I attended the Game and Fish Commission meeting on May 4 in Kingman. I persevered through a six-hour day to have my time to encourage the new fair chase rules. I read the article written by Don Martin dated May 8 in the Daily Miner, and there were a few inaccuracies in the article that I would like to address as well as information that was not given in the article.
The Game and Fish presented the fair chase modifications that they plan on implementing this next season. I spoke in favor of the modifications to the game cameras and there were only three that spoke against the new regulations, which all three were outfitters that use game cameras as part of their guiding. There was also someone that sent a video of his opposition. There were many hunters that could not attend the meeting as it was scheduled during normal working hours. This is the guides’ business, and therefore they would attend regardless of meeting time. I do not think there was a good representation of the average hunter.
Martin said I was in favor of the new regulations because of one bad incident. I presented several incidents that have a negative impact on fair chase. I am appalled at the minimization of the testimony that I gave. I have seen numerous disagreements and altercations that have resulted in physical violence and ill will between hunters as a result of the game cameras.
Some guides use this as a clear advantage to the average hunter that uses instinct rather than technology to hunt. I have been hunting on the strip myself and helping friends yearly, and have seen a significant increase in the use of game cameras. I was helping a friend on a hunt in 2016. We had several locations that we had scouted prior, on our list to hunt. As we arrived at daylight we saw a developed water area surrounded by vehicles and guides. Later, we were informed that one of the guides got a hit on his phone that presented a large buck around 3 a.m. and before daylight the water was blanketed by the hired guides to locate the exact location of this buck. Now I ask you: Is this fair chase? I also spoke about prior hunts on the strip that had a minimum of three cameras and max of 25 on every water hole. They have named every large buck according to the photos they receive on the game cameras. Is this fair chase? You have seen past articles that have described the animal by name, e.g. Grand Monarch, High Top, Lefty and the list goes on.
I just want to be clear that the cameras can still be used on private property and the limits are the same as camping on developed waters. They can also be used on all trails as long as it is 1/4 mile away from water.
Don Martin spoke against the fair chase at the commission meeting. His main focus of opposition was on the game cameras. He claimed that “it would be a law enforcement nightmare and would be discriminatory.” Who, Mr. Martin, does this discriminate against, except for the animal? I just want to re-enforce that there would not be a need for the cameras if a guide knew how to read a track. Let’s get back to the basics of hunting.
Please send letters to Game and Fish Commissioners at email@example.com or snail mail to 5000 West Carefree Hwy., Phoenix, AZ 85086-5000.
Other Sportsmen for the new regulations unable to attend or were not aware of meeting: