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Wildlife News -- Sept. 9, 2011

Posted in: Wildlife News
Sep 9, 2011
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  • Arizona’s hunting regulations amended to incorporate expanded hunting areas
  • All was quiet on the dove-hunting front opening weekend
  • Arizona’s bald eagles hit it out of the park in 2011
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to continue funding to support Arizona’s sport fish stocking program
  • Be a part of black-footed ferret conservation
  • Free youth workshop offered to teach Arizona small game hunting basics
  • Boating safety equipment compliance rate improves
  • Come witness the release of North America’s largest flying land bird to Arizona’s wilderness
  • Get your spring hunt application in early, take advantage of correction period
  • Tips for reporting poaching and other wildlife law violations
  • Notice of proposed rulemaking to amend sport falconry license rules
  • Outdoor Hall of Fame inductees honored at banquet


Arizona’s hunting regulations amended to incorporate expanded hunting areas
New rules restrict use of rifles, pistols in metro hunt units for public safety

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Hunters rejoice, you now have access to approximately 1 million acres of public and state trust lands within municipal boundaries this hunting season, but there are regulation changes that relate to these new opportunities and public safety that hunters need to know.

These opportunities required amending the 2011-12 Arizona Hunting and Trapping Regulations, as well as the 2011 Pronghorn Antelope and Elk Hunt Regulations because the changes to state law became effective after these publications were distributed.

In the interest of time and as a cost-savings measure, Game and Fish will NOT be reprinting the 2011-12 Arizona Hunting and Trapping Regulations, or the 2011 Pronghorn Antelope and Elk Hunt Draw Information Booklet.

“Basically, because of these law changes, Arizona hunters now have access to the undeveloped lands on the fringes of municipal boundaries that were once off limits. Much of it is perfect for safe recreational small game hunting using shotguns, which have a short effective range,” said Chief of Wildlife Recreation Craig McMullen.

McMullen also expressed that citizens can feel safe because the Game and Fish Commission, a public body, has prohibited the use of long-range firearms like rifles, muzzleloaders, or pistols on private property in city limits and in metropolitan hunt units. In addition, a core area in metro Phoenix was closed to hunting. These restrictions were implemented to minimize conflicts in urban areas and to assure public safety.

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Because of these law changes, hunters will need to download and print the amended regulations (changes are indicated in red font), to get the latest legal hunting requirements. Most of the changes are identified in the notes section for each species in the regulations.

Hunters should carefully read these notes to learn about any restrictions to methods of take, and modifications to open areas for most species including, but not limited to elk, antelope, deer, quail, rabbits, predators, and fur-bearing mammals. The latest regulations are available at the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s website at www.azgfd.gov/rules.

What changed?

The regulations were amended because of recent law changes to ARS §13-3107 and §13-3108 that granted the authority to regulate the use of firearms for the take of wildlife within municipal boundaries to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. The commission amended the appropriate hunting seasons and regulations at its Aug. 6 public meeting to comply with the new legislation.

While there are many changes to the regulations due to the change of authority, much of these changes are to mimic sensible restrictions that were already in place through other regulations, such as overarching state laws, intergovernmental agreements, or other means.

“The good news is, hunters that haven’t heard about these recent law changes and are following the original regulations will not be hunting in city limits, because those originally issued publications do not make specific allowances for hunting within municipal boundaries,” said McMullen.

Before the law change, it was against the law to shoot a firearm, even while taking wildlife, within most city limits. Under the new authority of the commission, the hunting regulations have been amended to assure public safety, while also providing as much hunting opportunity as possible.

This is done by implementing seasons that do not permit high-power rifles in certain areas, closing populated urban centers to hunting, or through continued communication of the state law that prohibits hunting with a firearm within a quarter mile of an occupied building.

Some of the key changes to the regulations that hunters and the public need to know about, include, but are not limited to:

  • Closed to hunting – A large portion of the Phoenix metropolitan area is closed to hunting. For a boundary description and area map, visit www.azgfd.gov/rules.
  • Closed to hunting – Golf courses, airports, and posted water treatment facilities are closed to hunting.
  • Closed to hunting with firearms: Private lands in both the Tucson and Flagstaff metro hunt units (Units 11M and 38M respectively) are closed to all hunting during firearms seasons, including those for shotgun shooting shot. Hunting with a firearm inside city limits in these populated metro units is only permitted on public and state trust lands.
  • Closed to hunting during “General Firearm Rifle Seasons” – Private property within city limits is closed to all hunting during “general firearm rifle seasons” using any weapon type, including a rifle, pistol, muzzleloader as well as bow and arrows. There are some limited exclusions for wildlife management needs.
  • Open to hunting with restrictions – Generally, county and city parks and preserves are closed to hunting. The Commission opened some county parks in Pima and Maricopa County for hunting. For the Pima and Maricopa County parks and/or preserves that are open to hunting by commission order, further restrictions make it unlawful to take wildlife within a quarter mile of a developed campground, picnic area, occupied building, boat ramp, shooting range, or golf course.
  • Open to hunting with restrictions – Private property inside city limits not already excluded (i.e., Units 11M, 38M and Phoenix metro area) are only open to hunting during “limited weapon, shotgun shooting shot” seasons. 
  • Reptile hunting and collection restrictions – Hunting reptiles with a firearm is closed statewide on private property inside city limits, city and county parks and preserves, golf courses, airports and posted water treatment facilities. A limited weapon season, which does not include the use of firearms, was created for taking/collecting reptiles in these areas closed to firearms.

To learn more about these recent law changes, and how Game and Fish has implemented these changes to assure the public’s safety while still providing hunting opportunity, visit www.azgfd.gov/rules.


All was quiet on the dove-hunting front opening weekend

“All was quiet on the dove-hunting front” was the word from wildlife law enforcement professionals following the opening weekend of dove season in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area despite some predictions otherwise.

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This is the first year hunters have been able to hunt much of the open, undeveloped public lands within municipal boundaries.

“All in all, it was a quiet dove opening weekend across the state, with about the normal amount of calls into the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s radio room, or maybe even a little less than normal,” said Assistant Director of Field Operations Leonard Ordway.

Ordway added that just as agency experts had predicted, opening around a million acres to small game hunting actually spread out hunters, reduced possible hunter congestion, and overall reduced potential conflicts.

Prior to the opening of dove season on Sept. 1, Game and Fish officials designed and implemented hunt strategies within municipalities that emphasized reducing potential conflicts.

“We certainly did our best to go the extra mile and work closely with municipal law enforcement agencies. As we hoped, because hunters were better able to determine where to hunt legally on open lands, conflicts and potential violations truly diminished,” Ordway said.

On the plus side, Ordway said, lots of hunters have been thanking the department for opening such vast tracts of open desert lands to small game hunting thanks to Senate Bill 1334, which granted authority to regulate hunting within municipal areas to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.

“To be honest, we hoped for the best, expected the best, but were still holding our breaths a little. We are grateful that this opening weekend of dove hunting far surpassed our expectations. Which is a good thing, because these new municipal hunting lands allow whole families the opportunity to re-connect with nature close to home,” Ordway said.

The dove season runs from Sept. 1 through Sept. 15. Even though a lot of white-winged doves have migrated south since the Sept. 1 opening of the season, the milder daytime temperatures during the second half of the season should make it more enjoyable for hunters.

“Now it doesn’t take a half-tank of gas for most people to find decent dove hunting,” Ordway said, “It’s great to be able to hunt dove before or after work or school and experience routine contact with nature in our daily lives.”

Ordway added that there is a lot of talk about the growing “nature deficit” among our youth, but wildlife professionals and those who study the social dynamics of the outdoors know the positive spin-offs for youth from such activities – they have been well studied and documented over the years.

“Youth who hunt and fish or routinely participate in other outdoor activities typically do better in school, have better self esteem, have enhanced problem-solving abilities, and demonstrate increased abilities to overcome challenges,” Ordway pointed out.

Studies have also shown other increased attributes to participating in healthy outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and wildlife watching. Those include:

  • Increased self-concept and self-concept domains such as independence, confidences, self-efficacy, and self understanding.
  • Enhanced psychological well-being.
  • Increased leadership competencies.
  • Enhanced academic achievement and academic self-concept.
  • Increased personality dimension such as assertiveness, emotional stability, achievement motivation, internal locus of control, and maturity.
  • Improved mental strength and interpersonal dimensions, such as social competence, cooperation and interpersonal communication skills.

“It may surprise some, but despite Arizona’s vast tracts of open public land, this is one of the most urbanized states in the union. Most Arizonans live in highly urbanized areas, not rural areas. Yet it may also seem strange that we are truly blessed with so many outstanding outdoor opportunities close to home,” Ordway said.

What’s next on the hunting hit parade close to home? Quail season opens Sept. 30. Rabbit season is open year-round. So is predator season.

“Many of us were lucky growing up because we could simply walk out in the desert and go rabbit hunting. Guess what, it’s almost that easy again, but there are restrictions or rules everyone has to follow,” Ordway said.

Be sure to visit the Game and Fish website for all of the particulars.

“These new opportunities definitely come with the necessity for hunters to be familiar with the regulations and act responsibly so that future generations can also be blessed with these character-building opportunities close to home,” Ordway advised.


Arizona’s bald eagles hit it out of the park in 2011

Arizona’s bald eagles continue to flourish in the state with three record breeding achievements in 2011. With the last bald eagle nestling out of the nest, biologists declared that a record number of breeding areas were occupied; a record number of eggs were laid; and, a record number of fledgling birds took to Arizona’s skies.

This year, at least 79 eggs were laid, a record 55 breeding areas were occupied, and 56 nestlings fledged. These record breaking numbers indicate that the species’ breeding population in Arizona continues to grow.

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Getting a young nestling to the critical point of fledging, or taking its first flight, is perhaps one of the best indicators of a successful breeding season, and in 2011, 10 more fledglings conquered that major milestone compared to the year prior.    

“Seeing the continual year-after-year growth of the bald eagle breeding population in Arizona is extremely gratifying for all of the partners involved in intensely managing the species,” said Kenneth Jacobson, Arizona Game and Fish Department bald eagle management coordinator. “The Southwest Bald Eagle Management Committee’s years of cooperative conservation efforts, including extensive monitoring by the Bald Eagle Nestwatch Program, continue to pay off and help this riparian-dependent population grow in a desert environment.”

Continued support from the committee and the Heritage Fund, generated from lottery ticket sales, will help ensure that Arizona’s bald eagles continue breaking records.

Bald eagle management falls under the careful watch of the Arizona Game and Fish Department and a coalition of 24 other partners – through the Southwest Bald Eagle Management Committee – including government agencies, private organizations and Native American tribes. 

The breeding season for bald eagles in Arizona typically runs from December through June, although a few bald eagle pairs at higher elevations nest later than those in the rest of the state. This year, bald eagles nesting above the Mogollon Rim at Crescent and Luna lakes also faced the challenges of the Wallow Fire that threatened their nesting areas. Both nests succeeded in producing fledglings despite the fire. 

The Arizona Game and Fish Department, a leading partner in recovery efforts for the species, attributes the success to cooperative on-the-ground management, including monitoring and survey flights; seasonal closures of critical breeding habitat during the breeding season; eagle rescue efforts; contaminants analysis; and a nestwatch program to protect breeding activities.

For more information on Arizona’s bald eagles, visit www.azgfd.gov/baldeagle or www.swbemc.org.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to continue funding to support Arizona’s sport fish stocking program

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) as part of the Environmental Assessment of its proposal to continue to fund, in part, the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s (AGFD) sport fish stocking program over the next 10 years.

The FONSI decision means that FWS can continue funding to support AGFD’s hatchery operations and fish stocking activities that provide recreational opportunities for anglers.
 

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As part of the Selected Alternative, a Conservation and Mitigation Program has been developed. The Conservation and Mitigation Program will implement actions to avoid, offset or reduce environmental impacts of the stocking action and ultimately contribute to conservation and recovery of native species. The program’s development was a coordinated effort between the FWS’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR), its Arizona Ecological Services Office, and AGFD.

The decision came out of an Environmental Assessment process that analyzed three alternatives which provided a range of recreational opportunities and impacts to biological resources.

After review of public and agency comments received on the Draft Environmental Assessment, WSFR, the Arizona Ecological Services Office and AGFD chose to modify the Proposed Action. The modifications to the Proposed Action include the removal of one previously proposed stocking site and the elimination and/or substitution of some species proposed for stocking at some sites. The modified Proposed Action has been identified as the “Selected Alternative.”

Under the Selected Alternative, funding will support stocking of sport fish at 166 sites in selected rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, ponds and tanks in the state. It will also support continued operations and maintenance of five AGFD hatcheries that rear sport fish (primarily trout) for stocking. The actions in this alternative are the most comparable to Arizona’s current stocking program.

Hundreds of thousands of Arizona residents and nonresidents take advantage of the state’s recreational fishing opportunities each year. Based on 2006 numbers, there were 4,156,000 angler use days (AUDs) of fishing in Arizona, with a total annual economic impact of $1.3 billion (Southwick Associates 2007). Arizona Game and Fish estimates a resident demand of 6 million AUDs through 2012, with some growth anticipated in nonresident demand.

Under the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act of 1950, FWS has the authority to provide federal funding to state wildlife agencies for management and restoration of sport fish, as well as public use and benefit from those resources. Funding is provided on a match basis through the WSFR program. Sport Fish Restoration funds through that program come from a federal excise tax on certain fishing equipment and a portion of motorboat fuel tax revenues. In July 2011, Arizona received about $7.9 million in Sport Fish Restoration Act funds. Although the amount varies from year to year, about $2.5 million was allocated to sport fish stocking and hatchery operations. 

To view a copy of the Finding of No Significant Impact document and the final Environmental Assessment, visit www.azgfd.gov/fishea  or www.fws.gov/southwest/federal_assistance/index.html


Be a part of black-footed ferret conservation
Volunteer to help count the species in October

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is offering a rare opportunity for people wanting to assist in the recovery efforts of the endangered black-footed ferret.

This elusive, nocturnal animal was once the most endangered mammal on the planet and just 18 ferrets remained when captive breeding efforts began.

Now, from Oct. 6-10, Game and Fish will be conducting its annual fall spotlighting effort and needs volunteers to help document black-footed ferret numbers throughout the Aubrey Valley, just west of Seligman.

“Volunteers have always played a vital role in this recovery effort,” said Jeff Pebworth, wildlife program manager at the Game and Fish Kingman office. “We don’t have the personnel available to fully staff these events, and the program’s continued success depends on people remaining involved.”

Twice thought to be extinct, a small population of black-footed ferrets was discovered in 1981. A mere 18 were left when captive breeding efforts began in 1985. In 1996, Arizona’s Aubrey Valley was selected as a reintroduction site.

On Sept. 26, reintroduction sites around the country will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the discovery of the last known population of black-footed ferrets while Arizona will also celebrate its 15th year as a reintroduction site.

In just the last nine years in Arizona, black-footed ferrets in Aubrey Valley have reached a population high enough to be considered self-sustaining, meaning no captive-bred ferrets are released. In 2009, the ferret reintroduction crew documented 60 individual ferrets, followed by a record 96 in 2010.

The reintroduction of these specialist carnivores in Arizona was possible because of the state’s Heritage Fund which, when matched with federal dollars, accounts for the project’s funding. This, along with the dedication of volunteers, has made Arizona’s reintroduction effort a model for other sites to emulate.

Pebworth admitted that without the voter-approved initiative, which provides money through the Arizona Lottery, this effort would not have been possible.

“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in Arizona,” Pebworth said. “We’re restoring an animal that was absent from the state for about 65 years. It’s gratifying to know we’ve reached a point with this reintroduction where the population has continued to improve.”

Spotlighting is not easy, and Pebworth acknowledges that volunteers earn the right to brag about their participation in the recovery of this animal.

Volunteers must be able to stay attentive from sunset to sunrise, be able to carry up to 30 pounds while backpack-spotlighting for two-hour durations, and they must be willing to learn how to use a Global Positioning System (GPS).

Individuals can volunteer for one or more dates. A parent or guardian must accompany any youth under 18.

Those wishing to volunteer, or needing more information, should e-mail azferret@azgfd.gov by Sept. 30 with “October Spotlighting” in the subject line. Individuals should indicate which night(s) they are available to help; include a first and last name, a contact number, and if anyone else will be attending with them.

Additional information will be sent following contact, including meeting location and times.

Volunteers should also note any of the following equipment they can bring: GPS, clipboard, backpack (to carry a 30-pound battery), headlamp, pen, compass, binoculars, walkie-talkies, 4x4 vehicle (please list passenger capacity), compass, spotlight (that can plug into a cigarette lighter), or a cordless rechargeable spotlight.

It can be cool during the October event, so individuals need to dress appropriately.


Free youth workshop offered to teach Arizona small game hunting basics

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has scheduled a multi-day, small game basics workshop for young hunters and those who want to learn to hunt.

Staff in the department’s Pinetop regional office will conduct their annual small game hunting camp in Game Management Units 1 and 3B to provide youth with the basic skills they need to successfully pursue tree squirrels. The program format will also provide an overview of hunting opportunities for other small game species found throughout the state. Youth ages 8 and older are invited to participate.

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The camp, sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Arizona Elk Society, will begin the evening of Sept. 30 and conclude the morning of Oct. 2, and includes meals, instruction and field time with hunting mentors. The program format is aimed at developing responsible, ethical and successful hunters who recognize the importance of wildlife and habitat conservation.

"This intensive camp is designed to provide youth with an opportunity to enhance their hunting knowledge and skills here in Arizona, while also teaching them the values of stewardship and wildlife conservation," says Wildlife Manager Supervisor Mike Godwin. "The workshop is about hands-on learning, asking questions and being with others who are also interested in hunting."

The camp will be held at the Los Burros Campground, located on Forest Road 224 that runs between Vernon and McNary. The program will cover hunting opportunities, firearm safety and game care. Other activities include air-rifle and archery instruction and 3-D shooting, first aid basics, and more. Instructional sessions begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, and participants will hunt in the field with mentors on Saturday.

For more information or to sign up, contact the department’s Pinetop office at (928) 367-4281. The workshop is free, but pre-registration is required.


Boating safety equipment compliance rate improves
Rate of alcohol consumption remains a concern

Seven law enforcement agencies recently worked together to help provide a safe boating environment for watercraft users along the Colorado River.

Arizona Game and Fish, Mohave County Sheriff, US Fish and Wildlife Service, BLM, Lake Havasu City Police, Arizona State Parks and the Arizona Department of Public Safety recently conducted an Operating Under the Influence (OUI) and Safety Checkpoint at Katherine’s Landing in Bullhead City.

Four OUI arrests were made for exceeding the blood alcohol limit of .08, and one for drugs. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of all boat operators had consumed alcohol. Overall compliance with required safety equipment was 86 percent.

Velma Holt, west sector supervisor for the Game and Fish Kingman office, was pleased to see a safety equipment compliance rate increase of 13 percent since a similar checkpoint in 2009. She believes the outreach effort that has reached an estimated 8,000 boaters in the last four years has played a role.

“The regulations are in place for a reason,” Holt said. “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, the fact that 24 percent of operators had consumed alcohol is a concern for Holt.

“I’m pleased we only made five arrests, but alcohol and this heat are always a dangerous combination, regardless of the blood-alcohol content,” Holt said. “Just as with driving, boaters should assign a designated operator before taking to the water. And don’t forget, when the day on the water ends, these same operators are then getting in their cars and taking to the roads.”

Some of the more common safety equipment violations have been not having enough lifejackets, lack of a throwable floatation device, and not having a fire extinguisher. Throwable floatation devices are critical to avoid one person jumping in the water to try and save another.

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

To learn more about boating education classes, visit www.azgfd.gov/boating.


Come witness the release of North America’s largest flying land bird to Arizona’s wilderness

Three endangered California condors will be released to the wild in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in northern Arizona at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24. The public is welcome to observe the release from a viewing area where spotting scopes will be set up, and experts will be available to answer questions.

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This will be the 17th public release of condors in Arizona since the recovery program began in 1996. Condors are hatched and reared in captivity at The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey in Idaho, Oregon Zoo, Los Angeles Zoo and San Diego Wild Animal Park and transported to Arizona for release to the wild.

Currently, 70 condors are flying free in the Grand Canyon region. The world’s total population of California condors is 399, with 198 of them gracing the skies of Arizona, Utah, California and Mexico. Condors were reduced to just 22 individuals in the 1980s when a program was started to save the species from extinction.

Condors were first reintroduced in Arizona in 1996 and conservation efforts are funded in part by the Heritage Fund, a voter-passed initiative that provides funding for wildlife conservation with revenue from Arizona Lottery ticket sales.

Recovery and reintroduction cooperators include The Peregrine Fund, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

To view the condor release, drive north on Highway 89 out of Flagstaff. Turn left (west) onto Highway 89A toward Jacob Lake and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Drive about 40 miles past Marble Canyon until you turn right onto House Rock Valley Road (BLM Road 1065). Travel about three miles to a shaded viewing area on the right. On top of the cliffs to your east will be the location where the condors are released.


Get your spring hunt application in early, take advantage of correction period

Applicants for 2012 spring hunts for turkey, javelina, buffalo and bear are encouraged to apply early to take advantage of the “correction period.” If your application is received by the department by 5 p.m. (MST) on 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.

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.

The 2012 Spring Turkey, Javelina, Buffalo and Bear Hunt Draw Information booklet and applications are available at www.azgfd.gov/draw and at Game and Fish offices. They have also been shipped to license dealers and are either now available at dealers or will be soon.

Applicants are reminded a 2012 license is required to enter the spring draw. Licenses may be purchased through the draw/application process or at department offices and license dealers.

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


Tips for reporting poaching and other wildlife law violations

While the role of the public in helping catch and prosecute wildlife violators is critical, caution should be taken at a potential crime scene.

Arizona Game and Fish Department law enforcement officers want the public to know there are important “should” and “should not’s” in trying to assist in apprehending criminals.

“The desire of the public to help us catch violators is great. However, there are instances when those desires can actually hinder law enforcement efforts,” said Ken Dinquel, Operation Game Thief (OGT) program manager.

Dinquel explained that those encountering violations sometimes inform the violator they will be calling the Operation Game Thief 24-hour hotline.

“At that point the violator vacates the scene before law enforcement personnel can arrive,” Dinquel said. “A better approach is to avoid contact, leave the scene, and call the OGT hotline or submit information through the OGT website as soon as possible with details.”

Dinquel added that license plate numbers, names (if known), vehicle descriptions, and GPS coordinates are all important pieces of information an officer can use.

Another common mistake is getting too close or examining a dead animal.

“Additional footprints, tire tracks, and general disturbance of the area make an investigation difficult, if not impossible,” Dinquel explained. “If the death of a wild animal appears to be suspicious, people should assume a violation has occurred, contact OGT, and provide the location. Do not disturb the area around the site.”

Individuals should also remember that confronting suspected violators in the backcountry could be dangerous.

“Approaching a violator is not the best course of action,” Dinquel warned. “Allow trained law enforcement officers to handle such situations. Individuals should focus on being a good witness and never put themselves in harm’s way.”

Dinquel said information regarding potential criminal acts can also be obtained in a variety of other ways, including overhearing a poacher brag in a bar or restaurant.

“These types of reports, although not from the field, are also valuable,” Dinquel said. “When you get enough pieces of information, you can complete the puzzle. But, again, do not inform the individual you will be filing a report.”

Dinquel stressed the importance of using OGT as the only means for reporting potential violations. Confidentiality can’t be offered when calling a regional office or headquarters.

Individuals witnessing or suspecting a violation should call OGT toll free, 24 hours a day at (800) 352-0700. Web submissions can be reported via the Internet by going to www.azgfd.gov/thief. Callers will remain anonymous. The OGT program may pay rewards for information leading to the arrest of a suspect in a case.

If in the field, OGT information can be found on the hunting license.


Notice of proposed rulemaking to amend sport falconry license rules

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission proposes to amend Article 4 (Live Wildlife), R12-4-422 (Sport Falconry License), to comply with new federal regulations governing sport falconry, which includes amending possession and take allowances, facility requirements, and requirements related to acquisition, hacking, reporting, transfer, use of, and disposal of falconry raptors. In many cases, the rule amendments result in a reduction of the regulatory burden.
 
The commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking R12-4-422, Sport Falconry License, was published in the Arizona Administrative Register on September 2, 2011 and may be accessed via the Secretary of State’s Administrative Register website at www.azsos.gov/public_services/Register/2011/35/proposed.pdf. For more information on the rulemaking process, visit www.azgfd.gov/inside_azgfd/rulemaking_process.shtml.


Outdoor Hall of Fame inductees honored at banquet

Five new inductees into the Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame were honored at the annual Wildlife for Tomorrow Outdoor Hall of Fame banquet on Aug. 27 in Scottsdale.

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The “class of 2011” inductees are Joe Melton, Roger “Buck” Appleby (posthumously), Antonio “Tony” Perri (posthumously), the Arizona Antelope Foundation, and the Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center volunteers. Brief profile information can be found at www.azgfd.gov/w_c/ArizonaOutdoorHallofFame.shtml.

Pictured accepting the awards in the photo are, left to right: Sherry Appleby (Buck's wife); Shane Stewart, president of the Arizona Antelope Foundation; Muriel Kremb, Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center volunteer; Steve Hirsch, president of Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation; Patricia (Tony Perri's daughter); and Joe Melton.

The Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame was established in 1998 by the Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation to honor those who have made significant contributions to Arizona’s wildlife, the welfare of its natural resources, and the state’s outdoor heritage. Selections for induction are made each year by the board of directors of the Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation from a list of nominations submitted.

Wildlife for Tomorrow is a fundraising non-profit foundation enhancing the protection, management and enjoyment of Arizona wildlife. The Foundation works closely with the Arizona Game and Fish Department as its 501(c)(3) charity identifying needs where existing funding sources are inadequate and distributing donors’ tax-deductible gifts to benefit our state's diverse wildlife resources.

For more information about the Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation, visit www.wildlifefortomorrow.org.

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