Arizona Game & Fish Department Press Releases

Arizona Game & Fish Department Updates

This report is provided by AZBW to bring our readers some of the current updates from Arizona Game & Fish Department. AZGFD offers a vast amount of information on all outside activities and may be found at www.azgfd.gov.


Tri-State Shooting Park Dedication Set For Wednesday
New Range Will Serve Bullhead City/Fort Mohave Area

March 8, 2013

The Tri-State Shooting Park dedication will take place at 11 a.m. on March 13, 2013. The new shooting range will feature a trap and skeet range, a 200-yard pistol and rifle shooting range, and a 50-yard pistol range when construction is complete. The dedication will feature an Honor Guard Presentation of Colors, remarks by dignitaries and other guests, and a ceremonial ribbon-shooting. The event will be hosted by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, Arizona Game and Fish Department, and Tri-State Shooting Park, Inc. The dedication ceremony is open to the public and free.

The range will be open to the public, support hunter education programs, promote safe hunting and shooting practices, and provide a safe shooting area. Hunters will have a place to become more proficient with their equipment. Law enforcement agencies will have access to the range where they can maintain their firearms qualifications.

Tri-State Shooting Park will offer education, training and enjoyment of shooting sports for a community that has been without a range for more than a dozen years.The dedication of Tri-State Shooting Park marks the culmination of long-term efforts by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, Department, Tri-State Shooting Park, Inc., in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management and other stakeholders, to establish a public shooting range to serve the Bullhead City and Mohave Valley area. Tri-State replaces a range in Bullhead City that was closed in 1999 because of development in the area. It is being built on more than 315 acres of land in Mohave Valley which was turned over to Game and Fish in 2010 by the Bureau of Land Management after more than a decade of negotiations, and is about two miles west of Boundary Cone Butte, a significant geological feature in the area. Many of the design features will help reduce noise and ground disturbance. It will be operated by Tri-State Shooting Park Inc., a non-profit sportsmen’s organization.

Directions: Tri-State Shooting Park is located about 10 miles southeast of Bullhead City. From Highway 95, go east on County Highway 153 for 6.71 miles. If using a navigation system, the GPS coordinates are: 34” 59’ 39.45”N and 114” 28’ 57.60” W.


Shooting Sports News
Archery in the Schools championships are Saturday, March 2 at Ben Avery

Feb 28, 2013

PHOENIX – More than 300 young archers will square off in competition when the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Archery in the Schools Program (AIS) hosts its state championship tournament on Saturday, March 2, at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix.

The event begins with competitor check-in at 8 a.m., followed by staggered group competition at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and an awards ceremony around 3:15 p.m. (time approximate).

This is the culminating event for Arizona’s AIS youth participants in grades 4-12 to test their skills, qualify for nationals, and earn a chance for college scholarships.

Arizona’s program, administered by the Game and Fish Department, is part of the National Archery in the Schools Program, which promotes international-style target archery as part of the in-school curriculum to improve educational performance and participation in the shooting sports.

Students, parents and educators have lauded the program for teaching life skills such as focus, responsibility and discipline. Core content covers archery history, safety, technique, equipment, mental concentration, core-strengthening physical fitness, and self-improvement. Before presenting the two-week archery course, teachers undergo an eight-hour National Archery in the Schools Program Basic Archery Instructor Training Program.

To get to the archery ranges at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, take I-17 to Carefree Highway and head west for 1.5 miles to the first stoplight. Turn right at the stoplight and follow the signs to the archery ranges. Spectators are welcome.

For more information on the Archery in the Schools program, including some videos and testimonials about the national program, visit www.azgfd.gov/i_e/archery.shtml.


Deadline to apply for elk, pronghorn hunts is Feb. 12

January 25, 2013

Hunters who wish to apply for an elk or pronghorn antelope hunt permit-tag issued through the drawing process are reminded that applications must be received by the department by Tuesday, Feb. 12, by 7 p.m. (MST).

Applications can be submitted by using the online process (visit www.az.gov/app/huntdraw/home.xhtml), or paper applications can be mailed to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn: Drawing Section, PO Box 74020, Phoenix, AZ 85087-1052, or hand-delivered to any of the seven Game and Fish offices located in Pinetop, Flagstaff, Kingman, Yuma, Tucson, Mesa and Phoenix.

The 2013 Pronghorn Antelope and Elk Hunt Draw Information Booklet is available at Game and Fish offices, at hunting license dealers across the state, or online at www.azgfd.gov/draw.

A 2013 hunting license is required of all applicants to apply in the draw. If you haven’t already purchased your license, you can do so through the draw application process. Please keep in mind that if you are purchasing your license online, you must have a working printer handy and print your license out at the time of purchase. The department does not mail out licenses that are purchased online.

For more information on Arizona wildlife, visit www.azgfd.gov.


Space still available for Becoming an Outdoors Woman “Deluxe” workshop, Jan. 25-27
Ladies: Learn outdoor skills in a comfortable outdoor setting

January 9, 2013

SAGUARO LAKE, Ariz. – If you’d like to learn outdoor skills in a scenic, comfortable, fun outdoor setting, make sure to sign up for the annual Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) “Deluxe” program set for Jan. 25-27.

The three-day workshop, sponsored by the Arizona Wildlife Federation in cooperation with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, will be held at Saguaro Lake Ranch located on the banks of the Salt River and surrounded by the spectacular Goldfield and Superstition mountains, northeast of the Phoenix metro area.

This venue is perfect for the woman who likes a little extra comfort with her outdoor experience, with lodging in comfortable, resort-style ranchettes. The workshop will include a variety of classes and outdoor activities, including:

Beginning fishing
Dutch oven cooking
Archery
Birding
Hiking 101
Outdoor photography
Edible and medicinal plants
Javelina hunting
Desert survival
Predator calling
Fly fishing 102
Geocaching
Still-water paddling
Trail ride (add $90 to the workshop fee)
There will be evening activities with campfires, live desert animals and star gazing.

The fee is $380 for the entire weekend and includes all meals, lodging, instruction and use of equipment (add $90 if you are participating in the trail ride).

The program begins on Friday afternoon, Jan. 25 (registration from noon to 1:30 p.m., welcome at 1:30), and ends at noon on Sunday, Jan. 27 (lunch on Sunday served from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.).

Space is still available, but capacity is limited, so register now. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

For more information or to register, visit the Arizona Wildlife Federation website at www.azwildlife.org, or call (480) 644-0077 or 1-800-827-9453.


Online application service now available for Arizona’s 2013 elk, pronghorn hunts

December 29, 2012

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has announced that the online application service for Arizona’s 2013 elk and pronghorn antelope hunt draw is now available. Hunters who haven’t yet submitted an application for a hunt permit-tag now have the option of applying online by visiting https://az.gov/app/huntdraw/home.xhtml and scrolling down to the “Apply for a Draw” link.

The 2013 Pronghorn Antelope and Elk Hunt Draw Information Booklet is now available online at www.azgfd.gov/draw. Printed copies of the booklet are anticipated to be at department offices and license dealers around mid January.

The application deadline is Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 by 7 p.m. (MST). Those applying online will have to pay the non-refundable $7.50 application fee (which is charged as part of the tag fee whether applying online or with a paper application).

Also, a 2013 hunting license is required of all applicants to apply in the draw. If you haven’t already purchased your license, you can do so through the draw application process. Please keep in mind that if you are purchasing your license online, you must have a working printer handy and print your license out at the time of purchase. The department does not mail out licenses that are purchased online.

Licenses are also available for purchase from Arizona Game and Fish offices and from more than 300 license dealers statewide.

The online application service allows payment with a credit card (VISA and Mastercard only). The cost of the hunt permit-tag won’t be charged unless and until you are drawn.

The online service works with the following browsers: Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari (If you use Safari, it is recommended that you upgrade to the latest version of the OS and Safari browser; a few problems have been reported with older Safari versions). This application service currently does not work with mobile devices such as iPad, iPhone or other Smartphones.

For those not using the online service, paper applications can still be mailed to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn: Drawing Section, PO Box 74020, Phoenix, AZ 85087-1052, or they can be hand-delivered to any of the seven Game and Fish offices located in Pinetop, Flagstaff, Kingman, Yuma, Tucson, Mesa and Phoenix. Mailed and hand-delivered applications must be received by the department by the deadline; postmarks don’t count.

For more information, visit www.azgfd.gov/draw.


Leftover Spring Big Game Hunt Tags Available For Purchase

December 8, 2012

Even if you missed Arizona’s recent draw for 2013 spring hunts, a big game hunt this spring may still be in your future.

There are plenty of leftover hunt permit-tags for spring javelina and turkey available from the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Currently, about 7,000 leftover javelina tags are still available for purchase, as well as about 65 turkey tags. View the list of leftover tags at http://www.azgfd.gov/eservices/documents/leftovers-spring.pdf.

Applications for these first-come tags may be submitted by mail to Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn: Draw/First Come, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85806, or they may also be purchased in person with an application at Game and Fish offices.

Keep in mind that for 2013, the statewide bag limit for javelina has been raised to two per calendar year, with no more than one taken per open area as defined in each hunt number. The bag limit may be filled in any combination of permit-tags (draw tags or first-come leftover tags with different hunt numbers) or nonpermit-tags (over-the-counter tags).

For hunt dates and other information, see the 2013 Arizona Spring Turkey, Javelina, Buffalo and Bear Hunt Draw Information booklet online at www.azgfd.gov/draw, or available at all Game and Fish offices and authorized hunting license dealers statewide.


Federal Government Targets Sportsmen’s Dollars To Reduce Deficit
Conservation Of Wildlife Resources And Your Outdoor Recreation Heritage Is At Risk!

October 24, 2012

“The Greatest Story Never Told” is the mantra being extolled by the nation’s wildlife conservation community in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Fund (WSFR). Farsighted and forward-looking sportsmen worked with Congress in 1937 to pass the Pittman-Robertson Act, whereby excise taxes on hunting equipment flow into a trust fund that is one of the most significant sources of funding for state wildlife conservation efforts. Subsequent amendments of the act and passage of the Dingell-Johnson Act and the Wallop-Breaux Act have since added excise taxes from fishing equipment, archery tackle and motorboat fuel to grow the funding available for wildlife conservation. By law, your dollars are allocated to each state to support important conservation work on the ground and to keep critical wildlife programs going. Since 1939, the State of Arizona has integrated these funds, along with dedication of license-based revenues, into the core of our financing for wildlife conservation. With these resources, the state has been able to restore elk and bighorn sheep populations, construct and operate boat ramps and shooting ranges, restore native trout species, develop a modern hatchery program and continue conservation of our wildlife heritage.

Your funds have been untouched in the 75 year history of the WSFR fund and have been used only for conservation. In order to participate in the program and receive these funds, each state and territory made legal, binding commitments that these funds (and license fees) would be used only for wildlife conservation in specific, approved programs. Ironically, the current administration’s Office of Management and Budget has decided that your funds must be withheld (sequestered) under provisions of the Budget Control Act of 2012. While this action only keeps funds from being allocated to state wildlife agencies (for now) and does not in and of itself divert your funds, it does set the stage for future Congressional action which could sweep these funds from the trust accounts into the federal treasury. The fact that this diversion is occurring during the 75th anniversary of the WSFR Act is the ultimate irony. Federal agencies charged with the fiduciary protection of this trust fund are now the architects of the only authorized diversion in the fund’s history.

Because of explicit language in the original acts, these funds are to be allocated to the states and are not subject to annual Congressional appropriation. It is difficult to understand how these funds are now subject to the provisions of the Budget Control Act of 2012. Excise taxes would still be collected from manufacturers of hunting and fishing equipment and excise taxes would be paid by hunters, anglers, archers, boaters and shooters. Interest will still accrue in the various accounts. However, the new action of the Budget Control Act automatically denies the full allocation of funds to each state for their intended purpose of fish and wildlife conservation. This should be a critical concern to all sportsmen and conservationists. Under the Department of Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service, every state would see funding reductions in administration, multi-state grants, boating safety, wildlife and sport fish restoration (WSFR) that will directly affect the department’s ability to do on-the-ground conservation, permanent agency jobs, agency resources and agencies’ ability to provide public access for hunting, fishing, boating and shooting. Conservation of wildlife resources and your outdoor recreation heritage is at risk, no matter what your choice of hobby, sport or pursuit. For Arizona, the impact for 2013 could be as much as $3 million with cuts to Wildlife Restoration, Sport Fish Restoration, Boating Safety and other programs.

State wildlife agencies have been working diligently with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Interior to exempt State Trust Funds from being sequestered, but to no avail. Remember, these are your dollars as a sportsman or as a manufacturer of hunting and fishing equipment. If you are an Arizona citizen, your dollars support wildlife-related recreation that is a $2 billion economic driver annually; more than golf, more than professional sports. The federal administration needs to know how the sequestration of these funds and the impacts on your programs here in Arizona will affect you personally (contacts listed below). You may also want to contact your Congressional Representatives on this issue.

DOI Secretary Ken Salazar
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240
Phone: (202) 208-3100
feedback@ios.doi.gov

USFWS Director Dan Ashe
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
Phone: 1-800-344-WILD
Email. http://www.fws.gov/duspit/contactus.htm

White House – Council on Environmental Quality
Council on Environmental Quality
722 Jackson Place, N.W.
Washington, DC 20503
Phone: (202) 395-5750
Email: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments


Hunting and fishing license holders can get a special ticket deal for Nov. 11 NASCAR race

October 14, 2012

PHOENIX – Are you a NASCAR fan? Do you have an Arizona hunting or fishing license?

If so, here’s a deal you won’t want to miss. Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) is offering special discounted ticket prices to Arizona hunting and fishing license holders for the upcoming “Chase for the Sprint Cup 500” (AdvoCare 500) at PIR on Sunday, Nov. 11.

You won’t want to miss Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and defending Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart battle the rest of the field for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Tickets are likely to sell out in advance of the race, so order soon. Offer expires Nov. 7 and is valid only while supplies last.

For discounted pre-race pit passes and accessible seating options, please contact Chris Reaves at PIR at (623) 463-5635.


Public Comment Invited On Arizona Game And Fish Proposed Strategic Plan

October 5, 2012

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has released the draft of its new strategic plan, Wildlife 20/20, and wants your comments and input.

Wildlife 20/20 provides broad strategic guidance for all department programs. It is intended to be a living document that conveys policy direction that the Arizona Game and Fish Commission has provided to the department to guide its work into the future. It will be complemented by additional plans designed to provide more specific direction, as needed.

The plan is available for review at http://www.azgfd.gov/inside_azgfd/strategic_plan.shtml.

Written comments can be submitted through Friday, Oct. 26, 2012, by e-mail to agfdStrategicPlan@azgfd.gov.

Written comments can also be sent via U.S. mail to:
Strategic Plan
Arizona Game and Fish Department
Attn: Sherry Crouch
5000 W. Carefree Highway
Phoenix, AZ 85086

When submitting comments on particular portions of the document, please include a reference to the location within the document (such as a page and paragraph number) to which you are referring.

The department is planning a webcast about the new plan in the near future. An announcement will be sent out when the date and time are finalized.

After public comments are reviewed and considered, the final draft Wildlife 20/20 plan is anticipated to be presented to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission for consideration at its Dec. 7-8 meeting in Phoenix.

For more information, visit http://www.azgfd.gov/inside_azgfd/strategic_plan.shtml.


Applicants Sought For Arizona Game And Fish Commission

September 20, 2012

Applications Accepted Through October 12, 2012

The Governor’s office is currently accepting applications for the 2013 appointment to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.

Applications must be received or postmarked by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. They can be submitted online at www.azgovernor.gov/BC/Application07.asp.

Members must be well informed on the subject of wildlife and the requirements for its conservation. In accordance with state statute, the commission is required to maintain political balance, therefore, applicants for this vacancy may not be registered Republican.

Also, no two members may be from the same county. Since the commission currently has members from Apache, Maricopa, Navajo and Pima counties, residents of those counties may not apply for this opening. Residents of Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Mohave, Pinal, Santa Cruz, Yavapai and Yuma counties are eligible to apply.

Per state statute, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission Appointment Recommendation Board shall assist the governor by interviewing, evaluating and recommending candidates. The board shall recommend at least two, but no more than five, candidates to the governor. The governor must select and appoint a commissioner from the list submitted by the board.

For further information, contact the Governor’s Office of Boards and Commissions at (602) 542-2449 or toll free at (800) 253-0883.

For more information about the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, visit www.azgfd.gov/commission. For more information about the Office of the Governor, please visit www.azgovernor.gov.


Online Application Service Now Available For Spring 2013 Hunts

Sept. 6, 2012

Deadline to apply is Oct. 9; printed regulations now available at department offices

The online application service for Arizona’s spring 2013 hunt permit-tags issued through the drawing process for turkey, javelina, buffalo and bear is now available at https://draw.azgfd.gov/.

The online service allows payment with a credit card (VISA and Mastercard only). The cost of the hunt permit-tag won’t be charged unless the applicant is drawn.

The online service works with the following browsers: Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari (It is recommended that Safari users upgrade to the latest version of the OS and Safari browser; a few problems have been reported with older Safari versions). The service currently does not work with mobile devices such as iPad, iPhone or other Smartphones.

People applying online will have to pay the non-refundable $7.50 application fee (which is charged as part of the tag fee whether applying online or with a paper application). Also, a 2013 hunting license is required to apply in the draw. Those who haven’t already purchased their 2013 license can do so through the draw application process. People purchasing their license online must have a working printer handy to print the license out at the time of purchase. The department does not mail out licenses that are purchased online.

People who prefer submitting a paper application can mail it to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn: Drawing Section, PO Box 74020, Phoenix, AZ 85087-1052, or the application can be hand-delivered to any of the seven department offices located in Pinetop, Flagstaff, Kingman, Yuma, Tucson, Mesa and Phoenix. Remember, paper applications must be received by the department by the deadline; postmarks don’t count.

Whether applying online or with a paper application, the application deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, by 7 p.m. (MST).

Those who submit a paper application are encouraged to apply early and take advantage of the correction period. If your paper application has a mistake and is received by 5 p.m. on Sept. 21, Game and Fish will attempt to call you three times in a 24-hour period and give you the opportunity to correct the mistake. After that date, mistakes can cause your application to be rejected.

Printed copies of the spring hunt draw information booklet and application form are now available at Game and Fish offices and are being shipped to license dealers. Most dealers either have them by now or will receive them in the next few days. The booklet and form can also be downloaded online at www.azgfd.gov/draw.

Some of the spring hunts are not limited to tags issued through the draw process. For those hunts, a nonpermit-tag may be purchased over-the-counter at Game and Fish offices or at license dealers. Nonpermit-tag hunts are area specific and include some archery-only spring turkey, juniors-only shotgun spring turkey, archery-only spring javelina, general javelina, general spring bear, and archery-only spring bear hunts.

One significant change for 2013 is that the statewide bag limit for javelina is now two javelina per calendar year, with no more than one taken per open area as defined in each hunt number. The bag limit may be filled in any combination of permit-tags (draw tag or first-come leftover draw tag as long as they have differing hunt numbers) or nonpermit-tags (over-the-counter tag). No more than one permit-tag shall be issued per hunter through the initial draw. Hunters can refer to Commission Order 6 (spring javelina) on pages 15-18 of the hunt draw information booklet.

A full listing of all the spring hunts is available in the 2013 Arizona Spring Turkey, Javelina, Buffalo and Bear Hunt Draw Information booklet.


Fishing Regulations To Be Considered At September Commission Meeting

Sept. 1, 2012

The 2013-14 fishing regulations will be considered at the Saturday, Sept. 8 portion of the upcoming (Sept. 7-8) meeting of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. The meeting begins at 8 a.m. at the Game and Fish Department headquarters at 5000 W. Carefree Highway in Phoenix.

The commission will consider amending Commission Order 40 (fish), which establishes open seasons, open areas, bag and possession limits, special regulations, and specific closures.

“Anglers and other members of the public should note that consideration of the fishing regulations is occurring in September this year rather than October, as has typically happened in the past,” said Acting Fisheries Chief Eric Swanson. “There is no commission meeting in October this year.”

Five proposed amendments include:

Remove the Special Regulation (slot limit) for bass at Alamo Lake. The regulation for bass at Alamo Lake will revert to the statewide limit of six bass.

Extend the “catch-and-release only” Special Regulation for bass at Pena Blanca Lake through 2016.

Create Special Regulations for bass, catfish and trout at Cataract Lake and Kaibab Lake that include: a 13-inch minimum size limit for bass and a reduced two bass limit; a reduced four catfish limit; and a reduced four trout limit.

Establish gizzard shad as a legal live baitfish from the following legal areas only: (1) The Colorado River south of Separation Canyon downstream to the southern international boundary with Mexico, including impounded reservoirs (e.g., Lake Mead, Lake Mohave and Lake Havasu) and directly connected backwaters (e.g., Topock Marsh and Mittry Lake), (2) the Gila and Salt rivers, including impounded reservoirs (e.g., Roosevelt Lake and Apache Lake), (3) urban waters in Maricopa County, and (4) Lake Pleasant.

Create Special Regulations for channel catfish at Parker Canyon Lake that include a reduced four channel catfish limit.

The proposed changes and the rationale behind them can be found at www.azgfd.gov/fishregs.

The department incorporated an extensive public input component into this process. Five public meetings were held in June (Flagstaff, Kingman, Yuma, Tucson and Mesa), the public comment opportunity was promoted via a website posting and e-news blast, and a printed survey was mailed out to 1,500 licensed anglers statewide asking their opinion on their support or opposition to the proposed regulations changes.

The public is welcome to attend the commission meeting, or view it over the web at Game and Fish regional offices or from any computer at www.azgfd.gov/commissioncam. Members of the public may submit Speaker Cards (Blue Cards) if they wish to speak to the commission at the Phoenix meeting or from any regional Game and Fish office. Public comment is not available for those viewing the webcast online.


Bear attack at Ponderosa Campground near Payson
One camper sustains non-life-threatening injuries

June 1, 2012

An Arizona woman was injured Thursday morning when a bear ripped a hole in the tent where she, her husband and their dog had been sleeping at Ponderosa Campground in Tonto National Forest, just off Highway 260 about 10 miles east of Payson. The attack occurred around 4:30 a.m.

After tearing open the tent, the bear reportedly stuck its head in and clawed at the 74-year-old woman, leaving her with bruises and a laceration on her scalp. She was treated at Payson Regional Medical Center for non-life-threatening injuries and released. The woman’s husband and dog were not hurt.

A large adult bear had recently been seen hanging around the campsite dumpsters. A wildlife manager with Arizona Game and Fish Department visited Ponderosa Campground on Wednesday looking for the bear, but it was not found. A culvert-style trap was set. The wildlife manager talked to the campground host about precautions, and all campers were informed of the bear threat.

The bear returned to the campground sometime during the night. The campground host chased the bear, which retreated. It returned a short time later and attacked the campers in their tent.

Personnel from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services are on scene and working with Game and Fish officers, using dogs to track the bear from the scene of the attack.

Public safety is our first priority, said Jim Paxon, information chief with Arizona Game and Fish Department. This bear poses a threat to public safety and therefore needs to be lethally removed.

The department will conduct a forensic necropsy to confirm that the captured bear is the one responsible for the attack. Disease testing, including rabies, will also be conducted by an outside laboratory.

Officials have evacuated campers and closed Ponderosa Campground. Lower Tonto Creek/Bear Flat/Forest Road 405A have also been closed to entry. An official closure will be put into effect by the Forest Service until the bear danger lessens.

The bear was probably looking for food, which is scarce this summer because of drought, Paxon said. These campers secured their food in the cab of their truck, and there was no food in the tent. While the campers were with the campground host and medical personnel, the bear came back to the tent a second time, ripped another hole in it, and then went after a pillow that had blood on it from the woman’s wounds.

Bears are very active during the summer, Paxon added. It’s important to stay alert. Bears are attracted to places like dumpsters, trash bins and campsites. Whether folks live here or are just visiting, they need to remember this is bear country. Never leave food out, and never take food into a tent.

Bear attacks on humans are rare. There have only been seven documented cases of bear attacks in Arizona since 1990, including this one.

3> Be Bear Aware tips for campers and others
What Should I Do If I See a Bear?

Black bears should always be considered unpredictable and potentially dangerous – at all times.

A black bear will usually detect you and leave the area before you notice, unless the bear has been conditioned to people and their food. If you live in black bear country, take responsibility for not attracting them.

It is essential to keep a clean camp. Store all food items away from your sleeping area. Wash up before going to bed to remove food odors. Do not keep toiletries in your sleeping area, they might also attract bears. Avoid sleeping in the same area where you prepare or eat food. Never intentionally feed wildlife.

If you prepare desserts, such as S’mores, be sure those eating this delicious concoction wash up afterwards because marshmallows and chocolate are superb bear attractants.

To discourage a black bear, immediately:

Alter your route to avoid a bear in the distance.

Make yourself as large and imposing as possible, such as spreading out your jacket like a set of wings.

If the bear continues to approach, stand upright and wave your arms, jacket or other items.

Make loud noises, such as yelling, whistles, and banging pots and pans.

Do not run, that could prompt the bear to chase and catch you.

Never play dead.

Give the bear a chance to leave the area.

If the bear does not leave, stay calm, continue facing it, and slowly back away.

If a black bear attacks, fight back with everything in your power – fists, sticks, rocks and E.P.A. registered bear pepper spray. While household black and cayenne pepper is not as potent as bear pepper spray, they can still provide a slight deterrent factor.

Remember, removal is usually a last resort: Bears can be common at high elevations where food is plentiful. Different bears will visit the same area if attractants are not removed. Bears that must be removed are relocated or may have to be destroyed if they are considered too dangerous, have lost their fear of humans, or continue to get into conflicts with people.

So be bear aware while visiting the state’s diverse outdoor habitats.


Outdoor Recreationists: BeFire Wise This Memorial Day Weekend
Help Prevent Wildfires; Fire Restrictions Now In Effect On Most Public Lands In Arizona

May 24, 2012

Outdoor enthusiasts heading out this Memorial Day weekend are reminded that hot temperatures and very dry conditions in Arizona have substantially elevated the risk of wildfires. Most areas are currently open, but fire restrictions are in effect on most federal and state lands, as well as many other lands, throughout the state. Please adhere to the restrictions and do your part to prevent wildfires.

The restrictions on these lands (including national forests, Bureau of Land Management lands, Arizona Game and Fish Department wildlife areas, unincorporated state trust lands, Arizona state parks, and Arizona Department of Transportation right-of-way property in unincorporated areas which is not federally owned) include prohibitions on:

Campfires (except where allowed at designated developed recreation areas; check with the individual jurisdiction).

Use of charcoal or wood grills or stoves.

Smoking (except within enclosed vehicles or buildings).

Use of welding equipment or torches with open flames.

Use of fireworks (some jurisdictions prohibit use of fireworks year-round).

The restrictions in some jurisdictions may also prohibit firearm discharge (i.e., target shooting) except in taking game in accordance with Arizona hunting laws in hunting season.

Some county lands, national park lands, and tribal lands may also be under fire restrictions.

A website that includes a summary of closures and restrictions in Arizona, as well as links to the websites and contact information of the various land management agencies, is www.publiclands.org/firenews.

Fire restrictions will remain in place until conditions change to the point where the respective land management agencies feel the restrictions can be modified or lifted.

There are several active fires in Arizona at this time, notably the Gladiator Fire in the Prescott National Forest near Crown King (has burned more than 15,000 acres, is 26 percent contained, and has caused some area and road closures) and the Sunflower Fire in the Tonto National Forest near Sunflower (has burned more than 16,000 acres, was 43 percent contained as of May 21).

A website that includes information on the various fires in Arizona is www.inciweb.org/state/3/.

Other news

Coconino and Tonto National Forest officials remind the public that the Fossil Creek Road 708 remains closed to vehicles from the Fossil Springs Trailhead west to the Waterfall Trailhead. In addition, this closure may be extended further west to the Childs Road 502 junction during the Memorial Day weekend. Vehicle restrictions are necessary to ensure prompt emergency response and pedestrian safety during high visitation and traffic congestion. Visitors should call (928) 226-4611 for the latest road closure information prior to driving the 15 miles of steep, rough dirt road into the Fossil Creek area. View the Forest Service news release.

The Coconino National Forest also reminds people that Lockett Meadow Road (Forest Road 552) in the San Francisco Peaks is closed due to construction activity and heavy equipment traffic. It is estimated the road will reopen to public access by mid-July. View the Forest Service news release.


Space still available at Becoming an Outdoors Woman “Deluxe” program on Jan. 27-29
Ladies: Learn outdoor skills in a comfortable outdoor setting

Jan. 7, 2012

SAGUARO LAKE, Ariz. – If you’d like to learn outdoor skills in a scenic, comfortable, fun outdoor setting, make sure to sign up for the seventh annual Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) “Deluxe” program set for Jan. 27-29.

The three-day workshop, sponsored by the Arizona Wildlife Federation in cooperation with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, will be held at Saguaro Lake Ranch located on the banks of the Salt River and surrounded by the spectacular Goldfield and Superstition mountains, northeast of the Phoenix metro area.

This venue is perfect for the woman who likes a little extra comfort with her outdoor experience. The ranch is a family owned bed and breakfast with lots of amenities. The workshop will include classes and outdoor activities, with a focus on those that can be enjoyed in the beautiful Sonoran desert.

Some of the classes and activities offered are:

Boating sessions on Saguaro Lake
Edible and medicinal desert plants (presented by authors Jean Groen and Don Wells)
Geocaching
Outdoor photography
Fly fishing
Birding
Dutch oven cooking
Still water paddling
Predator calling
Javelina hunting
Desert survival
Archery

There will be evening activities with campfires and entertainment.

The fee is $375 for the entire weekend. The program begins at 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 27 and ends at noon on Sunday, Jan. 29. The price includes all meals, lodging, instruction and use of equipment. An optional trail ride is also offered for an additional fee.

Space is limited to the first 40 participants, so register now. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

For more information or to register, visit the Arizona Wildlife Federation website at www.azwildlife.org, or call (480) 644-0077


Last chance to make your reservation for the Jan. 14 Arizona Game and Fish Commission Awards Banquet

Jan. 4, 2012

Come honor your fellow wildlife conservationists at this fun event; RSVP deadline is Jan. 6

The reservation deadline is approaching for those wishing to attend the annual Arizona Game and Fish Commission Awards Banquet on Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Carefree Resort & Conference Center, 37220 Mule Train Road, Carefree, AZ 85377.

The banquet recognizes individuals and organizations that have contributed to Arizona’s wildlife resources, the state’s outdoors heritage, and the mission of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

The cost to attend is $55 for an individual or $500 for a table of 10 (a $50 savings over the cost of the seats if purchased individually).

To make your reservation, download a reservation form at www.azgfd.gov/inside_azgfd/commission_awards.shtml and return the completed form with your remittance to Arizona Game and Fish Department, DOHQ, Attn: Meet the Commission, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086. Forms are requested to be received by the department by Jan. 6.

The event begins with a social hour at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards ceremony.

If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact Lynn Roe at (623) 236-7332 or lroe@azgfd.gov.

The award recipients who will be honored are:

Award of Excellence
Charlie Kelly Dian Tucker
George McKay
Sadie Snay

Youth Environmentalist of the Year
Benjamin Haney

Outdoor Writer of the Year
Tony Mandile

Media of the Year
Arizona Wildlife News (Larry Audsley, Editor, AWF)

Conservation Organization of the Year
Arizona Heritage Alliance

Conservationist of the Year
Maggie Sacher

Natural Resource Professional of the Year
Sam Spiller

Volunteer of the Year
Tom Mackin and Clair Harris

Educator of the Year
Shelly Petersen

Mentor of the Year
Youth Outdoors Unlimited

Advocate of the Year
Senator Frank Antenori

License Dealer of the Year
Western United Drug & General Store

Buck Appleby Hunter Education Instructor of the Year (new category this year)
Sam and Betty Oppenheimer

Wildlife Habitat Steward of the Year
Jim and Sue Chilton

Make your reservation today! We hope to see you there.


Help wildlife conservation: Buy a 2012 hunting or fishing license

Jan. 3, 2012

Did you know that one of the best ways to help wildlife conservation over the coming year is to buy a 2012 Arizona hunting or fishing license?

Hunters and anglers have known the conservation benefits of buying a license for years. But it’s important for those who don’t hunt and fish to understand that buying a hunting or fishing license is actually one of the best ways to support wildlife conservation in the state.

The dollars provided by license sales help manage for sustainable fish and wildlife resources for future generations to enjoy. That includes not just hunters and anglers, but birders, hikers, photographers, wildlife watchers, and other wildlife enthusiasts.

License dollars help fund habitat improvement projects or protection projects that benefit both hunted and non-hunted species. They also help fund game surveys, enforcement of wildlife laws, and public access and recreational opportunities for Arizonans.

Now is a great time to buy your 2012 license because it is good for the entire calendar year, so you can maximize your hunting and fishing enjoyment.

Remember—even if you don’t hunt or fish, you can help wildlife conservation efforts by buying a license.

Licenses can be purchased at any Game and Fish office (see www.azgfd.gov/offices for locations), at more than 300 license dealers across the state, or online at www.azgfd.gov.

For license costs and additional information, visit www.azgfd.gov/eservices/licenses.shtml.


Game And Fish To Host Public Meetings Regarding Management Of Department’s Horseshoe Ranch Property

Sept. 16, 2011

The public is invited to attend any or all of three meetings designed to take comment on the proposed development and management of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s newly acquired Horseshoe Ranch property.

The property is located about an hour north of Phoenix within the Agua Fria National Monument. The acquisition included 200 acres of deeded land coupled with nearly 70,000 acres of grazing allotments, all of which will be under Arizona Game and Fish Department management.

Game and Fish is looking for the public’s feedback and input on various management scenarios for this site that will be presented during these meetings. Each meeting will consist of an information session highlighting the property’s history, the purposes for acquiring the property, and possible development and management scenarios, followed by an open forum session where the public’s feedback and ideas regarding the scenarios will be solicited.

“We encourage people to attend and provide their thoughts,” said Randy Babb, information and education program manager for the department’s Mesa region. “The input will help us design future management for the ranch and wildlife area.”

Meetings will be held on the following dates:

Tuesday, Oct. 4, 6-8 p.m., Phoenix, Arizona Game and Fish Department headquarters, Eagle Room, 5000 W. Carefree Highway.

Wednesday, Oct. 5, 6-8 p.m., Black Canyon City, Albin’s Civic Center, 19055 E. K-Mine Road.

Thursday, Oct. 6, 6-8 p.m., Mayer/Cordes Junction area, Mayer High School, Mayer (follow signs to public meeting room).


Applicants Sought For Arizona Game And Fish Commission
Applications accepted through Oct. 7

Sept. 9, 2011

The Governor’s office is currently accepting applications for the 2012 appointment to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.

Applications must be received or postmarked by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7, 2011.

Members must be well informed on the subject of wildlife and the requirements for its conservation. In accordance with state statute the commission is required to maintain political balance. Applicants for this vacancy may be of any political affiliation. No two members may be from the same county. Since the commission currently has members from Apache, Navajo, Pima and Yavapai counties, residents of those counties may not apply for this opening. Residents of Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Yuma counties are eligible to apply.

Applications are accepted online at http://www.azgovernor.gov/BC/Application07.asp and are currently being accepted through Oct. 7, 2011. Per state statute, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission Appointment Recommendation Board shall assist the governor by interviewing, evaluating and recommending candidates. The board shall recommend at least two, but no more than five, candidates to the governor. The governor must select and appoint a commissioner from the list submitted by the board.

For further information, contact the Governor’s Office of Boards and Commissions at (602) 542-2449 or toll free at (800) 253-0883.

For more information about the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, visit azgfd.gov/commission. For more information about the Office of the Governor, please visit azgovernor.gov.


AZGFD Accepting Applications For Arizona’s Spring Hunts

Aug. 26, 2011

The 2012 Spring Turkey, Javelina, Buffalo and Bear Hunt Draw Information booklet and regulations are now available at the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s website, and applications for applying are available at azgfd.gov/draw.

Many of the spring hunts have a limited number of tags and are issued through a draw/lottery process. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011 by 7 p.m. (MST). Postmarks do not count.

At this time, applications can be mailed to the Arizona Game and Fish Department or hand-delivered to any of the seven Game and Fish offices located in Pinetop, Flagstaff, Kingman, Yuma, Tucson, Mesa and Phoenix.

Mailed applications should be addressed to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn.: Drawing Section, PO Box 74020, Phoenix, AZ 85087-1052.

Game and Fish continues to test its new online application system, and officials anticipate that it may become available during the spring drawing cycle. However, there is no set date at this time. To be notified when the system is available, you can sign up for email alerts, “like” our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early to take advantage of the “correction period.” If your application is received by the department by Sept. 23 and has a mistake on it, Game and Fish will try to contact you (three attempts by phone in a 24-hour period) and give you an opportunity to correct the mistake. After that date, mistakes can cause your application to be rejected.

Applicants are reminded a 2012 license is required to enter the spring draw. Licenses may be purchased through the draw/application process. For those that wish to purchase a license outside of the application process, 2012 licenses are anticipated to be available at Game and Fish offices and website service by Aug. 20 and at license dealers the first week of September.

“For those kids that are considering hunting, or are new to big game hunting, we are offering juniors-only hunting camps and outdoor skills workshops (see page 26 of the spring regs). These events are a perfect place to start learning about the excitement and traditions of hunting,” McMullen added.

Printed copies of the regulations are anticipated to be at license dealers and Game and Fish offices statewide by early September.

For more information about hunting and drawing information, including leftover tags remaining for fall deer, juniors-only javelina and fall turkey, visit www.azgfd.gov/draw.


Dove Season Opens Thursday

Aug. 30, 2011

It’s finally here!

Dove season, an Arizona tradition, opens on Sept. 1 and runs through Sept. 15. Even with the weekday opener, new all-day hunting hours allow many hunters to modify their schedules to take in five days straight of wing-shooting action.

All-day hunts are just the beginning. Bag limits for white-winged doves have been increased to 10. This allows hunters to fill their daily ten-bird bag limit with any mix of mourning and white-winged dove. However, for most, mourning doves will make up the majority of the dove hunter’s harvest.

Even better news, say no more to not knowing where you can hunt doves because of annexation of open lands. Arizona Game and Fish has created a clearly defined “no-hunting” map for the Phoenix metro area. Dove hunters can easily identify the boundaries of the no hunting zone and surmise where it is legal to pursue dove this season.

Due to recent state law changes, Game and Fish now regulates where firearms can be used for hunting wildlife, including in municipal boundaries. These changes have opened up many areas to hunting that had previously been closed, primarily tracts of undeveloped, uninhabited land that had been annexed by municipalities but might not be developed for years. Hunters need to thoroughly read the regulations this year to understand the new changes, open areas, and any restrictions.

Because of the extremely hot and dry conditions, birds will be concentrated and seeking out dependable water sources. Desert seeds are all but absent, and those open desert areas without a dependable water source will be unproductive. The best action will be near agricultural areas that provide food, water and resting areas. Because farm fields are private lands, best bets can be in the flight path on the lands adjacent to these farms.

Good dove hunting areas include the Gila River corridor, Aguila, Tonopah, open areas along the canal systems, along the Salt River corridor, Queen Creek, Santa Cruz Flats near Picacho, and those large desert water tanks that only you know about.

Given the popularity of dove hunting, and the new laws that open up hunting in areas that have been closed for years, hunters need to follow some “good neighbor” practices:

Observe the quarter mile rule – Hunters should have a full circle from where they are shooting equal to eight football fields (four in each direction) with no buildings or roadways in view.

Respect private property – Hunters are required to have written permission to hunt on private lands.

Hunt safely – Know your zone of fire, your target and beyond. A little hunter orange helps make you visible to others, but not to doves if you’re still. Exercising safe hunting practices is especially important during these dry conditions that will have many dove hunters concentrated around waterholes and popular hunting areas.

Be aware of high pollution advisories (HPAs) – Recent weather conditions have caused high pollution advisories. Hunters that use off-highway vehicles may have to follow use restrictions in certain areas during an HPA; for details visit azgfd.gov/ohv.

Be aware of heat advisories – The weather conditions the past few weeks have triggered multiple heat advisories and warnings. Hunters should bring plenty of water and consider not using a dog during heat advisories. For those last-minute planners, don’t forget to be sure the plug is in your shotgun, and that you have your hunting license, migratory bird stamp and plenty of shells. The license and stamp are available at Game and Fish offices and website, as well as license dealers statewide.

If you’re already running to the store, be sure to pick up all the ingredients for a no-fail dove kabob recipe to share your harvest. After that, set your alarm for 3:30 a.m., because first light comes fast in September. Happy hunting and be safe.

Visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s newly created dove hunting web page for maps, regulations, law changes, tips, and special dove hunting events at www.azgfd.gov/dove. For smartphone users, an abbreviated, mobile-friendly version is available at www.azgfd.gov/m.dove.


Draft Proposed Hunt Guidelines Posted Online
Revised Guidelines, Commission Memo, And Comments Now Available

Aug. 13, 2011

The proposed draft hunt guidelines are now posted at www.azgfd.gov/huntguidelines for the public to review. The guidelines will be presented to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission on Aug. 27 in Phoenix.

The Hunt Guidelines provide the biological and social parameters that make up the “recipes” used by wildlife managers to formulate the annual hunt recommendations (season dates, permits allocated, etc.) in which sportsmen participate. The Commission approves the hunt guidelines at its public meetings.


Dove Hunting Season Should Be Just Like The Good Old Days
1 Million Acres Opened To Hunting; 10 White-Winged Dove Limits; All Day Hunts

July 26, 2011

PHOENIX – Arizona Game and Fish has turned back the hands-of-time for dove hunters, with the launching of the new 2011-12 Arizona Dove and Band-tailed Pigeon regulations that are now available online at www.azgfd.gov/dove.

“For those of us with a little gray hair, the upcoming September 1st dove season will feel like a hunt from the olden’ days, now that we can once again hunt on much of the open, undeveloped public lands within municipalities, such as Phoenix,” said Rory Aikens, a public information officer with the Arizona Game and Fish Department for the past two decades.

Dove Season 2011
Dove Season 2011

A number of changes have been made to the dove regulations that have removed many barriers to this Arizona hunting tradition, most notably:

Hunting access re-opened to approximately a million acres of open uninhabited lands within municipalities;

Daily bag limit increased for white-winged dove to 10 birds;

Hunting hours extended until sunset statewide.

The increased access is a result of two recently revised state laws. Those changes transferred the authority to regulate the use of firearms for the take of wildlife within municipal boundaries to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.

Because of these changes, dove hunters will no longer have to drive long distances to partake in this Arizona hunting tradition.

However, Game and Fish has taken a prudent approach in its deployment of these shifted authorities and has closed hunting in many well-defined, densely populated metro areas. The flip side of this for dove hunters, especially those in the Phoenix metro area, is you will now be able to easily determine where you can and cannot hunt doves.

The closed to hunting boundaries are well defined in the notes section of the 2011-12 Arizona Dove and Band-tailed pigeon regulations. For the Phoenix metropolitan area, there is a map showing where you can and cannot hunt. The area is bounded by readily discernable roadways or waterways, such as the Gila River, and is available at www.azgfd.gov/dove.

At first glance, these regulations may seem more complicated than in years past. However, with this one-stop resource comes some complexities. Hunters need to thoroughly understand the notes section before they go hunting.

“A perfect example are the lands along the Carefree Highway corridor, between I-17 and US Route 60. These lands are primarily wide-open desert, but they fall within the city limits of Phoenix and Peoria. Before the law change, it was illegal to discharge a firearm within city limits, making hunting in these safe, open, unpopulated fringe areas also illegal – that is no longer the case,” said Aikens.

In addition to the closed area descriptions, hunters are reminded of the quarter-mile law, and while that is a minimum, responsible, ethical hunters will find an area where there is plenty of open space in all directions to hunt, in order to prevent any conflicts with other recreationists or homeowners, and to have an enjoyable hunting experience.

The early dove season opens on a Thursday this year, and runs from Sept. 1-15, statewide, with a 10-bird daily bag limit of mourning or white-winged dove. Printed copies of the dove regulations are anticipated to be available the first week of August statewide at license dealers and Game and Fish offices.

Dove hunters are reminded they will need a general hunting license and an Arizona migratory bird stamp. Both are available online, at Game and Fish offices and licensed dealers.

Overall, dove populations are doing well in Arizona. Many farms are growing grains, including corn, which are excellent dove attractants. Working a corridor in these areas will bode well for many hunters.

In addition, monsoonal rains have been adequate throughout the state bringing much needed new growth to desert flora, another excellent dove attractant. Finding a lone water tank in these newly opened desert areas could also provide some fast wing shooting action.

In either case, success will come to those that scout their areas the weekend before they go hunting, as much can happen between now and that 3 a.m. wake up on opening day.

For more information about the recent law changes, the Phoenix metro no hunting map, a PDF copy of the dove regulations, or to buy your hunting license and dove stamp visit www.azgfd.gov/dove. Basic season information, boundary description, and other field reference facts are available for smartphone users at www.azgfd.gov/m.dove.


Arizona Game and Fish Expresses Concerns Over Proposed Cuts To Critical Programs That Help States Manage And Conserve Wildlife

July 22, 2011

The Arizona Game and Fish Department would like to make constituents aware of drastic funding cuts to wildlife conservation programs contained in the federal Interior & Environment spending bill for Fiscal Year 2012. These cuts could have a significant negative impact on wildlife management in Arizona. The U.S. House of Representatives could vote on this measure soon, possibly in the next several days.

Among the programs affected are:

State Wildlife Grants (SWG). The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program would be hit with a 64 percent funding reduction compared to FY 2011 ($22 million vs. $61.9 million) and a 75 percent reduction compared to the $90 million funded in FY 2010. The SWG program was created by Congress in 2000 to assist states with their voluntary and proactive efforts to protect the more than 12,000 at-risk wildlife species around the U.S. from becoming endangered. SWG is the principal source of funding for implementation of State Wildlife Action Plans (Arizona’s plan was developed in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders and conservation partners). In Arizona, SWG dollars are matched with state Heritage funds, and combined, they make it possible to monitor and manage at-risk wildlife populations, manage and restore critical habitats, and prevent further decline of species. Many species, including bald eagles, Sonoran pronghorn, black-footed ferrets, Chiricahua leopard frogs, and many more have benefitted from SWG funding. These funds enable Arizona to be proactive, not reactive, placing conservation measures on the ground to manage species and preclude the need for their federal listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act). This program would be hit with a 95.2 percent funding reduction compared to FY 2011 ($2.85 million vs. $59.9 million) and a 96.7 percent reduction compared to the $85.3 million funded in FY 2010. The Section 6 funding provides grants to states to participate in a wide array of voluntary conservation projects for candidate, proposed and listed species. The program provides funding for species and habitat conservation actions on non-federal land and provides federal funding to meet ESA’s mandate for the federal government to work with the states. Elimination of this funding would make it more difficult for the states to have adequate participation in decisions affecting wildlife conservation and land use policy.

The North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). This program would be hit with a 46.5 percent funding reduction compared to FY 2011 ($20 million vs. $37.4 million) and a 58 percent reduction compared to the $47.6 million funded in FY 2010. NAWCA provides matching grants to organizations and individuals that have developed partnerships to carry out wetlands conservation projects for the benefit of wetlands-associated migratory birds and other wildlife. Funding through NAWCA has been used by state agencies and partners to both restore and conserve more than 25.9 million acres of wetlands, riparian areas, and upland habitats. Eliminating funding will exacerbate declines of migratory birds and other fish and wildlife dependent on wetlands.

Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act. This program would be 100 percent defunded from its FY 2011 level of $3.99 million. The program provides matching grants to support public-private partnerships that promote the long-term conservation of neotropical migratory birds. Elimination of this funding would negatively impact projects that support the wintering grounds of neotropical birds that are found in Arizona. Many of these birds, such as the elegant trogon or blue-throated hummingbird, are seen nowhere else in the United States and draw bird watchers from all over the world to Arizona, enhancing local economies.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has sent a letter to Arizona’s representatives in the U.S. House, expressing concern over negative impacts the cuts will have to Arizona’s wildlife conservation efforts and requesting that the proposed cuts be restored or at least be proportionally funded. These programs are very important to wildlife management in Arizona and for maintaining Arizona’s voice and participation in conservation of wildlife otherwise regulated by federal laws.

Arizona Game and Fish acknowledges that, given the current economic situation, there are no easy solutions, and important programs won’t be immune from reductions to address the budget deficit. State wildlife agency leadership and experience have generated some of Arizona’s most successful and productive wildlife programs. The department is concerned that the drastic and disproportionate funding reductions for the aforementioned programs jeopardize that success story by eliminating state programs and transferring the responsibility for much of Arizona’s wildlife future to already seriously overburdened federal agencies.

If you have an opinion about the proposed cuts, one way or the other, and wish to contact your representative in Congress, contact information for Arizona’s U.S. Congressional representatives can be found at http://www.house.gov/representatives/.

For links to fact sheets on the SWG, Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund Grants, and NAWCA programs, visit http://www.azgfd.gov/w_c/wildlifeLegisProposedCuts.shtml.


Agencies Working To Open Recreation Opportunities In Burned Areas Of The Apache National Forest

July 21, 2011

SPRINGERVILLE, Ariz. – Several agencies are working together to assess and open burned areas of the Apache portion of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNF) to outdoor recreation, where safe and appropriate to do so.

“We fully recognize the public desire to continue recreation on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests is paramount. Getting the Apache side of the forest open for all users is a huge undertaking, because of the vast area impacted by the fire. It will be a gradual progression of identifying and removing safety hazards. Reopening the severely burned portions could take several years dependent on manpower and resources available,” according to Jim Zornes, ASNF deputy forest supervisor. “These hazardous conditions, such as flash flooding and dead-standing trees, pose exceptional problems; however, ultimately, safety is the responsibility of recreationists, hunters, and forest users.”

Three key issues determine all decisions being made: public safety, protection of public property, and protection of natural resources.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, and Arizona Department of Transportation are in ongoing discussions to determine access protocol to portions of Game Management Units 1 and 27 that were impacted by the Wallow Fire. Discussions include access roads, dispersed camping, and motorized big game retrieval.

All fall hunts will occur and take place as scheduled. Protocols will be agreed upon and the public will be able to access this information at www.fs.fed.us/r3/asnf and www.azgfd.gov. Ongoing map updates will be supplied through these websites and hard copies at the Pinetop Game and Fish office, the Apache-Sitgreaves Supervisor’s office, and local ranger district offices.

“Game and Fish fully understands the ASNFs’ very difficult situation with the enormity of the Wallow Fire and all its associated issues. We deeply appreciate the Forest working diligently with us in a close relationship to reopen many of the fire-impacted areas in such a short time-frame. The Forest has been receptive to our suggestions and has gone out of their way to ensure hunts take place that have been scheduled this fall. We ask the hunting community and general public to understand the scale of this situation and to have tolerance and patience as we all work together to restore access back to the National Forest lands affected by fire,” said Jon Cooley, regional supervisor in the Pinetop Game and Fish office.


Drawing Results Now Available For Arizona’s Fall Big Game Hunts

Many Prime Coues Deer Tags And Others Remain; Offered First-Come, First-Served

July 19, 2011

PHOENIX – Let the planning begin. The drawing results for Arizona’s 2011 fall big game hunting permits are now available at the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s website at www.azgfd.gov/wildfires. Draw results are also available by telephone at (602) 942-3000 by selecting option two.

The more than 107,000 applicants, an increase of 3 percent from last year, can find out if they were issued a permit-tag for deer, fall turkey, fall juniors-only javelina, bighorn sheep, fall buffalo, or pheasant by providing their sportsman’s ID and date of birth.

Game and Fish officials report that hunt permit-tags will be mailed out to successful applicants no later than Aug. 12 (archery deer tags will be mailed out earlier). Refunds for unsuccessful and rejected applicants will be mailed out to applicant “A” no later than Aug. 23 (less application fees).

For those individuals who missed the drawing application deadline or were unsuccessful in getting a permit-tag, there are more than 5,767 hunt permit-tags remaining. These remaining tags will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and include more than 4,600 deer tags, more than 700 fall turkey tags, and nearly 400 tags for the juniors-only fall javelina hunts.

There are two methods to obtain a leftover tag. Applications will first only be accepted by U.S. mail (U.S. Postal Service) beginning at 8 a.m. (MST) on Aug. 1. Starting on Aug. 8 at 8 a.m. (MST), hunters can obtain a leftover tag in person at any of the seven Arizona Game and Fish Department offices. A list of office locations is available at www.azgfd.gov/offices.

For a detailed listing of leftover permits which includes hunt number, number of permits available and unit number, visit www.azgfd.gov/draw and click on the “Leftover Permits for 2011 Fall Hunts” link under the “2011-12 Arizona Hunting and Trapping Regulations, season dates and drawing information” section.

Hopi hunts with leftover tags are available to everyone, tribal and non-tribal members. For those who qualify, there are military hunts available for Fort Huachuca. Call (520) 533-8763 for additional information.

For those that applied for a fall turkey permit in unit 1 (hunt number 4501) or unit 27 (hunt number 4518), there was a reduction in permitted tags issued through the draw compared to what was listed in the regulations. On July 8, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission voted to reduce the number of permit-tags by 1,075 permits due to the Wallow Fire. The commission action was taken after the application deadline, but before the draw was processed.

Hunter Clinics And Seminars

Getting prepared and planning for an upcoming hunt is almost as fun as the hunt itself. It’s also the most important. Many of the local hunter conservation groups are hosting hunting clinics to teach the basics, all the way up to how to score a trophy. Many of these clinics offer biology and ecology of the species; hunting tips and techniques; knowledgeable guest speakers, and other great information from experienced hunters. The popular hunting clinics are open to all, not just tag holders, and include:
July 30: Arizona Elk Society Elk Hunting Clinic
Aug. 13: Arizona Deer Association Hunting Clinic
Sept. 24: Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society Clinic

For more details on these clinics, upcoming hunting camps for first-time hunters, and events hosted for families and juniors-only hunts, visit www.azgfd.gov/outdoorskills.

Note to media: The Arizona Game and Fish Department does not receive any of the state’s general funds to operate. Wildlife conservation and management of the state’s game animals, which also benefits many non-game species, is made possible through a user-pay, user-benefit system. Funding from the direct sale of hunting and fishing licenses, big game tags, and matching funds from the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act (a federal excise tax that sportsmen pay on a variety of hunting and angling related equipment) remain the primary sources for funding wildlife conservation in North America.


New Web Page Has Information On Arizona Fire Impacts To Wildlife And Outdoor Recreation

June 11, 2011

Arizona is currently experiencing one of its worst wildfire seasons on record. As of June 10, 2011, the Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona, which began on May 29, has burned about 400,000 acres, making it the second-worst wildfire in the state’s history thus far. The fire is five percent contained as of this writing.

Wallow_Fire_Elk_1_web.jpg
Wallow Fire Elk – Arizona Game & Fish Department

Two other major wildfires are also burning in the state: the Horseshoe Two Fire, which began May 8 and has consumed more than 125,000 acres in the southeast part of the state (40 percent contained as of June 10), and the Murphy Fire, which began May 30 and has burned more than 65,000 acres in the southern part of the state (75 percent contained as of June 10). The state is extremely dry and is at high risk of other wildfires until summer monsoon rains arrive.

Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the communities that have been so significantly impacted by these fires, and our heartfelt thanks go to the firefighters and support personnel who are diligently working to bring these fires under control. Game and Fish currently has more than 30 wildlife officers working with the incident management teams or local law enforcement in support of the firefighting efforts.

Hunters, anglers, wildlife watchers and other outdoor recreationists will undoubtedly have questions about what impact the fires will have on wildlife, hunting, fishing and outdoor recreational opportunities in those areas. We have developed a new web page with information that may answer some of your questions. New and updated information will continue to be added to this web page as it becomes available.

To view the web page, visit www.azgfd.gov/wildfires.


There Is A Lot Going On At Your Local Urban Fishery

This is the third stocking of catfish this fall season for Phoenix metro and Tucson waters; trout stockings at Payson’s Green Valley Lakes begin this Friday, Oct. 22; buegill stockings take place the week of October 25-30; and the annual largemouth bass stocking is the week of Oct. 25-30 (NOTE: these are 6-10 inch bass and under the legal size. They bite like crazy, but remember to release them back into the water for the next angler and to reach legal size).

TROUT STOCKINGS BEGIN AT GREEN VALLEY LAKES FRIDAY

Payson residents and visitors can “welcome-back-the-trout” to beautiful Green Valley Park on Friday, October 22.

Over 1,000 Colorado-grown rainbow trout will be delivered to kick off the trout stocking season that features 11-14 inch fish delivered every two weeks. An extra 50% more trout have been ordered.

Fall is a wonderful time to visit the rim country, see the changing colors, and relax and fish along the grassy shorelines of this popular urban fishery just a mile west of Highway 87 on Main Street.

The fish stocking program at Green Valley is different from all other Urban Fishing Program waters. Rainbow trout are the only species stocked by the Department during an eight month season that starts in mid October and continues through early May. No other fish species are stocked at Green Valley; however, good populations of bass, crappie and sunfish can be found in this productive lake ecosystem.

Trout can be caught on small spinners and spoons; by fly-fishermen using nymphs or wet flies; and by baits such as scented dough baits, worms or salmon eggs. Remember to use lighter line in the 2-6 pound range, smaller hooks and a minimal amount of weight. Limits for trout are 4 per day for licensed anglers and 2 trout for children under age 14.

BLUEGILL AND BASS STOCKINGS COMING NEXT WEEK

A truckload of 13,000 bluegills will be delivered to all Urban Fishing Program waters during the week of October 25-30.

Catchable size bluegills are delivered twice each year to Urban waters, in the fall and spring. Bluegills are fun to catch for anglers of all ages and will bite all day long. The best baits are mealworms or small pieces of nightcrawlers. Use lighter tackle, smaller hooks in the size 10-12 range, and small bobbers for the best bites. Daily bag limits for sunfish (bluegill, redear sunfish and hybrid sunfish) are 10 fish per person at Urban Lakes and 5 fish per day at Urban Ponds.

The annual stocking of largemouth bass is scheduled at the same time, with over 9,000 fish on order.

Bass will be from 6-10 inches in length—below the 13-inch minimum legal size. Juvenile bass are stocked to help rebuild the resident bass populations in our lakes. They are not stocked for anglers to catch and keep (right away) like catfish, bluegill or trout.

Regulations require that anglers carefully release these young bass unharmed back into the water so they can grow to catchable size in the future. Please help conserve our bass populations by practicing proper release techniques.

URBAN FISHING REPORT

This month offers some of the best fishing available at Urban Fishing Program lakes.

Catfish stockings have been going on for the past five weeks with more on the way the week of October 18-23. Fishing for catfish is good to excellent for anglers using shrimp, stink baits and worms on the bottom.

Stockings of bluegill sunfish will occur from October 25-30 at all lakes. Try mealworms, worms and corn 3-5 feet under a small bobber for bluegill.

Finally, juvenile largemouth bass under the 13-inch legal length are being stocked at the end of October to help rebuild bass populations. Please use proper catch and release techniques to put the bass back unharmed.

Trout fishing will be excellent at Payson’s Green Valley Lakes following the first stocking on October 22. Try Powerbait, worms and small spinners and spoons for the 11-14 inch trout.

STOCKING SCHEDULE

All UFP waters in Phoenix and Tucson areas – Last stocked catfish on October 6. Next stocking, catfish, the week of October 18-23; bluegill, the week of October 25-30.

Green Valley Lakes (Payson) – Last stocked trout May 7. Next stocking, Friday, October 22 first trout delivery of season!


SPECIAL NOTICE: July 2, 2010
Manager: Eric Swanson (623) 236-7263
Specialist: Joann Hill (623) 236-7268
Call 1-800-352-0700 to report fishing violations

ATTENTION ANGLERS
Problems encountered with the July 1 catfish stockings; only half the Urban Fishing Program lakes are stocked

Anglers are advised that, due to unanticipated problems with the July 1 channel catfish stockings, only 10 out of the 20 Urban Fishing Program lakes received fish. Consequently, fishing conditions at some lakes for the July 4 holiday weekend will only be fair to poor. Below is a listing of waters that were and were not stocked.

Urban Fishing Program waters STOCKED with catfish in fair condition include:

Lakeside Lake (Tucson)

Kennedy Lake (Tucson)

Silverbell Lake (Tucson)

Sahuarita Lake (Sahuarita)

Red Mountain Lake (Mesa)

Water Ranch Lake (Gilbert)

Veterans Oasis Lake (Chandler)

Kiwanis Lake (Tempe) (50 percent of normal)

Alvord Lake (Phoenix) (50 percent of normal)

Desert West (Phoenix)

Waters NOT STOCKED include:

Desert Breeze Lake (Chandler)

Riverview Lake (Mesa)

Rio Vista Pond (Peoria)

Chaparral Lake (Scottsdale)

Evelyn Hallman Pond (Tempe)

Cortez Lake (Phoenix)

Encanto Lake (Phoenix)

Papago Ponds (Phoenix)

Steele Indian School Pond (Phoenix)

Surprise Lake (Surprise)

Many of the 1.5- to 3-pound catfish arrived in Arizona in a stressed, weakened condition early July 1. The vendor that has been delivering excellent fish for more than seven years explained that his fish pond supplier apparently hadn’t taken the usual measures to ensure the 14,000 pounds of catfish were strong, fit and unstressed at the point of loading into the two large delivery trucks. Consequently, the 8,000 fish grew weaker as they travelled the 1,600 miles over two days to get to Arizona Urban lakes.

Game and Fish biologists worked relentlessly with the delivery crews to sort out the strongest fish for release into the lakes, but many fish had to be removed from the lakes at the point of stocking.

It is anticipated that the catfish vendor will return to Arizona next week around July 7-9 with a fresh load of catfish to stock all waters that did not get fish, and to add more fish to Alvord, Kiwanis and Veterans Oasis Lakes.

This is the first catfish delivery out of the last 36, spanning a three-year period, in which all lakes were not successfully stocked as scheduled. We apologize for not being able to provide you with the high-quality level of fishing you would expect at our Urban Program Lakes this 4th of July weekend.


July 1, 2010 – Grants available to hunting-focused nonprofit organizations

Innovative program funds first-time hunter clinics and camps; deadline to apply is Aug. 9

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department has $30,000 in grant funding to assist local nonprofit hunting organizations to implement hands-on events designed for first time hunters in an effort to recruit new hunters, and teach them about wildlife conservation in Arizona.

The grant program is a pass-through grant program funded by the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s (NSSF) Hunting Heritage Partnership, which supports state agencies’ efforts to expand hunter recruitment and retention.

Applications are being accepted now, and funding will be awarded through a competitive application process. Applications and any supporting materials may be submitted by U.S. mail, fax, or e-mail, and must be received by Monday, Aug. 9 by 5 p.m. (MST). Postmarks do not count.

“This grant program gets funding to the core engine of continuing Arizona’s hunting heritage – the state’s sportsmen’s organizations,” said Denise Raum, Game and Fish hunter recruitment coordinator. “As volunteer-based, nonprofit organizations, funding a weekend event can be a barrier. This grant, and others like it, bridges that gap allowing them to do great work.”

Applicants must be a nonprofit organization based in Arizona, have a mission related to hunter recruitment, and have a certificate of general liability insurance. To be eligible the proposal must include, but is not limited to, the following requirements:

Promote or facilitate hunter recruitment and retention (examples include hunting camps for rabbit, dove, quail, squirrel, and predator/furbearing);

Hunt using a firearm;

Available to the public;

Provide family activities at camp;

Complete best practices training;

Complete project by Jan. 31, 2010;

Submit a survey / evaluation of the event.

Grant funds cannot be used to purchase hunting or fishing licenses/tags/stamps, group banquets, raffle prizes,; for-profit projects, or hunting competitions.

Application packets can be obtained from the Game and Fish website at www.azgfd.gov/getoutside under “Hunting Heritage Partnership: Hunter Recruitment Camp Project” or by contacting Hunter Recruitment and Retention Coordinator Denise Raum at draum@azgfd.gov or (623) 236-7567.

Submit completed applications and supporting materials to: Arizona Game and Fish Department, IEWR, Attn.: HRR Coordinator, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, Arizona 85086, by e-mail to draum@azgfd.gov, or fax (623) 236-7903 Attn.: HRR Coordinator.

“Studies show that a mentored-experience is the best way to recruit new hunters. This partnership with local organizations is a great way to reach families that have an interest in hunting, but they don’t know where or how to get started,” said Raum.

Grant awards will be announced on or about August 16, 2010.

More than $400,000 was awarded to seven states by NSSF through the Hunting Heritage Partnership this year. Arizona received $40,000. The balance, not being passed through, is to be used to promote, advertise, and administer the best practices training of the grant program.

To learn more about the department’s efforts to preserve the hunting heritage, visit www.azgfd.gov/hhwg.

The recruitment and retention of hunters, anglers, trappers, and shooters is important to continue the successful management of Arizona’s wildlife. Funding for the management and conservation of game animals is funded by dollars generated by the sale of licenses, hunt tags and matching funds from federal excise taxes hunters pay on guns, ammunition, and related equipment – not through the state’s general fund. However, driving on a country road and enjoying roaming elk herds, antelope on the range or ducks in flight are enjoyed by all citizens of Arizona and beyond. Did you know regulated hunting has never resulted in the extinction of a species? On the contrary, most game species populations are more stable now then when there were no hunting regulations.


June 30, 2010 – Big Trout
Big trout being stocked to ignite fishing excitement over July 4th weekend
Some monsters weigh between 5 to 10 pounds

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is stocking four lakes in different parts of the state with larger-than-usual rainbow trout this week to give anglers an even better reason to be on the water over the 4th of July weekend.

Some of the “incentive” trout weigh between 5 and 10 pounds and all of the fish are at least 50 percent larger than those normally stocked by Game and Fish, with all of them longer than 15 inches.

“There’s no better time than now to head to our cool and scenic high-country lakes and experience the thrill of catching some of these large, feisty fish,” said Scott Gurtin, Game and Fish hatchery program manager.

The four lakes being stocked are Woods Canyon Lake on the Mogollon Rim, about 30 miles east of Payson; City Reservoir near Williams; Rose Canyon Lake on Mount Lemmon near Tucson; and Fain Lake near Prescott.

“With fish this large, we usually sprinkle them in over an entire summer of fish stockings across all the lakes we stock,” Gurtin said. “This week our normal fish stockings continue, however, we’re stocking a large number of these incentive-size rainbow trout into the four lakes.”

A valid Arizona Fishing License (some licenses require a trout stamp, too) is needed to try for these large fish, and one can be purchased either at license dealers, at Game and Fish offices, or online at www.azgfd.gov/eservices/licenses.shtml. Children under 14 are allowed to fish for free.

This time of year the trout tend to go to the deeper, colder water. Even the newly stocked incentive fish will head for that deep water as well. The best way to catch these fish is to drop your line and bait as deep into the lakes as possible. You’ll want to use a light test line as these trout are fairly smart and will see the line in the water. Try a spinnerbait or a large night crawler worm to get their attention. These larger fish tend to go for bait-type fish as opposed to the average fly bait.

Gurtin added that there are many other high-country lakes and streams offering good fishing opportunities, cool temperatures and outstanding scenery. “Fishing is a great way to get outdoors and spend quality time on your own or with friends and family,” he said.

To learn more about where to go and other aspects of fishing in Arizona, go online to www.azgfd.gov/fishing.


Fish Stockings

Fish Stockings: All 20 of the Urban Fishing Program lakes in the Tucson and Phoenix areas are scheduled for catfish stockings the week of June 28-July 3. There will be no further stockings until mid September.

SPRING CATFISH STOCKING SEASON ENDS THE WEEK OF JUNE 28-JULY 3

The spring catfish stocking season that includes eight deliveries of fish every other week will conclude the week of June 28-July 3. Every stocking of 14,000 pounds of 14-20 inch channel catfish is delivered to the 20 Urban Fishing Program waters in the Phoenix and Tucson areas.

Warming lake temperatures and air temperatures make it impractical to haul live fish 1,600 miles away from Arkansas to Arizona’s urban lakes and ponds during the heat of the summer. Consequently, there are no scheduled fish stockings for July, August, and the first half of September.

Catfish stockings will resume again in mid-September when lake and air temperatures cool enough to safely transport fish across the hot desert and into the urban waters. Anglers can still fish for catfish, bass and bluegill at urban waters throughout the summer, but the action is generally slower.

FOUR YEAR URBAN FISHING PROGRAM AGREEMENTS APPROVED

On June 25, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission unanimously approved the four year renewal of the Urban Fishing Program and Interagency Agreements with the 11 partnering cities. The agreements ensure all urban fishing operations and stockings will continue to at least July 1, 2014.

Over the past few months, city and town councils have voted to approve funding and management support for the continuance of the highly popular Urban Fishing Program in their communities. The agreements act as partnership contracts that delineate the roles and responsibilities of the Arizona Game and Fish Department and participating municipalities in conducting park, lake and fish management at the 21 Urban Fishing Program locations. The agreements ensure that parks and lakes are operated and maintained, fish stockings contine, fishing laws are enforced, and fishing outreach and promotions are conducted.

Despite state and city agencies being financially strapped in these difficult economic times, it is notable that funding commitments and support by the Game and Fish Department and the 11 participating cities were made to continue operating the top urban fishing program in the nation.

Participation in the Urban Fishing Program has increased 17% in the past two years due to the convenience, affordability and accessibility of this well-managed, high quality fishing opportunity for anglers of all ages and abilities. The over 58,000 urban residents that participate in the program annually generate over $6.8 million to the local economies.

URBAN FISHING REPORT

Fishing for catfish continues to be good to excellent the week of stocking, and is fair after that. Fishing action picks up when the sun goes down and the cats start to roam for food. Top baits in June have been shrimp, mackerel and stink baits fished on the bottom. The final catfish stocking of the spring season will take place the week of June 28-July 3 at all Phoenix and Tucson area Urban waters.

Bass action has been slow but steady with some nice 2-4 pounders being caught and released on 4-inch drop shot worms and small swim baits.

Sunfish continue to bite well on small worms fished under a pencil bobber. In early June, an 8.7 pound, 29-inch channel catfish was caught at Kiwanis Lake in Tempe and is the current leader for Big Fish-of-the-Year honors.

At Green Valley lakes (Payson), anglers are enjoying great action on bluegill, crappie and bass in the early mornings and evenings. Try worms or mealworms fished under a bobber for sunfish, or Senkos for bass at Green Valley

STOCKING SCHEDULE

All UFP waters in Phoenix area and Tucson area – Last stocked catfish on June 16. Next stocking, Catfish the week of June 28-July 3. (Note: this is the final spring stocking before the summer break.) Green Valley Lakes (Payson) – Last stocked trout on May 7. No further stockings until October trout deliveries resume.

To learn more about the Urban Fishing Program, signup for newsletters and more, visit www.azgfd.gov/urbanfishing.


Arizona Wolf Conservation Participation Approved

Commission approves cooperative agreement to continue participation in Arizona wolf conservation

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission today approved participation in a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will guide Mexican wolf reintroduction in Arizona and New Mexico.

Arizona has participated in collaborative wolf conservation under several previous MOUs, which designated the Arizona Game and Fish Department, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Forest Service, White Mountain Apache Tribe, and USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services as lead agencies for the project. Signatory cooperators included Greenlee, Navajo and Graham counties in Arizona, Sierra and Otero counties in New Mexico, and the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believed the last MOU, approved in 2003, expired in 2008. Although all other signatories continued to operate under the 2003 MOU without the USFWS, the new MOU brings the agency back into the formal partnership, which is considered a crucial step in reestablishing a viable framework for interagency collaboration to make progress on the reintroduction effort.

The new MOU must now be approved by the other potential signatories before it is complete.

Arizona’s involvement in Mexican wolf conservation began in the mid-1980s, with exploration of the feasibility of reintroducing wolves in Arizona and New Mexico. In 1996, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service selected the Blue Range area in east-central Arizona as the reintroduction site, and the first 11 captive-reared wolves were released there in 1998. The Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area encompasses east-central Arizona and west-central New Mexico. The Fort Apache Indian Reservation also plays an integral part in the reintroduction effort.


Summer Officially Begins June 21-22

Summer officially begins June 21-22 with the summer solstice. Now it can get officially hot — ready?

Our every-changing weather sometimes has the fish confused, so many lakes are experiencing sporadic bites, especially the desert impoundments. But it’s nice to hear so many anglers commenting about the need to don jackets at times — enjoy it while you can.

This is the tail end of the better bite in the high country lakes, and likely the tail end of the better daytime fishing in the desert lakes. But it’s still a great time of year to go fishing. Almost seems like a contradiction. A morning on a lake this time of the year is reward enough — catching a fish is a wiggling bonus.

In the high country lakes, start fishing at or just before first light and then again at last light. During the prime daylight hours, trolling or fishing deep are the two techniques to deploy unless you head back to camp for one of those whispering pine late-morning naps (like I do), after a late breakfast of pan fried trout of course.

However, Big Lake in the White Mountains still seems to be producing some larger trout. The trout may move deep any time now, but at least as of last weekend they still seemed to be working the shallows, so were accessible to shore anglers. Once the tout do move deep, the best fishing will be from a boat — at least until the Monsoon T-storms cool things down.

If you want a mixed bag of fish, try either Fool Hollow Lake or Show Low Lake. Both are within the City limits of Show Low, but neither seems like it when you are on the water. Show Low Lake has received some nice incentive-sized rainbow trout, and our surveys show it likely has a recrod-breaking walleye lurking in its depths. You can also catch largemouth and smallmouth bass here.

Fool Hollow is a state park, with terrific camping facilities — including RV hookups. Follow Hollow is okay for trout, but can be very good for smallmouth bass and largemouth bass at times, and isn’t too shabby for walleye as well. Try fishing for trout at first light, switching to smallmouth bass along the dam, going into camp for a trout brunch, then hitting the shallows for largemouth bass (some could be spawning) during the warmer afternoon. Then at dusk, get out your walleye lures.

In the warmwater lakes, we are looking at the first quarter of the waxing moon on June 18 and the full moon on June 26. As the moon gets brighter, submersible lights become less and less viable at attracting plankton, shad and predatory sport-fish, but that doesn’t mean night fishing isn’t viable.

On moon bright nights, try using black-colored lures with lots of vibration (scent can help). Poppers can be effective, but sometimes you’ll get a hit-and-miss, so be prepared to follow up with a flutter-down lure like a spoon, curly tail or Senko.

It sound like the striped bass finally spawned at Lake Powell. Usually, the I fish spawning stripers in April at Powell. Just goes to show the unusual nature of the weather and associated biological patterns this year. It’s almost an Alice in Wonderland topsy-turvy world of nature.

This makes it difficult to predict fishing patterns, but interesting to try and unravel the weekly fish-pattern mystery (when we aren’t all confused).

If you want great fishing away from the crowds, try Lees Ferry right now. June is one of those in between months at the Ferry — the spawn is over, yet the cicada bite has yet to begin. Yet it’s a great time to fish for wild rainbows in one of the most spectacular backdrops in Arizona.

Closer to home, we are still stocking the Lower Salt River with trout. Yep, you can float the river using a inter tube and fish at the same time. It’s a hoot. Great for a Dad’s day outing. Put on plenty of sunscreen.

A tremendous opportunity right now is channel catfish. This is the transition time when they are still active during the day, although the fishing may be a little better at night. By July, it’ll be nighttime fishing for cats. The great thing is, you can fish from shore, catch lots of fish, and have line-stripping action that will put smiles in your daydreams. It doesn’t even matter which lake, although Saguaro and Alamo are known for their aggressive catfish. But the action is good at Pleasant, Bartlett, Roosevelt, Canyon — you name it.

Remember you can have two baits per line in Arizona, and chumming is legal. Set up your line with two hooks. Add corn to one and your favorite catfish bait (hot dogs, chicken liver etc.) to the other. Then chum with canned corn. Set your pole up on two forked sticks (or rod holders) after casting out and reeling in any slack. Then put a bobber on your line between two of your fishing pole’s eyelets, and set it so the line spools freely through the bobber. That will give you a strike indicator. Then sit back, have a cool one, and wait for the fun to begin.

Be sure to get Dad out fishing this weekend. He deserves it. Go catch some memories. Maybe I’ll see you out there.

PS: I will be in the Colorado Rockies for a couple of weeks, so Jim Harken will be pulling together the weekly fishing reports from our six regions.

Fishing News

Put a smile on dad’s face: Treat him to a fishing trip for Father’s Day
By Rory Aikens

Want to put a smile on dad’s face this Sunday – treat him to a surprise fishing trip on Saturday. He won’t expect a thing until the alarm goes off at O-dark-30 and you hand him a cup of freshly brewed coffee and a bakery-fresh bagel.

Can you imagine his wide-eyed surprise?

Just in case, you might want to chat with dear old dad beforehand just to find out what he likes to fish for the most – trout, bass, catfish, crappie or sunfish. Already know – so much the better.

Cool so far — got you’re thinking cap working? Okay then, here’s some possibilities to mull over.

Trout: Believe it or not, you don’t have to go far to catch some trout. Try the Lower Salt River below Stewart Mountain Dam (Saguaro Lake). Our Game and Fish hatchery folks stock rainbows at the Water Users area, you know, where the tubers put in? Hey, maybe dad will want to go tubing and fishing. Be sure to get an extra tube for the ice chest and a wheelbarrow to carry his grin.

You know, it’s really not all that far to some of our gurgling trout streams. Oak Creek is stocked weekly. Wet Beaver Creek is a ball. West Clear Creek is an adventure (dad like to hike?). Christopher Creek is the place to bring out the Tom Sawyer in good ole dad. Canyon Creek is THE place if your dad is an ardent fly angler. Sheeps Crossing along the Lower Colorado River in the White Mountains is full of golden surprises – native Apache trout.

Or better yet, you might want to go all out and maybe give your dad the best trout fishing gift of all time – a guided fishing trip to Lees Ferry. It doesn’t get much better than that for wild rainbows – anywhere, anytime. Go for it.

For bass, you really need a boat this time of year (there are a couple of other alternatives). If you don’t have one, there are boat rentals at Lake Pleasant, Bartlett, Roosevelt, Saguaro, Apache and Canyon lakes. Imagine the smile on dad’s face when you take him to one of these desert jewels and there is a boat waiting. Keep a camera handy.

If you’re a little shy of mullah for the boat, no sweat, try Tempe Town Lake. Texas-rigged lizards (4- or 6-inch) can work great.

Does dad know how to drop-shot? No sweat, got it covered. Visit a local sporting goods store and have the pro staff show you how – then you can teach dad. Cabelas, Bass Pro, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Fisherman’s Choice are some of the places with pro fishing staff to help you out.

Wouldn’t that be something for the photo album (or screen saver). Maybe take a photo with your cell phone and send it to all the relatives.

Another superb fishery for bass is the lagoons at Papago Park. Go to the Phoenix zoo and look to the left while facing the entrance. Those lagoons used to be the Game and Fish hatchery ponds. Got the picture? They are now a unique blue ribbon urban bass fishery. Hey, catch a few fish, visit the zoo or maybe the Desert Botanical Gardens.

For catfish, well, you can just take your pick. Cats are plentiful in all our fun desert lakes, are simple to catch, and you don’t need a boat or fancy gear. By the way, our award-winning urban lakes are stocked with channel catfish.

Just cozy up to a relaxing pieces of shoreline at some lake, take some hot dogs, a couple cans of corn and maybe some chicken liver (try soaking it in garlic over night), and you are good to go. Use the corn to chum. Cold ones in the cooler are optional.

Now for crappie, it’s boat time. In fact, the best fishing will be at night. Try Roosevelt, Bartlett or Alamo lakes. Get a bucket of live minnows, some small crappie jigs, and ultra-light fishing poles and you are all set.

But if you don’t have a boat, life is still good. Go for sunfish – especially bluegill. It’s Huck Finn time – bobbers and worms. Find a nice cove with submerged boulders or rock in the back, then toss out the bobber and bait, and simply wait. When the bobber bobbles, it’s signaling bluegill time.

By the way, bluegill fillets lightly dusted with flour or corn meal and flash cooked in hot oil is a superb dad’s day meal. Or any day for that matter.

Some places for bluegill include Canyon Lake in the Boulder Recreation area (there is a fishing pier), Saguaro Lake at any of the fishing piers in the Keyhole Area or the Butcher Jones Recreation Area, or any urban lake. Need any more tips? Visit the Arizona Game and Fish’s weekly fishing report a www.azgfd.gov. You’ll find fishing tips galore. There is even an interactive fishing location map to help figure out where to go.


Bighorn Sheep Seen On Canyon Lake From Dolly

See bighorn sheep on Canyon Lake with the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Dolly Steamboat.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is partnering with the Dolly Steamboat at Canyon Lake to host a public workshop to see and learn about the state’s desert bighorn sheep.

This guided wildlife viewing experience starts with an evening classroom presentation where participants can learn about bighorn sheep, their natural history, management and historical significance from a wildlife biologist. The following morning, participants will join biologists for a morning aboard the Dolly Steamboat where the group will tour the lake to view wild bighorn sheep in their natural environment.

The presentation will be held on June 25 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Game and Fish’s regional office located at 7200 E. University Drive in Mesa. The lake tour and viewing will take place on June 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Dolly Steamboat.

“June is the time of year when the bighorns stay pretty close to water. It will be hot on the lake, and there will be little shade on the boats, but that’s when bighorns come down to the water’s edge for a drink,” said Brian Anthony, Game and Fish wildlife manager in the Canyon Lake district. “The hotter it is, the better the opportunity to see sheep along the banks.”

Pre-registration is requested for both the Friday evening classroom session and the Saturday lake tour. The Friday classroom session is free, and those planning on doing the lake tour are strongly encouraged to attend to maximize their knowledge and viewing experience. To register for the Friday evening classroom session, call Randy Babb at the Game and Fish Mesa office at (480) 324-3546. Registrations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis, as the presentation is limited to 70 people due to facility restrictions.

The Saturday lake tour and bighorn sheep viewing experience will be on the Dolly Steamboat and costs $30 per person. Advance registration is required. To register, call the Dolly Steamboat at (480) 827-9144. Participants are encouraged to bring a camera, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and binoculars. Snacks and drinks may not be brought on the Dolly Steamboat, but can be purchased onboard.

Those that have not registered prior to the event will be accommodated as space allows.

“This is a great opportunity for people to learn about bighorn sheep, and conservation efforts by the Game and Fish Department and its partners for bighorn sheep,” says Anthony.

Anyone with questions about the workshop may contact Randy Babb at (480) 324-3546 or e-mail rbabb@azgfd.gov.


Fish Stockings

Fish Stockings: All 20 of the Tucson area and Phoenix area Urban Fishing Program lakes (including Alvord and Water Ranch) are scheduled for catfish stockings the week of June 14-19.

ALVORD AND WATER RANCH LAKE STOCKINGS TO RESUME

Scheduled catfish stockings for the week of June 14-19 will include deliveries to Alvord Lake(Cesar Chavez Park) and Water Ranch Lake (Gilbert Riparian Preserve).

Extremely high pH levels at Alvord Lake have prevented Game and Fish biologists from stocking the 25-acre lake since early May. Biologists have worked together with Phoenix Parks staff and lake management consultants to see that the lake was treated with algaecides to reduce algae blooms. Lake colorants have also been added to reduce the amount of light absorbency in the lake and suppress regrowth of algae. Water testing has confirmed the success of the treatments in bringing pH levels down to an acceptable level for fish stockings to resume.

At Water Ranch Lake, Game and Fish biologists discovered low levels of golden alga during routine monitoring. As a precaution, catfish stockings on June 4 were cancelled. Further testing and consultation with Gilbert Parks staff indicate safe conditions for fish stockings to restart again. In cancelled fish stocking situations as described, biologists will redirect the lot of fish to other, nearby Urban Fishing Program lakes. Consequently, fishing at Kiwanis, Red Mountain, Desert West, Cortez, Encanto and Steele Indian School lakes has been exceptional in June due to these extra, redirected stockings.

SPRING CATFISH STOCKING SEASON ENDS WEEK OF JUNE 28-JULY 3

The spring catfish stocking season that includes eight deliveries of fish every other week will end the week of June 28-July 3. Every stocking, 14,000 pounds of 14-20 inch channel catfish, are delivered from Arkansas to the 20 Urban Fishing Program waters in the Phoenix and Tucson areas. Coming from fish ponds in Arkansas, our fish suppliers log over 50,000 miles on their large rigs to truck catfish into our park lakes during the spring stocking season.

Warming lake temperatures and air temperatures make it impractical to haul live fish into Arizona’s Urban Lakes and Ponds during the heat of the summer. Consequently, there are no scheduled fish stockings for July, August, and the first half of September. Catfish stockings will resume again in mid-September when lake and air temperatures cool enough to safely transport fish across the hot desert and into the Urban waters. Anglers can still fish for catfish, bass and bluegill at Urban waters throughout the summer, but the action is generally slower.

URBAN FISHING REPORT

Fishing for catfish continues to be good to excellent the week of stocking, and is fair after that. Now that warmer air and lake temperatures have arrived, the best catfish action is during low light or nighttime conditions. Anglers are having luck using stink baits, shrimp or worms fished on the bottom. The next catfish stocking will take place the week of June 14-19 at all Phoenix and Tucson area Urban waters.

Recent catfish deliveries to Alvord Lake and Water Ranch Lake were cancelled, but lake management actions have improved conditions to allow stockings to resume. The extra fish were stocked into nearby Urban lakes making for some exceptional fishing at Desert West, Cortez, Encanto, Kiwanis and Red Mountain.

Sunfish continue to bite well on small worms fished under a bobber.

An 8.7 pound, 29-inch channel catfish was recently caught at Kiwanis Lake in Tempe and is the current leader for Big Fish-of-the-Year honors.

At Green Valley lakes (Payson) most of the trout have been caught out, but anglers are enjoying great action on bluegill, crappie and bass. Try small jigs and worms fished under a bobber at Green Valley.

STOCKING SCHEDULE

All UFP waters in Phoenix area and Tucson area – Last stocked catfish on June 4. Next stocking, catfish the week of June 14-19.

Green Valley Lakes (Payson) – Last stocked trouth on May 7 (extra fish delivered for this final spring stocking). No further stockings until October trout deliveries resume.


Kingman Bighorn Sheep Workshop Deadline Approaching

The deadline for registering for the free Kingman desert bighorn sheep workshops is quickly approaching.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Kingman office will be hosting two separate, two-day bighorn sheep workshops July 30-31 and Aug. 6-7. Deadline for registration is noon, June 18. Applications received by the deadline will be drawn at random for participation in the workshops.

“The deadline is going to sneak up pretty quick on people,” said Zen Mocarski, public information officer with the Kingman office. “I will be drawing names at random immediately after the deadline has passed.

The first night of the workshop is mandatory classroom education from 6-8 p.m at the Kingman office. The second day provides the opportunity to view the bighorns in their native environment during a four-hour boat ride beginning at 10:30 a.m. on the Colorado River between Willow Beach and the Hoover Dam.

The workshops are open to any member of the public 14-years-old and up. Nobody under 14 will be registered. Space, however, is limited to 40 people per session. Preference will be given to those who have not attended the workshop in at least two years. Applications should be limited to no more than four people.

Following the draw, all applicants are contacted by mail, or e-mail. Applications received after the deadline, and individuals not drawn, will be placed on the reserve list.

The workshops include an optional tour of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery prior to the Colorado River field trip. The 45-minute tour will begin at 9 a.m. and will feature both sport fish and endangered native fish.

To reserve a spot, a $20 per person refundable deposit is required in the form of a check made out to the Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation to help reduce the problem of no-shows. The money is refunded when a person either attends the workshop or calls to cancel at least 48 hours in advance. Wildlife for Tomorrow is a non-profit group that works closely with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Registration is by mail or in-person drop-off at the Kingman office only. Send the check to: Sheep Workshop, Arizona Game and Fish Department, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road, Kingman, AZ 86409. Include the names of participants, address, phone, e-mail (if available) and specify which weekend is preferred (you may submit ‘either’).

Mocarski said e-mail addresses are kept private, will allow for quicker response time and cuts down on department costs.

Cash donations, which are not mandatory to participate, will be accepted at the workshop to help offset increasing costs for boat rentals and fuel. Please do not send cash donations prior to the event.

Participants are encouraged to bring a camera, water, snacks, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. No tripods will be allowed on the boats, but small coolers are OK.

“It will be hot on the river,” Mocarski advised, “but that’s when bighorn come down for a drink. There is limited shade on the boats, but the temperatures will be in the triple digits.”

Anyone with questions about the Kingman workshop may contact Mocarski at (928) 692-7700, ext. 2301, or e-mail zmocarski@azgfd.gov.


Rory’s Tips

This is the leading edge of the triple-digit fidgets when most sane people have an irresistible urge to fish the high cool pines or chill out at night under the stars while wetting a line in our fabulous desert lakes.

There is a new moon June 12, making this a perfect time for fishing at night using submersible lights in the desert lakes, and an okay strategy for fishing the mountain lakes as well.

Thanks to near record snow pack in the high country that lingered into late spring, the mountains are lush and green and whats more, the good trout fishing is lingering into these warmer days. The insect reproduction has also been tremendous as well — be sure to carry insect repellent.

The Mogollon Rim lakes are a good bet to catch some nice trout, but expect the campgrounds to fill early. Dispersed camping is available along the Rim for the self-contained adventuresome crowd. My favorite out-of-the-way Rim lake is Knoll. Also, Bear Canyon is a walk-in lake, so lots of people avoid it. Chevelon Canyon is a hike-in, hike-out lake, without much shore angling, so it also keeps away the crowds (take a float tube).

Big Lake in the White Mountains has three things going for it — it is one of our highest elevation lakes, it is one of our largest and deepest mountain reservoirs, and it has the most trout diversity; cutthroats, brookies, rainbows and Apaches. There are also boat rentals here. But it also gets the most fishing pressure as well. Be sure to visit Crescent Lake next door — sometimes it has the best action, especially for brookies.

Another favorite is just down the road — Reservation Lake on the White Mountain Apache Reservation (you’ll need a reservation fishing permit). This large, deep lake in the shadow of Mt. Baldy receives only a fair amount of fishing pressure, yet it holds the state record for brown trout. Like Big Lake, it is also one of our higher elevation reservoirs, making it a great place to experience cooler mountain weather.

A wonderful high altitude fishery worth visiting is Luna Lake just south of Escudilla Mountain along the border with New Mexico. You might even hear wolves howling at night or see bald eagles swooping down and catching trout. There should be boat rentals here, but apparently there is a new concessionaire and I haven’t heard any reports back from anglers yet.

If you are looking for some fishing diversity and nice camping facilities, try Fool Hollow in Show Low. This lake might be within the Show Low City limits, but this fishery is surrounded by whispering pines that can convince you otherwise while fishing. Fool Hollow is stocked with trout (received some larger ones lately), but also has largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye and channel catfish. A good tactic is to fish at first and last light for trout, then try for bass. Walleye are light sensitive, so its best to fish for them at last light, or even during the night. By the way, this campground has hot showers.

Another fishery that offers diversity is Willow Springs Lake along the Mogollom Rim. Willow Springs has largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and even crappie. For these warmwater species, the limits are off at this lake — catch and keep all you can to help this trout fishery. Like Fool Hollow, fish at first light for the trout, then switch tactics and work the stick-ups for largemouth bass, or along the rocky shorelines for smallies. The bass will likely be in the spawning mode right now, so you might be able to sight fish them on the beds.

Looking for a high country lake to use your bass boat? Two suggestions — try Lyman Lake in Apache County between Springerville and St. Johns or Upper Lake Mary near Flagstaff.

Lyman Lake has 1,500 surface acres to explore and fish and there are no boat motor restrictions. It’s really a moderately okay bass lake with some walleye, but has a good population of channel catfish. Take along your water skiis. This state park even has cabins and yurts for rent (sorry, no yaks). For more information, contact the park at (928) 337-4441.

Upper Lake Mary (there is a Forest Service special fee area here) doesn’t have any boat motor restrictions either. Some of the bass fishing clubs actually hold small fishing tournaments here (typically any fish). Upper Mary does have some largemouth bass, but right now it’s most notorious for its large, toothy pike running from 5 to 20 pounds — or more. Lake Mary also has yellow perch, crappie and walleye. This is another lake where you can take along some water skis for when the bite slows down. Sidle next door to Lower Lake Mary and you can catch a trout of two for dinner.

Working farther west near Williams, three lakes worth trying at Kaibab, Dogtown and Whitehorse (all three have camping available). By the way, Kaibab Lake is only about an hour or so drive from the Grand Canyon. Or maybe catch the Grand Canyon Train in Williams.

Some unusual lakes to try right now are on the Navajo Reservation, especially Wheatfields for trout (cuththroat, browns and rainbows) and Ganado Lake for nice bass. There are no launch ramps, but both of these lakes are okay for car toppers, kayaks, canoes or float tubes. At Ganado, which is a large but shallow lake, local anglers often use chest waders to fish for both bass and catfish. One local angler said the secret for catfish is using fireballs alternated with corn on the hook and small slip sinkers fished on the bottom.

By the way, there is a free campground at Canyon de Chelly National Monument about an hour north of Ganado. It’s spectacular. The lake at Many Farms (13 miles north of Chinle) is also okay for bass and great for catfish. It’s really turbid right now, so spinnerbaits might work well for bass. It’s dirt launching, so 4-wheel drive is recommended, or better yet, use canoes, kayaks or inflatables.

The upcoming fishing guide book Game and Fish is collaborating on with Arizona Highways will have more about all the Indian fishing waters in it. We’ll trying our best to get it ready for publication sometime this fall.

As the Navajos would say, “Go fish in beauty.”


June 7, 2010 – Good news: few arrested at OUI checkpoint
But many still cited for equipment shortcomings

KINGMAN, Ariz. –– Five law enforcement agencies recently worked together to help provide a safe boating environment for watercraft users along the Colorado River.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department, Nevada Department of Wildlife, National Park Service, Bullhead City Police Department, and Yavapai County Sheriff’s Department recently conducted an OUI (Operating Under the Influence)/Safety Checkpoint at Katherine’s Landing in Bullhead City.

Two arrests were made for exceeding the blood alcohol limit of .08, down from nine in 2009, and overall compliance with required safety equipment was 78 percent, up from 73 percent in 2010.

Velma Holt, west sector supervisor for the Game and Fish Kingman office, believes an outreach effort that has reached 6,000 boaters over the last three years may have played a role in the higher compliance rate.

“I’m pleased to see more boaters operating with the required equipment,” Holt said. “The regulations are in place for a reason. There are a lot of potential dangers on our waterways, not the least of which is the sheer number of boats using a limited amount of space.”

Holt also mentioned cold water temperatures, alcohol, and inexperienced boaters as other potential safety issues. “Boat Safe, Boat Smart, and Boat Sober,” Holt said, referring to the safety slogan. “Game and Fish also offers free boating education, which covers safety issues, regulations, and the required equipment prior to launch.” While compliance improved and arrests were down, Holt did point out some concerns. A total of 72 citations were issued, 31 of which were for not having a Type IV throwable on board.

Holt explained these throwable floatation devices are critical because one person jumping in the water to try and save another simply puts two people at risk.

An additional 15 citations were written for not having a fire extinguisher, 13 for insufficient PFD’s (Personal Floatation Device), four were written for expired registration, four for having a child under 12 not wearing a life jacket, two for possession of drugs and paraphernalia, and one for an overloaded boat.

“Everyone on the water needs to understand how many scenarios on the water can quickly turn into a life-or-death situation,” Holt said. “If you are going on a boat, take a few minutes to learn what is required prior to launching.”

For those interested in taking a boating education class, visit the Game and Fish web site: www.azgfd.gov/boating.


Rory’s Fishing Tip June 3, 2010

Apparently the Tonto National Forest and the Coconino National Forest Red Rock District are waiving their fees this weekend in honor of National Trails Day. So combine that with our Game and Fish free fishing day on June 5 and you can have a pretty inexpensive outing. Be sure to tell your friends and family, or better yet, take them fishing.

Okay, let’s focus on the desert impoundments first. This is the time to seriously think about switching to nighttime fishing for bass, catfish, and crappie.

The last quarter of the waning moon is this weekend and a new moon is June 12. Submersible lights should be viable this weekend, especially while the moon is climbing into the sky. Also check high tide times — they often correlate to good bite times even in freshwater lakes.

For locations, try to find under water fish highways or even the intersections of fish highways, such as submerged creek channels, arroyos, and old river beds. Also try extended underwater points in the main lake.

Even if fishing for bass, try chumming with corn. By doing so you might help create a more active feeding zone for fish. Remember, big bass will feed on sunfish. Drop shots can be a good bet. Live minnows or shad on a drop shot rig can be deadly at times (good rig for kids). If you don’t know how to tie a Palomar knot to make a drop-shot rig, drop into any bait and tackle store, they’ll show you. Pick up some new line for the fishing reel while there.

This is a superb time to fish for catfish. You don’t need submersible lights for the bottom dwellers, but it doesn’t hurt either. The great thing about fishing for cats is you also don’t need a boat — it’s just as viable from the shoreline. A key for catfish is having what’s called a strike indicator. After casting out, reel in your line to make contact with your bait, and then set your pole up parallel to the ground on two worked sticks or holders (they sell them at the fishing stores). Take a brightly colored bobber (try fluorescent ones), and between two of the fishing line guides on your pole, hook on the bobber so the line flows freely through it. When the bobber starts bobbing up and down, pick up the pole and get ready to set the hook. Let the cat (or carp) run with the bait first.

Whatever you use as bait, chum the bait into the water. I also recommend chumming with corn, no matter what bait you are using. Actively feeding fish can attract other fish.

Remember you can fish with two hooks per line, so you can set up one hook with corn and the other with hot dogs (try cheese hot dogs) or some stink bait. Live minnows or shad can sometimes work the best for channel catfish.

These catfish angling techniques will work on any of our desert impoundments, or for that matter, any of our urban lakes. Nighttime is best, but this is also the time of year when you can still catch some cats during the day as well. In a few more weeks when water temperatures and air temperatures soar, that might not necessarily be the case.

In the high country, snow melt came a little late this year due to the abundant snow pack, so many of the streams and reservoirs are fishing like early spring even though the deserts are about to get hit with triple-digit weather. This may be our best high country fishing in some time — for the first time in 15 years, Big Lake is full to the brim. Woods Canyon and Willow Springs have been phenomenal so far.

This is the year — it’s the good ole days we’ll be talking about for decades. Don’t miss out. Get out and catch some memories. Maybe I’ll see you out there.


Corrected Notice: Last chance to apply for Arizona’s fall hunt permit-tags June 2, 2010 Deadline to apply is Tuesday, June 8 – Postmarks do not count

PHOENIX — Hunters, don’t start your summer vacation just yet. Applications for fall hunt permit-tags for the 2010-11 hunting season are due to the Arizona Game and Fish Department on or before Tuesday, June 8 by 7 p.m. MST (the previous notice incorrectly stated June 9; we apologize for any confusion). Postmarks do not count.

Hunters interested in a permit-tag for fall deer, bighorn sheep, fall buffalo, fall turkey, juniors-only fall javelina, or pheasant are required to submit a paper application for the drawing process.There is no online application process available.

Applications may be hand delivered to any of the seven department offices or sent by U.S. mail to Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn.: Drawing Section, PO Box 74020, Phoenix, AZ 85087-1052. For the locations of department offices, visit www.azgfd.gov/offices.

To apply, refer to the 2010-11 Arizona Hunting and Trapping Regulations and application forms available at any department office, license dealer, or online at www.azgfd.gov/draw.

Directions on how to apply for the draw are outlined on pages 16-20 of the regulations. The digital editable PDF application can be typed using a computer and then printed, signed, and submitted to the department. A blank form can also be printed and filled out using an ink pen.

A 2010 hunting license is required to apply. Licenses can be purchased through the application process, at department offices, from license dealers, or at www.azgfd.gov.

Youth hunts

Hey kids, do you want to go deer hunting, but don’t know how to get started? There are three mentored deer hunting camps designed to help new hunters learn how to hunt. Each camp offers experienced instruction on hunting, camping, care of game, and other tips for first-time hunters. A tag issued through the draw is required for these hunts. Below is a list of the hunt numbers where the camps will be. Use the appropriate hunt number on your application depending on your schedule and location needs:
Mogollon Rim Area, Oct. 8-10: Apply for hunt number 1156, juniors-only deer.

The Unit 23 Juniors Deer Camp is hosted by the Arizona Deer Association.

Southern Arizona, Nov. 19–21: Apply for hunt number 1162, juniors-only deer.

The Unit 36A Juniors Deer Camp is hosted by the Arizona state chapter of Safari Club International.

Central Arizona, Nov. 19–21: Apply for hunt number 1154, juniors-only deer.

The Unit 20C Juniors Deer Camp is hosted by Youth Outdoors Unlimited.

Other great opportunities for the kids are several hunts that are like a two-for-one hunt. Juniors-only deer hunts for hunt numbers 1158, 1159, 1162, 1163, and 1176 (hunt areas include units 28, 29, 30A, 30B, 31, 32, 33, 36A, 36B and 16A muzzleloader) are also eligible to purchase an over-the-counter restricted javelina nonpermit-tag (companion tag) at any department office. The companion tag is valid for the same area and dates as the deer hunt, and gives kids twice the reason to go hunting.

Buy a ticket, support wildlife

To increase your odds of getting a big game tag, and possibly one of a lifetime, take part in the Arizona Big Game Super Raffle. There are 10 special big game tags and every dollar raised for these tags goes directly towards wildlife management projects that benefit that species in Arizona. Winners will be able to hunt for 365 days almost anywhere in the state of Arizona during the 2010-2011 hunting season. Tickets range from $5-25. The deadline to get a ticket by mail is July 9. Online ticket sales end on July 11. The public drawing will be held July 15. For more details, visit www.arizonabiggamesuperraffle.com.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department does not receive any of the state’s general funds to operate. Wildlife conservation and management of the state’s game animals, which also benefits many non-game species, is made possible through a user-pay, user-benefit system. Funding from the direct sale of hunting and fishing licenses, big game tags, and matching funds from the Pittman-Robertson Act, a federal excise tax that sportsmen pay on guns, ammunition and related equipment, remain the backbone of wildlife conservation in North America. To learn more, visit www.azgfd.gov/h_f/northamericanmodel.shtml.


Last chance to apply for Arizona’s fall hunt permit-tags
June 2, 2010 – Deadline to apply is Tuesday, June 8 – Postmarks do not count

PHOENIX — Hunters, don’t start your summer vacation just yet. Applications for fall hunt permit-tags for the 2009-10 hunting season are due to the Arizona Game and Fish Department on or before Tuesday, June 9 by 7 p.m. MST. Postmarks do not count.

Hunters interested in a permit-tag for fall deer, bighorn sheep, fall buffalo, fall turkey, juniors-only fall javelina, or pheasant are required to submit a paper application for the drawing process.There is no online application process available.

Applications may be hand delivered to any of the seven department offices or sent by U.S. mail to Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn.: Drawing Section, PO Box 74020, Phoenix, AZ 85087-1052. For the locations of department offices, visit www.azgfd.gov/offices.

To apply, refer to the 2010-11 Arizona Hunting and Trapping Regulations and application forms available at any department office, license dealer, or online at www.azgfd.gov/draw.

Directions on how to apply for the draw are outlined on pages 16-20 of the regulations. The digital editable PDF application can be typed using a computer and then printed, signed, and submitted to the department. A blank form can also be printed and filled out using an ink pen.

A 2010 hunting license is required to apply. Licenses can be purchased through the application process, at department offices, from license dealers, or at www.azgfd.gov.

Youth hunts

Hey kids, do you want to go deer hunting, but don’t know how to get started? There are three mentored deer hunting camps designed to help new hunters learn how to hunt. Each camp offers experienced instruction on hunting, camping, care of game, and other tips for first-time hunters. A tag issued through the draw is required for these hunts. Below is a list of the hunt numbers where the camps will be. Use the appropriate hunt number on your application depending on your schedule and location needs:
Mogollon Rim Area, Oct. 8-10: Apply for hunt number 1156, juniors-only deer.

The Unit 23 Juniors Deer Camp is hosted by the Arizona Deer Association.

Southern Arizona, Nov. 19–21: Apply for hunt number 1162, juniors-only deer.

The Unit 36A Juniors Deer Camp is hosted by the Arizona state chapter of Safari Club International.

Central Arizona, Nov. 19–21: Apply for hunt number 1154, juniors-only deer.

The Unit 20C Juniors Deer Camp is hosted by Youth Outdoors Unlimited.

Other great opportunities for the kids are several hunts that are like a two-for-one hunt. Juniors-only deer hunts for hunt numbers 1158, 1159, 1162, 1163, and 1176 (hunt areas include units 28, 29, 30A, 30B, 31, 32, 33, 36A, 36B and 16A muzzleloader) are also eligible to purchase an over-the-counter restricted javelina nonpermit-tag (companion tag) at any department office. The companion tag is valid for the same area and dates as the deer hunt, and gives kids twice the reason to go hunting.

Buy a ticket, support wildlife

To increase your odds of getting a big game tag, and possibly one of a lifetime, take part in the Arizona Big Game Super Raffle. There are 10 special big game tags and every dollar raised for these tags goes directly towards wildlife management projects that benefit that species in Arizona. Winners will be able to hunt for 365 days almost anywhere in the state of Arizona during the 2010-2011 hunting season. Tickets range from $5-25. The deadline to get a ticket by mail is July 9. Online ticket sales end on July 11. The public drawing will be held July 15. For more details, visit www.arizonabiggamesuperraffle.com.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department does not receive any of the state’s general funds to operate. Wildlife conservation and management of the state’s game animals, which also benefits many non-game species, is made possible through a user-pay, user-benefit system. Funding from the direct sale of hunting and fishing licenses, big game tags, and matching funds from the Pittman-Robertson Act, a federal excise tax that sportsmen pay on guns, ammunition and related equipment, remain the backbone of wildlife conservation in North America. To learn more, visit www.azgfd.gov/h_f/northamericanmodel.shtml.


Urban Fishing Bulletin For the weeks of May 30 – June 12, 2010

Manager: Eric Swanson (623) 236-7263
Specialist: Joann Hill (623) 236-7268
Call 1-800-352-0700 to report fishing violations

Fish Stockings: All 20 of the Phoenix and Tucson area Urban Fishing Program lakes are scheduled for catfish stockings the week of June 1-5. If pH levels don’t come down at Alvord Lake (Cesar Chavez Park), then it may not get stocked again.

ARIZONA FREE FISHING DAY ON JUNE 5 AND 12

Arizona’s annual free fishing days are celebrated on June 5 and 12 as part of National Fishing and Boating Week.On these Saturdays, no fishing license is required for persons fishing any of the Urban Fishing Program lakes or other statewide public waters.

This is a great chance to grab some poles, gather up some friends and family members, and head out to your nearest urban lake or head up to the cooler country to fish a lake or stream. Many waters are scheduled for fish stockings.

Check the Game and Fish Department’s website at www.azgfd.gov/fishing for the latest fishing report and fishing clinic information so you can prepare for your outing.

Remember that bag limits and other fishing regulations are in full effect and must be observed on Free Fishing Day. Kids under the age of 14 can fish for free all year long in Arizona, so this special fishing license exemption day means that the older kids and parents get a free pass for the day.

Try fishing, you’ll like it!

FISHING CLINICS

The Game and Fish Department is sponsoring a number of Free Fishing Day fishing clinic events statewide. Loaner fishing rods and reels can be checked out and bait and help is provided at the following locations Saturday, June 12:
Dead Horse State Park, in Cottonwood from 8 a.m. to noon (stocked with catfish). For information, call (928) 692-7700.

Goldwater Lake, in Prescott from 8 a.m. to noon (stocked with trout). For information call (928) 692-7700.

TWO LAKES NOT STOCKED WITH CATFISH ON MAY 21

Urban Fishing Program biologists were not able to stock two of the scheduled 20 lakes with catfish on May 21. Alvord Lake, a large, 25-acre lake at Cesar Chavez Park, was not stocked due to excessively high pH levels. At Evelyn Hallman Pond in Tempe, the reason was physical, not biological—someone had broken the lock off the stocking access gate and replaced it with one that couldn’t be opened.

All of the other 18 waters in the greater Phoenix and Tucson areas were successfully stocked with 15-20 inch catfish, with some lakes receiving extra heaving stockings from the fish still on the truck from Alvord.

Anglers are advised that fishing will be poor at Alvord and Evelyn Hallman, but excellent at nearby lakes such as Desert West, Encanto and Cortez.

At every stocking location, biologists test the lake waters to ensure water quality is suitable for a successful stocking. If water quality standards cannot be met, stockings must be cancelled to avoid unnecessary stress and possible death to the freshly stocked catfish. The high pH levels at Alvord Lake are from high levels of planktonic algae. Lake managers are having Alvord treated with algaecides to knock down the algae and allow pH levels to fall back below the 9.6 stocking threshold. Hopefully, catfish stockings can resume at Alvord the week of June 1-5 if pH tests are favorable.

As for Evelyn Hallman, Tempe Park staff has already replaced the lock so the stocking truck can pull up the lake the next delivery.

URBAN FISHING REPORT

Fishing has been good to excellent for catfish at all lakes. Best baits for the two pound average cats include worms, shrimp and stink baits fished along the bottom. Alvord Lake and Evelyn Hallman Pond did not get stocked with catfish as scheduled on May 21 (see article above). The next catfish stocking will take place the week of June 1-5 at all Phoenix and Tucson area Urban waters.

Bluegill fishing is good at all lakes for anglers using worms or mealworms fished under a small bobber in 3-6 foot depths.

Fishing for bass has slowed, but is expected to improve in the cool of the morning.

At Green Valley lakes (Payson) fishing for trout has slowed, but is very good for crappie, bluegill, bass and catfish. Try small marabou jigs or curly tail grubs for the sunfish and bass. Worms are working for everything.

STOCKING SCHEDULE

All UFP waters in Phoenix area and Tucson area – Last stocked on May 21 with catfish. Next stocking, catfish, the week of June 1-5.

Green Valley Lakes (Payson) – Last stocked on May 7 with trout – last of the spring stockings. No further stockings until October trout deliveries resume.

To find the nearest urban lake near you, visit www.azgfd.gov/urbanfishing.

View the Urban Fishing Bulletin on our web site.


Arizona Game and Fish Department invests in next generation of sportsmen
Grants fund local efforts to expand hunting, fishing, shooting, trapping participation

May 28, 2010 – PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish is offering $75,000 in grants to local sportsmen’s groups for projects that promote or facilitate hunter, angler, shooter and trapper recruitment and retention. The deadline to apply is Monday, July 12 by 5 p.m. (MST).

The Local Sportsmen’s Group Grant Program offers financial assistance to groups that are conducting outreach programs that specifically introduce someone new to the sport of hunting, fishing, trapping, and target shooting or perpetuates someone’s existing interest in these activities.

“The recruitment and retention of hunters, anglers, shooters, and trappers is paramount to the perpetuity of wildlife conservation in North America,” said Craig McMullen, the department’s chief of wildlife recreation. “This grant program is an investment in local organizations that, day-in and day-out, are teaching these important traditional outdoor recreational pursuits in our communities.”

Examples of eligible projects include small game hunting camps, big game hunting camps, fishing clinics or camps, trapping seminars, target shooting clinics or programs, and educational outreach to promote these traditional recreational activities.

Funds will be awarded through a competitive application process. Multiple awards may be made. To be eligible, a group must: (1) be a local Arizona-based sportsmen’s group with a focus on hunting, fishing, shooting or trapping, (2) propose a project that fits the eligibility criteria, and (3) complete the project by June 30, 2011.

Grant dollars cannot be awarded or used for activities such as group banquets, raffle prizes, trophy hunting competitions, for-profit projects, or for the purchase of hunting or fishing licenses, tags or stamps.

McMullen added, “Not only are these outdoor recreationists the stewards of wildlife, they are the primary funding source to wildlife conservation. As we become a more urban society, it’s our responsibility to invest in the next generation of outdoorsmen and women by supporting these mentoring programs.”

To apply, download an application packet from www.azgfd.gov/i_e/local_sportsmens.shtml. Packets can also be obtained by calling Grant Coordinator Robyn Beck at (623) 236-7530. The deadline to submit applications for Local Sportsmen’s Group grants is Monday, July 12, 2010 at 5 p.m. (MST). Three copies of the application and any supporting documents must be submitted.

This grant program is funded by the sale of hunting and fishing licenses and big game tags, and there is no cost to Arizona taxpayers for this grant program. The Arizona Game and Fish Department does not receive any of the state’s general funds, and operates under a user-pay, user-benefit model through the products and services. To learn more, visit www.azgfd.gov.


Nomination deadline for Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame is May 28

May 26, 2010 – Wildlife conservation and outdoor enthusiasts are reminded that the deadline to submit nominations for this year’s inductees into the Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame is this Friday, May 28.

The Outdoor Hall of Fame annually recognizes individuals and organizations that have made significant and lasting contributions toward Arizona’s wildlife, the welfare of its natural resources, and the state’s outdoor heritage.

To obtain a nomination form, visit www.azgfd.gov/w_c/ArizonaOutdoorHallofFame.shtml, download a form from the link on that page, and return the completed form along with all supplemental materials to Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation, c/o Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn: Marty Fabritz, DOHQ, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086. Completed forms and materials can also be submitted by fax to (623) 236-7299 or by e-mail to mfabritz@azgfd.gov.

The Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame was developed in 1998 by the Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation. Selections for induction are made annually by the foundation’s board of directors, who review nominations that have been submitted. The foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works closely with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to provide additional support for projects and education activities where traditional resources are not adequate.

This year’s inductees will be honored at the 13th annual Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet on Aug. 28 at the Chaparral Suites Resort Scottsdale, 5001 N. Scottsdale Road.

For more information, visit http://www.azgfd.gov/w_c/ArizonaOutdoorHallofFame.shtml.


Rory’s Fishing Tip

If you are planning to visit the lakes and streams along the Mogollon Rim or the White Mountains, check out the tips, stockings and other information in that section of the fishing report this week. The Fisheries staff in the region revamped their report. I think you’ll find it full of easy-to-find information.

Now for some other tips.

Lower Lake Mary near Flagstaff is one of the prime places to catch rainbow trout. We have pumped it full of trout this season. Big Lake in the White Mountains is the other top producer. Upper Lake Mary has pike, walleye and perch. It’s full and looking spectacular. There are no boat motor restrictions at his lake.

With some milder temperatures expected to hang around this weekend, many of the desert lakes are looking good. I would recommend Alamo Lake for anglers looking to escape the recreational boating traffic. Since there isn’t any gas available here, you will seldom — if ever — see water skiers or personal watercraft. Fishing should be pretty good as well. The camping facilities are superb.

The Colorado River near Yuma just had a major B.A.S.S. tournament (see picture on the right), but with milder temperatures, that whole stretch of river provides an amazing place to fish — we call it Arizona’s Everglades.

By the way, along the Colorado River or at most of our other desert lakes, the bull frogs are pretty active this year, probably due to the abundance of insects. Frog-like baits, especially topwater lures, can work well at times.

An often ignored water is Lake Mohave (Katherine’s Landing). While it isn’t as good to fish as say Lake Mead or Willow Beach upstream, this is the place for boating families looking for out-of-the-way beaches in secluded coves.

I also like Lake Powell this time of year. The fishing is great. You can also escape the crowds is you go far enough, either via boat or vehicle. Hall’s Crossing may take longer to get to, but once there, you don’t have to travel far on the water to find great fishing with a moderate amount of boat traffic.

But you can also sneak out to any of the desert lakes at night, escape the crowds, and fish from shore for bottom feeders — catfish and carp. There is a full moon this week, which is actually good for shore fishing. Remember you can use two hooks per line. I like setting up one hook with a corn and the other with a hotdog. Be sure to chum. Try taking a few extra cans of corn just for that purpose.

This is also a super time to go after flatheads at night using live bait. Try slip sinkers and live bluegill or carp (small ones) as bait, especially in deep holes. Roosevelt and Bartlett are both great places. The Colorado River near Yuma (Imperial Division) holds at least one new state record flathead — a 90-plus-pound monster turned up in one of our surveys.

Also on these moon-bright nights, poppers or chuggers can work well, especially black ones. Buzzbaits can be a hoot at times. But don’t expect your submersible lights to outshine Ms. Luna for attracting plankton-shad-sportfish. However, fishing at night for stripers is viable using your fish finder and chumming with frozen anchovies. Try mixing some corn with the anchovies for a little extra fishing action.

If you dont’ want to travel far, give the urban lakes are try. This a good time to fish for channel catfish.

Another good bet close to home is Tempe Town Lake. It has largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill and yellow bass. Live night crawlers can work well here. Texas-rigged worms (especially four-inch plastics) can work well.

A favorite is the Lower Salt River near Phoenix (below Saguaro Lake). We have been stocking this stretch of river since Thanksgiving time, and some anglers are starting to catch some larger hold-over trout along with the stockers. Some anglers are also working the deeper holes to catch some nice sized largemouth bass as well.

Go catch some memories this weekend. Maybe I’ll see you out there.


Bass tournament pumps $225,000-plus into Yuma economy
AZ team places 9th in Bassmaster Federation Nation Western Division

May 25, 2010 – YUMA, Arizona – The B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Western Divisional Bass Tournament at Lake Martinez on the Colorado River May 17-21 drew 176 anglers from 11 states and pumped more than $225,000 into the Yuma economy.

The Washington State team took first-place honors and Arizona’s team finished 9th in the overall competition.

William Bravence of Globe, Ariz., qualified to compete in the 2010 Bassmaster Federation Nation Championship on the Red River in Shreveport, La., on Oct. 27-29. Larry Hardy of the Tonto Basin, Arizona, hauled in a 6-pound,10-ounce bass to claim the honors for largest fish caught on the final day of the tournament here on Martinez Lake.

But a really big winner was Yuma’s economy.

“Filling all the hotel rooms for an entire week, that’s huge for us. This is our off-season for tourism,” said Chris Bedringer, the events planner for the Yuma Visitors Bureau.

The Yuma Visitors Bureau estimates the tournament brought $200,000 to $300,000 into the local economy. “The national exposure for Yuma was fantastic as well,” Bedringer said.

The event was covered by ESPN.

Although the overall divisional tournament was 3-days long, there were also two practice days immediately preceding the competition on the Colorado River.

During the tournament, Bill Golightly from Preston, Idaho, who checked in with a 13-1 limit on the final day, placed first with more than two pounds ahead of Oregon’s David Brinkerhoff, who placed second.

Two young Idaho anglers claimed both positions in the one-day Junior Bassmaster competition. Thirteen-year-old Eathan Peterson of Hayden, Idaho, brought in the most weight with 9-6 and was the only junior angler to manage a limit. Tyler Ashton, his 17-year-old teammate from Boise, won in the 15-to-18 age group with three bass totaling 5-13.

Kip Pollay, the president of the Arizona B.A.S.S. Federation Nation, said the City of Yuma helped tremendously in setting up this major bass tournament. “I can’t say enough about all the help the City of Yuma gave us. Their willingness to work closely with us was one of the big reasons we brought the tournament here.”

Pollay said the tournament really helped a lot of local businesses. “I know the local tackle stores sure did a booming business.”

Harold Wah with Sportsman’s Hide-A-Way, a tackle shop in Yuma, said the tournament anglers bought a little bit of everything from brush hogs and topwater frogs to Senkos and jigs. “The last day of the tournament the temperature dropped 10 degrees, the wind came up and the fish went deep. I guess a lot of those guys were drop-shotting Senkos. I didn’t sell any Robo Worms though.”

The B.A.S.S Federation Nation estimates that a tournament with 125 anglers (there were 176 in the Western Division tournament in Yuma) typically provides the following economic benefits:
* Rooms – $65,625;
* Campsites – $1,750;
* Gas – boats, $36,000 and vehicles $10,800;
* Meals – $70,875;
* Entertainment – $28,000;
* Miscellaneous – licenses $3,000, groceries $7,000.
* Total community revenues – $223,050 (note: this is a conservation estimate).

Pollay said it took months of planning and effort to make the tournament a success. During the almost week-long event, Pollay’s crew of 20 volunteers from Arizona handled much of the tournament logistics.

“We had our guys strategically placed with flashlights and orange vests to guide the contestants to the three launch ramps at Hidden Shores. On the final day, we launched 77 boats in just 45 minutes. Everyone was amazed. The B.A.S.S officials said our Arizona crew set the bar really high for all the other states,” Pollay said.

For more information on the tournament, including the full results, visit sports.espn.go.com


Central Figure In Macho B Incident Pleads Guilty To Endangered Species Violation

An individual involved in the Macho B incident last year pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on Friday, May 14 for unlawfully taking a jaguar, an endangered species, in violation of the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Emil McCain, 31, of Patagonia, was sentenced by U. S. Magistrate Judge Bernardo P. Velasco to five years of supervised probation with the condition that he is not permitted to be employed or any way involved in any large cat or large carnivore project or study in the United States during his probationary term. McCain was also fined $1,000 for the Class A misdemeanor conviction.

Court documents provide the following facts describing McCain’s connection to the conduct for which he pleaded guilty:

On February 4, 2009, at or near Ruby, in the District of Arizona, Emil McCain placed jaguar scat or directed a female person to place jaguar scat at three (3) snare sites in an attempt to capture and trap an endangered species, to wit, a jaguar (Panthera onca). McCain knew that there had been recent evidence of a jaguar in the area of the snares. The snares had been set solely for the purpose of capturing and placing tracking collars on mountain lions and bears; there was no authorization to intentionally capture a jaguar. A jaguar known as Macho B was caught at one of those snare sites on February 18, 2009.

Some media reports and other accounts about McCain’s guilty plea have incorrectly identified McCain as an Arizona Game and Fish Department employee or state official. As the Department has previously stated, McCain has never been an employee of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and by February 2009, when Macho B was initially captured, McCain was acting independently, and was neither a contractor, subcontractor, nor a formal volunteer to the Department.

McCain’s admission of guilt conclusively establishes his true involvement in this matter and supports the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s long-standing assertion that there was no authorization from the Department for the intentional capture of a jaguar.

Until the Department obtains access to the federal investigative file, the Department’s own internal investigation continues to be open and ongoing.


Public’s Assistance Leads To Arrest In Canyon Lake Bighorn Sheep Poaching Case

PHOENIX – The Arizona Game and Fish Department has charged an individual with four wildlife law violations in connection with an alleged illegal killing of a bighorn sheep ram near the southern shore of Canyon Lake, northeast of Apache Junction.

The arrest was made after the department received information from the public through its Operation Game Thief hotline, which is a silent witness line the public can utilize to report wildlife violations.

Game and Fish officers corroborated the information with evidence obtained at the crime scene and obtained and executed a search warrant on the suspect’s residence in Mesa. The officers received a written confession from the suspect and seized evidence from the residence, including the firearm he admitted was involved in the alleged illegal shooting and a desert bighorn sheep head which was buried in the backyard.

Department officers cited the individual for taking a bighorn sheep during closed season, possessing/transporting an unlawfully taken bighorn sheep, taking a bighorn sheep without a permit-tag, and waste of game meat.

More charges may be pending based on evidence seized at the residence, and the investigation is ongoing.

The department began investigating in late April after an employee with the Dolly Steamboat called in a report of a dead bighorn sheep by the shore of the lake. Further investigation found one dead bighorn ram with its head removed and indications of being illegally shot, and a second dead bighorn ram about 100 yards away with its head intact. Because of the decomposed condition of the second carcass, it was difficult to ascertain whether unlawful take was involved with this animal.

Multiple tips came in after the department issued a May 4 news release offering a reward of up to $8,000 for information leading to the arrest of a suspect in the cases. The Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society also offered a reward of up to $1,000 per sheep for information leading to a conviction in either case, and the Arizona Bowhunters Association offered a $1,000 reward for a conviction.

The suspect has only been charged in connection with one of the bighorn sheep.

If convicted of the misdemeanor violations, the individual could face penalties of up to $3,000 and a year in jail. He could also face civil sanctions from the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.

“Poachers aren’t hunters, and the public should not confuse the two,” said Brian Wakeling, chief of game management for Game and Fish. “One of the truly unfortunate aspects of poaching is that it may result in the reduction of legal hunting opportunities. Hunting regulations are formulated to be biologically sustainable, yet someone who illegally takes wildlife does not consider any of the biological implications.”

Wakeling pointed out that as many as 18,000 people have applied in a year for the opportunity to draw the fewer than 100 bighorn sheep permits generally authorized annually by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.

“Illegal take of wildlife certainly influences the number of permits we can recommend, regardless of which game species we consider,” Wakeling said.

Operation Game Thief Program Manager Ken Dinquel said it’s gratifying to have the support of hunters and other members of the public in helping solve these types of cases.

“Although hunters pay for the largest share of wildlife conservation through license and tag fees, poaching adversely affects more than just hunters,” said Dinquel. “Poachers steal from everyone because wildlife is managed in the public trust for all citizens to enjoy. That’s why it’s in the public’s best interest to report wildlife law violations to the Operation Game Thief hotline.”

Anyone with information regarding a wildlife law violation should contact the Operation Game Thief hotline at (800) 352-0700 or via the web at www.azgfd.gov/thief. All calls will remain confidential and rewards can be paid if the information leads to an arrest of a violator.


AZGFD Transcripts Available For Macho B Investigation

The Arizona Game and Fish Department will post on its public Web site redacted transcripts of interviews that were conducted with a number of Department employees as part of the Department’s ongoing internal administrative investigation into the events surrounding the 2009 capture, recapture and euthanization of the jaguar known as Macho B.

To read the transcripts, click here.

The Department received a public records request for the transcripts in the aftermath of its March 19, 2010 decision to dismiss an employee for actions the employee made in the weeks following the initial capture of the jaguar. The Department has previously withheld from public release the interview transcripts due to the likelihood that release would either harm the Department’s ongoing investigation or the concurrent federal investigation being conducted by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service.

It is the Department’s understanding that the federal investigators have now finished their investigation and turned their materials over to the U.S. Attorney’s office. The Department’s investigation is ongoing and it may require additional or follow-up interviews of Department employees once the results of the federal investigation are made public. The redacted portions provide details that if known could influence or taint any employee’s future testimony. In the interest of ensuring a thorough and uncompromised investigation, the Department cannot at this time release the redacted portions of the transcripts.

Because the redaction process takes some time, the Department will post transcripts as the redacted copies become available. The first transcripts that are being posted are those of the interviews with Thorry Smith. Transcripts will subsequently be posted as they become available of the interviews with the following employees: Ron Thompson, Terry Johnson, Michelle Crabb, Bill Van Pelt, Dean Treadwell, David Grandmaison, Kirby Bristow, Eric Gardner, Tom Jones, Chantal O’Brien, Tim Snow and William Carroll. The Department estimates it will take about three to four weeks for all of the transcripts to be redacted and posted.

Unredacted copies of the transcripts will be posted after the Department has completed its internal investigation.

The Department has also posted to its public Web site all Department photographs made during the initial capture and recapture of Macho B. All photos are being published in their original and unedited form. View the more than 300 photos here.


Arizona Game and Fish Commission supports “right to hunt and fish” amendment

If passed by Arizona Senate, HCR 2008 would let voters decide on state constitutional amendment to make hunting and fishing a right.

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission supports House Concurrent Resolution 2008, a measure that would create a state constitutional right to hunt and fish.

HCR 2008 yesterday passed the Arizona Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Infrastructure and Public Debt by a 5-1 vote. It will next go to the Senate for consideration and, if passed, will go on the ballot in the fall election.

Robert Woodhouse, a member of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, testified in favor of the bill at yesterday’s Senate committee hearing.

“The Arizona Game and Fish Commission stands in support of HCR 2008,” said Woodhouse. “We believe it is a needed amendment to our constitution.”

In response to questions from the committee, Commissioner Woodhouse added that the amendment would protect the right of citizens to lawfully hunt and fish and that it would retain the commission’s authority over wildlife management as granted by the legislature.

During his testimony, Woodhouse also thanked the resolution’s sponsor, Rep. Jerry Weiers (R-Glendale), for his leadership on this issue, and thanked the National Rifle Association, one of the leading proponents, for its willingness to work collaboratively on the language.

The commission voted on Feb. 23 to support HCR 2008. HCR 2008 passed the Arizona House on March 24 by a 37-18 vote.

“Hunting and angling are long-standing and honorable traditions,” said Commissioner Jack Husted. “HCR 2008 recognizes the right to hunt and fish and will protect that right for all citizens for all time.”

To read a copy of the bill and a list of frequently asked questions, click here and scroll down the page.

The Game and Fish Commission is comprised of five members (serving staggered five-year terms) appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. No more than one commissioner may be from any one county. No more than three may be from the same political party.

The commission is the policy-setting board overseeing the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Since its inception in 1929, this organizational structure has served as a buffer for the best interests of science-driven wildlife conservation during eight decades of back-and-forth political change.


The Arizona Game and Fish Commission today urgently asks the public in joining them in opposition to Senate Bill 1200, proposed legislation creating a new appointment recommendation board that would evaluate and control which candidates for commission vacancies the governor could select.

SB 1200 is scheduled to be debated tomorrow and voted on this week in the state senate.

The commission asks people to immediately contact their state senator in opposition to SB 1200 and let them know that House Bill 2619 is a much better solution to an open and fair commission appointment process. Contact your senator now by following this link.
http://www.azleg.gov/alisStaticPages/HowToContactMember.asp

The commission expressed concern that SB 1200, if passed by the Arizona Legislature, could threaten the current commission system by granting greater influence to a select group while weakening the public’s voice in wildlife management.

“This legislation would lead to, and is intended to lead to, a commission made up entirely of people with similar views, similar backgrounds and similar intentions,” said current commission chair Jennifer Martin from Phoenix. “If this bill passes, and the majority of our stakeholders are disenfranchised and most Arizonans are left out, our broad support base that’s always waiting in the wings to protect the commission system, if necessary, will disintegrate.”

Other commission members voiced concern that the current commission system doesn’t need to be changed.

“Such legislation unnecessarily and dangerously polarizes an already delicate political process,” said Chino Valley commissioner Norm Freeman. “I don’t see a problem that needs to be corrected by legislative action that adds another layer of bureaucracy. “

Freeman said that he supports the great wildlife conservation work of the groups that are supporting this bill who represent approximately 6,000 citizens in Arizona, but he could not support change that grants a greater voice to one special interest group over another.

“The legal duty I undertook when appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate was to establish policy for the management, preservation, and harvest of wildlife and for watercraft and off-highway vehicle operations in the public trust for the benefit of the citizens of Arizona. I take that to mean all of the approximately 6,500,180 Arizona citizens, not a 6,000 member subset thereof,” he said.

Instead of all Arizonan’s having an equal voice in the commission selection process, SB 1200 would allow a 6,000 person subset representing less than 2 percent of hunters and anglers to decide commission membership.

As an alternative, the current Arizona Game and Fish Commission supports House Bill 2619.

“HB 2619 provides a better solution for an open and transparent commission appointment process by providing a timeline that needs to be followed and making the list of applicants available for public review,” said commission chair Martin.

The Game and Fish Commission is comprised of five members (serving staggered five-year terms) appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. No more than one commissioner may be from any one county. No more than three may be from the same political party.

The commission is the policy-setting board overseeing the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Since its inception in 1929, this organizational structure has served as a buffer for the best interests of science-driven wildlife conservation during eight decades of back-and-forth political change.

To contact your state legislators click here.
http://azleg.gov/MemberRoster.asp?Body=H

To find out who your legislator is click here.
http://azleg.gov/alisStaticPages/HowToContactMember.asp

Action is needed now!


Alamo Lake clean up set for March 6

Come help us fish for trash at this great lake.

PHOENIX – A fishing hot spot needs your help – the Alamo Lake clean up is set for Saturday, March 6 starting at 8 a.m.

Arizona Game and Fish Department experts predict that this 2,500-surface-acre desert lake west of Wickenburg will be one of the state’s hottest fishing spots this year.

“The problem is, Alamo needs to be cleaned up,” said Wildlife Manager Stew Kohnke. “The solution? Come join the volunteers and department employees cleaning up the shoreline at the Alamo Lake Wildlife Area.”

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is holding its 11th annual Alamo Lake cleanup March 6 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. In the past 10 years, volunteers have picked up over 23 dump trucks full of trash from around Alamo Lake.

“Volunteers have removed everything from a kitchen sink to an old truck frame including the engine block,” says Kohnke. “This is a great opportunity to give something back to a lake that so many people enjoy.”

The department will provide boat transportation and trash bags for those who do not have them. The Alamo State Park will waive camp and launch fees for participants staying at the Cholla Campground Group Use Area. Registration begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 5 and runs through March 6 at the group use area.


The Heritage Fund: What its loss will mean to Arizona

In mid-January the Governor’s office released a budget plan that proposes to permanently eliminate the department’s voter-approved Heritage Fund and redirect all Arizona State Lottery revenue to the state’s general fund. That proposal has been sent for consideration by the Legislature.

“Adoption of this proposal could have significant impacts on Arizona’s land use and growth that will be vital for the state’s economic recovery, as well as affecting outdoor recreationists and the future well being of the state’s wildlife,” said Deputy Director Bob Broscheid. “We acknowledge the difficulties the state faces in addressing the budget situation, but we owe it to the public to inform and educate on what this could mean to them.”

Arizona Game and Fish is a “business-model” agency reliant wholly on non-tax dollars. It is critical that the customers who pay the bills in this “user pay, user benefit” model understand the potential statewide economic effects that could result from a permanent elimination of Heritage funding. Those effects potentially include constraints on land use that could affect our state’s economic recovery.

The approximately 30-minute presentation will start at 6 p.m. at the department’s Phoenix office at 5000 W. Carefree Highway (1.5 miles west of I-17). The public is invited to attend the presentation or view it live over the Internet at www.azgfd.gov/webcast.

The seminar, presented by Broscheid, will cover the history of the Heritage Fund, what it’s used for, how it benefits wildlife, its many success stories, and the impacts to wildlife, land access and Arizona citizens if the fund is lost.

After the presentation, an interactive question-and-answer session with the public will take place. Online viewers can submit questions for consideration via an e-mail link at www.azgfd.gov/webcast.

Passed as an initiative in 1990 by an overwhelming 2-1 bipartisan ratio of Arizona voters, the Heritage Fund provides up to $10 million each year from lottery ticket sales for the conservation and protection of the state’s wildlife and natural areas. The Arizona Game and Fish Department receives no general tax revenue and the Heritage Fund is one of the department’s primary funding sources. The Heritage Fund makes a difference in communities across Arizona and benefits all citizens.


Public’s Input Sought On Proposed Regulations To Tight Spread Of Invasive Mussels
Public Meetings Webcast Scheduled For January

Contact
TCadden@azgfd.gov
Tom Cadden (623) 236-7392
Public Information Officer, AGFD

Tom McMahon (623) 236-7271
Aquatic Invasive Species Program Coordinator, AGFD

PHOENIX – The Arizona Game and Fish Department will be seeking the public’s input on proposed regulations to fight the spread of quagga mussels and other aquatic invasive species in Arizona waters.

The measures, known as “director’s orders” and authorized by the Aquatic Invasive Species Interdiction Act passed this year by the Arizona Legislature, will give Game and Fish the authority to identify those species considered aquatic invasives, identify the waters that contain them, and establish mandatory conditions for moving boats from those waters.

The department will host a series of public meetings and a webcast in January to provide information on the impacts of aquatic invasive species and responsible actions boaters and anglers can take to fight their spread, describe the proposed regulations and how they will help protect our natural resources for the future enjoyment of Arizonans, and provide the opportunity to provide input.

“It is critical for anyone who uses watercraft, or has a business reliant on watercraft, to understand the essential nature of this aquatic invasive species containment effort,” said Tom McMahon, invasive species program coordinator with Game and Fish. “The spread of quagga mussels has far-reaching impacts, both financial and ecological, that can touch virtually every resident of the state.”

Quagga mussels were found in Lake Mead in early 2007 and are now found in several other Arizona waters. They originally came from Eurasia and became established in the Great Lakes in the 1980s. They colonize rapidly on hard surfaces and can ruin boat motors and clog water intake structures, such as pipes and screens, therefore impacting pumping capabilities for power and water treatment plants. Invasive mussels such as quaggas and the closely related zebra mussels have cost Midwestern industries and businesses hundreds of millions of dollars in maintenance and damage repair.

Game and Fish will kick off the public meetings with a meeting and Web simulcast on Jan. 7, from 6-7:30 p.m., at the department’s headquarters at 5000 W. Carefree Highway in Phoenix. There will be a formal presentation, the opportunity to ask questions, and information on how to submit comments. The meeting can also be viewed on the Internet at www.azgfd.gov/webcast and at the Kingman regional office at 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road. A link to the presentation will subsequently be posted on the department’s Web site within a few days of the meeting.

Additional in-person meetings will be held at these locations:
Jan. 12, 3:30-5 p.m. – Lake Havasu, BLM field office, 2610 Sweetwater Ave.
Jan. 19, 6-7:30 p.m. – Bullhead City, Mohave Community College, 3400 Highway 95.
Jan. 21, 6-7:30 p.m. – Mesa, Game and Fish Region 6 office, 7200 E. University Dr.

Public comments will be accepted until 5 p.m., Jan. 25. Those unable to attend a meeting or view the webcast may submit comments at quaggacomments@azgfd.gov.

“Identifying the quagga and zebra mussel affected waterways was probably the most critical step in the process to date,” McMahon said. “This step leads us down a path to outreach, education, and regulations that will help protect the water resources that Arizona’s boaters, anglers and other recreationists enjoy.

McMahon advised all watercraft users to clean, drain, and dry their boats to avoid the transportation of mussels and other invasive species to non-infected bodies of water.

“It’s not just mussels we’re dealing with,” McMahon said. “There are a number of species that can alter our aquatic ecosystems and damage our state’s water conveyance infrastructure. Avoiding transportation of undesirable plant and animal life to other bodies of water can be achieved through the simple steps of cleaning, draining, and drying your boat after each outing.

“It’s important for anybody using these bodies of water to understand the significance of their actions. You don’t want to be the person that first infected a waterbody with an invasive species. Remember, ‘Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers’ and ‘Don’t Move a Mussel.’”

For more information on invasive species, visit the Arizona Game and Fish Web site at www.azgfd.gov. For more information on the meetings, contact McMahon at tmcmahon@azgfd.gov.


New state record striper caught during major winter storm
Angler reels in a fishing bonanza at Lake Pleasant

PHOENIX – While most people were huddled indoors out of the torrential rain on Dec. 7 while a major winter storm pummeled the state, John Davis was enjoying a fishing bonanza at Lake Pleasant, including landing a new inland state record striped bass.

“I’ve never experienced anything quite like it, they were hitting topwater all day long in the rain. It was really something,” Davis said.

Arizona Game and Fish Department officials say John’s monster striper weighed in at 28.58 pounds and measured 45.7 inches long. He caught the behemoth on a Zara Super Spook, which is a topwater lure.

What’s more, he was the only angler out there braving the storm, and reaping the benefits.

John said the behemoth striper actually hit the lure twice without being hooked, but came back a third time. John was amazed he could even land the fish – it ran like a runaway freight train, tearing off line and it took him some time to subdue the giant.

Davis would like to have the striper mounted, or at least have a replica of it created.

Davis, a Phoenix resident, routinely fishes Lake Pleasant, but said he has never seen such phenomenal topwater action before. “The stripers were in a feeding frenzy in Humbug Cove. I was getting multiple hits on my topwater lures, all day long. It was amazing.”

John said the sometimes it rained very hard, but the wind didn’t blow, so it wasn’t too bad out there. “Actually, it was kind of nice.”

It’s always nice when you hit the jackpot. John caught and mostly released around 50 stripers during his rain-soaked, day-long fishing bonanza.

Game and Fish biologists said research studies at Lake Pleasant have shown that the majority of striped bass congregate in the northern coves during winter, especially over submerged creek and river channels.

“The striper fishing at Lake Pleasant has really taken off the past several years. In fact, the striper bite last winter was pretty remarkable – anglers were routinely catching dozens of fish. It looks like we are off to a good start again this winter,” said Fisheries Chief Kirk Young.

Lake Pleasant has not always had stripers, but it is the only lake in the state with white bass. However, when the Waddell Dam was raised in the early nineties, Central Arizona Project water from the Colorado River began being pumped into this popular desert reservoir on the Agua Fria River. Eventually, striped bass from the Colorado River got into the lake.


Northern Arizona Shooting Range location narrows

Due to a high-density of archeological sites, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission on Saturday (Dec. 5), eliminated the Winona/Telephone Range location from consideration for the Northern Arizona Shooting Range (NAZSR) in the Flagstaff region.

Survey results of the Cochrane Hill location, located on the Coconino National Forest, also revealed some scattered archeological sites, mainly outside of the interested area to be developed. This location would still meet the needs of a local shooting range and remains a strong alternative.

A new location that has emerged for consideration is the Foster Ranch property, a 160-acre deeded property just south of I-40 from the Winona exit. Research of the property reveals it has passed preliminary investigations. A few remaining due diligence investigations are needed before fully considering this property as suitable. A private deeded property transaction could have the shortest timeline for establishing a shooting range. This narrows the NAZSR proposed locations to three.

In the meantime, coordination efforts are still on track with the Coconino National Forest for the Willard Springs land exchange. The regional forester has provided the final Agreement to Initiate to the Game and Fish director for approval and subsequent initiation of the National Environmental Policy Act process, a federal requirement which is estimated to cost $788,000.

The commission unanimously approved the department’s recommendation and emphasized frequent updates with the goal of further narrowing the number of proposed locations by the March 2010 commission meeting.

To learn more about the Northern Arizona Shooting Range, visit www.azgfd.gov and select “Northern Arizona Shooting Range” under “In the Spotlight.”


Hunters – Commission sets 2010 hunt orders for elk and pronghorn antelope
Remaining spring hunt permits available in-person at AZGFD offices

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission set the 2010 elk and pronghorn antelope hunt orders on Saturday during their regular meeting, authorizing a grand total of 952 pronghorn and 26,702 elk permits.

The full regulations are anticipated to be available online at the department’s Web site after Dec. 16 at www.azgfd.gov/draw. Once the regulations are posted, hunters can begin to submit their applications for the drawing process.

The application schedule listed below was also approved by the commission.

Applications accepted – as soon as the regulations are available (anticipated Dec. 16)
Correction period – Jan. 21
Deadline to apply – Feb. 9

There were a couple of changes made to the proposed recommendations during the meeting for both elk and antelope.

Unit 19B antelope hunters can be thankful for an agreement arranged by Commissioner Woodhouse with the Chino Grande Ranch that will continue to allow hunters access on the ranch during the 2010 season. Closure of the property to the public would have resulted in a reduction of 45 antelope permits in the unit.

“We are very glad that Chino Grande Ranch decided to keep their property open to sportsmen,” said Commissioner Robert “Robbie” Woodhouse, of Roll, Ariz. “This is a great example of how teamwork and cooperation can resolve an issue. Open communication and cooperation between the commission, department, sportsmen, and landowners are critical to preserving our hunting heritage in Arizona.”

Sportsmen are reminded that access to private land is a privilege, and their conduct and behavior can have an effect on their ability to hunt in these areas in the future.

Unit 1 elk hunters will see an increase in the number of available antlerless permits compared to the proposed recommendations in an effort to stabilize that growing herd. One hundred and forty more permits will be available in this unit through a number of hunts.

An agreement with the Hopi Tribe will allow 2010 antelope and elk hunters from the general populace access to sovereign Hopi Trust Lands within Units 4A, 5A, and 5B. Through the agreement, a proportion of the available permits will be exclusively for Hopi tribal members.

The 2010 Pronghorn Antelope and Elk Hunt Draw Information booklet will be posted at www.azgfd.gov/draw.

‘Tis the season for leftovers – hunt permits that is Remaining spring hunt permits available in-person at AZGFD offices

Tis the season for consuming leftovers, so now you can add leftover spring hunt permits to the list – appropriately, there are even turkey leftovers available in person at all seven Arizona Game and Fish Department offices in the state.

“You can make someone happy this wonderful holiday season with a leftover spring turkey, javelina or bear permit. You’ll be giving the gift of a terrific outdoor adventure and healthy nature-grown protein on the hoof,” said Doug Burt, a Game and Fish public information officer, who is also an avid hunter.

There are literally thousands of javelina permits remaining, plus a surprising number of spring turkey tags, including some on the Kaibab plateau, one of the state’s most renowned areas for hunting Merriam’s turkey.

“No hunter’s stocking should go unfilled with javelina cheer this holiday season in Arizona. You can come in and buy a spring permit directly from us, or still mail in an application. Tis’ the season for hunters to be jolly,” Burt said.

Burt said he was reading an article in a major metro newspaper the other day about the increasing trend for people to grow their own food and harvest their own game for a healthier and more eco-friendly lifestyle. “Add in the fact that hunting is also healthy exercise and valuable mental-health time in the outdoors, and you have a lifestyle-winning combination.”

As a bonus, he pointed out, hunting-generated revenue is also the prime source of wildlife conservation in North America. “Hunting is the nature-friendly thing to do.”

For an updated list of what leftover spring hunt tags remain, visit www.azgfd.gov/draw.


Deer poachers sought by Game and Fish

YUMA, Ariz. – Reward money is being offered for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the illegal killing of an adult female mule deer near Wellton, Ariz.

The Thanksgiving Day poaching is under investigation by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The deer was shot in the front left shoulder and left to waste in the desert. The subjects also left beer cans and trash behind.

This was a closed season poaching which occurred near a popular hunting area known as “Radium Hot Springs” located just east of Wellton. This incident occurred at night or in the early morning on or near Nov. 25 and 26.

“The doe was shot with a small caliber rifle and just left to waste,” according to Richard Myers, law enforcement specialist for Game and Fish. “Poachers are not hunters and those who commit these acts not only steal from the resource, they steal from the residents of Arizona.”

Anyone with information which leads to an arrest in this case can get a cash reward of up to $1,000 by calling the Operation Game Thief hotline toll-free at (800) 352-0700. Caller identities may remain confidential upon request. You can also report online at www.azgfd.gov/thief.


Combination hunt and fish license offers best value of the season

Hunting and fishing recreation offer families an outdoor adventure

While urbanites are racing around the crowded malls for the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials, a hunting and/or fishing license is your passage to escape to the open spaces of the desert uplands or to a local fishing hole to spend some quality time with family and friends. The memories from an exciting outdoor adventure will far outlast any shopping trip.

Arizona is blessed with a bountiful complement of wildlife, incredible landscapes and vast amounts of public lands. Hunting and angling are healthly activities that allow you to experience all that our state has to offer.

A general hunting license, fishing license or combination hunt and fish license is all you need to start enjoying your wildlife related outdoor adventure. Below are just some of the great hunting and fishing activities in season now in Arizona.

Hunting opportunities in November and December are extensive, especially in the small game arena. There are three species of quail (Gambel’s, Mearns’ and scaled), mourning dove, cottontail rabbits, two types of jackrabbits (black-tailed and antelope), two types of tassel-eared squirrels (Abert’s and Kaibab) along with red and grey squirrels, as well as many varieties of ducks and geese. Many of these game animals can be found in the same areas offering a mixed bag and exciting hunting adventure, not to mention the great meal they provide. See below for detailed hunting tips and pursuits. (Note, dove and waterfowl require special stamps.)

Fall fishing brings fresh stocked rainbow trout to many of Arizona’s waters including the urban lakes program. These hearty, feisty-fighters provide great angling fun and good eating when you are tired of turkey leftovers. In addition to trout, anglers can find bass, catfish, sunfish, and crappie. For a great hike and scenic trip, try Wet Beaver Creek, West Clear Creek, or maybe even Oak Creek. If you want to stay close to Phoenix metro, try the Lower Salt River, Tempe Town Lake or one of the many urban program waters. Other good bets are Canyon Lake, Saguaro Lake, Dead Horse Ranch State Park, the Verde River from Cottonwood to Camp Verde, Goldwater Lake, and Colorado River along Casino Row. See below for detailed fishing tips and report. (Note, an urban fishing license is required for urban waters.)

Licenses are available at all seven Arizona Game and Fish Department offices and more than 300 license dealer across the state. 2009 class A fishing licenses and class U urban fishing licenses are half off for the remainder of the calendar year.

Resident license fees

Youth ages 10-13 hunting $15, hunt and fish $20
Child 14-20 hunt and fish $26.50
Adult ages 21 and up, hunting $32.25, hunt and fish $54
Family of four hunt and fish license $137.20 (a savings of $24)
*Note – Hunt and fish combo license includes trout stamp

Hunting

Quail – Three species of quail offer exciting upland hunting across the state. They are the Gambel’s, scaled and Mearns’. Your heart is certain to skip a beat when one of these birds flushes from cover with their wings whirling when you least expect it. Each species is uniquely different in appearance and the habitat they occupy. However, some of their ranges overlap, or are very close to each other, offering dedicated hunters a chance to take all three in one day, a bird hunter’s grand slam. The season for all three species is open until Feb. 7, 2010. (Note, a 2010 hunting license is required beginning Jan. 1.)

Dove – Arizonans are blessed with a Mourning dove season in the fall. These fast darting birds provide challenging wing shooting for even accomplished shotgunners. Evening dove hunts at a stock tank are perfect for introducing someone new to hunting and firearms. Dove can be found nearly anywhere in the desert, but key areas will have trees for roosting cover, water nearby and plenty of desert fauna for food. Nothing matches the sunset after the hunt, except maybe the grilled dove breasts with friends and family. The fall dove season offers all day hunting through Jan. 3, 2010. (Note, an Arizona migratory bird stamp is required.)

Rabbit – These ground dwellers are more challenging than one may think, and they are abundant. Desert cottontail rabbits and two types of jackrabbits, the black-tailed and antelope, offer hunters young and old, new or experienced, plenty of excitement and challenge. Both inhabit the desert low lands and can be found in the cover of washes, and drainages. The best time to get after these critters is at first and last light, but they can be found during the same times when hunting quail and dove, offering a mixed bag that will please any hunter. Rabbit season is open all year long.

Squirrel – For another fantastic hunting experience, head to the ponderosa forests for some squirrel hunting. If you need a little winter in your life, the mountain air and a chance for a light snowfall, will certainly answer the call. Squirrels can be found foraging for acorns, pinecones and mushrooms along the forest floor. However, once they spot you get ready for them to retreat to the tops of the pine trees, so bring a pair of binoculars so you can pick them out. Squirrel season is open through Dec. 31.

Waterfowl – Ducks, geese and snipe can bring another variety of wing shooting. As the winter pushes through the north many ducks will find their way to desert stock tanks, streams and waterways. Jumping tanks is very popular, but if you really want to experience waterfowling, try picking up some waders, decoys and try calling in a flight of teal or mallards to your spread for an experience of a lifetime. Waterfowl season ends in the mountain zone Jan. 17 and in the desert zone Jan. 31, 2010. (Note, both a state and federal duck stamp are required.)

To learn more about Arizona’s hunting opportunities, visit www.azgfd.gov/hunting.

Fishing

If you are looking to work off some holiday calories, trying hiking and fishing along places like Wet Beaver Creek, West Clear Creek, or maybe even Oak Creek in the Verde Valley.

Another place for a calorie-killing fishing adventure is the Lower Salt River near Phoenix. Arizona Game and Fish has stocked this desert river with trout, so the fishing should be decent, especially at first and last light during these warmer days. This stretch of river is great for canoes and kayaks. The flows this week are around 400 cfs. No real challenge, just fun.

However, if you are of the kick-back and relax persuasion, some good choices include Canyon Lake or Saguaro Lake, which we have stocked with trout. These two lakes also have bass, catfish and sunfish and each has good shore fishing opportunities and fishing piers.

Tempe Town Lake has now received two stockings of trout, so it offers you a place to escape the Black Friday store madness. This lake also has trout, catfish and sunfish.

Another good choice is Dead Horse Ranch State Park near Cottonwood — it is very friendly to those who over imbibe at the holiday dinner table or for those who face other mobility challenges. This is also a good place for us older anglers to take the grandkids. There are even some swings near the lake that the younger children often appreciate. By the way, we have also stocked the Verde River from Cottonwood to Camp Verde, and you must cross the Verde getting into Dead Horse. You might want to stop and wet a line near the bridge.

Goldwater Lake along Senator Highway just above Prescott is another family friendly lake for parents or grandparents to take the kids. It was stocked with trout last week. Think nice, wiggly worms, although Power Bait can sometimes be the ticket.

Don’t forget the urban program lakes – they have all been stocked with trout. One of my favorites is actually Green Valley Lakes in Payson, where we often alternate catching trout and crappie.

Farther afield, the Colorado River along Laughlin’s Casino Row is stocked with trout. During these mild winter days, fishing this stretch of river can be very enjoyable.

For most of the warmwater lakes, most sport-fish species are in their deeper winter patterns, so you need to fish accordingly. Roosevelt has turned over. Some anglers are doing okay there, others can’t buy a bite. Bartlett is very low for work on the dam, but it sounds like crappie and bass are biting. However, boat launching is difficult.

With releases from Stewart Mountain Dam, winter fishing at Saguaro takes on a different complexion thanks to a slight current. Some boat anglers are having good luck for a mixed bag of fish including largemouth bass, bluegill and yellow bass. Small spinners and gold KastMasters seem to be productive, but for youngsters, get some dillies.

Finally, with these mild temperatures, you can probably squeeze in at least one more trout fishing expedition to the high country. The water is probably getting pretty cold, so the trout might be a little lethargic as they get into their winter feeding patterns. This means slowing down presentations.

For the full Thanksgiving Fishing Report, visit: www.azgfd.gov/fishingreport.


Urban Fishing Bulletin For the weeks of Nov. 29 – Dec. 12, 2009

Manager: Eric Swanson (623) 236-7263
Specialist: Joann Hill (623) 236-7268
Call 1-800-352-0700 to report fishing violations

2009 END OF YEAR REMINDERS

Winter stockings of rainbow trout will continue every two weeks through early March at all 21 Urban Fishing Program waters. Trout average 11-12 inches in size and are stocked in generous amounts.

Stay on the lookout for golden alga, a microscopic organism that releases substances that are toxic to fish. Game and Fish is working with city park staff and lake consultants to regularly monitor for and control the unwanted algae. To report any suspicious observations of fish behavior or lake conditions that may be caused by golden alga, contact the Department at 623-236-7268. Please do your part to prevent the spread of golden alga by not moving water or wet objects or fishing equipment from lake to lake. Clean, drain and dry all equipment.

The 2009 Class U Urban Fishing license is now 50% off through December 31. Stop by a Game and Fish office or any of our sporting goods or retail license dealers and ask for your 2009 discount Urban license for $9.25.

Submit your big fish catches for the 2009 Fish-of-the-Year contest. With less than a month to go, there are plenty of chances to report your big fish catches in either of two categories; kept or released. Application forms and instructions for the contest are in the current Urban Fishing Program brochure or Arizona Fishing Regulation booklet.

2010 FISHING LICENSES MAKE GREAT GIFTS

In the midst of the holiday rush, don’t forget to buy your 2010 Class U (Urban) fishing license for the new year. Urban fishing licenses are on sale for $18.50 at over 340 license dealers statewide. The Class U license is valid only at the 21 designated Urban Fishing Program waters and is good for all fish species (including trout). If you want one fishing license that covers all waters in the state, then the Class L, Super Conservation Fishing license is the deal for you. At $53 for residents and only $63 for non-residents, this super license includes the state fishing license, trout stamp and urban license. You can even buy fishing licenses as gifts for friends and family as long as you know the personal information that needs to go on the license. All anglers age 14 and over must purchase a license to fish in Arizona.

2010 URBAN FISHING PROGRAM GUIDEBOOK

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Urban Fishing Program in 2010, a new guidebook has been created. The attractive, high quality books were designed to make it easier for you to figure out where to fish, when to fish, how to fish, what to fish with and much more. Major changes from the 2009 booklet include: a 2010 fish stocking calendar; timeline of significant program events over the past 25 years; all new lake and park maps; listings of family-friendly park amenities; and a fishing equipment checklist to help get you started. The 2010 Guidebooks will be available for free from Game and Fish Department offices or any of our sporting goods or retail license dealers by December 15.

URBAN FISHING REPORT

Rainbow trout stockings have started and will continue all winter long at two week intervals. Trout range in size from 11-12 inches in length, with some recently stocked fish in the 13-15 inch range. Fishing is good to excellent for anglers using scented dough baits (such as Power Bait), worms or salmon eggs. Small spinners such as Roostertails and Panther Martins, or spoons such as Kastmasters and Super Dupers work well for trout in the early morning. In addition to a good morning bite, some anglers have reported excellent fishing midday and late afternoon. Patience is the key, as the trout bite sporadically throughout the day. When the bite is on, anglers are catching limits in an hour. Action for catfish, bass and bluegill has slowed due to colder water temperatures. Trout fishing is good to excellent at Green Valley lakes in Payson with Power Bait, worms and small spinners working best.

STOCKING SCHEDULE

All 20 UFP waters in Phoenix Area and Tucson Area – Last stocked trout Nov. 16 (first of season), bluegill on Oct. 28-29- bluegill. Next stocking, trout week of Nov. 31- Dec. 5.

Green Valley Lakes (Payson) – Last stocked trout Nov. 16. Next stocking trout week of Nov. 31- Dec. 5. To learn more about fishing in Arizona, including the Urban Fishing Program, visit www.azgfd.gov/fishing.


November 23, 2009 – Endangered Species Updates – Mexican Wolf AMWG Public Meeting Postponed Indefinitely

The Mexican Wolf Adaptive Management Work Group (AMWG) public meeting that was previously scheduled for December 9 in Truth or Consequences NM has been postponed indefiinitely. The postponement will enable the cooperating agencies to meet with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to discuss the Service’s course of action pursuant to a litigation Consent Decree that it is entering into with several nongovernmental organizations regarding Mexican wolf management. The Service will convene a meeting with the AMOC cooperating agencies for that purpose as soon as possible.

As of November 20, the Consent Decree not been signed by the presiding federal judge, thus it is not final. Nevertheless, it has been widely circulated in conjunction with a news release by the NGOs. After the judge has signed the agreement, the Service will have 2 weeks to issue a memorandum that affirms its commitments under the agreement. Meanwhile, the Service has provided the following paragraph to AMOC cooperators as the “heart” and “substance” of the settlement agreement:

“The Service shall make no further decisions that relate to the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program pursuant to the MOU, which has expired and has no legal effect. The Service shall make no further decisions that relate to the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program pursuant to SOP 13 as issued on April 30, 2005, or as altered by the Clarification Memo on May 28, 2009. The Service recognizes that the AMOC does not oversee the actions of the Service and that the AMOC has no decision-making authority over the Service with regard to the Service’s management of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program or the Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project. Within two weeks of the Court’s order that enters this Stipulated Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”), the Service shall issue a memorandum that affirms these commitments.”

Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator Bud Fazio has advised the AMOC cooperators that “once the settlement is signed by a judge, and we obtain a signed copy, we will be able to share that signed copy with those who request it.”

Contrary to some of the information flowing about this situation, the Reintroduction Project’s Adaptive Management Oversight Committee has not been dissolved nor has the Memorandum of Understanding under which AMOC operates been terminated. The commitments under the Consent Decree apply directly only to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Other AMOC cooperators were not part of the negotiations resulting in the Consent Decree and will need to determine their own courses of action on these issues. In order to do so, they must first get clarification from the Service on elements of the Consent Decree and on the Service’s intent pursuant to the agreement.

In light of these uncertainties and the AMOC cooperators’ consequent inability to provide informed responses to questions from the public regarding these issues, on November 20 the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish recommended cancelling the December 2009 AMWG public meeting. The other AMOC cooperators have deferred to New Mexico Game and Fish by postponing the meeting. They will re-schedule it when they have a better understanding of the effects of the Consent Decree.

Notes: (1) Information on the Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project is available on the Internet at http://azgfd.gov/wolf and http://mexicanwolf.fws.gov. (2) Notices for AMWG meetings and other news about issues pertaining to the Reintroduction Project are disseminated electronically through a self-subscription newsletter, the Endangered Species Updates. A self-subscription form is available at: http://azgfd.gov/signup. (3) Send email messages to the Reintroduction Project to: mexwolf@azgfd.gov; this is a passive account, so messages received will be read but individual responses will not be sent. (4) Send postal mail to: Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project, 5000 West Carefree Highway, Phoenix, Arizona 85086.


Nov. 20, 2009 – Commission approves amendment of hunt guidelines to allow department to pursue Hopi agreement

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission took action yesterday (Nov. 19) that will facilitate continued efforts toward ensuring hunter access and cooperative wildlife management in Hopi Trust Lands located within Game Management Units 4A, 5A and 5B.

The commission voted unanimously to accept the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s recommendation to amend the hunt guidelines for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 hunting seasons with language that would authorize the department to enter into a reciprocal agreement with the Hopi Tribe. This agreement, which would need to be approved by both the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Hopi Tribe, would allow hunter access by the general populace to Hopi Trust Lands within those units for the 2010 elk and antelope hunts, and would allocate an equitable proportion of applicable big game permits in those units to Hopi tribal members based on the proportion of habitat and estimated wildlife populations within those habitats. Deer permits may be considered in the future.

As was described in the department’s Nov. 17 e-news communication providing background information, the Hopi Tribe in 1997-98 purchased several private ranches in Game Management Units 4A, 5A and 5B in accordance with the Congressionally approved Navajo-Hopi Settlement Dispute Act of 1996. About 160,000 acres of that land went into Trust Status in December 2008. Trust Status, for all practical purposes, makes these sovereign lands similar to reservation lands. These Hopi Trust Lands are interspersed with about 157,000 acres of checkerboard Arizona State Trust Lands.

The department has been in discussions with the Hopi Tribe regarding cooperative management of wildlife and hunter access on Hopi Trust Lands, which has led to the draft Cooperative Agreement. Department and Hopi staff have been developing estimates of equitable allocations to Hopi tribal members. As an example, based on the draft hunt recommendations that will be presented to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, about 3 percent of the general/juniors/archery elk tags (105 of 3,195 tags), 20 percent of the pronghorn tags (14 of 70 tags), and 50 percent of the limited opportunity elk tags (138 of 275 tags) in these units would be allocated to Hopis under the agreement. The permit numbers in the hunt recommendations have not yet been approved by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission but will be considered in public session at the Dec. 5 commission meeting in Phoenix.

The proposed agreement stipulates how revenue would be shared between the department and Hopi. An amount equal to the revenue from the tags and one-half of the resident hunting license fee would go to Hopi to aid their wildlife management. This would equal approximately $36,500 in the scenario described above. Hunters from the general populace would have access to Hopi Trust Lands under the draft cooperative agreement.

Under the agreement, the Arizona Game and Fish Department would conduct the draw for these hunts, and all state statutes, commission rules and commission orders, including fees, would apply to all hunters. All hunters on these lands would need to be properly licensed and have drawn the appropriate tags. A portion of the tags would be allocated for Hopi hunters, and these would be handled similarly to how the department handles hunts on military lands. Hunters interested in applying would have to contact the Hopi Wildlife Program to get the hunt number to apply.

The Hopi Tribal Council is scheduled to meet on Nov. 24 to vote on whether to give the Tribe the authority to enter into this agreement with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

The department’s proposed hunt recommendations to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission for the 2010 elk and pronghorn hunts (including the proposed tag allocation for Hopi tribal members) will be presented to the commission for consideration at its Dec. 5 meeting. The hunt recommendations will be posted Nov. 23 at www.azgfd.gov/huntguidelines.


Nov. 18, 2009 – Low OHV Decal compliance numbers unacceptable

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is reinforcing earlier efforts to get all OHV owners in the state to take part in the new OHV Decal program that went into effect Jan. 1, 2009. As the department has been promoting for the last year, all Arizona OHVs that are primarily designed by the manufacturer for use over unimproved terrain and have an unladen weight of 1800 pounds or less are required by Arizona Revised Statute to display an OHV Decal.

In the latest report from the Arizona Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), only about 21 percent of all eligible OHVs and OHV owners are taking part in the new program.

“Twenty-one percent is well below the projected participation rate and is disappointing considering the value of this new program,” said Larry Voyles, Director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, “This user play user pay program will provide the resources needed to promote safe, and responsible OHV use ultimately providing the tools to help ensure access.”

The benefits of the OHV Decal program include information and education efforts, facility development and maintenance, maps, signage and increased enforcement. The Arizona Game and Fish Department is currently hiring seven law enforcement officers that will focus their efforts on OHV specific issues across the state.

“Revenue from the OHV Decal program is what is allowing the department to hire these seven new OHV officers” said Joe Sacco, Arizona Game and Fish Department OHV program coordinator, “In just about every OHV related public meeting held over the last four years building the legislation, law enforcement was one of the areas that the OHV community asked for increased resources to help ensure access. The OHV Decal program was created to help provide these resources. Compliance is critical for this program to be successful and for the future of OHV use in Arizona”

Other projects that are being funded through the OHV Decal program include the new OHV Laws and Places to Ride booklet that is an ongoing joint venture between Arizona State Parks and the Game and Fish Department. A continued grant program to help clean up and restore riding areas and new informational outreach items like riding area maps will be created in the future.

The OHV Decal costs $25 and is good for one year from the date of purchase. It can be obtained at any MVD office, MVD third party service provider or online at www.servicearizona.com.

For more information about the OHV Decal program or OHV use in Arizona visit www.azgfd.gov/ohv.


November 17, 2009 – Wildlife management and hunter access on Hopi Trust Lands

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has received inquiries from constituents regarding its announcement last Friday about two agenda items that have been added to this Thursday’s (Nov. 19) meeting of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. Those agenda items are:

An informational briefing on a draft Cooperative Agreement with the Hopi Tribe to facilitate cooperative management and continued elk and antelope hunter access on sovereign Hopi Trust Lands in Game Management Units 4A, 5A and 5B (the agreement includes allocation of permits to Hopi tribal members based on suitable habitat).

Consideration of proposed amendments to the hunt guidelines governing the 2010-11 and 2011-12 hunting seasons in Game Management Units 4A, 5A and 5B to reflect the proposed permit allocation in the Hopi Trust Lands Cooperative Agreement. The commission may vote to take action or provide the department direction on this item. (For a complete meeting agenda, visit www.azgfd.gov/commissioncam and click on the link to the Nov. 19 agenda).

The department offers the following additional background information on this issue:

In 1996, Congress passed the Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute Settlement Act to resolve long-standing issues regarding Navajo families living on Hopi partition lands. Among the provisions in this act was authorization for the Hopi Tribe to purchase up to 500,000 acres of ranch lands in northern Arizona and put them eventually into trust status. The act also authorized the Secretary of the Interior to, by condemnation, acquire State Lands lying within the private lands purchased by the Hopi Tribe and compensate the state at fair market value with funds provided by the tribe.

In 1997-98, under the authority of the act, Hopi purchased five ranches (Clear Creek, Hart, 10X, Drye and Aja) in Game Management Units 4A, 5A and 5B, covering approximately 173,000 acres of deeded land with a comparable amount of interspersed “checkerboard” State Land. Up until December 2008, these ranch lands were treated as any other ranch. In December 2008, about 160,000 acres of these deeded lands were placed into federal trust status for the benefit of the Hopi Tribe. Trust status, for all practical purposes, has the effect of making the Hopi Trust Lands become part of the Hopi Reservation as sovereign land.

There are about 157,000 acres of interspersed checkerboard State Land within the Hopi Trust Land boundaries. There has been no change in the interspersed State Lands at this time. These interspersed lands make it difficult for either Hopi or Game and Fish to independently manage habitat, wildlife and hunting on these lands. The department has been working collaboratively with the Hopi Tribe for 10 years on these issues.

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission was briefed on this situation last spring during a public meeting. Since then, the department has continued to work with Hopi on access, habitat and wildlife management issues. The proposed Cooperative Agreement provides for a process under which Hopi will be able to issue a certain number of permits for Hopis to hunt these lands. A separate Stewardship Agreement allows continued access to these lands for elk and antelope hunters during the 2010 season.

Keep in mind that the Hopi Trust Lands are sovereign lands, and continued hunter access is dependent on cooperative agreements such as this. Hopi has affirmed that the tribe values its relationship with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and the tribe and department will continue to work cooperatively on access, habitat and wildlife management issues.


Urban Fishing Bulletin
Nov. 15 – 28, 2009
Call 1-800-352-0700 to report fishing violations
TROUT SEASON KICKS OFF NOVEMBER 16

The scheduled date for the first trout delivery of the winter season is Monday, Nov. 16 for all lakes in the Phoenix and Tucson areas. Trout averaging from 11-12 inches will be stocked at rates of 80-100 fish per lake surface acre for Urban Lakes and at lower rates for Urban Ponds. Fish deliveries will occur throughout the day starting from early morning well into the afternoon.

Trout stockings will continue at two week intervals throughout the next four months. A total of over 12,000 trout from two Colorado trout producers will be delivered to all 21 waters in one day. With the colder temperatures at Payson’s Green Valley Lakes, trout stockings already started in October and will continue every other week. Remember, daily bag and possession limits for trout at Urban Lakes are (4) four fish per person for licensed anglers and (2) two fish for unlicensed juveniles under the age of 14. Trout limits at Urban Ponds are (2) two fish for licensed anglers and one fish for youth.

NOTE: Twice each year, the Urban Fishing Program shares with you the specific stocking date. We do this in the fall when we switch from catfish to trout stockings, and again in the spring when we switch back to catfish. For the other stocking dates throughout the year, only the week of stocking is announced to the public (Monday thru Saturday).

2009 URBAN FISHING LICENSES 50% OFF SALE

If you recently found out about the great fishing in the urban lakes and the start of the trout stocking season, we have a deal for you. The 2009 Class U Urban Fishing license is now 50% off for the last two months of the year. Stop by a Game and Fish office or any of our sporting goods or retail license dealers and ask for your 2009 discount Urban license for $9.25. Fishing is excellent this time of year at all Urban Program lakes for trout, bluegill and catfish.

END OF YEAR REMINDERS

Time is running out to submit your big fish catches for the 2009 Fish-of-the-Year contest. With less than two months to go, there are plenty of chances to report your big fish catches in either of two categories; kept or released. Application forms and instructions for the contest are in the current Urban Fishing Program brochure or Arizona Fishing Regulation booklet. Updates on the current leaders can be checked out online at www.azgfd.gov. Each year’s winners receive a certificate, hat and other gifts.

2010 fishing licenses are already on sale at all license dealers if you want to get one early or purchase one as a gift for someone this holiday season. License prices are the same: $18.50 for the Class U Urban Fishing License; $53.00 for the Class L Super Fishing Combo License that covers urban fishing, statewide fishing and trout stamp privileges.

URBAN FISHING REPORT

November fishing is excellent at Urban Program lakes with catfish, bluegill, bass and rainbow trout stockings all taking place this month. The rainbow trout stocking season is scheduled to begin Monday, Nov. 16 at all Urban Fishing Program waters. Fishing should be good to excellent for anglers using scented dough baits (such as PowerBait), worms or small trout lures. Trout stockings will continue every two weeks from November to March. All lakes were recently stocked with bluegill and action is good for these feisty fighters. Catfish action is fair to good after four successful fall stockings have loaded up the lakes. Last week a Tempe angler caught a huge channel catfish from Kiwanis Lake that weighed in at 13.1 pounds and was over 30 inches long. Trout fishing is good to excellent at Green Valley lakes in Payson. Best action for trout is coming on PowerBait, salmon eggs, worms and small spinners.

STOCKING SCHEDULE

All 20 UFP waters in Phoenix Area and Tucson Area – Last stocked catfish Nov. 7 (last of season). Blue gill stocked October 28-29. Next stocking, trout season kick off on November 16. Green Valley Lakes (Payson) – Last stocked trout Nov.4. Next stocking, trout on Nov. 16.


Nov. 16, 2009 – Arizona Game and Fish announces drawing results for spring hunts Remaining tags available first-come, first-serve by mail or in person

PHOENIX – The more than 35,000 hunters who applied for a tag to hunt spring turkey, javelina, buffalo or bear in 2010 can find out if they were drawn by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Web site at www.azgfd.gov/draw or by calling (602) 942-3000 (option 2).

Game and Fish officials said that hunt permit-tags will be mailed out to successful applicants no later than Dec. 4. Unsuccessful or rejected applicants will have their refund mailed out by Nov. 27.

There are plenty of remaining tags available on a first-come, first-serve basis for those individuals who forgot to submit an application or were unsuccessful in the 2010 spring drawing. Remaining tags include more than 10,000 javelina tags (328 juniors-only), nearly 200 turkey tags, and just over 70 tags for archery-only bear hunts. For a detailed listing of leftover permits, visit www.azgfd.gov/draw or call (623) 236-7702.

There are now two systems to obtain a leftover tag. Paper applications will be accepted by mail only starting on Monday, Nov. 30 at 8 a.m. (MST). However, beginning on Monday, Dec. 7 at 8 a.m. (MST), hunters can also obtain a leftover tag in person (over-the-counter) from any of the seven Arizona Game and Fish Department offices. A list of office locations is available at www.azgfd.gov/offices.

For those who qualify, there are military hunts available. For additional information on Camp Navajo, call (928) 773-3306 and Fort Huachuca call (520) 533-2549.

Juniors-only hunts

Youngsters interested in hunting have many choices and special seasons that are only open to kids. These hunts offer an outdoor family experience and a memory of a lifetime.

There are more than 300 juniors-only spring javelina tags remaining from the draw for $22.50 (by mail or from department offices only). Juniors-only spring turkey hunts (shotgun shooting shot) are available over-the-counter from any license dealer or department office for just $10. A unique December hunt for sandhill cranes still has several tags (good for three birds) available for $22.50 (by application sent via U.S. mail only).

Both javelina and turkey are big game animals and the minimum age to hunt them is 10 years old. Kids age 10 to 13 must complete an Arizona certified hunter education course to hunt big game which includes turkey and javelina.

The anticipated drawing deadline to apply for a 2010 pronghorn antelope and elk tag is the second Tuesday in February 2010. Winter drawing information and regulations should be available on the department’s web site, www.azgfd.gov, by mid to late December 2009.

Sidebar (Small Game, Big Fun logo) – With small game season in full swing, now is a great time to get out in the field and do some hunting and scouting for your upcoming hunt. Most of the habitat that javelina occupy is also good habitat for quail (Gambel’s, scaled and Mearns’), cottontail rabbits, jackrabbits, dove, squirrel and even ducks. Not to mention, all of these species make great table fare when cared for properly.

Other great hunting opportunities

Young hunters can hone many of the same skills needed to hunt javelina when pursuing rabbits and squirrels with a .22 rifle including, using their binoculars to discover game, identifying habitat, stalking, marksmanship, and proper field care for dressing harvested game.

Small game season offers big fun, with plenty of pursuits and long seasons, including:

Year-round – cottontail rabbits and jackrabbits
Oct. 2, 2009 – Feb. 7, 2010 – Gambel’s and scaled quail
Oct. 2 – Dec. 31, 2009 – Squirrel season
Oct. 9/23, 2009 – Jan 17/31, 2010 – Waterfowl season (mountain/desert zones)
Nov. 20 2009 – Jan. 3, 2010 – Dove season
Nov. 27, 2009 – Feb. 7, 2010 – Mearns’ quail

To learn more about the fun hunting small game, including events, tips and outlooks, visit www.azgfd.gov/h_f/small_game.shtml.

AZGFD – Hunting and fishing continues to be the cornerstone and a primary source of funding for wildlife management and conservation in North America. In Arizona alone, more than 418,000 hunters and anglers spend $3.8 million a day, or $1.3 billion per year, participating in these activities to the benefit of local economies. Regardless of whether one chooses to actively participate in hunting or angling, people interested in wildlife and its future should understand the role sportsmen play in conservation.


Nov. 13, 2009 – Arizona Game and Fish response to court settlement agreement on Mexican wolf management

In a news release distributed today (Nov. 13), the Center for Biological Diversity announced a settlement agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and several environmental advocacy groups concerning Mexican wolf management.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department offers the following response:

In its role as the state’s wildlife management authority, the Arizona Game and Fish Department has a vested interest in continuing its participation and leadership in Mexican wolf conservation.

The department has actively participated in wolf recovery going back more than 30 years. Since 1977, the department has spent an estimated $5.3 million for wolf recovery efforts.

The department advocates that Mexican wolf management decisions will continue to be based on sound science and to provide opportunities for participation by local and tribal governments, nongovernmental organizations and individuals from all segments of the public. The department looks forward to redefining how it can best participate in wolf management, to represent the state’s interests based on state statutory authority as well as its authority granted under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Consistent with previous Arizona Game and Fish Commission guidance, the department supports the development of an updated Mexican wolf recovery plan with measurable recovery goals based on science. The current plan was completed in 1982 and the department has asserted for more than 10 years that failure to revise the plan has been a considerable impediment to wolf conservation.

The department believes that the development of a mechanism for addressing financial impacts of wolf depredation on private interests is an important step in addressing long-standing social challenges associated with wolf recovery and may in fact be a crucial component in ensuring that the program moves forward in full compliance with the impacts and management commitments identified in the original (1996) environmental impact statement and final 1998 rule on Mexican wolf reintroduction.

The department’s endangered species coordinator, Terry Johnson, currently chairs the Mexican Wolf Adaptive Management Oversight Committee (AMOC). The press release sent by the plaintiff organizations is misleading in that AMOC is not and never has been the deciding authority on whether or not a wolf stays in the wild. AMOC reviews situations in which management response is needed and when removal is one of the options considered makes recommendations based on an approved procedure and forwards those recommendations to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Prior to 2008 the USFWS Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator, per the 1998 final rule, made the final decision on removal. Since then, the Region 2 director of the USFWS has consulted on such recommendations with the directors of the other five lead agencies participating in AMOC, but ultimately is the sole deciding authority on wolf removal.


Nov. 25, 2009 – Arizona’s Mearns’ quail season opens Friday

PHOENIX – Starting Friday, Nov. 27, upland hunters can be thankful to be able to harvest any of the three species of quail with the opening of the Mearns’ quail season.

Arizona Game and Fish Department officials report average to below-average Mearns’ quail populations for the 2009-10 season. Although, there should be plenty of adult birds held over from last season, the summer rains needed for recruitment of new birds was well below average.

These conditions will require hunters and dogs to cover a little more country to bring these fantastic birds to hand. The good news, is the season is long, the country is mesmerizing, and there is a chance to bag all three species of quail – Mearns’, Gambel’s and scaled.

The season for all three quail ends Feb. 7, 2010.

To learn more about hunting in Arizona, visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Web site, at www.azgfd.gov/hunting.


Nov. 17, 2009 – Provide your input on Arizona’s State Wildlife Action Plan Proposed revisions to be presented at series of public meetings

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Department will hold a series of public meetings and accept public comment as part of an effort to update and revise Arizona’s State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP).

This document, previously known as the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy, was accepted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s National Acceptance Advisory Team in April 2006. The approved plan requires the department to conduct a public review of the plan after the fourth year.

Arizona’s SWAP is unlike existing recovery plans and other regulatory documents in that it builds on and complements existing plans and wildlife conservation projects that are already underway. The plan outlines strategies and conservation actions aimed at promoting partnerships and coordinating efforts among all who hold a stake in conserving Arizona’s wildlife. As such, the plan addresses the full array of wildlife and habitats but focuses on identifying and managing the “wildlife and biotic communities of greatest conservation need”.

The review will focus on three main areas of the plan

* The “Species of Greatest Conservation Need,” including the criteria used to determine their status and their spatial distributions.

* The spatial distribution of stressors to wildlife, including a vulnerability assessment for climate change.

* Delineation of landscapes of conservation concern.

The public meetings are scheduled to run from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the following dates
* Tuesday, Dec. 15, Kingman, Arizona Game and Fish Department Kingman regional office, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road.
* Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010, Tucson, Arizona Game and Fish Department Tucson regional office, 555 N. Greasewood Road.
* Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010, Yuma, Arizona Game and Fish Department Yuma regional office, 9140 E. 28th St.
* Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010, Mesa, Arizona Game and Fish Department Mesa regional office, 7200 E. University Drive.

Dates, times and locations for meetings in Flagstaff, Pinetop, and Phoenix will be announced soon. The public meetings will include a formal presentation followed by the opportunity to participate in working groups that will discuss the plan’s main areas listed above.

In addition, the department will post the existing document and proposed changes at www.azgfd.gov/w_c/cwcs.shtml. The Web page will have a mechanism for people to submit comments to the department.

For over a decade, a coalition of more than 3,000 conservation organizations known as “Teaming With Wildlife” has labored to keep species from becoming endangered by increasing state and federal funding for wildlife conservation. This effort culminated in 2001 when federal legislation established a new State Wildlife Grant (SWG) program. SWG funds are used to support the needs of wildlife, their habitats, and related recreational and educational activities.

In order to continue receiving SWG funds, each of the 56 U.S. states and territories were required, by Congress, to submit a SWAP for approval to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Guidelines for developing the state plans and the eight required elements in each plan were established by state fish and wildlife agencies working with the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Teaming With Wildlife Committee.

Arizona’s SWAP is the culmination of a two-year effort during which the department solicited input from numerous experts, resource professionals, federal and state agencies, sportsmen groups, conservation organizations, Native American tribes, recreational groups, local governments and private citizens, and integrated those ideas and concerns into a single, comprehensive vision for managing Arizona’s fish, wildlife, and wildlife habitats.

The department is encouraging all of those previous participants, as well as any other member of the public, to contribute to this review effort.


Nov. 2, 2009 – Grants available for public shooting ranges in Arizona

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department wants to continue to improve and expand public shooting ranges across the state by providing grant funding to qualified applicants involved in the development, improvement or maintenance of public shooting and archery ranges.

The department is accepting grant applications now through Jan. 15 by 5 p.m. (MST). Shooting clubs, sportsmen’s groups and government agencies operating public shooting ranges are encouraged to apply. Privately owned for-profit ranges are not eligible for this program.

“This program has been instrumental in the vitality of shooting ranges across the state,” said Game and Fish Shooting Ranges Administrator, Anthony Chavez. “It has afforded ranges the opportunity to expand safety barriers; add capabilities to include clay target shooting and archery shooting; improve ADA accessibility; as well as update and modernize these facilities.”

Examples of projects that could be eligible for funds include shooting range development and redevelopment, construction of noise abatement structures and safety berms, installation of shooting pads and stations, and construction or improvement of access roads and parking lots.

Grants are available through a competitive application process each year. The Arizona Game and Fish Commission determines how much money is available, but generally the total is about $100,000. The maximum grant award is $50,000 per project.

Application packets are available online at www.azgfd.gov/shootingsports (select “range development grants” link on the left side of the page), or contact Anthony Chavez, statewide shooting ranges administrator, at (623) 236-7395 or aechavez@azgfd.gov.

Chavez added, “Public shooting ranges are critical in the preservation of recreational and competitive shooting, they support hunter education and youth programs, and facilitate law enforcement training.”

The Arizona Game and Fish Department does not receive general funds from the State of Arizona. Most department funding results from user-pays user-benefits sources of funding including sales of hunting and fishing licenses, stamps and tags. The benefit for allocating revenue for this grant is it supports the department’s hunter education, hunter recruitment and shooting sports programs, and it promotes and provides Arizona residents with safe shooting areas – all important elements of the department’s mission.

Note to media: Shooting sports and hunting are rated among the safest forms of recreation. Some 40 million people of all ages safely participate in these activities. However, research shows there are nearly 48 million men and women who are interested in shooting sports and are simply waiting for an invitation. Grants of this kind will assist the department’s already successful shooting and hunter education programs.


Tuesday, Oct. 13 by 7 p.m. (MST) is the latest that the Arizona Game and Fish department will accept applications for the random drawing process for spring bear, turkey, javelina and buffalo.

Last chance to apply for Arizona spring hunts
Applications for spring bear, turkey, javelina and buffalo due by Oct. 13

Tuesday, Oct. 13 by 7 p.m. (MST) is the latest that the Arizona Game and Fish department will accept applications for the random drawing process for spring bear, turkey, javelina and buffalo.

Applications may be hand delivered to any of the seven department offices around the state, or sent by U.S. mail to Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn: Drawing Section, PO Box 74020, Phoenix, AZ 85087-1052. Postmarks don’t count and there is no online application process available.

The 2010 Spring Turkey, Javelina, Buffalo and Bear hunt draw information booklet and application forms are available at more than 300 license dealers statewide, at Game and Fish offices, or by downloading from www.azgfd.gov/draw.

Note: a previous news release incorrectly noted “all spring bear hunts are issued over-the-counter.” This is incorrect, some general hunts and archery-only spring bear hunts are allocated through the spring big game draw process and require an application submitted by the deadline.

Youth hunters

Many of Arizona’s wildlife conservation groups are hosting “mentored hunting camps” for young hunters this spring, including two javelina camps and three turkey camps. These free camps offer field assistance, instruction, food and camaraderie.

To qualify there is a few things you need to do. Obtain a youth general hunting or combo license. Youth hunters ages 10-13 must complete an Arizona certified hunter education course before the hunt. In addition, a javelina or turkey tag is required. The hunt number for the region of the javelina camps is 5039 (Unit 20c) and 5040 (Unit 23). The 2010 juniors-only turkey tag is available for purchase over-the-counter at any licensed dealer or department office and is valid for the units where the camps will be hosted.


September 1-30, 2009 – MEXICAN WOLF REINTRODUCTION PROJECT NEWS

The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project activities in Arizona on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNF) and Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR) and in New Mexico on the Apache National Forest (ANF) and Gila National Forest (GNF). Non-tribal lands involved in this Project are collectively known as the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (BRWRA). Additional Project information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department Web site at http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Web site at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf. Past updates may be viewed on either Web site, or interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting http://www.azgfd.gov/signup. This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose. The Reintroduction Project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT). Other entities, including private individuals and nongovernmental organizations, cooperate through the Project’s Adaptive Management Work Group (AMWG) that meets periodically in Arizona and New Mexico.

To view weekly wolf telemetry flight location information or the 3-month wolf distribution map, please visit http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf. On the home page, go to the “Wolf Location Information” heading on the right side of the page near the top and scroll to the specific location information you seek.

Please report any wolf sightings or suspected livestock depredations to: (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653. To report incidents of take or harassment of wolves, please call the AGFD 24-hour dispatch (Operation Game Thief) at (800) 352-0700.

Numbering System: Mexican wolves are given an identification number recorded in an official studbook that tracks their history. Capital letters (M = Male, F = Female) preceding the number indicate adult animals 24 months or older. Lower case letters (m = male, f = female) indicate wolves younger than 24 months or pups. The capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate alpha wolves.

Definitions: A “wolf pack” is defined as two or more wolves that maintain an established territory. In the event that one of the two alpha (dominant) wolves dies, the remaining alpha wolf, regardless of pack size, retains the pack status. The packs referenced in this update contain at least one wolf with a radio telemetry collar attached to it. The Interagency Field Team (IFT) recognizes that wolves without radio telemetry collars may also form packs. If the IFT confirms that wolves are associating with each other and are resident within the same home range, they will be referenced as a pack.

CURRENT POPULATION STATUS

At the end of September 2009, the collared population consisted of 29 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among 10 packs and three single wolves. Some other uncollared wolves are known to be associating with radio-collared wolves, and others are separate from known packs.

Seasonal note: In September 2009, the IFT initiated fall trapping efforts to document pack status and pup recruitment in the BRWRA. We have trapped and collared four new wolf pups from the following established packs: male pup 1183 is associated with the Bluestem Pack; female pup 1184 is associated with the Hawks Nest Pack (unfortunately this pup shed its radio collar shortly after it was trapped, the IFT investigated the area and has no reason to believe this wolf pup is deceased); male pup 1185 is associated with the Middle Fork Pack; and female pup 1186 is associated with the Rim Pack. We also trapped AM806 and AF1042 of the Bluestem Pack and AF861 of the Middle Fork Pack and attached new radio collars to these wolves. The IFT will be initiating efforts to trap and collar other pups from the Hawks Nest, Rim, Bluestem, Paradise and Dark Canyon Packs, as weather conditions permit in October.

The IFT has also been attempting to trap and collar an uncollared wolf reported in the area west of Greer, Arizona. To date, this effort has not resulted in the capture or identification of an uncollared wolf in this portion of the BRWRA.


Sept. 28, 2009 – Game and Fish Commission to consider petition to close Fossil Creek to fishing even before the fishery opens

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Commission will conduct a telephonic meeting at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30 at the department headquarters on 5000 W. Carefree Highway to discuss a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity to close Fossil Creek to fishing.

The public can attend the meeting in person or view it live over the Web at www.azgfd.gov/commissioncam. Those wishing to present oral comment to the commission must do so in person. The commission may vote to take action on, or provide the department direction regarding the petition.

A segment of Fossil Creek is scheduled to open for the first-ever seasonal fishery for roundtail chub on Oct. 3, requiring that artificial-only lures be used with barbless hooks and that all fish be immediately released.

The center claims that a draft study released last spring by researchers at Arizona State University, months after the commission had established this fishery in the regulations in October of 2008, shows that headwater chub, not roundtail chub, dominate in an upper section of the creek. The mix is about 50-50 in another lower section of creek.

Both chub species are “candidate species” under federal law. Being a candidate species does not afford them any increased protection under either state or federal statutes.

Both species of chub look exactly the same and experts can’t tell the difference between the two visually. Nor can geneticists describe genetic differences separating the species across their range.

In addition, the two chub species at Fossil Creek are known to interbreed, something that last spring’s draft study by ASU points out. The hybrid chubs are also capable of breeding, and do.

A Game and Fish Department survey last spring and this fall showed that Fossil Creek has a healthy, robust population of chub with a good diversity of age classes within the reach open to fishing.

Department biologists said employing the catch-and-release techniques prescribed in regulation at Fossil Creek would have no demonstrable affect on wild populations of either chub species.

“We believe Fossil Creek is a unique opportunity to increase the public’s appreciation of native fish,” said Fisheries Chief Kirk Young. “We firmly believe this increased public appreciation, especially by anglers, will aid our efforts in recovering other native fish species, even those listed under the Endangered Species Act.”

Young pointed out that the past 100 years have clearly demonstrated to all that the sportsmen conservation model in North America is clearly the most successful one in the entire world.

“When hunter and angler conservationists become involved with a species, biologists are given one of the best tools in the tool box for conserving the species and their associated habitat. We want to deploy that invaluable tool at Fossil Creek,” Young said.

Young pointed out that there are over 6 million people currently in Arizona there are just under 10 million projected by 2025. “Without a dedicated and diverse cadre of advocates for native species and special areas, places like Fossil Creek may not last. We need to lay the foundation now to build as large an advocacy group as possible.”

Although Fossil Creek is popular with hikers, officials point out, it is also way too popular with partiers – especially ones who leave lots of trash.

“We are hoping to gradually yet dramatically change the patronage at Fossil Creek from ones who often abuse the creek and its associated habitat to ones who wish to protect and conserve this unique travertine system,” Young said.


Arizona Spring Draw Application Deadline Is October 13, 2009

Hunters are reminded that the application deadline for 2010 spring hunts for turkey, javelina, buffalo and bear is Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009 at 7 p.m. (MST).

Paper applications can be submitted by mail (Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn: Drawing Section, PO Box 74020, Phoenix, AZ 85087-1052), or they can be hand delivered to any Game and Fish office. Applications must be received by the department by the deadline; postmarks don’t count. There is no online application process available.

The spring hunt draw information booklet is available at more than 300 license dealers statewide, at Game and Fish offices, or by downloading from www.azgfd.gov/draw.

Remember, you must purchase a 2010 license to enter the spring draw.

For more information, visit www.azgfd.gov/draw.


Urban Fishing Bulletin For the weeks of Sept. 20 – Oct. 3, 2009

CATFISH STOCKINGS TO RESUME WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 21-26

Fish stockings, featuring channel catfish, will resume during the week of September 21-26 at all 20 Urban Fishing Program waters in the greater Phoenix and Tucson areas. The fall catfish stockings represent the “second half” of the spring/fall catfish delivery season that included a two month summer “halftime” break from stockings.

Over 14,000 pounds of 1.5-2 pound catfish will be transported by our fish contractor all the way from Arkansas in specially designed hauling trucks. The farm-raised catfish have had a good summer growing season and most fish should be in the two pound plus range.

Anglers might want to put some fresh line on their reels since the larger, hard fighting cats can put equipment to the test and bust old line. Game and Fish biologists will accompany each lake delivery to ensure that all stocking operations run smoothly and successfully, and that all fish pass our high inspection standards for excellent condition and health. All lakes were recently checked for compliance with our water quality stocking guidelines and all lakes passed inspection. The fall catfish stocking season includes a total of four stockings at two week intervals through early November. Stockings will occur on random days during the designated stocking week (Mondays through Saturday). This alternating week schedule will only change if fish delivery problems occur (we have a 99% “on-time” delivery success) or conditions at an individual lake are unsuitable for stocking (for example high pH levels).

Best baits for catfish are worms, stink/dough bait, shrimp or hot dogs. Catfish bag limits are 4 fish at the Urban Lakes or 2 fish at the Urban Ponds.

ANGLER PARTICIPATION IN URBAN FISHING ON RISE

Despite the challenging economy, or maybe because of it, the Urban Fishing Program is experiencing increased angler participation. Sales of Urban Fishing Licenses in 2009 are over 10% above the record breaking 2008 year.

Eric Swanson, Urban Fisheries Program Manager, sees the growth trend as “Lots of people recognizing the excellent value of this high quality and affordable outdoor fishing experience close to home. It fits right in with our urban program motto; if people can’t get to the fish, we bring fish to the people.”

The consistent, reliable delivery of quality fish throughout the year creates fun, family-friendly fishing opportunity at an affordable price. Urban Fishing licenses are just $18.50 and can be purchased from over 320 license dealers and sporting goods stores statewide.

URBAN FISHING REPORT

Fishing for catfish should be good to excellent once the fall stocking program kicks off the week of September 21-26. Orders have been placed for regular stockings of 1.5-2 pound channel catfish into all 20 Urban Program lakes in both the Tucson and Phoenix areas. Lakes will be stocked at rates of 35-70 catfish per acre every two weeks through early November.

Catfish bite well on worms, stink baits, shrimp or hot dogs fished on the bottom. Mornings and evenings are the best times as catfish prefer to feed under dim or dark conditions.

Fishing for bluegill is good along the shorelines in 4-8 feet of water. Try mealworms under a small, thin bobber for great action.

As lake temperatures fall below 78 degrees, expect better action for largemouth bass, especially in the early morning periods. Try finesse plastics rigged drop shot or Texas style for the bass and mix it up with small crankbaits, soft jerkbaits or spinnerbaits.

At Green Valley Lakes (Payson) fishing for bass, bluegill and crappie is fair and should improve by the end of September as lake temperatures cool and fish activity increases. Fish stockings (trout only) at Green Valley will resume the week of October 19-24.

At all lakes remember to release any of the weed eating white amur right away so they can go back to munching on the nuisance water weeds.

STOCKING UPDATES / SCHEDULE

All UFP waters in Phoenix area and Tucson area – Last stocked catfish June 26 (last of spring stockings). Next stocking of catfish will resume the week of September 21-26. Green Valley Lakes (Payson) – Last stocked trout May 9 (last of spring stockings). Next stocking: trout will resume the week of October 19-24.


Learn to shoot a shotgun and experience the thrill of wing shooting

Sept. 09, 2009

New hunters receive mentoring, equipment and safe East Valley hunting location

PHOENIX — If you have ever had an interest in shooting a shotgun at a fast-tracking target, then your wish has come true. The Arizona Game and Fish Department is hosting a seminar for new hunters on Friday, Sept. 11, followed by a traditional Arizona dove hunt on Saturday.

“This is basically an all-inclusive opportunity to learn how to hunt,” said Wildlife Manager Dave Carson. “All we require from participants 14 and older is to have a general hunting license, and those 16 and older will need a state migratory bird stamp. The department will provide mentored instruction, shotguns (20 available), the first box of shotgun shells and a great hunting opportunity.”

Space is limited and preregistration is required; for details contact David Carson at (480) 987-4825 or Randy Babb at (480) 324-3546. All participants must attend the safety seminar on Friday at the department’s Mesa regional office to be able to hunt on Saturday.

Families and friends hunting can reduce their cost and “try before you buy” by taking advantage of the new free two-day apprentice license. The licensed is issued to a licensed resident hunter over 18, and allows the mentor to take two new hunters afield at no cost. However, the migratory bird stamp is required if the apprentice hunting is 16 or older. To learn more about the new apprentice license, visit www.azgfd.gov and select the license icon.

Carson added, “This is a great way to get introduced to hunting in a very organized, safe and supportive environment. Everyone that participated last year had a great time.”

To learn more about upcoming mentored hunting opportunities offered by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, visit www.azgfd.gov/hunting and check out the “Mentored Hunting & Juniors-only Events 2009-10 Season” feature on the right side of the page.

Did you know, mourning doves are the most numerous, widespread game bird in North America? They are prolific breeders with an average life span of 1-2 years and controlled seasons maintain them as a sustainable wildlife resource. Dove hunters are a valuable conservation tool. There is a federal excise tax on ammunition that is contributed to the Pitman-Robertson Fund, which in turn is apportioned to state wildlife agencies for the management of wildlife, which is a benefits to all citizens. Additionally, hunters provide hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy, by purchasing ammunition, gas, food and lodging while engaging in this American tradition.


Endangered Species Updates

Sept. 10, 2009

MEXICAN WOLF REINTRODUCTION PROJECT NEWS

Monthly Status Report: Aug. 1-31, 2009

The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project activities in Arizona on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNF) and Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR) and in New Mexico on the Apache National Forest (ANF) and Gila National Forest (GNF). Non-tribal lands involved in this Project are collectively known as the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (BRWRA). Additional Project information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department Web site at http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Web site at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf. Past updates may be viewed on either Web site, or interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting http://www.azgfd.gov/signup. This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose. The Reintroduction Project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT). Other entities, including private individuals and nongovernmental organizations, cooperate through the Project’s Adaptive Management Work Group (AMWG) that meets periodically in Arizona and New Mexico.

To view weekly wolf telemetry flight location information or the 3-month wolf distribution map, please visit http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf. On the home page, go to the “Wolf Location Information” heading on the right side of the page near the top and scroll to the specific location information you seek.

Please report any wolf sightings or suspected livestock depredations to: (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653. To report incidents of take or harassment of wolves, please call the AGFD 24-hour dispatch (Operation Game Thief) at (800) 352-0700.

Numbering System: Mexican wolves are given an identification number recorded in an official studbook that tracks their history. Capital letters (M = Male, F = Female) preceding the number indicate adult animals 24 months or older. Lower case letters (m = male, f = female) indicate wolves younger than 24 months or pups. The capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate alpha wolves.

Definitions: A “wolf pack” is defined as two or more wolves that maintain an established territory. In the event that one of the two alpha (dominant) wolves dies, the remaining alpha wolf, regardless of pack size, retains the pack status. The packs referenced in this update contain at least one wolf with a radio telemetry collar attached to it. The Interagency Field Team (IFT) recognizes that wolves without radio telemetry collars may also form packs. If the IFT confirms that wolves are associating with each other and are resident within the same home range, they will be referenced as a pack.

CURRENT POPULATION STATUS

At the end of August 2009, the collared population consisted of 26 wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among 10 packs and three single wolves. Some other uncollared wolves are known to be associating with radio-collared wolves, and others are separate from known packs.

Seasonal note: Wolf pups are generally born between mid-April and mid-May. The IFT has been actively monitoring wolf packs during the past several months in order to document wild-born pups and estimate their survival. Based on monitoring information from the last 19 weeks, the IFT has determined that the following packs displayed denning behavior and may have produced pups this spring: Hawks Nest, Bluestem, Rim, Bacho, Paradise, Dark Canyon, Middle Fork and San Mateo Packs. The IFT will begin fall trapping in September to document pack status and pup recruitment.

IN ARIZONA

Bluestem Pack (AM806 and AF1042) Throughout August, the IFT located AM806 and AF1042 in their traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF. The IFT observed at least one pup with this pack in July.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM1044, AF1110 and mp1155) During August, the IFT located the Hawks Nest Pack in its traditional territory in the central portion of the ASNF. The IFT documented six pups with this pack in August.

Rim Pack (collared AF858 and AM1107) Throughout August, the IFT located the Rim Pack within its traditional home range in the central portion of the ASNF.

M619 (collared) During August, the IFT located M619 in the central portion of the ASNF.

ON THE FAIR

Paradise Pack (collared AM795 and AF1056) During August, the IFT located the Paradise Pack within its traditional territory on the northern portion of the FAIR.

Bacho Pack (collared AM990) Throughout August, the IFT located AM990 within its traditional territory on the FAIR.

IN NEW MEXICO

Dark Canyon (collared AM992 and AF923) Throughout August, the IFT located the Dark Canyon Pack within its traditional territory in the west-central portion of the GNF.

Luna Pack (collared M1156 and F1115) Throughout August, the IFT located M1156 in its traditional territory in the central portion of the GNF. During the entire month of August, the IFT documented F1115 as traveling with M1156. The IFT now considers M1156 and F1115 to be paired, and both will be referred to as the Luna Pack.

Middle Fork Pack (collared AM871 and AF861) Throughout August, the IFT located the Middle Fork Pack within its traditional territory in the central portion of the GNF. The IFT documented at least four pups with this pack in June.

San Mateo Pack (collared AF903 and AM1114) Throughout August, the IFT located the San Mateo Pack within its traditional territory in the north-central portion of the GNF. At least one pup is known to be with this pack.

Fox Mountain Pack (collared AM1038, AF521, mp1157, mp1158 and mp1161) Throughout August, the IFT located the Fox Mountain Pack within its traditional territory in the northwestern portion of the GNF and the northeastern portion of the ASNF.

Laredo (collared F1028) During August, the IFT documented F1028 in the central portions of the GNF.

F1106 (collared) During August, the IFT located F1106 in the north-central portions of the GNF.

MORTALITIES

The IFT did not document any wolf mortalities during August.

INCIDENTS

In total, the IFT investigated nine potential depredation incidents and one nuisance incident in August. Of the nine depredation incidents, the IFT confirmed seven as wolf depredations. The single nuisance investigation confirmed a wolf was present. The remaining two investigations did not implicate wolves. Summaries of the investigations are as follows:

During the month of August, the IFT assigned six depredation incidents to AF861 and AM871 of the Middle Fork Pack in New Mexico. All of the incidents occurred in the vicinity of Houghton Canyon. The dates and livestock killed are as follows: August 3, yearling steer; August 7, yearling steer; August 22, yearling heifer; August 26, two separate incidents involving yearling heifers; and August 31, yearling steer. On August 28, the FWS issued a management decision regarding these wolves that called for intensive hazing to be conducted on the Middle Fork Pack with the goal of deterring future livestock depredations and to potentially move the wolves out of the immediate vicinity. The FWS developed this decision with regards to overall low population numbers of Mexican wolves in the BRWRA, presence of pups with the adult wolves, and the genetic importance of the adult members of this pack.

On August 10, IFT personnel located a dead cow in the vicinity of Sierra Blanca Lake in Arizona. WS personnel investigated and determined the cow died as the result of a gunshot.

On August 22, WS personnel investigated a dead calf near Greens Peak in Arizona and determined it was killed by at least two wolves. The IFT assigned the incident to uncollared wolves, and will be placing food caches in the area, on an opportunistic basis, in order to confirm the location of any uncollared wolves. The IFT will initiate trapping efforts to collar any uncollared wolves in the Greens Peak area, based on efforts to locate areas of wolf activity.

On August 26, IFT personnel reported two dead sheep north of Sunrise Lake in Arizona. WS personnel investigated and determined that both sheep died due to natural causes unrelated to predation.

On August 29, IFT personnel investigated a report of a wolf at a camp near Crosby Crossing on the ASNF. The investigation determined that a single wolf, most likely M1155 from the Hawks Nest Pack, was present at the camp for a couple minutes early in the morning before leaving the camp. The campers had two dogs present in the trailer, and they had put up their dog food from the previous night, so the wolf did not receive any food from the camp and no interaction with the dogs occurred.

CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

No significant activity occurred this month.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On August 1, Chris Bagnoli gave a Project overview to 78 people attending the Wildlife Speaker Series conducted throughout the summer at the AGFD Pinetop regional office.

On August 13, Chris Bagnoli gave a Project overview to 21 individuals at the Beaver Creek Guest ranch in Arizona.

On August 15, Chris Bagnoli and Jeff Dolphin gave a Project overview to 15 members of the Heritage Public Advisory Committee at the Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area in Arizona. After the overview, they led a field trip in the Project area to discuss wolf natural history and management issues.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

Carissa Michaud joined the Project in August as a FWS volunteer. Welcome to the Project, Carissa!

REWARDS OFFERED

The USFWS is offering a reward of up to $10,000, the AGFD Operation Game Thief is offering a reward of up to $1,000, and the NMDGF is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the shooting deaths of Mexican wolves. A variety of non-governmental organizations and private individuals have pledged an additional $40,000 for a total reward amount of up to $52,000, depending on the information provided.

Individuals with information they believe may be helpful are urged to call one of the following agencies: USFWS special agents in Mesa, Arizona, at (480) 967-7900, in Alpine, Arizona, at (928) 339-4232, or in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at (505) 346-7828; the WMAT at (928) 338-1023 or (928) 338-4385; AGFD Operation Game Thief at (800) 352-0700; or NMDGF Operation Game Thief at (800) 432-4263. Killing a Mexican wolf is a violation of the Federal Endangered Species Act and can result in criminal penalties of up to $50,000, and/or not more than one year in jail, and/or a civil penalty of up to $25,000.

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