Dog Club, contact President Dave Higgins at (520) 378-4114 or visit cochisebirddogclub.netkennel.com. For more information about the Huachuca Hot Shots SCTP team, contact Rene Dube at (520) 378-6864.

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Public meetings on hunt guidelines set for June

By Rory Aikens, public information officer, Arizona Game and Fish Department

Map of regions The Arizona Game and Fish Department has scheduled public meetings to gather input on proposed hunt guidelines that will be used the next two years to guide biologists when setting their unit-by-unit hunts.

This is the first year the hunt guidelines meetings are being conducted in June. The draft guidelines will be brought before the Arizona Game and Fish Commission for consideration during its Aug. 10-11 meeting in Flagstaff.

The hunt guideline meetings will all be from 6-8 p.m. at the following dates and locations:

  • Pinetop, June 5, Arizona Game and Fish Department Pinetop regional office, 2878 E. White Mountain Blvd.
  • Flagstaff, June 5, Arizona Game and Fish Department Flagstaff regional office, 3500 S. Lake Mary Road.
  • Prescott, June 6, Yavapai County Supervisors Office, 1015 Fair Street.
  • Tucson, June 6, Arizona Game and Fish Department Tucson regional office, 555 N. Greasewood Road.
  • Safford, June 7, Safford City Hall Annex, 808 8th Ave.
  • Sierra Vista, June 7, Buena High School, 5225 Buena School Blvd.
  • Mesa, June 18, Arizona Game and Fish Department Mesa regional office, 7200 E. University Drive.
  • Phoenix, June 18, Wildlife Building at the Arizona State Fairgrounds, 1826 W. McDowell Road.
  • Yuma, June 20, Arizona Game and Fish Department Yuma regional office, 9140 E. 28th St.
  • Kingman, June 20, Arizona Game and Fish Department Kingman regional office, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road.
  • Payson, June 21, Payson Inn, 801 N. Beeline Highway (Highway 87).
  • Page, June 21, National Park Service Headquarters conference room, 691 Scenic View Drive (just off Highway 89 between the Denny’s and the Maverick).

The hunt guidelines provide the social and biological parameters to use in setting permit levels and season structures. Some examples of existing guidelines in effect include:

  • Offering at least two percent of the general deer hunting opportunity in the form of juniors-only permits.
  • Managing mule deer for 15 to 25 bucks for every 100 does.
  • Offering juniors-only deer hunts so that the season overlaps a school holiday.
  • Managing elk for 20 to 30 bulls for every 100 cows.
  • Managing spring turkey for 10-percent to 15-percent hunt success.

The department’s internal hunt guideline team is busy crafting additional guidelines for consideration.

Help Arizona’s big game species: Donate to the Big Game 

Habitat Fund

By Sal Palazzolo, landowner relations program manager, Arizona Game and Fish Department

Sportsmen are given the opportunity on their big game hunt applications to make a donation to the Big Game Habitat Fund. The generous sportsmen who contribute to this fund help support wildlife habitat improvement projects for all of Arizona’s big game species.

You can contribute to Arizona’s conservation success story by donating a portion of your refund (if you are eligible for a refund) to big game habitat projects. These projects are implemented on federal, state trust and deeded property.

Some of the projects accomplished with these funds during 2006-2007 are:

  • Utilized $10,000 in Big Game Habitat donation funds to match against a $90,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, to install a water delivery system in Game Management Unit 32. This project will benefit mule deer, pronghorn antelope, javelina and upland game birds.

  • Matched $10,000 in Big Game Habitat donation funds against a $140,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to conduct mesquite clearing on historic grasslands and add two new water sources in Game Management Unit 30A. This project will benefit mule deer, javelina and upland game birds, notably scaled quail.

  • Installed a wildlife drinker in Game Management Unit 3C. This project will benefit elk, mule deer and various nongame species.

  • Cleaned out and repaired a dirt tank in Game Management Unit 19A. This tank is an important watering area for pronghorn antelope.

  • Matched $5,000 of Big Game Habitat donation funds against $55,000 of outside funding sources to install covers on water storage tanks in Game Management Unit 13B. This project will greatly reduce the evaporation of water for drinkers that supply water for mule deer and bighorn sheep.

  • Provided $5,000 of Big Game Habitat donation funds to match against a $92,000 Arizona Department of Agriculture grant to clear 1,920 acres of juniper off of former grassland habitats in Game Management Unit 10. This project will benefit elk, mule deer and pronghorn antelope.

  • Cleaned out and repaired a dirt tank in Game Management Unit 4B. This tank is an important watering area for elk, mule deer and numerous nongame species.

  • Purchased and installed a solar pumping station for a well in Game Management Unit 5A. This project will primarily benefit elk and mule deer.

  • Purchased and installed a solar pumping station for a well in Game Management Unit 35A. This project will primarily benefit mule deer and pronghorn antelope.

Sportsmen interested in contributing toward projects like this are asked to consider making a donation during this big game hunt application period. For more information about the Big Game Habitat Fund, visit azgfd.gov/landowner.

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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, as well as gain knowledge about Arizona wildlife and wildlife management. We recognize that your time is important and strive to provide rewarding and educational volunteer experiences.

We’ve listed some opportunities in which you may have an interest. 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.

Summer host wanted for Tonto Creek Hatchery, mid-May through Oct. 31
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is seeking a volunteer to serve as host at the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery from mid-May 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 sreith@azgfd.gov.

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 thomas.schorr@fcssw.com.

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 tchristensen@azgfd.gov 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.

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Vol. 3 No. 3 May 2007
In this issue:

News and notes

OHV legislation to be considered again in Senate

House Bill 2443, the off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation user fee bill, awaits a second vote in the Arizona Senate after failing to pass on April 26 (the vote was 14 senators in favor, 13 against, 2 not voting; 16 votes are needed to pass). A motion for reconsideration did pass, but a date has not yet been set for the new vote as of this writing.

HB 2443 would help manage the rapid growth in OHV use and protect wildlife habitat by requiring off-highway vehicle users to pay an annual user fee, probably somewhere in the area of $20. Revenues would go toward increased law enforcement, information and education programs, habitat mitigation, and trail reconstruction.

The bill passed the Arizona House of Representatives by a vote of 51-4 on March 8 and passed through two Senate committees unanimously before stalling in the Senate.

For more information about HB 2443, visit azgfd.gov/ohv.

Informational meetings continue on federal land management planning efforts

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is continuing its series of meetings to provide the public with information about federal land use management and travel management planning efforts in this state and how people can provide input.

The USDA Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are revising land use management plans and travel management plans statewide. The plans could potentially include proposals that change the way outdoor recreationists currently enjoy public lands, particularly with regard to vehicular access, designation of open and closed roads, dispersed camping, and motorized retrieval of lawfully taken big game by hunters. The different Forest Service districts and BLM field offices are in various phases of the planning efforts, which include public input opportunities.

The Game and Fish meetings provide an overview of the Forest Service and BLM planning processes and how members of the public can obtain more information and become involved.

Six meetings have been held so far. Two remaining meetings are scheduled for:

  • Wednesday, May 30, 6-9 p.m., Prescott, Yavapai County Administration Building, First Floor Boardroom, 1015 Fair St.

  • Thursday, May 31, 6-9 p.m., Kingman, Arizona Game and Fish Department Kingman regional office, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road.

The BLM and Forest Service have also scheduled some new meetings regarding their land use management plans:

  • The BLM’s Tucson Field Office will host a meeting on Saturday, May 19 to gather comments for the Ironwood Forest National Monument plan. Click here for more details.

  • The Tonto National Forest will host a new round of meetings in mid- to late-May on its forest plan revision, including new information in light of the recent court ruling regarding the Forest Service's planning rule. Click here for more details.

For more information on federal land use management and travel management planning, visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department Web site at azgfd.gov.

Ben Avery switches to summer hours, offers evening shooting

The Ben Avery Shooting Facility Main Range and the Ben Avery Clay Target Center switched over to new summer hours of operation on May 1. The new schedule, which includes the opportunity for evening shooting on lighted fields on certain days of the week, is:

  • Mondays: Closed
  • Tuesdays: 5-9:30 p.m.
  • Wednesdays: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m. (closed 1-5 p.m.)
  • Thursdays: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m. (closed 1-5 p.m.)
  • Fridays: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturdays: 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • Sundays: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

When daytime temperatures consistently begin exceeding 100 F, the Main Range and Clay Target Center will adjust Saturday hours to 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m. (closed 1-5 p.m.) and Sunday hours to 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. The change in hours will be posted in advance. For more information, visit azgfd.gov/basf and azgfd.gov/ctc.

More than 17,000 attend Game and Fish Outdoor Expo

This year’s Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo was a resounding success, judging from total attendance, feedback from visitor surveys, and the smiles on the faces of kids and families.

About 17,400 people—three times the number of last year’s Shooting Showcase—visited the free Expo at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix on March 31 and April 1.

More than 100 exhibitors, including sportsmen’s/conservation groups, government agencies and commercial vendors of outdoor products and services, participated at this year’s event.

Mark your calendars for next year’s Expo—it’s scheduled for March 28-30, 2008 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. It will be the biggest and best yet!

Public input sought on Game and Fish operational plans

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is seeking public comment on draft plans that will guide how the agency manages wildlife, outdoor recreational opportunities and its own detailed operations for the next two years.

Written comment can be submitted anytime through May 31, by e-mail to wildlifeplan@azgfd.gov, or by U.S. mail to Wildlife Plan, c/o Funds & Planning, Arizona Game and Fish Department, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086-5000-4399.

One remaining public meeting will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 16, at the Prescott Resort and Conference Center, Clarkdale Room, 1500 Highway 69, Prescott. The meeting will include an overview of the plan's highlights, and comments will be accepted. Seven meetings were held earlier this month.

For more information or to download copies of the draft plans, visit azgfd.gov.

Help fight poaching by donating your antlers and mounts

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is accepting donations of big game mounts, antlers and other wildlife-related decorative items that hunters and collectors no longer want. The donated items will be added to the other “wildlife assets” that the department obtains through other means, such as law enforcement seizures, pickups and vehicle collisions.

These assets are publicly sold annually, with the generated funds going to support the Game and Fish law enforcement program. Such funding enhances the department’s ability to purchase field equipment and make training available for its officers, which aids them in the apprehension and conviction of wildlife violators. For more information, please contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s law enforcement branch at (623) 236-7303.

Hunt Arizona 2007 is available

Hunt Arizona is a yearly compilation of big and small game hunting statistics. The publication includes draw, survey and harvest statistics for a five-year period, as well as information on distribution, life history, and behavior of big game, small game and other wildlife. The publication is a valuable resource for hunters who want to plan their hunts and draw strategy.

The 2007 edition of this 184-page publication is available for free as a downloadable document. [PDF, 6.7MB]

Hunt Arizona is also available for $6 as a printed and bound book from all department offices (anticipated date of availability at all department offices is May 21, 2007) or order it by mail at azgfd.gov/publications.

SCTP Commissioners’ Cup and Archery in the Schools championships

Several hundred young shotgun shooters competed in the SCTP Commissioners’ Cup trap, skeet and sporting clays championships held in late March and April. Visit azgfd.gov/shootingsports and click on the Scholastic Clay Target Program link for a complete list of results.

Arizona’s Archery in the Schools Program held its first state championships on March 31. More than 60 young archers squared off for state titles at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. Visit azgfd.gov/education and click on the Archery in the Schools link for a complete list of results.

Go wild with Arizona Wildlife Views magazine

Think the hunt recommendation process should be called the “hunt wreck-ommendation process”? Big game program supervisor Brian Wakeling will persuade you otherwise in the May-June issue of Arizona Wildlife Views magazine. Women are at home on the range … the shooting range, that is. Read about the growing popularity of shooting sports in the May-June issue. Subscribe now and you’ll also learn about the North American Model of Wildlife Management and the process for setting hunt recommendations and guidelines.

The official magazine of the Arizona Game and Fish Department is published six times a year. Subscribe for just $8.50 a year by calling (800) 777-0015. Each 40-page issue of this award-winning magazine offers stories about Arizona wildlife and outdoor recreation, illustrated with gorgeous full-color photography. Call today!

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.

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!

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Visit the archives:
March 2007

January 2007

October 2006

August 2006

June 2006

April 2006

February 2006

December 2005

October 2005
August 2005

Send us your stories and questions! We welcome mail from readers and will try to feature the following in each issue, as available:

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 or more stories 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 or more junior hunter stories 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 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.

Game recipe
Cranberry Glazed Turkey Tenderloin

From Almost All Things Edible (the Arizona Game and Fish Department cookbook)

2 turkey tenderloins (3/4 pound each)
2 tbs. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper, coarsely ground
1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 orange

In a 10-inch skillet, melt butter. Stir in seasonings, onion and garlic. Add turkey tenderloins and brown on both sides.

Grate enough orange rind to get 1 teaspoon of orange zest. Peel and section orange, removing seeds. Place 3/4 of the cranberry sauce in a food processor along with orange sections and zest. Process until blended.

Pour over the browned turkey, reduce heat, simmer 20-25 minutes in covered pan. Slice turkey and serve over rice and noodles. Use remaining cranberry sauce for garnish. Makes six servings.

For more great game recipes, purchase Almost All Things Edible. Visit azgfd.gov/publications for an order form.

Dates to remember

May 18: Arizona Game and Fish Commission meeting, Prescott. Click here for agenda.

June 12: Deadline day for remaining fall big game hunts.
June 22-23: Arizona Game and Fish Commission meeting, Payson.

Hot links

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.