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

    Archive for August, 2010

    Arizona Big Game Super Raffle winners announced

    Arizona Big Game Super Raffle winners announced

    Annual raffle of special issued hunting permits helps fund wildlife conservation

    Twelve lucky winners are certainly grinning from ear to ear after hearing of their success from the 2010 Arizona Big Game Super Raffle.

    The winners of 10 special big game hunts, a high-end binoculars package, and a guided New Mexico elk hunt were announced during the drawing of the Arizona Big Game Super Raffle on July 22.

    The raffle winners for 2010 are:

    * Antelope (pronghorn) - Keith Newlon, Sierra Vista, Ariz.
    * Bear - Fred Provine, Capitan, N.M.
    * Buffalo - Matthew Rohrer, Phoenix, Ariz.
    * Coues white-tailed deer - Brad Richardson, Scottsdale, Ariz.
    * Desert bighorn sheep - Greg Gordon, Burney, Calif.
    * Elk - Paul E. Shepley, Jr., Tucson, Ariz.
    * Javelina - John Ristick, Queen Creek, Ariz.
    * Mountain lion - Jeffrey Penny, Yuma, Ariz.
    * Mule deer – Robert Currier, Cabool, Mo.
    * Turkey - Lester Hansen, Tucson, Ariz.
    * Swarovski optics package - Jeffrey Murray, Magnolia, TX.
    * New Mexico elk hunt - David Dubie, Scottsdale, Ariz.

    These twelve raffle winners are just the tip of the iceberg from the event. Landscape-level projects for Arizona’s wildlife and habitats will continue to be funded thanks to the reported $369,465 raised by this raffle that was founded and dedicated to funding wildlife conservation.

    Created in 2006 as a way to garner mass participation due to the low cost of a raffle ticket (prices range from $5-$25 each, depending on raffle item), it is one of the largest hunting raffles of its kind, where anyone has an opportunity to win.

    Every dollar raised for each species is returned to the Arizona Game and Fish Department for the specific management of that species. However, the decisions on funding specific projects are coordinated through a cooperative process of the Arizona Habitat Partnership Committee. Input from 12 statewide habitat partners and the organizations (state, local and conservation groups) collectively determine which projects will provide the most benefit to each species represented.

    Funding from the raffle allows for a multitude of wildlife conservation projects. For 2010, more than 60 projects were approved, including the development, maintenance, and improvement of water catchments to provide reliable water sources for wildlife during drought years. A number of grassland restoration projects through controlled burns and tree removals were funded. Other funded projects assist in wildlife management through helicopter surveys, translocation of wildlife, and the monitoring of wildlife movements to map connectivity issues. A key factor to a project getting approved is that there are funding sources to share costs, labor, or supplied materials, compounding every dollar spent for Arizona’s wildlife. Last year, funded projects provided more than $2 for every $1 spent from the tag funds.

    So, the next time you see a highway underpass allowing elk to move safely near the Mogollon Rim, or an antelope ducking under a modified fence in the open plains of Prescott, or if you’re fortunate to spot a desert bighorn sheep peering down from a cliff after watering in the arid desert, remember to think of hunters as conservationists. The majority of wildlife conservation and management by the Arizona Game and Fish Department is made possible by funding generated from the sale of hunting licenses, hunt permit-tags, and matching funds from federal excise taxes hunters pay on guns, ammunition and related equipment, and not from the state’s tax revenues.

    To learn more about the Habitat Partnership Committee, visit www.azgfd.gov/w_c/hpc.shtml.

    The Arizona Big Game Super Raffle, a non-profit entity, is supported by the following organizations:

    * Arizona Antelope Foundation
    * Arizona Bowhunters Association
    * Arizona Deer Association
    * Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society
    * Arizona Elk Society
    * Arizona Game and Fish Department
    * Arizona Wildlife Federation
    * Wild Sheep Foundation
    * Mule Deer Foundation
    * National Wild Turkey Federation
    * Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
    * Safari Club International, Arizona Chapter
    * Safari Club International, Phoenix Chapter
    * Swarovski Optik
    * West Tex New Mexico Hunting Services

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    Posted on 10th August 2010
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, General | 1 Comment »

    Helping Desert Tortoises

    Helping desert tortoises the right way during monsoon season

    Monsoon season brings one of the southwest desert’s most iconic creatures out of their burrows and out-and-about across the state. Desert tortoises are now in their most active season, and Arizona’s increased human population creates more risks for these slow-moving symbols of the Sonoran desert.

    The Arizona Game and Fish Department asks the public to follow these important guidelines if they encounter a desert tortoise:

    * Do not remove a tortoise from its habitat. Taking a wild tortoise home is illegal in Arizona. Additionally, most tortoises stay in the same small area their entire lives, so if you move a tortoise to a new location it will not know where to find food and shelter and will likely die.

    * Do not release a captive tortoise into the wild. Captive desert tortoises cannot be released into the wild as they can pass diseases to wild populations and displace wild tortoises. It is also illegal to release captive animals into the wild.

    * Keep dogs away from both captive and wild desert tortoises. Even the most gentle dog can pose a serious threat to a tortoise.

    * If you come across a desert tortoise crossing a busy road, if traffic safely permits it, pick the tortoise up and gently move it to the other side of the road. Carry the animal so that it is level to the ground, and move it in the same direction it was headed.

    “People think they are doing the tortoise a favor by taking it home, but it is actually harmful to the tortoise and the tortoise population,” says Cristina Jones, Game and Fish’s turtles project coordinator.

    “Tortoises should not be handled for any length of time or brought home or into captivity. The best thing anyone can do is to leave tortoises in the wild.”

    Tortoise conservation partners include Saguaro National Park, Friends of Saguaro National Park, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and Phoenix Herpetological Society.

    “Properly caring for a legally-adopted tortoise takes a lot of knowledge, and we cannot stress enough how detrimental it is for both the captive and wild tortoises to let a captive tortoise go free in the wild,” said Jones.

    Anyone interested in legally sharing their yard with a desert tortoise may adopt a tortoise if they are from Bullhead City, Kingman, Lake Havasu, Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma. For more information on the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Tortoise Adoption Program and enclosure requirements, visit www.azgfd.gov/tortoise.

    There are two populations of desert tortoise: the federally-listed Mojave desert tortoise found north and west of the Colorado River, and the Sonoran desert tortoise, which is protected by Game and Fish.

    Desert tortoises in Arizona are considered a species of greatest conservation need; those north and west of the Colorado River are among the threatened Mojave population.

    Through its partnerships with other public agencies, non-profit organizations and the science community, Game and Fish’s wildlife recovery program aims to keep common species common and prevent species from becoming listed as threatened or endangered, allowing for conservation in a more cost-effective manner. State-level involvement provides closer oversight of wildlife species on a day-to-day basis. Specific emphasis is placed on identifying and managing the wildlife and habitat of greatest conservation need, or those species that are no longer abundant and facing increasing threats from habitat degradation, disease, introduction of non-native species, and climate change.

    Adaptive management of these species helps ensure their continued presence in Arizona and protects the delicate balance of the ecosystem for future generations.

    Tortoise conservation in Arizona is supported by the Heritage Fund, a voter-passed initiative that was started in 1990 to further wildlife conservation efforts in the state through Arizona Lottery ticket sales.

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    Posted on 9th August 2010
    Under: Arizona News, Conservation Groups, General | 1 Comment »

    All day dove hunts returning

    Dove and Sandhill Crane regulations now available

    PHOENIX – It’s a blast from the past – for the first time in two decades, all-day dove hunting is returning to Arizona starting Sept. 1 for the early season, which ends Sept. 15.

    You can read all about it in the “Arizona Dove and Band-tailed Pigeon Regulations 2010-11” that have been distributed to license dealers statewide and are also available online at www.azgfd.gov.

    The Sandhill Crane Regulations have also been posted and distributed. This year there is a new juniors-only crane hunt near Gila Bend in addition to the one in Units 30A, 30B, 31 and 32. The crane hunts are by drawing only. The application period started Aug. 2 and the deadline for the department to receive applications is Aug. 31 (postmarks don’t count).

    Arizona Game and Fish Department biologists said the early season half-day dove hunting restrictions were eliminated by the Game and Fish Commission this past June due to a number of changes the state has experienced.

    “The half-day dove hunting restrictions were implemented in 1989 in response to declining numbers of both mourning doves and white-winged doves,” said Mike Rabe, small game program supervisor.

    Since that time, explained Rabe, dove hunting participation has declined and places to hunt doves near urban centers have also declined.

    “As a result, Arizona dove hunters must travel farther to hunt doves and few hunters participate,” Rabe said.

    In addition, recent data indicates current harvest rates are low and dove are abundant.

    Game and Fish conducted a hunter survey in March and a majority of hunters said they favor lifting the half-day hunt restrictions.

    Rabe pointed out that removing the half-day restrictions also eliminates the need for two hunting zones for the early dove season. “This sure makes it much more simple for our hunters, and us too.”

    Don’t forget that once again this year, there is a juniors-only dove hunt at the Robbins Butte Wildlife Area near Buckeye on Sept. 4-5. Following the morning hunt each day, the Chandler Rod and Gun Club will be providing its famous pancake breakfast on site for the young hunters and their mentors.

    Shooting stations will be assigned on a first-come, first-served process unless there are more people desiring to participate than available shooting stations, then a drawing will be held at 4:45 a.m. But those who routinely work the hunt say a drawing has never been necessary yet. It’s a great time, bring your youngsters.

    Also keep in mind that the late dove season is Nov. 19 through Jan. 2. “This late season is mourning doves only – all the white-winged doves will have migrated south. But it’s a much more leisurely hunt – the best times to hunt are in the late afternoon,” Rabe said.

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    Posted on 9th August 2010
    Under: Arizona News, General, Hunting | 1 Comment »

    Great Sale On Vortex Optics

    Thanks to friend Doug over at CameraLand for passing along info on this awesome sale!

    Vortex Riflescope and Binocular Sale

    Vortex has announced that they are discontinuing a few items which presents a fantastic opportunity to get some great gear at super low prices. These are all brand new and HEAVILY discounted. Take advantage while supplies last.

    Vortex Viper 2-7x32mm riflescope for only $174.99 in your choice of BDC, C3 or V-Plex reticle

    Vortex Viper 3.5-10x50mm riflescope with V-Plex reticle for only $249.99

    Vortex Viper 4-12x40mm PA riflescope with V-Plex reticle for only $249.99

    Vortex Viper 6.5-20x44mm PA riflescope for only $249.99 in your choice of V-Plex or Target Dot reticle

    Vortex Viper 6.5-20x50mm PA riflescope with Target Dot reticle for only $279.99

    If a great deal on a quality binocular is what you’re looking for check out these outstanding values:

    Vortex Fury 12.5x42mm Binocular for only $199.99

    Vortex Fury 10x32mm Binocular for only $174.99

    Vortex Fury 8x32mm Binocular for only $174.99

    Vortex Fury 6.5x32mm Binocular for only $169.99

    Remember, with any Vortex Binocular purchase you can add their Vortex Binocular Harness Strap for only $10.00.

    Please feel free to give a call to me or Neil with any questions. Thank you for your continued support.

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    Posted on 8th August 2010
    Under: General, Products | 4 Comments »

    HOAL Has An Immediate Opening For A Sick Child

    I’m a volunteer with the Arizona Chapter of Hunt of a Lifetime. It looks like we have a bunch of potential tag donations this year so we are looking for kids with life-threatening illnesses that want to go on a hunt. Our immediate need is for an archery-proficient child. We have a donor willing to donate an 11M Arizona antelope tag (archery) . The season runs August 21 - Sept 2. We have guides lined up, for this hunt- when we can, all hunt expenses are paid. on HOAL sponsored hunts. For more info on this hunt contact me ASAP. If you have questions about getting a sick child on a hunt, or supporting HOAL, please let me know.

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    Posted on 5th August 2010
    Under: Archery, Arizona News, Conservation Groups, General, Hunting | No Comments »



    2010 Warrior Conference Fund-Raiser to Benefit HAVA (Honored American Veterans Afield)

    Longmeadow, MA – The nation’s top firearms trainers will gather in Reno, Nevada on August 10 – 13 at the 2010 Warrior Conference to share the latest training methods. They will also rally support for HAVA (Honored American Veterans Afield), the industry supported non-profit organization that helps returning veterans re-connect with shooting sports. Through the raffle of a Smith & Wesson M&P15T rifle with accessories from Crimson Trace, Leupold and XS Sights, the group will contribute several thousand dollars to support HAVA events and spread the word about the good works of this organization that is expressing the industry’s support for America’s returning heroes.

    “HAVA is very pleased at the opportunity to share the stage with the nation’s top trainers and to add their voices to the broad support for disabled veterans and active duty military,” said Tom Taylor, HAVA Chairman. “As HAVA approaches its 4th full year of operation, we will host over 500 disabled veterans at events nationwide in 2010 and we need support from the entire industry to continue growth. The Warrior Conference is a key opportunity for us to spread the word about our mission and to raise funds to support it.”

    “The Warrior Conference is a gathering of top trainers, many of whom are combat veterans, that understand the enormous difficulty of a returning veteran’s re-entry into civilian life,” said conference founder Wes Doss. “Partnering with HAVA gives our attendees a voice in supporting this important work, and a way to offer encouragement to these industry volunteers who give of their time to express the nation’s gratitude.”

    Please go to www.warrior-conference.com for more details about the conference and raffle.

    About HAVA:
    HAVA is a 501(c)3 organization formed by companies in the shooting and outdoor industry with the purpose of raising awareness and further assisting disabled veterans with their healing process through guided hunts, shooting sports, and other active outdoor sports activities. The sustaining sponsor companies are Crimson Trace, Hornady, Leupold, NRA, Mossberg, Smith & Wesson, Surefire, Yamaha and FMG Publications. Those who would like to learn more and contribute to the HAVA mission can do so at www.honoredveterans.org.

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    Posted on 3rd August 2010
    Under: Events, General | No Comments »