Arizona Game and FIsh Department - Managing Today for Wildlife Tomorrow: Arizona Game and Fish Department

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North American Model of Wildlife Conservation

Managing Today for Wildlife Tomorrow


The untold story

The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is the world’s most successful. No other continent retains as close to a complete compliment of native wildlife species. While other countries struggle to conserve the little they have left, we enjoy great abundance and diversity of native wildlife.

This is due, in large part, to forward-thinking early conservationists who saw the need to preserve wildlife and their habitats. Their efforts were the source of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, which strives to sustain wildlife species and habitats through sound science and active management.

Arizona's 7-core concepts of conservation:

  1. Wildlife is held in the public trust;
  2. Regulated commerce in wildlife;
  3. Hunting and angling laws are created through
    the public process;
  4. Hunting and angling opportunities for all;
  5. Hunters and anglers fund conservation;
  6. Wildlife is an international resource;
  7. Science is the basis for wildlife policy.

Sportsmen’s role in wildlife conservation
Hunting and angling are the cornerstones of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation (brochure) . These activities continue to be the primary source of funding for conservation efforts in North America. Through a 10 percent to 12 percent excise tax on hunting, angling and shooting sports equipment, hunters and anglers have generated more than $10 billion toward wildlife conservation since 1937.

Though past conservation efforts have focused on hunted species, non-hunted species reap the rewards as well. Protecting wetlands for ducks, forests for deer and grasslands for pronghorn have saved countless non-hunted species from peril.

Regardless of whether one chooses to actively participate in hunting or angling, people interested in wildlife and its future should understand the conservation role sportsmen play.

What if hunting ends?
Hunters and anglers actively support wildlife conservation through tangible actions such as buying licenses and paying taxes on hunting and fishing equipment.

Why are hunters and anglers so willing to support conservation through their pocketbooks? Because people place added value on — and are willing to pay for — what they can use.

In some states, the number of hunting and fishing licenses sold has remained stable in recent years. But given the rate of population growth, particularly in Western states, the percentage of people participating in hunting and fishing is actually decreasing.

There is no alternative funding system in place to replace the potential lost funds for conservation. If hunting ends, funding for wildlife conservation is in peril.

To learn more about hunting or participate in the wildlife conservation movement that has been led by hunters for more than a century, visit any Arizona Game and Fish Department office or visit the hunting Web page.

In Arizona, a lottery-style process called the "Draw," allocates the limited number of big game and other limited species hunt permit-tags to applicants. The department typically receives far more applications than there are available permits. Permits available per species are determined and adjusted annually from the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation principles that include science based studies, surveys, and management goals for maintaining healthy, sustainable wildlife populations and habitats.

Arizona sportsmen’s contributions*
No state general fund monies are used for wildlife conservation in Arizona (In many states, general taxpayers usually do not pay for wildlife conservation). Arizona's sportsmen, however, do contribute:

  • Arizona hunters and anglers spend $1.3 billion a year.
  • Their spending directly supports 21,000 jobs and generates $124 million in state and local taxes. This especially benefits rural communities.
  • Sportsmen support nearly twice as many jobs in Arizona as Raytheon, one of the state’s largest employers (21,000 jobs vs. 11,000 jobs).
  • Annual spending by Arizona sportsmen is nearly three times more than the combined revenues of The Go Daddy Group, Sprouts Farmers Market and Cold Stone Creamery, which are some of the state’s fastest growing companies ($1.3 billion vs. $481 million).
  • The economic stimulus of hunting and fishing equates to $3.8 million a day being pumped into the state’s economy.

* “Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy ~ A force as big as all outdoors” (2007). Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.

Ethical hunting is everyone’s business
Tree stands and blinds near waterholes can be exciting places to encounter wildlife and are legal tools to aid in your hunting experience and enjoyment. However, if you have ever hunted from a tree stand or blind on a waterhole, you’ve probably encountered other hunters wanting to hunt the same area. You may even have had a negative encounter with another hunter when deciding who was going to stay and hunt. Here are some important tips, ethically speaking, to keep in mind when planning to hunt around a waterhole on public land:

  • Waterholes on public and state lands belong to everyone, and everyone should enjoy free and equal access.
  • Responsible hunters should respect other hunters’ privileges. They
    should leave the area if another hunter gets to a waterhole first.
  • Ethically responsible hunters will always yield to another hunter who
    has reached the waterhole first on any given morning or evening
    during the hunt.
  • Simply posting a sign/notice on or near a waterhole does not give
    anyone the exclusive right to hunt that waterhole; the hunter actually needs to be present.
  • Hanging a tree stand near a waterhole does not entitle a person to
    exclusive hunting rights to that waterhole. It may be unlawful to leave tree stands hanging or blinds set for extended periods of time.They may be considered abandoned property and subject to seizure.

“First Come – First Serve” is a common courtesy that should be used when more than one person wants to hunt the same area or waterhole, regardless of who has a tree stand or blind in the area. The Arizona Game and Fish Department reminds all hunters that confrontations in hunting situations can involve firearms and hot tempers. Whether you are in the city or next to a waterhole, any threats, intimidation, assault, or disorderly conduct can result in citations, arrests and/or jail time. Please do not allow yourself to get into a situation like that — ethical hunting is everyone’s business.

Sportsmen ethics and responsibilities
Please observe the following when using private, State Trust or public

  • Do not drive on wet and muddy roads where damage to the road is
    likely. See Hunting and Off-highway vehicle regulations.
  • You may not operate a motorized vehicle cross-country on State
    Trust land
    except for the sole purpose of retrieving downed big game
    (A.R.S. 17-454).See Hunting and Off-highway vehicle regulations.
  • Do not hunt near livestock waters when livestock is nearby; harassment of livestock is illegal.
  • Treat the lands as if they were yours; any damages to the land or vegetation can take decades to recover! Certain damages to the lands or improvements are subject to prosecution (A.R.S. 13-1601 through 1605).
  • It is misdemeanor trespass if you cross private property that is posted "no trespass" (A.R.S. 13-1501 through 1508).
  • It is illegal to camp within 1/4 mile of livestock and/or wildlife watering sources (A.R.S. 17-308).
  • Remember, you must have a valid hunting or fishing license and be
    actively hunting or fishing, or have obtained a use permit from the
    State Land Department
    , to legally use State Trust lands unless using
    a public easement (A.R.S. 37-501, 502; R12-5-533D).
  • Be respectful of others. They possess the same rights as you to use
    the lands.

If you observe vandalism violations or poaching, please call 1 (800) VANDALS. To report hunt violations, call the Operation Game Thief Hotline 1 (800) 352-0700 or report it online; all calls are confidential. To learn more about the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Heritage Access Program or to get involved, call (623) 236-7624.



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"We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."

Aldo Leopold

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