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8/12/2013 6:00:00 AM
Outdoor Hall of Fame welcomes Kingman's Don Martin
Don Martin stands with a prize from one hunting trip. Martin will be inducted into the Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame Saturday. He was selected for the contributions he has made to Arizona’s wildlife, natural resources and outdoor heritage.
Don Martin stands with a prize from one hunting trip. Martin will be inducted into the Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame Saturday. He was selected for the contributions he has made to Arizona’s wildlife, natural resources and outdoor heritage.

Kim Steele
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - To Don Martin, the names of those chosen to the Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame are the cream of the conservation crop.

So when Martin recently heard he had been invited to join them, he was taken aback by the honor. Besides Martin, this year's inductees include Sandra Froman, president of the National Rifle Association; Walter Shontz, originator of the first "Take a Kid Fishing" event in Parker and possibly the U.S.; and Dale Slocum, outdoor columnist and radio show host who rewrote the game laws of the Arizona Revised Statutes.

"It's humbling but exciting," said Martin, 62. "I know some of the people who have been chosen over the years, and to realize that what I do reaches their caliber of work is just amazing. I think you could say it's the pinnacle of a conservationist's career to be honored like this. And it's really a surprise to me because I've never thought about getting an award. I've been a conservationist because it was the right thing to do."

Martin, a long-time Kingman resident, will be inducted during a banquet Aug. 17 in Scottsdale. The Outdoor Hall of Fame was developed in 1998 by Wildlife for Tomorrow, a nonprofit organization that works closely with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, to honor those who have made significant contributions to Arizona's wildlife, natural resources and outdoor heritage.

Martin, a lifelong hunter and fisherman, was a former detective and narcotics officer for the Kingman Police Department. After moving to Gilbert in 1986, he worked for the Gilbert Police Department until he was seriously injured during a burglary investigation. He retired and returned to Kingman, where he and a friend opened Arizona Wildlife Outfitters, an outfitter/guide business.

Arizona Hunter Education caught Martin's attention after he took one of the classes, and he applied for a position as a volunteer instructor. Martin was promoted to chief instructor and appointed as the first master instruction for Region III, which includes Kingman. Under his tutelage, a team of instructors was formed to teach hunter education in Mohave County.

"I do it because I love hunter education and believe in it," said Martin, who has taught hundreds of students. "It's a comprehensive class and when I see the kids and adults beam with pride when they graduate from it, I know it's the right thing. None of our students have been injured in hunting accidents."

Martin teaches two resident and two non-resident classes a year, each 35 hours in length, at 7 Mile Hill Range. He was instrumental in developing the format for the non-resident class, which is still used today. Also, Martin and several instructors recently assisted with the first hunter education class taught on the Hualapai Indian Reservation.

One of Martin's ideas to encourage students to excel in class was to award guided fishing trips to students and their parents. The 20 annual trip winners are selected by the instructors for their accomplishments. Martin, who owns Striper Hunters on Lake Mead, donates the fishing trips and said he loves to fish with the winners and "feels blessed to be in a position to do this."

Martin has been the outdoor writer for the Daily Miner for years. In 1986, he was named Arizona Game and Fish Commission's "Outdoor Writer of the Year." In January, he was selected as the commission's "Mentor of the Year." He also is host of "Back At Camp," the only outdoor cable television show in Mohave County. It highlights outdoor issues and programs.

Also, Martin was government liaison for the Mohave Sportsman Club, developing and working on club projects. They included the annual Antelope Eaters coyote suppression hunt in Seligman and the former annual Boquillas Ranch clean up, which Martin founded when he was club president. He has been the club's representative for the annual Fishing for Smiles program and writes grants for the club and the Mohave Juniors Bass Club.

Martin is actively involved in the Arizona Hunt of a Lifetime organization, and as outfitter/guide coordinator for the state, he sets up free hunting and fishing trips for youth diagnosed with a severe or life-threatening illness. Martin has taken several youths on the trips, including a 16-year-old girl from California who lost her leg to cancer but wanted to bring down an antelope, which she successfully accomplished.

A 14-year-old boy from Utah who suffered from cancer was able to accompany Martin on a successful hunting trip for a mule deer. And a 16-year-old boy from Arkansas who was dying from cancer got clearance from his doctor to spend one day on a sheep hunt with Martin, which was just enough time to bag the animal and head back to the hospital for treatment.

"Being involved in this organization has been another way for me to give back, and that's what you do as a hunter," said Martin. "It's so fulfilling personally and I'm glad to do it, even though it can be emotionally draining. Taking these trips is very important to these kids."

It's these types of events that motivate Martin to share his knowledge about hunting and fishing, especially with the younger generation. Martin said he has experienced what many people never get a chance to and has lived his dream. Now, he's trying to help others see the benefits of allowing children to hunt and fish.

"There's been a huge change during my lifetime in how people view these sports, and it makes me even more dedicated to giving all children an opportunity to decide whether or not they want to participate in outdoor recreation," said Martin. "Hunting is an honorable sport and a part of our American heritage, and we're losing it. We need to let our kids have the opportunity."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Article comment by: Honor sport

Oops its an Elk. Obviously you can see I'm not a hunter. Fish I can do. I just couldn't pull the trigger when looking down the cites seeing this Elk. Unless I had to feed me or my family. So the training is good for a select few. Congrats on your years of service.

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Article comment by: Gisela Potokar

Congratulations and a great thank you, Don, for all that you have done for the people of Kingman. Many young people in the future will always remember what you did for them.

God bless you!

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Article comment by: Billy P

Allan I don't think any real hunter would disagree with you that killing an animal purely for sport is wrong.

However, you need to take a step back, re-read the article, and, if necessary, look up the definition of a conservationist. The man has spent his life educating not only his community, but the public as a whole, in the ways of preserving the wildlife of this great nation, not only for our benefit, but for everyone in the future as well.

Before you and "Sam The Deer" comment on how wrong hunting is, you should really take the time to figure what it is exactly this man is being honored for.

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Article comment by: Sampson .

[Comment exceeded word limit.]

Posted: Monday, August 12, 2013
Article comment by: Allan Gleason

Deer?, Elk?, what's the difference? Killing any animal simply for the joy of killing is sick!

Posted: Monday, August 12, 2013
Article comment by: Scott McCoy

@Sam the Deer....

That's an Elk, not a deer.

Congratulation Don.

It is nice to know that someone that loves what they do can be recognized in a positive manner these days.

Posted: Monday, August 12, 2013
Article comment by: Jim Carter

Congratulations for all your generous efforts for our community and the Mohave Sportsman Club.

Posted: Monday, August 12, 2013
Article comment by: Billy P

Actually "Sam The Deer", that is not a Deer in the photo.

That is an Elk.

Being the staunch conservationist that you are, I can understand why you made such a simple mistake.

Posted: Monday, August 12, 2013
Article comment by: Nay Mama

Congratulations Don.

Posted: Monday, August 12, 2013
Article comment by: Concerned Citizen

I am so proud of your accomplishments. You deserve every honor coming your way. Don, I can never say Thank you enough for taking my Billy on his last fishing trip. You have made our community a place for conservationist to be proud of where we live. Thank you for your articles, information and fight to keep our county for all to hunt, fish and hike.

Posted: Monday, August 12, 2013
Article comment by: Earl Hamlyn

Congratulation Don no one deserve this more than you. It is a pleasure to work with someone who so dedicated to preserving the wildlife of Arizona and the teaching the young to be responsible hunters.

Posted: Monday, August 12, 2013
Article comment by: Kingman Resident

Congratulations Don....well deserved. Thank you for all that you have done.

Posted: Monday, August 12, 2013
Article comment by: harris stein

It's good to see someone who appreciates conservation and the true meaning of the word conserve from which the word conservative comes from, be noticed for his work.

I am drawn to comment about some of my "conservative" friends in Kingman complaining about the reintroduction of wolves to the western US.

The wolf was exterminated in the lower 48 states, except for the upper peninsula of Michigan, early in the 20th Century. This was actually policy of many local governments and the national government which backed ranchers. Well, of course, the elk population exploded. But if one looked closer you would see millions of sick, diseased, starving elk because of over grazing and browsing. They literally ate themselves out of house and home. So with the reintroduction of wolves we don't see as many elk. But when we do see an elk we see healthy, robust examples of a balanced ecosystem.

Posted: Monday, August 12, 2013
Article comment by: Dorothy Hendrix

Congratulations Don. I had not realized that you had such an impressive array of activities. I thought you were the guy that wrote the excellent hunting/fishing articles for the Miner. You definitely deserve the honor.

Posted: Monday, August 12, 2013
Article comment by: Sam the deer

Its hard to argue against hunters rights to pursue and end the life against such majestic animals as the one we see in this photo. Lets just call him Sam the deer. Sam looks like a beautiful strong buck however no longer living to be enjoyed and watch by us humans. Sam is gone forever. Sam served our plant in the way that nature created him to live. Humans have taken over like a virus out of control impacting our environment negatively in many ways. Once these creatures roamed by the 10's of thousands. Now we justify the killing of Sam by licensing fee's and income for those that manage the population.

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