• Join

    2010 February - Desert Rat - The Premier Hunting and Fishing Blog of the Southwest!

    Archive for February, 2010

    Right-to-Carry Takes Effect In National Parks

    Right-to-Carry Takes Effect In National Parks

    On February 22, a new law took effect that applied state firearms laws to national parks and wildlife refuges across America.

    The implementation of the new law, which the National Park Service (NPS) has planned for since passage of H.R. 627 last May, has so far been without major problems. NPS management reports that it has worked with the 493 individual parks, promoting a consistent message on several key points:

    Under the new law, every park is subject to all the firearms laws of the state (or states) where the park is located.
    Park visitors must know and obey state laws, including knowing which state laws apply in parks (such as Yellowstone) that cross state boundaries. (For information on state laws, go to www.nraila.org/gunlaws.)

    The new law affects firearms possession, not use. Laws regarding hunting, poaching, target shooting or any unlawful discharge remain unchanged.

    It will remain unlawful to carry in certain locations, under a separate law that prohibits possession of any firearm in a “federal facility.”

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 28th February 2010
    Under: Arizona News, General, Politics and More | No Comments »

    Good job by AZGFD and remember, these are a different sub-species than the pronghorn you see north of Phoenix and beyond. ~DesertRat

    Plan seeks to further recover endangered Sonoran pronghorn

    Public input sought on establishing new breeding locations, experimental populations

    PHOENIX — On the brink of disappearing from the United States with only 21 animals remaining in 2002, the endangered Sonoran pronghorn population in the U.S. is growing. An estimated 68 animals grace the landscape, thanks in part to extensive cooperative management efforts, captive breeding, irrigation for forage and protection from predation. Now, the species is ready for the next step — recovery.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has drafted an environmental assessment (EA) as part of the process to establish a second U.S. population into its historical habitats of southwestern Arizona. The two areas being considered are in the King Valley of the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge (Kofa NWR) and the Barry M. Goldwater Range-East (BMGR-E).

    To allow for greater management flexibility in the reintroduction effort, the plan proposes that these new populations be designated as “experimental, nonessential populations” as classified under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act.

    On Feb. 23, a public information session on the proposal will be held from 4:30-5:30 p.m., followed by a public hearing from 7-8:30 p.m. on the experimental population designation. The event will be held at the Gila Bend High School located at 308 N. Martin Ave. in Gila Bend. Written and oral comments will be collected at the hearing.

    In addition to the meeting opportunity, the public can submit comments on the proposals by:

    U.S. mail: Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, Attention: Refuge Manager, 1611 N. Second Ave., Ajo, AZ 85321
    Fax: (520) 387-5359
    E-mail: James_Atkinson@fws.gov
    Online: www.regulations.gov, reference document id FWS-R2-ES-2009-0077
    The draft environment assessment for establishing additional locations and the Federal Register listing proposing the populations as experimental are available for review at www.fws.gov/southwest/es/Library under “documents added within last 90 days” or by contacting the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge at (520) 387-6483.

    “10(j) designation goes a long ways towards facilitating the actual release of animals on the ground,” said Eric Gardner, nongame branch chief for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “The experimental designation allows a more collaborative approach, garners support, and helps develop partnerships between stakeholders, landowners, and other federal, state and local officials.”

    Previous reintroduction efforts of endangered species using 10(j) classification include the black-footed ferret and the California condor.

    Gardner added, “Multiple populations for a species are critical to recovery efforts and are more desirable than one population because they help prevent a single regional catastrophic event (e.g., disease, weather events, high predation rate) from causing the entire species or population to disappear from an area or altogether become extinct.”

    For a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fact sheet on experimental populations, visit www.fws.gov/southwest/docs/ES10jFactSheet.pdf.

    To learn more about the Sonoran pronghorn, one of five subspecies of the American pronghorn, visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Web site at www.azgfd.gov.

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 22nd February 2010
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, Events, General, Press Releases | No Comments »

    Arizona Game and Fish Commission to meet Feb. 22

    Arizona Game and Fish Commission to meet Feb. 22

    Public can view proceedings over the Web

    A public meeting of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission will be held Monday, Feb. 22, at the Arizona Game and Fish Department headquarters at 5000 W. Carefree Highway in Phoenix. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. with an executive session, followed by the public session. Members of the commission will attend either in person or by telephone conference call.

    The commission will be briefed on the status of state and federal legislation, including:

    HCR 2008; constitutional rights; hunting and fishing.
    SB 1200 strike-everything amendment titled “game and fish commission; board”.
    HB 2375; possessing dangerous wildlife prohibited.
    The commission may vote to take a position or provide direction to the department for coordination, action, or proposed changes to legislation or other elective issues related to department responsibilities.

    The public can either attend the meeting in person in Phoenix or view it over the Web at www.azgfd.gov/commissioncam. Those wishing to submit “blue slips” to present oral comment during the meeting must do so in person at the Phoenix meeting.

    For a copy of the agenda, visit www.azgfd.gov/commissioncam.

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 22nd February 2010
    Under: Arizona News, Events, General, Press Releases | No Comments »

    AZ Legislative Updates

    ARIZONA: Right to Hunt and Fish Constitutional Amendment Introduced! Arizona’s Right to Hunt and Fish Constitutional Amendment needs your support. HCR 2008 was recently introduced in an effort to guarantee the future of hunting for generations to come. This measure is currently awaiting a committee hearing and, if passed and ultimately approved by the voters, would make Arizona one of nearly a dozen states with such a constitutional protection. It is critical that you contact your State Representative and respectfully urge him or her to support this important constitutional amendment. Contact information can be found by clicking here.

    U.S. Forest Service Releases Plan Restricting the Use of Motor Vehicles in the Kaibab National Forest

    The U.S. Forest Service released a Travel Management Project (TMP) for the Williams Ranger District within the Kaibab National Forest. The TMP will determine the future use of roads and trails for motorized access into the forest and can be viewed on-line at http://fs.usda.gov/goto/kaibab/projects.

    Public comments are being accepted until Sunday, March 7 and can be emailed to: comments-southwestern-kaibab-williams@fs.fed.us or mailed to Martie Schramm, Williams District Ranger, 742 South Clover Road, Williams, AZ 86046.

    The TMP will affect what is labeled as Motorized Big Game Retrieval (MBGR). The TMP states that motor vehicles could be allowed within a specified distance of certain designated routes and within specified time periods solely for the purposes of retrieving a downed big game animal by an individual who has legally taken that animal. However, motorized off-road travel for other hunting activities, such as scouting or accessing a favorite hunting site, would not be allowed. Any game retrieval that is not specifically allowed in the final TMP would require non-motorized methods.

    Four management alternatives are described and all address MBGR. Alternative 1, the No Action Alternative, would allow big game retrieval to continue to be allowed across the Ranger District. Alternative 2, the alternative supported by the Forest Service, would allow MBGR with restrictions. Alternative 3 would increase the MBGR restrictions. Alternative 4 would prohibit the use of motor vehicles for MBGR off the designated road system. The TMP addresses the impacts of the alternatives on camping as well.

    It is important for those sportsmen and women who depend upon the Kaibab National Forest, and particularly the Williams Ranger District, for big game hunting to review the TMP and comment on the four alternatives. The Forest Service needs to know how the alternatives would affect your ability to hunt on these forest lands and which of the alternatives, if any, you support.

    The Forest Service will be hosting two meetings on the TMP. The first will be held on Wednesday, February 24 at the Williams Ranger Station from 6-8 p.m. and the second will be held at the Williams Recreation Center (301 W. Railroad Ave., Williams) on Saturday, March 6 from 1-3 p.m. For further information, please call 928-635-5614.

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 21st February 2010
    Under: Arizona News, General, Politics and More | No Comments »

    Hostile Amendment Added to Arizona Constitutional Carry Bill

    Hostile Amendment Added to Arizona Constitutional Carry Bill!

    On Thursday, during the Committee of the Whole (COW) debate on Senate Bill 1102, State Senator Ken Cheuvront (D-15) added a hostile amendment, by a vote of 15 to 14, which would prohibit the private sale of firearms at gun shows, unless the seller asks for “proof of citizenship.”

    The amendment is an unnecessary imposition on lawful private party transfers and heavily flawed. As drafted, if the purchaser presents an Arizona Drivers license issued after 1996 or a photocopy of another state’s driver ID card, the purchaser would meet the “proof of citizenship” requirement. The main problem with this amendment is that it arbitrarily and unconstitutionally forbids eligible purchasers from obtaining firearms at gun shows and conscripts private citizens to enforce a flawed understanding of state and federal law. Under this amendment, non-citizens who are legal residents of Arizona, who can serve in the military and enjoy all the protections of the Bill of Rights, would be unable to legally purchase a firearm in their own state.

    Senator Cheuvront had previously offered the same amendment in Judiciary committee during the hearing of SB 1102 and it was defeated. The amendment can be found here:

    The vote had 100% support from the Democratic caucus, and three Republicans voted with them. If any one of the three Republicans had not voted for this hostile amendment it would have failed. State Senator Jonathan Paton (R-30) successfully worked to defeat the same amendment in the Senate Judiciary committee, but was unfortunately called away on a family emergency and could not fight against it on the floor.

    At this time SB 1102 will be held, but there are still other bills pending that would accomplish the same goal of fully implementing Arizonans’ right to carry firearms for self-defense. Please continue to check your email and http://www.nraila.org for updates.

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 21st February 2010
    Under: Arizona News, General, Politics and More | No Comments »

    Sirector of USFWS Dies While Skiing

    You can read the full story here: US Fish and Wildlife Director.

    From FoxNews:

    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dies During Ski Vacation


    Sam Hamilton, 54, suffered chest pains while skiing at Keystone resort in Colorado.

    WASHINGTON — The director of the Fish and Wildlife Service died Saturday after suffering chest pains while skiing in Colorado. Sam Hamilton was 54.

    The 30-year veteran of the agency, who assumed its top post in September, died in the afternoon after being transported off the Keystone Ski Area, said Joanne Richardson, Summit County coroner. She said his death was consistent with an underlying heart problem.

    Hamilton helped lead restoration work in the Everglades, the largest ecosystem restoration project in the country. He oversaw the extensive recovery and restoration efforts required following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which devastated coastal wetlands, wildlife refuges and other wildlife habitat along the Gulf of Mexico.

    Read the full story at the link above.

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 21st February 2010
    Under: General, Politics and More | No Comments »

    Awesome Weekend Event Next Weekend

    Make sure you hit the ISE Show in Glendale next weekend. Wall to wall sporting stuff, outfitters, competitions and more.

    What’s new?

    NEW: DockDogs and new Best-of-the-West contest, at every 2010 ISE, in which winners from ISE events will go to the DockDocks World Championships in July.

    NEW: In every show, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s $4,800 Ultimate Gear Giveaway, which offers attendees to each show the chance to win Browning, Remington and Winchester rifles, BowTech bow, and Sitka apparel. All monies going to conservation efforts in the show state!

    NEW: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Great Elk Tour, in Sacramento, Phoenix and Salt Lake. 50 feet of the world’s finest elk mounts to study, dream about, plan for.

    NEW: 3D Pop-Up Archery Range and contest, in Phoenix and Salt Lake City. Computer-controlled targets, some also moving across the range. Trophies and cash prizes.

    NEW: Eastmans’ Hunting Journals Trophy Deer Display, in ISE Salt Lake City. 50 feet of the top western deer.

    NEW: Seminars on predator hunting, by Arizona bowhunting legend Randy Ulmer, black rifles by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, elk calling by 4-time world champion caller Corey Jacobsen, and fishing for monster trout by Kelly Galloup.

    NEW: ISE Best-of-the-West Accuracy Fly-Casting Contest, open to all show-goers.

    Plus, new seminars by Cameron Hanes on bowhunting, Guy Eastman on hunting public lands, and Chad Schearer on elk hunting and muzzleloading.

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 20th February 2010
    Under: General | No Comments »

    Ben Pearson Introduces The Legend

    I own two Ben Pearson bows and love them both! Would love to see more Ben Pearson fans in Arizona. ~Desert Rat

    BREWTON, AL - Built on the company’s heritage of hunting and innovation, the Legend bow is the smoothest and quietest bow ever produced by Ben Pearson.

    Hunters want a fast bow with low hand shock, a huge valley, an unbelievably solid wall and a great draw cycle, and Ben Pearson offers this with the Legend. The Legend was designed so that hunters can draw back with ease after sitting in the stand for hours on a cold morning and is easy to hold at full draw while waiting for an animal to present the perfect shot. The Legend’s valley is so deep that hunters will even forget they’re holding at full draw.

    The Legend Specifications:

    · IBO Speed - 332-321 fps

    · Axle-to-axle - 32 3/4 inches

    · Brace Height - 7 1/4 inches

    · String Length - 55 1/2 inches

    · Cables (2) - 37 3/16 inches

    · Draw Weights - 50, 60, and 70 lbs. (75% let off)

    · Draw Lengths - 25-30 inches (half-inch increments)

    · Weight - 4.1 lbs.

    · Colors - Mossy Oak Obsession®, Black with black limbs, Black with Obsession limbs

    For more information, log on to www.benpearson.com.

    Ben Pearson produces official licensed products of Mossy Oak/ Haas Outdoors Inc. Haas Outdoors Inc. is headquartered in West Point, Miss., was established in 1986 and is home of Mossy Oak (www.mossyoak.com). Mossy Oak specializes in developing and marketing modern camouflage designs for hunters and outdoorsmen. Mossy Oak patterns can be found on a multitude of products worldwide. Haas Outdoors Inc. is the outdoor industry leader in modern camouflage design, international licensing and marketing. Haas Outdoors Inc. markets its services and products under widely recognized brands including: Mossy Oak, BioLogic, Mossy Oak Productions, MOOSE Media, Nativ Nurseries, and Mossy Oak Properties.

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 20th February 2010
    Under: Archery, General, Hunting, Press Releases | No Comments »

    Public forums, open houses scheduled for 2010 fall hunting regulations

    Public forums, open houses scheduled for 2010 fall hunting regulations

    Feb. 17, 2010

    Hunt guidelines, science-based surveys, and public input shape recommendations

    PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department is hosting a series of public forums followed by open houses across the state to allow constituents an opportunity to provide their input, learn about the process, and then see the preliminary hunt recommendation package before it is set by the commission in April.

    “If you have ever wondered, why did the Department recommend an increase or decrease in harvest in your favorite unit, these public forums offer that level of explanation,” said Brian Wakeling, chief of game management. “You will get to hear from a representative who has the knowledge from the survey data, hunter surveys, as well as the on-the-ground reports from wildlife managers.”

    Wakeling added, “This improved hunt recommendation process allows us more flexibility in hearing from our constituents and making modifications, if they are warranted, before presenting the package to the commission.”

    Each Arizona Game and Fish region will be hosting a public forum and providing details about the populations within their jurisdiction. This means that if you have interest in a particular unit, you will need to attend the public meeting in that region to discuss management direction.

    Public forum dates, times and locations are:

    Wednesday, Feb. 24, 6-8 p.m. – Kingman regional office, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road

    Thursday, March 4, 6-8 p.m. – Yuma regional office, 9140 E. 28th St.

    Thursday, March 4, 6-8 p.m. – Tucson regional office, 555 N. Greasewood Road

    Monday, March 8, 3-5 p.m. – Flagstaff regional office, 3500 S. Lake Mary Road
    Note: When you attend this meeting, ask at the front counter about this topic. Expect an informal atmosphere because of ongoing construction on the conference room at the Flagstaff office.

    Wednesday, March 10, 6-8 p.m. – Mesa regional office, 7200 E. University Drive

    Monday, March 15, 6-8 p.m. – Pinetop regional office, 2878 E. White Mountain Blvd.
    The final draft of the hunt recommendations will be made available for public review through six regional open houses prior to being presented to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. No formal presentation will be made. However, a knowledgeable staff person will be available to discuss regional hunt recommendations.

    A PDF version will be available at the Game and Fish Department’s Web site beginning Saturday, April 3 at www.azgfd.gov/huntguidelines.

    Open house dates, times and locations are:

    Wednesday, April 7, 3-5 p.m. – Kingman regional office, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road

    Monday, April 12, 3-5 p.m. – Pinetop regional office, 2878 E. White Mountain Blvd.

    Monday, April 12, 3-5 p.m. – Flagstaff regional office, 3500 S. Lake Mary Road

    Monday, April 12, 3-5 p.m. – Yuma regional office, 9140 E. 28th St.

    Monday, April 12, 3-5 p.m. – Mesa regional office, 7200 E. University Drive

    Wednesday, April 14, 3-5 p.m. – Tucson regional office, 555 N. Greasewood Road
    Each year, the department makes recommendations to the commission regarding the management of game species for the annual hunting and trapping regulations, which establish the seasons, dates, bag limits, open areas, and hunt permit-tag allocations based on the framework of the hunt guidelines set by the commission every two years.

    The final proposed recommendations will be presented to the commission for consideration during its April 16-17 meeting in Phoenix at the department headquarters at 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix (1.5 miles west of I-17). The agenda will be posted at www.azgfd.gov/commission under commission agenda.

    The Arizona Game and Fish Commission is the five-member civilian policy setting board expressly developed to avoid undue politics into wildlife management; ensure citizen participation; provide recreational opportunities through stewardship; and ensure ethical and prudent operation of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

    The Game and Fish Department operates on revenue-driven “user pay, user benefit” business model and relies on non-tax dollars – it receives no tax money from the state’s general fund. To learn more, visit www.azgfd.gov/heritagefund.

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 19th February 2010
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, Events, General, Hunting, Press Releases | No Comments »

    Good News For Cox Customers


    Network’s Quality Outdoor Programming Featuring Popular Talent Comes to the Valley of the Sun

    Temecula, Calif. – February 18, 2010 – Outdoor Channel Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: OUTD), America’s leader in Outdoor TV, today announced that Outdoor Channel has launched on Cox Communications’ Sports tier in the nation’s fifth most populous city, Phoenix, Arizona. Residents of Phoenix and its surrounding areas now have access to a robust spectrum of compelling hunting, fishing, shooting and traditional outdoor programming found on channel 161.

    “Our agreement with Cox Arizona continues Outdoor Channel’s momentum in launching our network across new cable systems throughout the U.S.,” said Tom Hornish, COO at Outdoor Channel.

    ”Our ability to successfully expand our reach is a direct testament to Outdoor Channel’s exclusive, quality outdoor content featuring the industry’s most popular talent,” added Randy Brown, Outdoor Channel Executive Vice President of Affiliate Sales and Marketing. “Now, when area hunters and anglers aren’t out pursuing Arizona’s variety of big and small game or fishing in the more than a dozen urban lakes around Phoenix, they’ll be able to partake in the experience with seasoned experts on the Outdoor Channel.”

    “We are committed to providing a wide variety of first rate programming to our customers, and the addition of Outdoor Channel reinforces that strategy,” said Ivan Johnson, Vice President of Community Relations, Cox Communications Arizona. “Year round sunshine and beautiful weather make Arizona the perfect environment for outdoor activities, thereby making Outdoor Channel a great fit for our customers, many of whom are avid outdoor enthusiasts.”

    Outdoor Channel takes viewers across the country and around the world, sharing unmatched thrills and experiences through the eyes of esteemed outdoor personalities.

    About Outdoor Channel Holdings, Inc.

    Outdoor Channel Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: OUTD) owns and operates Outdoor Channel, America’s leader in outdoor TV, and Winnercomm Inc., an Emmy Award winning production and interactive company. Outdoor Channel offers programming that captures the excitement of hunting, fishing, shooting, off-road motorsports, adventure and the Western lifestyle and can be viewed on multiple platforms including high definition, video-on-demand, as well as on a dynamic broadband website. Winnercomm Inc. is one of America’s largest and highest quality producers of live sporting events and sports series for cable and broadcast television. Winnercomm also owns and operates the patented Skycam and CableCam aerial camera systems which provide dramatic overhead camera angles for major sports events, including college and NFL football. For more information please visit www.outdoorchannel.com.

    Nielsen Media Research Universe Estimates for Outdoor Channel

    Nielsen Media Research is the leading provider of television audience measurement and advertising information services worldwide. Nielsen estimated that Outdoor Channel had approximately 36 million cable and satellite subscribers for February 2010. Please note that this estimate regarding Outdoor Channel’s subscriber base is made by Nielsen Media Research and is theirs alone and does not represent opinions, forecasts or predictions of Outdoor Channel Holdings, Inc. or its management. Outdoor Channel Holdings, Inc. does not by its reference above or distribution imply its endorsement of or concurrence with such information.

    About Cox Communications Arizona

    Cox Communications is the third largest cable provider and a multi-service broadband communications company serving nearly 3 million residential and business product subscribers in Arizona (a product subscriber represents an individual service purchased by a customer). In metro Phoenix, Cox serves approximately 2.5 million product subscribers. In Southern Arizona, Cox serves approximately 400,000 product subscribers. Cox’s 18,500-mile hybrid fiber coaxial cable network throughout Phoenix and Southern Arizona provides homes and businesses with digital television, high speed Internet, home networking, high-definition television and digital telephone service over its own nationwide IP network. During the past eight years, Cox has topped numerous J.D. Power and Associates’ studies of customer satisfaction, most recently receiving top honors for residential telephone & high speed Internet, and business data services and has received PC Magazine’s “people’s choice” award for the fifth time. Cox Media is responsible for the sale of cable advertising throughout Arizona. Cox Communications is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc and serves approximately 6 million customers nationwide. Additional information about Cox in Arizona is available at www.cox.com/arizona.

    # # #

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 19th February 2010
    Under: Arizona News, General, Press Releases | No Comments »

    Sahuarita police chief appointed to Game and Fish Commission

    I think this is a good choice. What do my readers think? ~DesertRat

    Sahuarita poice chief appointed to Game and Fish Commission

    PHOENIX – John Harris, the police chief of Sahuarita, Ariz., and a veteran reserve Arizona game ranger, has been appointed to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission by Gov. Jan Brewer.

    On Feb. 16, the Arizona State Senate confirmed the nomination. Harris, a 35-year law enforcement veteran, will be filling the commission seat of outgoing commissioner Bob Hernbrode, who lives in Tucson.

    In an interview following his confirmation, Harris said he has had phenomenal opportunities during his lifetime to experience the outdoors and participate in wildlife-related recreation. “My goal is to ensure that my 22-year-old daughter and her future children are also able to have such experiences.”

    Harris added that he wants to take th e great things that have been done regarding wildlife and work to make them even better.

    “There are always ways you can make improvements. But I have also learned that it’s always easy to come up with ideas while sitting on the sidelines, but you can see things differently once you are actually involved and learn more. I want to learn more before putting forth a lot of ideas.”

    Harris will have plenty of opportunity to learn and have input. The Arizona Game and Fish Commission establishes policy for the management, preservation, and harvest of wildlife. The commission also makes the rules and regulations for managing, conserving, and protecting wildlife and fisheries resources, and safe and regulated watercraft and off-highway vehicle operations for the benefit of the citizens of Arizona.

    Harris has been a police chief for 15 years, serving two years in Pleasant Hill, Mo., eight years in Springfield, Ill., three years in Evanston, Wyo., and currently three years in Sahuarita.

    Harris started his law enforcement career with the Tucson Police Department, and he retired in 1993 after achieving the rank of assistant police chief. For 10 of those years he volunteered as a game ranger for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. On returning to Arizona in 2006, Harris was reinstated as a reserve game ranger and serves in that capacity in southern Arizona.

    Wildlife and wildlife issues have been a lifelong passion for Harris. Along with professional experience and education, he has been very active in the conservation field. He is a life member of the National Rifle Association, the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, the Wild Sheep Foundation, the Grand Slam Club, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. He is a member of the Arizona Antelope Society, the Safari Club International Arizona chapter, and the Mule Deer Foundation.

    Harris is past president of both the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society and the Wild Sheep Foundation. While serving as president of the Wild Sheep Foundation, Harris partnered with Warren Parker from Safari Club International and helped to start the United States Congressional Sportsman Caucus.

    Harris holds a Master of Arts degree in criminal justice from Western Illinois University and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Arizona in public administration with the major field of study being law enforcement. He attended the 151st session of the FBI MLEEDS Executive Development program, the Illinois Law Enforcement Executive Institute, and the FBI’s Southwest Command College.

    Harris will serve a five-year term on the Game and Fish Commission. The 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 civilian 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 wildlife conservation during eight decades of back-and-forth political change.

    The Game and Fish Department operates on revenue-driven “user pay, user benefit” business model and relies on non-tax dollars – it receives no tax money from the state’s general fund.


    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 18th February 2010
    Under: Arizona News, General, Hunting, Politics and More, Press Releases | No Comments »

    Wildlife violations hit record levels in 2009

    Wildlife violations hit record levels in 2009

    PHOENIX – Wildlife poaching in Arizona increased during 2009 and wildlife violations reached a record level, said Arizona Game and Fish Department officers.

    “Arizona experienced a record year for wildlife violations that include outright poaching. With that, we are also experiencing a record number of reported and solved wildlife crimes. Call it a target rich environment, if you will,” said Officer Ken Dinquel, who operates the Operation Game Thief Program.

    In calendar year 2009 the Operation Game Thief Program received 768 reported wildlife related violations through the Operation Game Thief Program, which is a significant increase from 2008 when there were 451 OGT reports and in 2006 when there were 360 reports.

    Those 2009 violations included 416 big game violations, including those involving poaching. Fifteen of those cases involved mule deer, three cases involved whitetail deer, 16 cases involved elk, two cases involved black bear, two cases involved antelope, and one case involved a bighorn sheep ram.

    Investigators solved 39 of those cases but many others remain open or under investigation. The public is one of the keys to combating poaching and other wildlife violations. In 2009, the Operation Game Thief Program paid 39 rewards totaling $14,125 to conscientious citizens.

    Dinquel observed that most of the cases resulted from a blatant disregard for the law and Arizona wildlife resources. In some situations it was a target of opportunity while in others, it was monetarily motivated. Regardless of the reason, these crimes were committed because the violators didn’t think they would be caught – they were wrong.”

    Dinquel explained that the unlawful shooting or taking of wildlife is not an act of responsible hunters – this is done by unethical poachers. “Wildlife belongs to all of the citizens of Arizona and poaching is essentially stealing from us all.”

    Other cases remain unsolved due to lack of evidence. “Many incidents get reported where a concerned citizen finds evidence of an illegally killed animal, but the scene is in a deteriorated state and no investigative leads are discovered,” Dinquel said.

    “As with many poaching cases, we need help from the public. Often times these crimes are committed in remote locations without many people around,” he said. “Still, someone may have been in the area and may have seen or heard something associated with these cases.”

    In some cases, he said, someone may have information but is apprehensive about coming forward. “We want to encourage those with information or suspicions to call our Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-352-0700 to help stop poaching. Callers can remain confidential.”

    Reward money comes from fines and civil assessments levied against wildlife law violators and donations from private citizens and sportsmen conservation organizations.

    Anyone with information about wildlife violations can call the department’s Operation Game Thief Hotline toll free at (800) 352-0700, or report them online at www.azgfd.gov/thief. Callers may be eligible for a reward of up to $8,000, or more, for information that leads to the arrest or conviction of wildlife violators.

    Follow me on CamoSpace

    Posted on 15th February 2010
    Under: Arizona News, General, Hunting, Press Releases | No Comments »