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Wildlife News - July 15, 2011

Posted in: Wildlife News
Jul 15, 2011
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  • Commission reduces fall turkey hunt permit-tags in Units 1 and 27
  • Several forest areas have reopened
  • Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame to induct 5 new members
  • Grant funds available for teaching hunting, fishing, shooting and trapping
  • Arizona Wildlife Views TV is honored by the Outdoor Writers Association
  • Don’t miss the new episode of Arizona Wildlife Views television on July 19
  • Volunteers wanted! Arizona’s antelope need your help
  • Learn outdoor skills at the Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop
  • Last chance to buy tickets for the Big Game Super Raffle

Commission reduces fall turkey hunt permit-tags in Units 1 and 27
Big game drawing remains on schedule with modifications

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission unanimously voted on July 8 to reduce the number of permits issued through the draw for the fall turkey season in Game Management Units 1 and 27 due to unique conditions resulting from the Wallow Fire.

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For the upcoming drawing cycle, there are now only 200 permits allocated for hunt number 4501 in Unit 1, a reduction of 475 permits. Unit 27 permits for hunt number 4518 is now set at 300, a reduction of 600. This is a total reduction of 1,075 hunt permit-tags.

Applicants for either of these hunt numbers in the upcoming fall drawing do not need to take any action. The draw will run as normal and will only issue the number of tags as amended by the commission. Those applicants not drawn will receive a bonus point.

This decision does not affect nonpermit-tags purchased over-the-counter for archery-only and juniors-only fall turkey hunts.

“The Wallow Fire burned approximately 49 percent of Unit 1 and 28 percent of Unit 27; however, the fire damaged more than 75 percent of the primary turkey habitat in these two units,” said Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Game Branch Chief, Brian Wakeling. “To compound the conditions, the fire happened right when turkeys are coming off their nests, which can dramatically impact the flightless, young-of-the-year.”

Merriam’s turkeys are upland, gallinaceous game birds. Their populations can fluctuate dramatically annually, have a relatively short life span, and are much like small game (quail and squirrel) and are much more susceptible to population impacts from wildfires than larger mammal ungulates like deer and elk.

Wakeling added, “The regional staff’s diligent efforts during this time of crisis to get the on-the-ground field observations that indicate there was nearly no new recruitment of turkeys in these areas shows their commitment to the public’s wildlife resources for today and future generations to come.”
 
Other wildlife, hunting, and wildfires

The commission did not discuss any other species or hunts at the July 8 meeting. Biologists expect all other species can sustain planned hunting without any biological issues, and conditions should still provide good hunting conditions in many areas.

The department provided the commission with a briefing about wildfires and the upcoming big game hunts at the commission’s June meeting. The commission took no action at that meeting. To see the presentation given to the commission at their June meeting, visit www.azgfd.gov/w_c/documents/FiresandGameManagement.pdf.

Game and Fish continues to work with the U.S. Forest Service to allow hunters access into units 1 and 27 for upcoming fall hunts.

To learn more about wildfires and wildlife in Arizona, visit www.azgfd.gov/wildfires

Arizona has an abundant wild turkey population throughout much of the ponderosa forests of the state. However, that was not always the case. Due to harvest by early settlers, turkey numbers dramatically decreased.

In the early 1900s, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, sportsmen and conservation organizations, like the National Wild Turkey Federation, implemented transplant efforts and hunting regulations to bring this native species back to thriving conditions.

In addition, there are now two other wild turkey sub-species, the native Gould’s turkey which was extirpated from the landscape, and the introduction of the Rio Grande turkey. Wild turkey conservation in Arizona is truly a conservation success story.

To learn more about wildlife conservation efforts by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, visit www.azgfd.gov.


Several forest areas have reopened

There’s good news for outdoor recreationists. The Forest Service has reopened several popular areas that had been previously closed due to this summer’s wildfires or extreme fire potential, and fire restrictions have been lifted or reduced in many aras.

Keep in mind that some forest areas still remain closed and that fire restrictions remain in effect in certain areas, so it is always best to check before heading out.

Here is a rundown on some of the areas that have been reopened.

APACHE-SITGREAVES NATIONAL FORESTS

The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests in east-central Arizona announced that, as of July 14, it has lifted all campfire restrictions on both forests. In addition, the Mount Baldy Wilderness Area, Gabaldon Campground, Luna Lake Campground, Pole Knoll Recreation Area, Greens Peak Recreation Area, portions of Saffell Canyon, and Murray Basin are now open.

Forest officials had previously (July 8) reopened several major recreation areas in the Apache portion of the forest, including Big Lake, Crescent Lake and the adjacent developed campgrounds; the Greer lakes and the nearby developed campgrounds; Lee Valley Reservoir and Winn Campground; Nelson Reservoir, and Luna Lake.

Areas of the Sitgreaves portion of the forest that had been closed, encompassing areas, roads and trails in the Black Mesa and Lakeside Ranger Districts and the Promontory Butte area, were reopened on July 7.

Forest visitors should note that some areas in the Apache portion of the forest will remain closed for the rest of the season due to the Wallow Fire. The areas of concern are severe burn areas that are still not safe for public access—mainly on the Alpine Ranger District.

Forest visitors are reminded that while the fire danger in the area has decreased, it is not completely gone, as rain showers have been scattered throughout the Forest. Visitors still need to completely extinguish their campfires prior to leaving their campsites and extinguish all smoking materials (cigarettes, cigars, etc.) prior to disposing of them.

Lightning, thunderstorms, and flashfloods are also a concern this time of year.  A clear sky can quickly change from a blue sky to dark, ominous clouds in a short time.

For more Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests information, visit www.fs.fed.us/r3/asnf.

CORONADO NATIONAL FOREST

The Coronado National Forest in southeastern Arizona announced that as of July 15, the Sierra Vista Ranger District has been reopened except for areas affected by wildfire. The Forest on July 12 reopened portions of the Douglas and Nogales Ranger Districts and all of the Safford Ranger District. The Santa Catalina Ranger District had previously been reopened. Specific information is as follows:

  • Sierra Vista Ranger District. The district has been reopened except for areas affected by wildfire. The district is closed at the Coronado National Forest boundary starting at the Ash Canyon area and north to the Carr Canyon area. All roads and trails in the area are closed. Forest Road (FR) 59 (Ash Canyon), FR 796 (Stump Canyon), FR 367 (Hunter Canyon), FR 56 (Miller Canyon), FR 386 (Carr Canyon) are closed. This closure shall remain in effect until Aug. 20, 2011, or until rescinded, whichever is earlier.

  • Douglas Ranger District. Portions of the Douglas Ranger District are open. The Chiricahua Mountains remain closed to provide for public safety related to flooding and road reconstruction or stabilization following the Horseshoe 2 Fire. All roads, trails, and developed campgrounds within the Chiricahua Mountain Range north of Forest Road 74 (Tex Canyon/Rucker roads) remain closed. This closure will remain in effect until October 15, 2011, or until rescinded, whichever is earlier. Within this area, the following roads will be open for public use as long as safety conditions permit:

- FR 42 east of Onion Saddle (Cave Creek Canyon).
- FR 42A – Herb Martyr Road.
- FR 42B – between Portal and Paradise.
- FR 42D between Onion Saddle and Barfoot Junction.
- FR 357 from Barfoot Junction to Barfoot Park.
- FR 622 – South Fork of Cave Creek is open to pedestrians only.
- FR 74 – Tex Canyon to Rucker Canyon Road.
- Trail 280 – Silver Peak Trail.
- Vista Point Trail.
- Cave Creek Nature Trail.
- Crystal Cave Trail.

  • Nogales Ranger District. Portions of the Nogales Ranger District are open, including Arivaca Lake. To allow for public safety, Pena Blanca Lake remains closed, as does Forest Road 39 from Highway 289 (at Pena Blanca Lake) to Forest Road 4186 (approximately 1 to 1-1/2 miles east of Ruby, Arizona). This closure will remain in effect until July 31, 2011, or until rescinded, whichever is earlier.

  • Safford Ranger District. The Safford Ranger District is open, including Riggs Flat Lake and Frye Mesa Reservoir.

  • Santa Catalina Ranger District. The Santa Catalina Ranger District previously had reopened, including Rose Canyon Lake on Mount Lemmon.

All open areas of the Coronado National Forest remain under Stage II fire restrictions (including no campfires, even within developed campgrounds) at this time.

For more information on the Coronado National Forest and on fire restrictions, visit www.fs.fed.us/r3/coronado.

OTHER FORESTS

Campfire and smoking restrictions were lifted on the Coconino, Kaibab and Prescott National Forests on July 12. For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/coconino, www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab, or www.fs.fed.us/r3/prescott.

Some fire restrictions on the Tonto National Forest have been lifted; the two area closures around the Mogollon Rim and the Mount Ord, Four Peaks and Three Bar Wildlife area were lifted on July 13. For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/tonto.

Forest officials remind visitors that they should never leave a campfire unattended, always extinguish fires completely before leaving the forest, and dispose of cigarettes in ash trays. It is everyone’s responsibility to practice fire safety and prevent human-caused fires. Visitors are also reminded that some campfire restrictions are always in effect, such as in forested areas within city limits of most northern Arizona communities. For more information about restrictions on public lands, call toll free 1-877-864-6985 or visit http://www.publiclands.org/firenews/AZ.php.

AZGFD SIPE WILDLIFE AREA

The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area is also reopened to the public. Access is via the primary road from the north crossing Forest Service lands. Note that the last section of roadway crossing Rudd Creek into the wildlife area may be closed temporarily without notice if a flooding event occurs due to summer rains. This condition is expected to persist through the remainder of the summer.


Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame to induct 5 new members

The Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation, the charitable arm of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, will induct five new Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame members at its 14th Annual Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Chaparral Suites Scottsdale.

The three individuals and two groups that will be inducted into the Hall are:

  • Joe Melton
  • Roger “Buck” Appleby (posthumously)
  • Antonio “Tony” Perri (posthumously)
  • The Arizona Antelope Foundation
  • The Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center Volunteers

For brief profiles of the inductees, click here.

The Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame was developed 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.

Recognition is given to individuals and organizations that have worked consistently over many years through political and individual leadership, volunteer service, the mass media, conservation efforts, or educational activities on behalf of Arizona’s natural and wildlife resources.  Prior inductees include Ben Avery, Barry Goldwater, Mo Udall, Larry Toschik, Tom Woods and many conservation and sportsmen’s groups active in the state, as well as conservation-minded companies such as Arizona Public Service and Salt River Project.

Selections for induction are made each year by the board of directors of the Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation. Selections are made from a list of nominations that are submitted, including those submitted by members of the public.

“This year’s class of inductees is as diverse and well qualified as the classes we’ve honored in the past several years,” said WFT Foundation President Steve Hirsch. “The Foundation strives to honor those who have meant a lot to our Arizona outdoor and wildlife heritage, but who generally don’t always receive the spotlight and accolades. The annual Hall of Fame banquet is a great social occasion where our supporters from birdwatchers to bird hunters come together to celebrate these deserving inductees and help the Foundation raise funds toward our mission of enhancing the productive management, protection and enjoyment of Arizona’s fish and wildlife resources.”

The Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame Induction Banquet is open to the public. Tickets are $70 and may be purchased through Ticket Chairman Duane Wellnitz, 14203 S. Second Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85048, or by telephone at (480) 747-0611. To download a reservation form, visit www.azgfd.gov/w_c/ArizonaOutdoorHallofFame.shtml and scroll to the link toward the bottom of the page. The Chaparral Suites is located at 5001 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale.

More information about the banquet is available at www.azgfd.gov/w_c/ArizonaOutdoorHallofFame.shtml  and at www.wildlifefortomorrow.org/Halloffame.html.


Grant funds available for teaching hunting, fishing, shooting and trapping

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has $75,000 available in grant funding for local sportsmen’s groups to promote or facilitate hunter, angler, shooter and trapper recruitment and retention programs through their events or activities. The deadline to apply is Friday, Aug. 5, 2011, by 5 p.m. (MST).

Examples of eligible projects include mentored, hands-on hunting camps for big or small game animals; fishing clinics or camps; trapping seminars; target shooting clinics or programs; and educational outreach promoting hunting, fishing, shooting or trapping.

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“These grants are perfect for organizations that are looking to start up or expand their introductory programs for their communities, but are lacking funding needed to make it happen,” said Craig McMullen, the department’s chief of wildlife recreation. “This Local Sportsmen’s Group Grant Program is an investment in the local organizations that, day-in and day-out, are teaching people how to be safe, ethical, and responsible participants in these important American traditions.”

Funds will be awarded through a competitive application process. Multiple awards may be made. To be eligible, a group must: (1) be a local Arizona-based sportsmen’s group with a focus on hunting, fishing, shooting or trapping, (2) propose a project that fits the eligibility criteria, and (3) complete the project by June 30, 2012.

McMullen added, “There is plenty of public interest in hunting and fishing, but many of those who are interested are from families that did not grow up with this type of recreation and need an experienced mentor to show them the way. Local sportsmen’s organizations are the perfect solution.”

To apply, download an application packet from www.azgfd.gov/i_e/local_sportsmens.shtml. Packets can also be obtained by calling Grant Coordinator Robyn Beck at (623) 236-7530. The deadline to submit applications is Friday, Aug. 5, 2011 by 5 p.m. (MST). Three copies of the application and any supporting documents must be submitted.

There is no cost to Arizona taxpayers for this grant program. The Arizona Game and Fish Department does not receive any of the state’s general funds and operates under a user-pay, user-benefit model, with much of its funding coming from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses. The Local Sportsmen’s Grant Program is an investment in the continuance of wildlife conservation efforts in Arizona and the outdoor recreation activities that support those efforts. To learn more, visit www.azgfd.gov and click the “INSIDE AZGFD” link.


Arizona Wildlife Views TV is honored by the Outdoor Writers Association

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Arizona Wildlife Views, the Emmy award-winning television program produced by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, recently won two awards at the prestigious Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA) Excellence in Craft awards. The awards were announced at OWAA’s 84th annual conference held in Snowbird, UT. 

Video producer Gary Schafer took top honors in the Family Participation/Youth Outdoor category of the Television division with a segment on “Archery in the Schools.”  The story highlighted the many life lessons students take away from participating in the program. 

Gary also took 3rd-place honors in the same category with a segment on “Navajo Youth Hunt.”

Arizona Wildlife Views airs on Arizona PBS stations and city access channels across the state. See the next article in this newsletter previewing the upcoming show on Tuesday, July 19.


Don’t miss the new episode of Arizona Wildlife Views television on July 19

Be sure to tune in to the new segments of Arizona Wildlife Views TV on KAET Phoenix PBS Channel 8 this Tuesday, July 19, at 7:30 p.m. This week's show includes the following topics:

  • Bald Eagle Rescue – Three baby eagles are rescued from their nest after an invading adult eagle tries to kill them.
  • Turtle Trapping – A group of home-schooled students and their families aid in capturing non-native turtles that have been released into local waterways.
  • Jayme Smith – A young woman convicted of poaching wildlife passes her hard-learned lessons on to other young people.

Arizona Wildlife Views is the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Emmy-winning television show. The department produces 13 half-hour shows (with multiple segments) each year that air on PBS and city cable channels statewide. The show takes you around the state to give you a look at all the great recreational and wildlife opportunities the Grand Canyon state has to offer.

To watch on demand, you can find show segments and previous shows at www.azgfd.gov/tv.


Volunteers wanted! Arizona’s antelope need your help

The Arizona Antelope Foundation is seeking volunteers to help make fencing in pronghorn antelope range in Game Management Unit 27 “wildlife-friendly” on Saturday, Aug. 13.

 The one-day work project will be held at Double Circle Ranch. It is suggested that volunteers arrive on Friday, Aug. 12, and camp out due to the remote location. Dinner will be provided on Saturday night.

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The purpose of the project is to open up access corridors for pronghorn and other wildlife between the grassland and Eagle Creek. Fence modifications consist of removing bottom strands of barbed wire from the existing old fence and replacing them with smooth wire which allows antelope to “scoot” underneath, since they cannot jump the fence. The fence line is in open prairie and will be easily accessible for volunteers and vehicles.

Attendees should allow ample driving time. Hwy 191 is the second-most winding road in the country, with lots of switchbacks and sheer drop-offs down the side of the mountain. For several stretches, the speed limit is 10 mph. Do not try to rush this trip.

Be sure to fuel up in Morenci or Alpine, as there will be no opportunity to do so once you’ve passed these locations. Additionally, cell phones will not work for the last 20 miles of the trip or at the ranch, so please plan accordingly.

If you are planning to attend, please RSVP to info@azantelope.org so the organizers can plan to have enough food and tools. For more information, please contact Mark Boswell, AAF, at (480) 772-0288 or Troy Christensen, AZGFD access coordinator, at (623) 236-7492.


Learn outdoor skills at the Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop

Women have the opportunity to escape to an outdoor adventure at the Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop scheduled for August 26-28.

Participants can select four classes from a field of 32, where subjects range from rappelling to big game hunting. Classes are divided into categories of outdoor knowledge, game and fish, and outdoor recreation, such as canoeing and hiking.

BOW attendees experience new activities and are also treated to a variety of evening entertainment. Wine and game tasting will take place, featuring wild game dishes and samples of the now-famous prickly pear margarita. Guests will also experience night fishing, a night walk, and featured speakers with live critters as special guests.

“The goal of the program is to give women the knowledge and motivation to get outdoors,” says Linda Dightmon, AZ BOW coordinator. “Often, women experience personal growth and that is a wonderful side effect. I love it when I walk through the dining hall on that last day and ladies are making plans to take their families on a camping trip.”

This event can be seen as a different take on a girlfriends” weekend getaway, where you can learn in a comfortable atmosphere. Lodging is in rustic cabins, but includes full bathrooms and electricity. Meals are provided and cooked by the camp staff.

The venue is Friendly Pines Camp near Prescott, Ariz. Dates are Aug. 26th-28. The Arizona Wildlife Federation sponsors the Arizona BOW program with lots of help from the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The instructors are volunteers and all are experts or professionals in their field. Cost is $245 and includes lodging, meals and most classroom materials. Registration is available online at www.azwildlife.org or you can call (480) 644-0077.

Becoming an Outdoors Woman is a nonprofit, educational program which offers hands-on workshops to adult women. This beneficial program consists of a supportive environment conducive to making friends, learning and having fun. No experience is necessary, and the program is suitable for women of all ages and fitness levels.


Last chance to buy tickets for the Big Game Super Raffle

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It’s not too late to put in for your chance at a hunt of a lifetime.

Online orders for the Arizona Big Game Super Raffle can still be done up until 10 p.m. MST on Sunday July 17, 2011. Just visit www.arizonabiggamesuperraffle.com and click on the "buy tickets" link.

Hunts available through the raffle include antelope, black bear, buffalo, Coues white-tailed deer, desert bighorn sheep, elk, turkey (Merriam’s or Gould’s), javelina, mountain lion and mule deer.  Winners will be able to hunt for 365 days almost anywhere in the state of Arizona during a special 2011-2012 hunting season. All of the tickets are affordable and range in cost from $5-$25 depending on the species you choose.

Also up for raffle are two bonus items: an incredible Swarovski optics package valued at $9,700, ticket cost of only $10; and, a guided trophy elk hunt in New Mexico valued at $6,500, ticket cost of only $20.

 The Arizona Big Game Super Raffle is a collaborative effort among various nonprofit conservation groups to bring 10 of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission special big game tags to raffle for the purpose of raising funds for the benefit of wildlife. Every dollar raised by these special tags goes toward management projects that benefit each tag’s particular species in Arizona, and also indirectly benefit other species.

The drawing will be held Thursday, July 21, 2011 at the Outdoor Experience 4 All fundraiser banquet at Ashley Manor in Chandler. Outdoor Experience 4 All (OE4A) is a nonprofit organization offering outdoor experiences to youths diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses, children of our fallen heroes, and children with disabilities. Tickets to the banquet are $70. To access an order form or for more information, click here or visit www.OE4A.org, or call Eddy Corona at (480) 529-8340. 

For more information or to place your order online, visit www.arizonabiggamesuperraffle.com.

To learn how the funds raised through the raffle are used, check out the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Habitat Partnership Committee web page at http://www.azgfd.gov/w_c/hpc.shtml.

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