- Deadline to apply for spring hunts is Oct. 11; online application service available
- Happy 15th, 20th and 30th anniversary to Arizona’s black-footed ferrets
- Ben Avery Clay Target Center now open 7 days a week
- Fix your sights on the 2011 Western CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup
- Trout stocking begins at Green Valley Lakes in Payson on Oct. 20
- Portion of Fossil Creek Road to be temporarily closed Oct. 17
- Get your 2012 Arizona wildlife calendar
- Arizona Game and Fish Commission to meet Oct. 14 in Phoenix
- BLM seeks public comment on Draft Resource Management Plan
Deadline to apply for spring hunts is Oct. 11; online application service available
Hunters are reminded that the application deadline for spring hunts for turkey, javelina, buffalo and bear is Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011 by 7 p.m. (MST). Online application service became available as of Oct. 4, so hunters now have the option to apply online by visiting www.azgfd.gov/draw and selecting the link to the online service.
Those using the online service will have to pay a non-refundable application fee of $7.50 per applicant, along with the fee for any necessary licenses. A 2012 license is required to enter the spring draw; if you haven’t already purchased one, you can do it through the draw process. The system allows payment with a credit card (VISA and Mastercard only). The cost of the hunt permit-tag won’t be charged unless and until you are drawn.
The online application service works with the following browsers: Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari (If you use Safari, it is recommended that you upgrade to the latest version of the OS and Safari browser; a few problems have been reported with older Safari versions). This application service currently does not work with mobile devices such as iPad, iPhone or other Smartphones.
For those not using the online process, paper applications can still be hand delivered to any of the seven Game and Fish offices located in Pinetop, Flagstaff, Kingman, Yuma, Tucson, Mesa and Phoenix. Applications can also be mailed to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn: Drawing Section, PO Box 74020, Phoenix, AZ 85087-1052, but keep in mind that postmarks don’t count. If you haven’t yet mailed your application by now, it is recommended you either use the online service or hand deliver it. Also keep in mind that all department offices will be closed Monday, Oct. 10, in observance of the Columbus Day holiday.
Those using the online service are advised not to wait until the last minute in case technical issues arise on deadline day.
The 2012 Spring Turkey, Javelina, Buffalo and Bear Hunt Draw Information booklet and applications are available at www.azgfd.gov/draw, at Game and Fish offices, and at hunting license dealers throughout the state.
For more information or to apply online, visit www.azgfd.gov/draw.
Happy 15th, 20th and 30th anniversary to Arizona’s black-footed ferrets
Arizona’s endangered black-footed ferret population is celebrating a triple anniversary: the 30th anniversary of the discovery of the last black-footed ferrets, a species that was thought to be extinct; the 20th anniversary of the Phoenix Zoo’s breeding program to help recover the species in Arizona; and, the 15th anniversary of Arizona’s Aubrey Valley being selected as a reintroduction site.
In the late 1970s, the species was thought to be extinct until a small colony of approximately 120 ferrets was discovered near Meeteetse, Wyo. on Sept. 26, 1981. Disease outbreaks reduced this population to 18 individuals, which were captured in 1985 to begin a captive breeding program to save the species.
As one of only six facilities in the world that participate in the species’ breeding program, the Phoenix Zoo has produced more than 400 ferrets since it opened its first breeding facility 20 years ago. In 2010, the zoo opened the new Arthur L. “Bud” and Elaine V. Johnson Black-Footed Ferret Breeding Center to better enable them to continue their successful breeding program.
“We at the Phoenix Zoo are proud to celebrate 20 years of commitment to the black-footed ferret breeding program,” said Bert Castro, Phoenix Zoo president and CEO of the Arizona Zoological Society. We are one of only six facilities in the world that breed black-footed ferrets, and we take this responsibility very seriously.”
The descendants of the original 18 ferrets have now been introduced into 19 reintroduction sites, including the Aubrey Valley outside of Seligman, Ariz. Before reintroduction, the last black-footed ferret in Arizona was found in 1931 in an area between Williams and Flagstaff.
Black-footed ferret surveys conducted last fall by the Arizona Game and Fish Department showed a record 96 animals in the Arizona population. Because not all ferrets were captured and included in the survey count, the number of animals identified during the survey is a minimum population estimate, and the actual population could be larger.
“These milestones are significant accomplishments for the reintroduction program and demonstrate what successful cooperation can do for wildlife conservation,” says Larry Voyles, director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “With continued help from the Phoenix Zoo, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and funding support from the Heritage Fund, we will continue to work towards a full recovery for the species.”
Not only was the number of ferrets identified a record high for Arizona’s population, but it also exceeded the state’s objective that needs to be met in order for the species to be “downlisted” from endangered to threatened on the endangered species list. “Downlisting” means that the species has recovered to a point where it is no longer in danger of extinction. All states with black-footed ferret populations are given state-specific recovery guidelines that lead to a larger national recovery effort. The national recovery guidelines must be met before “downlisting” the species can be considered.
“The effort to bring the ferret back from oblivion can be described as truly heroic,” says Steve Spangle, Arizona field supervisor for the Fish and Wildlife Service. “There are a couple of lessons we must never forget: That we must remain vigilant so that other species don’t decline to such perilous levels; and that such a conservation success can only be accomplished when many entities work in partnership.”
Today, biologists estimate there are a minimum of 800 to 1,000 individual ferrets living in the wild.
While they resemble domestic pet ferrets, black-footed ferrets are a different species and are the only ferret native to North America. They can grow to be up to 2 feet long and can weigh up to 2 ½ pounds. One ferret can give birth to three to five kits each year.
The Arizona black-footed ferret reintroduction program is a joint effort of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Phoenix Zoo, Hualapai Nation, Navajo Nation, Arizona State Land Department and the Cholla Cattle Company.
Ben Avery Clay Target Center now open 7 days a week
There’s good news for trap, skeet and sporting clays shooters.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Ben Avery Clay Target Center is now open seven days a week to offer expanded opportunities for shooting sports enthusiasts. The new hours became effective Oct. 1, 2011.
“The Clay Target Center traditionally had been closed on Mondays and Tuesdays,” said Manager Dan Twitchell. “We decided to keep the center open all week to provide additional opportunities and convenience to our customers.”
Twitchell added that the new hours will remain in effect throughout the year. “The Clay Target Center won’t switch to separate winter and summer hours, as we’d traditionally done in the past.”
The new hours are:
- Sunday – 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Monday – 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Tuesday – 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Wednesday – 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Thursday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The last shooter check-in is 30 minutes prior to closing.
Special holiday hours will be in effect on the following dates:
- Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011 (Thanksgiving Day) – Closed.
- Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011 (Christmas Eve) – 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011 (Christmas) – Closed.
- Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011 (New Year’s Eve) – 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012 (New Year’s Day) – 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Ben Avery Clay Target Center is a world-class shotgun-shooting facility offering trap, skeet, sporting clays, 5-stand, and bunker trap. The center caters to shooters of all abilities, from total beginners to seasoned competitive shooters. For more information, visit www.azgfd.gov/ctc or call (623) 434-8119.
Fix your sights on the 2011 Western CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup
It’s vintage military firearm time.
If you watch programs like Top Shot, Top Sniper, Gun Talk or Weaponology on TV, then fix your sights on real life sharpshooters at the upcoming Western CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. The Western CMP Games Matches will take place on Oct. 15-18. The Creedmoor Cup Matches take place on Oct. 19-23.
Most of the competitions during these two prestigious national competitions entail using vintage military rifles. For instance, there are matches for Springfield Rifle, M-1 Garand, M-1 Carbine, a vintage sniper team match, and a vintage military rifle match.
For more information, you will want to visit http://www.odcmp.com/competitions/westerngames.htm.
All interested shooters, including new shooters, experienced competitors, recreation-oriented shooters and national championship contenders are invited to participate in these unique, national-level competitions.
You will likely discover top shooting teams at this event from the Marines and U.S. Army – come rub shoulders with the best of the best.
All competition, clinics and special activities take place at the Ben Avery Activity Center, High Power Range or Small Bore Range. Just take Interstate 17 to Carefree Highway, head west a short ways and this magnificent shooting complex can’t be missed. In fact, Ben Avery is the largest publicly-operated shooting range in the nation and is operated by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
The Western CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup are co-sponsored by the Civilian Marksmanship Program and Creedmoor Sports, Inc.
The 2011 Western CMP Games Matches include the following events:
- Garand & Springfield Match Clinic
- John C. Garand Match
- Springfield Match
- Vintage Military Rifle Match
- As-Issued M1 Garand EIC Match
- Rimfire Sporter Match
- Carbine Match
- Vintage Sniper Match
The 2011 Western Creedmoor Cup Matches include the following events:
- High Power Rifle Clinic
- Zeroing Day
- Creedmoor Cup (2400 point aggregate)
- 4-Man Team Match
- Creedmoor EIC Match
For answers to questions about the Western CMP Games, contact the CMP at email@example.com or call (888) 267-0796, extension 1114.
For answers to questions about the Creedmoor Cup Matches, contact Dennis DeMille, firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 273-3366 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Pacific time.
Trout stocking begins at Green Valley Lakes in Payson on Oct. 20
Residents and visitors of Payson can look forward to the resumption of trout stocking at beautiful Green Valley Park on Thursday, Oct. 20. More than 700 Colorado-grown trout will be brought in to kick off the beginning of trout stocking season, which features 11- to 14-inch rainbow trout delivered every two weeks.
The Rim Country is a beautiful sight in the fall, so come see the colors and fish along the shorelines of this popular urban fishery, which is located a mile west of Highway 87 on Main Street.
At Green Valley, rainbow trout are the only species stocked by the Arizona Game and Fish Department throughout the eight-month season which starts in mid-October and ends in early May. Although no other fish are stocked, good populations of bass, crappie, sunfish and even catfish can be found in this highly productive lake system.
In the metro Phoenix and Tucson urban lakes, catfish fishing is fair to excellent now that fall stockings have resumed. While a majority of stocked catfish are caught in the first five days of stocking, anglers are still catching them one to two weeks later at a slower rate.
Mornings and evenings are the best times to fish, as catfish prefer to feed under dim or dark conditions. Additionally, as lake temperatures fall below 78 degrees, expect better action for largemouth bass, especially in the early morning periods.
Portion of Fossil Creek Road to be temporarily closed Oct. 17
Resource enhancement construction activity to occur from Oct. 17-22
The Coconino and Tonto National Forests will be conducting area improvements along the Fossil Creek Road (FR708) and the Childs Road (FR 502) from Oct. 17-22.
According to a news release from the Coconino National Forest, a temporary road closure of FR 708 will be in effect Monday, Oct. 17, between the Fossil Creek Springs Trailhead and the historic Irving Power Plant location. This section of road will reopen Tuesday, Oct. 18, although individuals can expect periodic traffic delays and heavy equipment construction activity in the area throughout the week.
Forest visitors are also being warned that access to Fossil Creek will be limited and popular campsites may remain unavailable during the construction period.
The purpose of the construction work is to provide barriers to protect natural resources from continual impacts, and to expand available trailhead parking and access to Fossil Creek.
Camping and fire prohibitions remain in effect for the area. For more information, view the Forest Service news release or call the Red Rock Ranger District at (928) 203-7500 or go to www.redrockcountry.org or www.coconinoforest.us
Get your 2012 Arizona wildlife calendar!
Don’t miss the November–December 2011 issue of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s award-winning magazine, Arizona Wildlife Views.
This special publication will include the 2012 Arizona wildlife calendar, featuring winners of this year’s photo contest. A herd of deer in the soft light at dusk, an inquisitive owl, and a bat in flight are among this year’s selections.
Show your appreciation for Arizona wildlife and fine photography: Subscribe or renew your subscription today for just $8.50, to be sure you don’t miss this year’s calendar issue!
Arizona Game and Fish Commission to meet Oct. 14 in Phoenix
The next Arizona Game and Fish Commission meeting will be held on Friday, Oct. 14 at the Game and Fish Department headquarters at 5000 W. Carefree Highway in Phoenix (1.5 miles west of I-17).
The public session begins at 8 a.m. Friday morning.
Items on the agenda include updates on legislative, shooting sports, information/education, wildlife recreation, lands and habitat program, and law enforcement program activities.
The commission will also:
- Consider an MOU with Sonoran Solar Energy Company for research activities associated with solar develop projects.
- Consider an amendment to Commission Order 40 - fish, bag and possession limits for trout, catfish, bass and sunfish at Council Park Pond for 2011 and 2012.
- Consider approval of the Aquatic Invasive Species Notice of Final Rulemaking and Economic Impact Statement adopting Article 11 and amending affected rules within Article 4 and 5.
- Consider approval of a Notice of Docket Opening, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Economic Impact Statement amending R12-4-121 addressing big game tag transfers.
- Consider approval of a Notice of Docket Opening, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Economic Impact Statement amending R12-4-202 Disabled Veteran’s License.
- Consider approval of a Notice of Exempt Rulemaking to amend R12-4-304 addressing lawful methods of take to implement HB 2396 (Game and Fish; Trophies; Enforcement).
- Be provided an overview of the 2011 Commission Award nominees and may select the 2011 award recipients.
- Conduct hearings on license revocations for violations of Game and Fish codes and civil assessments for the illegal taking and/or possession of wildlife.
The public can view the meeting any of three ways: (1) attending the meeting in person in Phoenix; (2) viewing it via video stream at any of six Game and Fish regional offices; or, (3) viewing 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 either at the Phoenix meeting or at any of the regional Game and Fish offices (Pinetop, Flagstaff, Kingman, Yuma, Tucson and Mesa). For office addresses and contact information, visit www.azgfd.gov/offices.
For a complete meeting agenda or to learn more about the Game and Fish Commission, visit www.azgfd.gov/commission.
BLM seeks public comment on Draft Resource Management Plan
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public comment on a Draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for nearly 1.4 million acres of public lands located southwest of Phoenix in parts of Maricopa, Pinal, Pima, Gila and Yuma Counties, Arizona. The BLM Lower Sonoran Field Office (LSFO) manages these lands, including the Sonoran Desert National Monument. Comments must be submitted by Nov. 25, 2011.
Those interested in a wide range of resource issues, such as livestock grazing, hunting, target shooting, off highway travel and access management, wilderness characteristics, wildlife, and utility-scale renewable energy and utility corridors, are encouraged to review the draft plan and participate in this public process. The Draft RMP/EIS is available for review online at www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/planning/son_des.html. Printed copies and CD versions are available at the BLM Phoenix District Office or by calling 623-580-5500.
The BLM is holding a series of public meetings to receive public comments. Upcoming meetings will be held at:
- Oct. 12: 6-9 p.m., Mesa, Red Mountain Multigenerational Center, 7550 E. Adobe Road, Mesa AZ 85207.
- Oct. 13: 6-9 p.m., Casa Grande, Vista Grande High School cafeteria, 1556 N. Arizola Road, Casa Grande, AZ 85122.
- Oct. 25: 6-9 p.m., Buckeye, Youngker High School, 3000 S. Apache Road, Buckeye AZ 85326.
- Oct. 26: 6-9 p.m., Gila Bend, Unified School Dist. Auditorium, 308 N. Martin Ave., Gila Bend AZ 85337.
- Oct. 27: 6-9 p.m., Ajo, Ajo Community Center, 290 W. 5th Street, Ajo AZ 85321.
Public comments may be provided at those meetings and through the BLM website as well.
Written comments may also be submitted via facsimile at (623) 580-5580 or mailed to:
BLM, Phoenix District Office
ATTN: LS-SDNM RMP
21605 North 7th Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85027
Comments received or postmarked by November 25, 2011, will be considered. For further information, contact Penny Foreman, Project Manager, at (623) 580-5500.