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home : features : nature October 20, 2014


2/27/2013 6:02:00 AM
Comment period on hunting changes still open
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is readying recommendations that will affect hunting over the next year.File Photo
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is readying recommendations that will affect hunting over the next year.
File Photo

Don Martin
The Great Outdoors


Even though there were just a few in attendance at the hunt recommendation meeting last Thursday, the information that was dispersed by Region III Game Specialist Erin Butler was a real eye-opener.

Only three people showed up, which is just about normal, but the highlight of that meeting was when I saw Commissioner Robert Mansell, who lives in Winslow, in attendance.

As far as I can remember this is the first current Game and Fish Commissioner who has attended a Kingman hunt recommendation meeting in more than 20 years!

Former Commissioner Larry Adams, who lives in Bullhead City, does sometimes attend the various Game and Fish meetings, but to see a sitting commissioner there was just outstanding.

It was nice to see Commissioner Mansell at the meeting, as it shows he is truly interested in what is going on in this region.

Thanks, Mr. Mansell!

Butler did (as usual) a great job at outlining what is being proposed in Region III as far as fall deer, javelina, turkey, bear, mountain lion and bighorn sheep tags were concerned.

Here is what we learned.

Due to the declining numbers of sheep in Units 15A and 15B East (Meadview to Temple Bar), the one permit that has been in there for many years will now be deleted from the region's hunt package.

Historically, that unit has really suffered as far as numbers and the quality of the rams there.

It is so bad that only my outfit, Arizona Wildlife Outfitters, will guide hunters there. Dan Reed and I have been the only licensed guides who have taken sheep hunters out in those units for over 20 years.

While I can't fault Game and Fish for closing those units, what really needs to happen is the capture and relocation of sheep from Unit 15D to this area.

The transplants shouldn't be made just to increase the trophy potential there. I believe every ram taken, regardless of its size, is a trophy. What the dwindling herd needs is genetic diversity.

But there was even more information concerning sheep tags in this region.

Butler gave the impression that there will be an increase in the number of sheep tags in Unit 15D in 2013.

Just how many? Well, Butler was playing coy and wouldn't give the exact number, but I believe they are going to recommend 14 or 15 tags.

Then Butler posed a question for us in attendance: How would we like to see the season structured if there were that many tags issued?

My recommendation was to split the season. Give out half the tags from Dec. 1-15 for the entire unit, and then give out the other half of the tags to hunters who could hunt the entire unit from Dec. 16-31.

My reasoning is that overcrowding would be an issue with that many hunters out there. Remember, it is a once-in-a-lifetime hunt for most sportsmen.

Fellow sportsman Tony Campbell offered another scenario.

"Split the unit in half, and use Oatman Road as the boundary." Campbell said. "Give a number of tags for the southern part of the unit and the rest for the northern part."

Interesting idea.

The bottom line is that Game and Fish will decide which way to go and will make a recommendation to game branch and, ultimately, to the commission.

But there was more information shared. It seems that Region III is going to recommend issuing a ram permit in Unit 18B.

Butler said the data indicates that a one-permit hunt could be held, and she noted, "There are some pretty good rams there!"

Sheep permits in Unit 15B West are probably going up from two. Butler wouldn't say how many, but I suspect four permits.

I guided a hunter in that unit last year and we saw a lot of young rams, but didn't see enough mature ones to warrant a doubling of the permits. It'll be interesting to see how that ends up if and when they increase those permits.

Butler also said that one of the two permits in Unit 15C South was going to be dropped this year.

The rest of the recommendations were pretty well in line with 2012 numbers, including the juniors deer and javelina permits in Units 18B and 16A, though I did suggest an increase in the numbers of juniors-only deer tags in Unit 16A.

The public can still get comments into the department and commission before the final decision is made at a public meeting on April 13.

Sportsmen can review the department recommendations and make suggestions or comments until April 1 online at www.azgfd.gov/huntguidelines.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Article comment by: Zen Mocarski

How does an agency not manage wildlife in this day and age? Thousands of years ago there weren't cars as the number one killer of wildlife, roads, fencing, railroads, etc. creating fragmentation, and there wasn't the loss of habitat (number one cause for wildlife extinction on the planet). It's already been seen with herds in Arizona that to sit back and do nothing is to watch animals die a slow death. Research the Willow Lake pronghorn herd near Prescott. I believe trophy hunting is a misunderstood term as well. The meat must still be consumed. Game and Fish receives no general fund money and it is, indeed, sportsman dollars that provides for wildlife management efforts throughout the state.

Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Article comment by: Jack A. lope

so called sportsman .... i do hunt, i do pay TAXES, i do purchase tags, licenses ,........ and i have never, and never will hunt for trophy. BTW my normal hunt is with an old fashioned bow where i actually have to hunt and stalk. If i get something its meat gets used.
Those who sit in blinds or need a guide to drive them to their pray ARE NOT HUNTERS OR SPORTSMEN. and just want something to suff or hand on the wall are a waste of skin. there are other names for that


Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: Wiley Coyote

Hey Sporty,

No need to fund anything. We need to just quit funding the management that serves the privileged entitled few at the expense of everyone else. Wildlife managed itself very well for many thousands of years without any need for funding.

Ever think how much it costs the public and the ecology to provide all the water it takes to grow the feed to fatten the cattle after they've overgrazed and displaced the wildlife on public lands? Ever wonder how much it costs the public to cover the property taxes the ranchers don't have to pay like the rest of us? And we're supposed to worry about the wildlife eating too much of their grass? This is just more welfare for the wealthy.

Then a few true sportsmen that need high tech gear to locate herds wearing radio collars think they're doing the world a favor by having contests to see who can go out and kill the most natural predators. Then there's not enough feed on the range for more cattle so the antelope and sheep get managed by shooting way too many. Gee I wonder why their populations are declining? Coyotes aren't the problem here, Sporty. You are.


Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: a sportsman

To jack, really? Are you going to fund anything to help the population? Do you donate to any kind of wildlife management? Hunters are the only ones that do.

Those wolves have been a great idea, they have invested just over $1,000,000 per living wolf currently in Arizona. So pony up your cash and have a say in the management of wildlife, I'm sure you will kick in enough to get the wolf popluation rolling in the sheep units.


Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: Hualapai Dog

I agree. The public at large need to voice their comments and suggestions about taxpayer subsidized trophy hunting.

Here's the link again:
www.azgfd.gov/huntguidelines

The BLM and Game and Fish should have better things to do with public funds than sanctioning this disgrace to our land. The kickbacks they get from these so called sportsmen aren't worth it.

Let's try no trophy hunting at all for ten or twenty years and see how the wildlife do. Let the bighorns and antelope have more of the range and let the predators take a few tax payer subsidized cattle while we're at it.


Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: Wiley Coyote

Good call, JackaLope. Trophy hunters need to remember they are guests on public land. How do these people think they benefit the general taxpayers that own this property and wish to be good stewards of wildlife and wilderness?

Looks to me like some kind of self centered entitlement mentality. This kind of hunting is a proven detriment to the gene pool. Both human and wildlife. Natural predators and disease target the sick and weak, which increases the strength of the herds. Shooting the biggest and best to hang on the wall, weakens the herds today and their next generations into the future. This is common knowledge nowadays where people have a clue.


Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: jack a. lope

Jack, what they really need is to cut back on hunting. if the herds are having problems, it is because of you. Bring back natural predation, coyotes, wolves, mtn lions and a couple new jags.



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