Harvest Management Strategy
in April 2002, the Arizona Game and Fish
Department’s Elk Harvest Management
Strategy Rulemaking Team conducted a series
of public meetings to gather comments on
several proposed rule changes.
In addition to public review of proposed rule amendments, the team asked
the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council (GRRC) and the Arizona Attorney
General’s Office to review the preliminary drafts as well. Subsequent
to comments received, the Game and Fish team has made several changes to
the original proposed amendments to R12-4-115. The proposed changes to
this rule create the “Hunter Pool” and “Population Management
Hunt” procedures that have been recommended to the Arizona Game and
The department is requesting public review and comment on the recent changes
from the initial proposal. The department is mailing the new draft rule
language to those individuals that attended early public meetings and provided
comment on the initial draft of the Rule.
The Elk Harvest Management Strategy Rulemaking Team is conducting two additional
public meetings to solicit comment on the recent proposed changes. The
public will have an opportunity to discuss issues and comment on this recent
proposed draft rule language. All comments concerning the proposed amendment
to R12-4-115 will be accepted through Aug. 1.
Any questions about the rulemaking process or comments concerning the proposed
draft rule language can be sent to Dana Yost, Director’s Office at
(623) 236-7271, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Final draft
rule language will be presented to the commission at its Aug. 9 meeting
in Flagstaff, AZ.
Date Location (Note: All meetings begin at 7 p.m.)
July 29, 2002
Arizona Game and Fish Department, Region II Office
3500 S. Lake Mary Road, Flagstaff, AZ – 7 p.m.
July 30, 2002
Arizona Game and Fish Department Region I Office
2878 E. White Mountain Blvd., Pinetop, AZ – 7 p.m.
The proposed revised elk rules are available in their entirety as a PDF
document by following the link below.
Proposed Revised Elk Rules [PDF,
Comments about the Department's Elk Harvest Management Strategy and the
draft rule language may be submitted by e-mail: email@example.com
Elk Harvest Management Strategy Rulemaking
Economic Impact Summary
R12-4-102. Fees for Licenses, Tags, Stamps, and Permits
R12-4-107. Bonus Point System
R12-4-114. Issuance of Nonpermit-tags and Hunt Permit-tags
R12-4-609. Commission Orders; Emergency Seasons
Rule changes proposed for R12-4-101, 102, 107, 114, and 609 are largely
administrative in nature, made necessary by additional rule changes in
this package. The only costs of the proposed changes are those associated
with the rulemaking process itself. The Department will benefit from consistent
implementation of associated rule changes, while the public will benefit
from having improved rules that are clear, concise, and more easily understandable.
No political subdivisions of the state will be impacted either positively
or negatively. Similarly, no impact to small businesses is anticipated
as a result of the draft rule changes to R12-4-101, 102, 107, 114, and
R12-4-104. Application Procedures for Issuance of Hunt Permit-tags by Drawing
Summary of the anticipated
economic impact for the various proposed
rule changes for R12-4-104:
- The proposed rule change to allow an applicant to apply for a hunt permit-tag
electronically over the Internet is an administrative change only, designed
to facilitate the sale of hunt permit-tags over the Internet. This proposed
change will benefit customers by giving them another option for applying
for hunt permit-tags. It will likewise benefit the Department and the applicant
by automating the application process, reducing application errors, and
thereby reducing the volume of mail and walk-in traffic to Department offices.
- The draft rule change recommendation to clarify the issuing of hunt permit-tags
in the case of Department error is designed to provide clear notice to
the public about the Department’s policy for the issuing of these
tags. The proposed rule change will benefit the public and the Department
by clarifying this issue, and no economic impact beyond the cost of the
rulemaking is anticipated.
- The draft rule change recommendation to revise existing subsection (C)(9)(b)
to clarify and simplify the regulations for genera that have multiple hunts
within a single calendar year is designed to give the Commission and the
Department maximum flexibility in the scheduling of hunting opportunities.
If additional hunting opportunities are made available at some future date
as a consequence of this rule change, the public will benefit from increased
recreational choices, and the Department may see an increase in revenue
from the increased sale of licenses and permits.
The proposed rule changes to R12-4-115 will establish a hunter pool for
supplemental hunts for the purposes of achieving habitat or population
management objectives. The proposed rule change will allow hunters to be
used to quickly remove elk that are negatively impacting private property
or habitat, resulting in landowners or land management agencies getting
relief from the problems being caused by elk. The implementation of the
proposed rulemaking will enhance the Department's ability to meet population
and habitat management objectives. The Department will incur limited additional
costs to issue restricted nonpermit-tags and to provide law enforcement
personnel to oversee supplemental hunts. Equipment and employees to complete
these tasks are already in place, so the increased costs to the Department
will be minimal. The proposed rule changes will impose no new requirements
on small businesses, but will instead enable small businesses to provide
additional goods and services to hunters. The proposed rule changes will
streamline the process the Department uses to place hunters in the field,
and should ultimately result in reduced costs for the Department's elk
To Decrease Elk Conflicts
of Arizona’s elk population are causing
the majority of conflicts with other land
uses. Arizona wildlife officials want to
alleviate that trend.
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission March 24 approved the department moving
forward to continue refining proposed alternative elk management strategies
- both short-term and long-term - aimed at accomplishing that goal.
The short-term strategies developed by Game and Fish Department biologists
entail increasing hunt-permit tags in “limited elk population areas” this
year to address private land issues, potential conflicts with other wildlife
species, or to direct harvest at resident elk residing yearlong on winter
range. Those increases are being incorporated into the hunt package that
comes before the commission for approval at its April 21 public meeting
Assistant Director Mike Senn, Field Operations Division, advised that the
public will have opportunity to comment on the proposed elk hunt increases
during the April Commission meeting.
“These proposed management strategies are not locked in concrete, with
either the short-term or the long-term ones. The long-term strategies are just
that - long term. Between now and when they are fully implemented down the road,
we will ensure plenty of opportunity for public input. On some of the proposals
that would require regulatory changes, it could take up to two years to implement,” Senn
Senn told the commission that the top elk managers in the state were assembled
into an “Elk Harvest Management Strategy Team” to examine all
the department systems, regulations and processes.
“The team was asked to look outside the way things are done now, and put
their ideas on paper detailing how to provide maximum flexibility to elk managers
for reducing or relieving conflicts, while still retaining a quality elk population,” Senn
The team leader, Richard Remington, who is the Pinetop regional supervisor,
explained that the Elk Harvest Management Strategy Team developed short-term
strategies within existing regulatory and hunt frameworks, and long-term
strategies including those that would require some sort of regulatory changes
or significant process modifications in the future.
Many ideas the committee explored and incorporated into the plans came
from the public during past public meetings. “This is obviously a
long-standing issue. We have received a wealth of public comment and ideas
in the past, and these management proposals will no doubt generate even
more input. The management strategies will continue to evolve. The team
did a great job of giving us a full range of alternatives to work with,” Senn
Various commissioners congratulated the team on coming up with such a detailed,
comprehensive and flexible package of proposed elk management alternatives.
They suggested the department let the public know the vast amount of elk
management experience represented on the Elk Harvest Management Strategy
“I don’t know how many years of experience all the team members have
combined, but just four of us add up to more than a century’s worth,” Remington
This year’s alternative hunt management package is aimed at significantly
reducing elk numbers on or adjacent to private land, or to meet public
land resource issues such as aspen regeneration protection.
The “Limited Elk Population Hunts,” if adopted by the commission
in April, will be identified as such in this year’s hunt proclamation
and regulations to aid hunters in identifying these hunts while filling
out their elk permit-tag applications.
The elk strategies team defined “Limited Range Populations” as
those in areas where the presence of elk is not essential to the long-term
maintenance of elk populations, or where management of other species is
a higher priority.
Game Branch Chief Tice Supplee, who also served on the team, explained
to the Commission that this year’s alternative elk management strategy
increases elk permits by approximately 1,500 in new “limited elk
population hunt” areas over what was originally proposed in this
year’s hunt package. Overall increases to elk permits will total
more than 4,000 from last year.
Senn advised that Limited Elk Population Hunts can be challenging and lower
hunter success is expected. “These will not be our typical quality
hunts. That is why we recommend excepting these hunts from consideration
as juniors-only hunting possibilities, and from the formula for allocating
hunt-permit tags by weapon type.”
The commission also approved the department to continue refining - through
an open public process - a proposed statewide elk management strategy whereby
all areas occupied by elk would be analyzed under standard criteria and
classified into one of three separate management zones. These elk management
1. Standard Population Management. These areas comprised the majority of
elk habitat in the state. These are areas where the presence of elk is
desired for the long-term maintenance of elk populations. The management
objective is to maintain elk populations at levels that provide diverse
recreational opportunities while avoiding adverse impacts to the species,
its habitat, or the habitat of other wildlife, and with “minimal
substantiated depredation complaints.”
2. Winter Range Population Management. These are winter range areas within
standard population management where the presence of spring, summer, and
fall elk populations results in unacceptable levels of conflict with other
public or private resources. These zones will be managed for winter elk
use only. The management objective is to “substantially reduce or
eliminate” spring through fall elk populations to enhance habitat
quality for wintering elk and reduce other conflicts.
3. Limited Range Population Management. These are areas (5 percent of the
total Arizona elk habitat) where the presence of elk is not essential to
the long-term maintenance of elk populations, or where management of other
species is a higher priority. Elk populations within limited population
management zones will be managed for “minimum levels of conflict” with
other public or private sources. This can result in maintaining low population
densities, or eliminating populations as deemed appropriate.
Each proposed management zone has specific management objectives and harvest
alternatives that can be “selected” to achieve specific elk
population management objectives.
“The three zones also have specific goals regarding private land and conflict
resolution, along with proposed action alternatives that may be selected to address
conflicts,” Remington advised.
However, he added, to completely implement the new guidelines will take
some regulatory changes or modifications. The public hearing process for
changing or modifying regulations can take a year or more to accomplish.
The commission also approved a plan for informing the public about what
is being proposed, and why. The outreach plan also has short-term and long-term
“In the short term, we need to inform the public about what is coming before
the commission at the April meeting, and why. For the long term, we also have
a challenge,” said Assistant Director Jim Burton, Information and Education
Burton explained that the alternative elk management package is complex. “We
will do whatever is necessary so that our customers can understand what
is being proposed, how it will work, and why it is deemed necessary.”
The “Elk Harvest Management Strategy Team Report” is available
in its entirety as a PDF document by following the link below.
Elk Harvest Management Strategy Team Final Report [PDF,
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