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home : features : nature April 24, 2015


4/10/2013 6:00:00 AM
Elk tags still available

Don Martin
The Great Outdoors


By now, I'm guessing almost everyone has found out if they drew a tag for elk or antelope.

Some locals got very lucky this year.

The best news I heard was that my sweetie, Page McDonald, finally got lucky and drew an early bull elk tag.

McDonald, who had 10 bonus points, applied for one of three early any elk permits offered to civilians on a military installation in northern Arizona - and drew tag No. 1.

Then I checked my draw status and discovered I had drawn an antlerless elk tag for the same place. There were just two tags offered - and I also had drawn tag No. 1.

I had three bonus points going into this year's draw, so yes, I was very lucky too.

Then I looked at the dates of the hunts and found that both of our hunts are at the same time, Sept. 30 to Oct. 6, when the elk should be in full rut and the bulls should be bugling a lot.

I've never seen bulls in this area that exceed 320 inches, but I'm told there are larger elk there. Since this is McDonald's first and last bull elk tag, I'm fairly certain she would be happy with a bull of that caliber.

Other lucky sportsmen were Brian Gunnoe and his daughter Ty. Brian drew an archery bull elk tag in Unit 8, while his daughter drew an archery bull tag in Unit 7W - and a muzzleloader antelope tag in Units 15A-15B East.

Dan Hargrave also drew a muzzleloader antelope tag in Units 15A-15B East.

Another lucky Kingman sportsman was Ryan Chan, for whom drawing an elk tag is getting to be commonplace. This is the third year in a row that this young man has drawn an elk tag.

Greg Holden got a late bull tag in Unit 5A, while Ryan Timmerman and his son both drew archery bull tags in Unit 7W.

Region III Chief Hunter Education Instructor Jim Rich, his son, father and daughter all drew elk tags. Jim and his son Nick have archery elk tags in Unit 6A. His daughter has a rifle antlerless tag in Unit 8. His father has an antlerless elk tag in Unit 8, but will be hunting with a muzzleloader.

My good friend Mike Hulsey and his brother Mark drew a pair of Unit 10 muzzleloader bull tags even though there were just 25 tags offered. The brothers applied separately.

For those who didn't draw elks tags, there are still more than 100 elk tags available. Many are for rifle hunts and some archery bull tags are available.

Sportsmen need to go to the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at www.azgfd.gov and click on "leftover tags." Applications for tags will be accepted by mail only, starting April 22.



•••



Don't forget about the Shadow Mountain Ranch cleanup this weekend.

The weather's going to be nice, and after the workday volunteers will be treated to a free elk hamburger dinner with all the fixings.

The turnoff to the ranch is located about 87 miles south of Kingman on Highway 93 near mile post 148. Turn west on the dirt road for about two miles to the ranch headquarters.

Volunteers are asked to bring chainsaws and loppers, gloves, hats and plenty of sunscreen. Call John Beauchamp at (928) 715-0085 or give me a call at (928) 303-9481 if you are going to be there. We need to make sure that there is enough food on hand for everyone.

This event is funded primarily by the Mule Deer Foundation, but organizers received a nice donation from Amanda Moors, who owns www.coueswhitetail.com, one of the best sportsmen's websites around.



•••



Here's what the tag situation will be for desert bighorn sheep this year if it's approved by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.

The hunt in Units 15A-15B East is recommended for deletion this year. In the past there has been just one tag issued there, but due to declining sheep numbers the hunt is going to close.

In Unit 15B West, it looks like there will be four tags. That is an increase of two from 2012.

In Unit 15C North, tag numbers will remain the same at six.

In Unit 15C South, tags will stay the same with two tags being offered.

In 15D, which is arguably the best sheep unit in northern Arizona right now, the unit will be split and the north part of the unit - from Oatman Highway to Highway 68 - will see two hunts offered. The first hunt will be Nov. 22 to Dec. 11, 2013. There will be five tags issued.

The second hunt in 15D North will start Dec. 12 and end Dec. 31. There will also be five tags issued.

In 15D South, the hunt will start Dec. 1 and end Dec. 31. There will be four tags issued.

In Unit 16A, there will be two tags issued, and for the first time there will be a single sheep tag offered in Unit 18B.



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