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    2007 April - Desert Rat - The Premier Hunting and Fishing Blog of the Southwest!

    Archive for April, 2007

    Devising a deer strategy

    Hmmm.. so many choices. I have yet to get my first AZ deer. I don’t care whether it is a muley or a Coues. A trophy would be nice of course, but that really doesn’t matter much either. I have concluded that I really need a mentor - someone to tag along with, or that can tag along with me. I think my knowledge is at a pretty decent level, I just need some practical experience in the field - tips and tricks that will finally put me over the top. You can only “self-learn” so much….

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    Posted on 30th April 2007
    Under: General, Hunting | No Comments »

    Fall Regs Coming

    I need to start building some strategies…

    Game and Fish Commission sets June 12 deadline for fall big game hunts
    Regulations should be posted online by the 1st week of May

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

    Hunters can start applying for the permitted fall big game hunts once the 2007-2008 Hunting and Trapping Regulation booklet is posted on the department’s Web site by the first week of May.

    License dealers in the state should have the printed regulation booklets by the third week of May. The online hunt application process is available but hunters can still choose to submit a paper application if they desire.

    The hunt application deadline is June 12 at 7 p.m., (MST). Postmarks do not count. However, those applying via the paper hunt permit-tag application form have a grace period; if a submitted paper application contains an error and is received by May 30, the department will make three attempts within a 24-hour period to notify the applicant by telephone, if indeed a telephone number is provided on the application. The online application process allows hunters the assurance of entering a correct and complete application when submission occurs.

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

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

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

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

    Keep in mind that this is the first year for an early draw on elk and antelope. The draw has already taken place for those two species. Now hunters already know whether or not they have been drawn for those two species prior to applying for other fall hunts. It’s anticipated that the next draw deadline for pronghorn antelope and elk hunts will be Feb. 12, 2008.

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    Posted on 29th April 2007
    Under: Arizona News, General, Hunting | No Comments »

    ATVs

    There’s a lot of scuttlebutt around lately regarding ATVs. Some pending legislation has started everyone talking. As usual, I find it difficult to wade through the legislation, and the opinions of sportsmen seem to be varied, to say the least.

    One thing is clear to me - every time I am afield, I see damage caused by ATVs. I see people riding where they are not supposed to be riding. Granted, many (most?) of these people are NOT hunters, but ultimately hunters will be affected. These people are the same types of buffoons that leave trash everywhere, shoot signs and other stuff, etc.

    An interesting discussion can be found over at this site:

    AZSJ

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    Posted on 28th April 2007
    Under: Arizona News, General, Hunting, Politics and More | No Comments »

    Public Input Sought by AZGFD

    Public input sought on wildlife, recreation plans
    April 26, 2007

    Eight informational meetings to be held statewide in May

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

    Eight public meetings will be held around the state the first two weeks in May to provide an overview of the plans and to accept comments.

    The draft operational plans identify the approaches the department will take to implement key management programs, including game, nongame, sportfish, off-highway vehicle, watercraft and business administration, as well as support functions such as public information and education, law enforcement, shooting sports, habitat, research, and watchable wildlife. The department develops new operational plans every two years.

    “Public input is important in helping us develop and finalize these plans,” says Bob Broscheid, the department’s assistant director for wildlife management. “Everyone has a stake in the continued health of our state’s wildlife populations and in future recreational opportunities. It’s important to make your viewpoint known.”

    The operational plans are the middle tier in a three-part planning process for the department, bridging the department’s six-year visionary strategic plan, Wildlife 2012, with annual work unit implementation plans that include information on what work will be accomplished.

    The draft documents are posted for review on the department’s Web site at azgfd.gov along with Wildlife 2012, the strategic plan that went into effect in January.

    The public meetings will include a presentation on the planning process and an overview of operational plan highlights, and public comments will be accepted. The meetings will be held from 6-8 p.m. on the following dates:

    Tuesday, May 1 – Yuma, Arizona Game and Fish Department Yuma regional office, 9140 E. 28th St.

    Wednesday, May 2 – Safford, General Services Assembly Room, 921 Thatcher Blvd.

    Thursday, May 3 - Tucson, Arizona Game and Fish Department Tucson regional office, 555 N. Greasewood Road.

    Monday, May 7 - Mesa, Arizona Game and Fish Department Mesa regional office, 7200 E. University Drive.

    Tuesday, May 8 - Kingman, Arizona Game and Fish Department Kingman regional office, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road.

    Wednesday, May 9 - Pinetop, Arizona Game and Fish Department Pinetop regional office, 2878 E. White Mountain Blvd.

    Thursday, May 10 - Flagstaff, Arizona Game and Fish Department Flagstaff regional office, 3500 S. Lake Mary Road.

    Wednesday, May 16 – Prescott, Prescott Resort and Conference Center, Clarkdale Room, 1500 Highway 69.
    Written comment can also be submitted anytime through May 31, by e-mail to wildlifeplan@azgfd.gov, or by U.S. mail to Wildlife Plan, c/o Funds & Planning, Arizona Game and Fish Department, 2221 W. Greenway Road, Phoenix, AZ 85023-4399.

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    Posted on 28th April 2007
    Under: Arizona News, Events, General | No Comments »

    Ben Avery Summer Hours

    Ben Avery Main Range and Clay Target Center begin summer hours on May 1
    Evening shooting to be offered

    The Ben Avery Shooting Facility Main Range and the Ben Avery Clay Target Center will transition to new summer hours of operation for the public next week.

    Beginning Tuesday, May 1, the hours of operation will be:

    Mondays: Closed
    Tuesdays: 5-9:30 p.m.
    Wednesdays: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m. (closed 1-5 p.m.)
    Thursdays: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m. (closed 1-5 p.m.)
    Fridays: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    Saturdays: 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
    Sundays: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    “The new hours will allow us to better serve our customers this time of year, when days are longer and the weather hotter,” says Dana Yost, assistant director of information and education for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “The expanded hours and lighted range areas will let shooters take advantage of more comfortable evening temperatures.”

    The Ben Avery Clay Target Center will resume offering evening trap, skeet and sporting clays shooting on May 1. Evening shooting had been suspended last November when the Arizona Game and Fish Department began renovations on the westernmost trap and skeet fields. Those renovations, which included installation of a new electrical system and lights, have been completed on most of the fields.

    Yost added that when daytime temperatures begin consistently exceeding 100 F, the Main Range and Clay Target Center will adjust Saturday hours to 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m. (closed 1-5 p.m.) and Sunday hours to 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    “We’ll post the changes well in advance at the range and on the Arizona Game and Fish Department Web site at azgfd.gov/basf and azgfd.gov/ctc,” says Yost.

    The department also is planning on lighting some of the archery ranges and will announce archery evening hours in the coming weeks.

    Winter hours for the Main Range and Clay Target Center will resume sometime in late fall 2007. Those hours will be posted in advance at the range and on the Arizona Game and Fish Department Web site.

    The Ben Avery Shooting Facility Main Range is located at 4044 W. Black Canyon Blvd. in Phoenix. The Ben Avery Clay Target Center is located at 37016 N. Archery Drive in Phoenix. To get to either, take I-17 to the Carefree Highway exit (exit 223). Go west on Carefree Highway about 1/4 mile for the Main Range entrance, or go west about 1/2 mile for the Clay Target Center entrance and follow the signs.

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    Posted on 28th April 2007
    Under: Arizona News, Events, General | No Comments »

    Pushin’ My Buttons

    OK, I heard it (read it, actually) again…. Nothing gets me going in a hurry as much as people on Arizona Message Boards saying we need to “weed out” the “casual” hunters. C’mon!! We should be trying to recruit hunters, not alienate them! Who decides who is “serious” enough and who is not? Has competition for tags and territory gotten that intense in Arizona that we are willing to eat our own? That attitude is just plain nuts.

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    Posted on 23rd April 2007
    Under: General, Hunting | 2 Comments »

    Possible AZGF Rule change?

    If you like to use salt or other “baits”, you had better listen up. It seems as though they are considering banning the use of bait, and that includes salt. In Arizona, you can bait anything excepts bears and migratory birds. A lot of hunters have used salt with great success, especially for setting up trail cams.

    A more detailed discussion is ongoing over at CouesWhitetail.com: No More Salt?

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    Posted on 22nd April 2007
    Under: Arizona News, General | No Comments »

    Exciting Things Going on at USHT

    Some of you may know that this blog is part of a network headed up by Tom and Steve Remington over in Maine. This was an ideal situation for me, and I’m happy to be on their team. Things are really picking up steam for us - new bloggers signing on, forums being created, and sites for nearly every state and Canada too. Our own set of AZ sites is undergoing a makeover, and we’re pretty excited!

    We’re always looking for bloggers or good folks to run message boards in their respective states.

    If you own a company, especially a company dealing in outdoors stuff - we have some great advertising rates as well. Visit our sites, and have a look around. You won’t be disappointed.

    AZ Forums

    AZ Main Site

    Skinny Moose Media

    US Hunting Today

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    Posted on 22nd April 2007
    Under: General | No Comments »

    Big Game Super Raffle

    A great cause, and fun too….

    Raffle

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    Posted on 16th April 2007
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, General, Hunting | No Comments »

    New Commissioner

    I have been reading some pretty good things about the new commissioner. Let’s hope so!

    From AZGFD

    Governor nominates Woodhouse to Game and Fish Commission

    Governor Janet Napolitano announced the nomination of Robert “Robbie” Woodhouse from the Yuma area to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, subject to State Senate confirmation.

    “Robbie will bring a wealth of experience to the commission,” Governor Napolitano said. “His experience in working with the Legislature and active community leadership will make him a valuable asset to Arizona Game and Fish.”

    Woodhouse, a third-generation Arizonan and a third generation farmer in the Wellton-Mohawk Valley, is a lifelong sportsman who wants to give something back to the wildlife resources of this state. He is the owner of Casa de Lena Farms and president of the Woodhouse & Son Inc. Trucking Company.

    “I truly admire what the Game and Fish Commission and department have accomplished over the years,” he says. “Like most sportsmen, I look forward to those times when I am lucky enough to get drawn for something.

    The Game and Fish Commission is the policy-setting board overseeing the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Commission members, who are appointed by the governor, serve staggered five-year terms.

    Woodhouse, who lives in the community of Roll near Yuma, has served on numerous boards and commissions and has a keen insight to the needs of the western region of Arizona.

    Woodhouse is excited about the opportunity to serve on the Game and Fish Commission. “When you read the outdoor magazines, it becomes apparent that Arizona offers some of the best big game hunting in the nation. That speaks well for the wildlife resources here and the management we have in place.”

    A lifelong sportsman, Woodhouse is a member of the Yuma Rod and Gun Club, is a life member of the National Rifle Association, and also belongs to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Arizona Deer Association and Safari Club International.

    Woodhouse has already been busy looking through the minutes of all the recent meetings of the Game and Fish Commission. “I know there is an immense learning curve ahead of me, so I have been anxious to get started.”

    Woodhouse is no stranger to serving on a public policy setting board. For more than two decades, he has served as a member of two different school boards. He served on the Mohawk Valley School Governing Board from 1980 to 1996, including six terms as president. From 1997 to the present, he has served on the Antelope High School Governing Board, including two terms as president.

    “There are a lot of parallels between a school board and the commission. Both are policy-setting boards and both have an enforcement aspect as well,” Woodhouse says.

    Woodhouse has also served as a board member of the Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation District, is a past board member of the Yuma County Farm Bureau and is the current president of the Growers Mohawk Gin Board. He also belongs to the Arizona Cotton Growers, Western Growers Association, Yuma Fresh Vegetable Association and the Arizona Crop Improvement Association.

    Woodhouse says all those years of serving on boards and committees have taught him the importance of gathering as much information as possible from all sources during the decision-making process. “I feel strongly that both the pros and cons need to be heard during the process. I think it is important for me to be approachable to anyone or to any side to an issue. I want to hear all ideas.”

    Having served on many governing boards, Woodhouse also recognizes the value of gathering the necessary data and other information from the subject experts as well. “There is a lot that goes into making good decisions.”

    Woodhouse was born and raised in the Yuma area, and lives a short distance down the road from the house where he grew up on the family farm. He has been married to his wife, Blanca, for 31 years and has two children, Weston and Kellen.

    Woodhouse is a master graduate of the Rapport Leadership Institute. He is bilingual and speaks fluent Spanish. He has also been a private pilot since 1971.

    He replaces Joseph Melton of Yuma, whose term on the Game and Fish Commission expired in January.

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    Posted on 15th April 2007
    Under: Arizona News, General | No Comments »

    AZGFD Considering Fall Hunt Recommendations

    Game and Fish Commission is considering fall hunt recommendations

    A slight increase in deer permits, a continuation of fall javelina seasons, and a 3-month restriction on mountain lion hunting in units without multiple bag limits are three of the recommendations being considered by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission on Saturday, April 21 in Glendale.

    The commission is meeting at the Glendale Civic Center, 5750 W. Glenn Drive (on 57th Drive one block north of Glendale Avenue), starting at 8 a.m. on April 21 to set the seasons for deer, fall turkey, fall javelina, bighorn sheep, fall buffalo, fall bear and mountain lion. Those interested in the full recommendations can view them at the Game and Fish Department’s Web site. AZGF

    Elk and antelope are not part of this current hunt proposal package. This is the first year for an early draw on elk and antelope and the draw has already taken place for those two species. Now hunters already know whether or not they have been drawn for those two species prior to applying for the other fall hunts.

    The recommendation hunt package this year has some of the components that were introduced for the first time last year. “The Game and Fish Department is recommending the commission maintain the deer and javelina fall seasons adopted last year,” says Game Chief Leonard Ordway.

    For instance, last year the commission set no more than 10 percent of the general white-tailed deer hunting opportunities during the December rut. The department is proposing the same season strategy for whitetails again this year to help maximize hunt opportunities.

    Also, last year was the first time a fall hunt was offered for javelina in another effort to increase hunting opportunities. The department is recommending javelina seasons in the same format implemented last year.

    The department is also recommending a juniors-only archery and muzzleloader javelina season in Unit 39.

    Ordway explained that hunt recommendations were formulated following the two-year guidelines approved by the commission last year.

    The department is recommending 40,055 general deer season permits in 2007, which is an increase of 2,080 compared to 2006.

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    Posted on 15th April 2007
    Under: Arizona News, General, Hunting | No Comments »

    More on elk crossings

    I’ve blogged on these before. I’m happy to see that they are finding them useful in preventing elk/human collisions.

    From AZ Central

    A road less taken . . . by wildlife
    High-tech project near Payson is reducing auto-animal collisions

    DeWayne Smith
    Special For The Republic
    Apr. 12, 2007 03:27 PM
    Elk, much like the proverbial chicken, cross the road to get to the other side. But when the road is Arizona 260 east of Payson, there can be grave and expensive consequences to the jaywalking wildlife as well as to the motorists who hit them.

    However, a unique project to use regular and electrified fencing to “funnel” migrating elk through planned underpasses along the 3-mile stretch from east of Star Valley to where the highway begins to climb up the Mogollon Rim seems to be doing its job, according to Norris Dodd, a researcher for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

    A part of the $700,000 project is the installation of what is being called an elk crosswalk in a favored migration area where a tunnel or bridge is not feasible. Basically, the animals milling about adjacent to the highway are detected electronically and warnings are flashed on signs along the highway.

    “A sign tells motorists they are entering the elk crosswalk area, and when the system detects the animals in the vicinity the signs flash telling them animals are crossing ahead,” Dodd said.

    “Basically, what we are saying is if the signs are flashing there are definitely elk in the area. If they were flashing all the time nobody would pay attention.” More here

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    Posted on 14th April 2007
    Under: Arizona News, General | 1 Comment »