Bowhunters worried about proposed Arizona hunting rules

KINGMAN - Proposed hunting guidelines for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons will be discussed from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the Mohave County library at 3269 N. Burbank St.

It is one of 10 meetings organized by the Arizona Game and Fish Department around the state.

To view the proposed guidelines, go to www.azgfd.gov/huntguidelines.

Written comments on the hunt guidelines will be accepted through June 10. Comments can be submitted:

• Via email at azgamebranch@azgfd.gov

• Or by mail to Hunt Guidelines, Arizona Game and Fish Department, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix AZ 85096.

The Arizona Bowhunters Association sent an alert asking bowhunters from all over the state to attend and make comments on proposed language in the fall hunt guidelines package that would allow more muzzleloader hunts and even general rifle hunts in front of early season archery hunts for bull elk.

They are also asking that bowhunters contact members of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission to state their opposition to the proposed guidelines, ask for data to support the proposal and seek public input to see what the public wants.

This year, for the first time, there will be an early muzzleloader hunt in game management Unit 9, which is considered to be one of the premium elk hunts in the state.

Randy Phillips, the bowhunter association's liaison with Game and Fish, sent out a message that there is no biological reason for the change. The proposal, according to the ABA, was "brought on because a few think that bowhunters kill larger animals before muzzleloader and general rifle hunters can get to them."

The ABA has gone on record as opposing the muzzleloader hunt this year because "there was absolutely no public input and there is no data to show that bowhunters are harvesting larger bulls than other weapon types."