Time for hunters to put in for tags for deer and sheep
Sportsmen can now start applying for fall 2008 deer and sheep tags, but the process of setting some of the hunts in Region III didn't go smoothly at the April 19 commission meeting in Phoenix.
The Arizona Bowhunters Association objected to a proposal that the Region III office had made in regards to closing the December archery hunt in units 15A, 15B, 15C and 15D, while at the same time opening up a December archery hunt in Unit 16A.
This came as a surprise to many local sportsmen, myself included.
Here is a little information on why and how this happened.
The closing of the archery hunt in the 15s was called for due to guidelines that are in place regarding the archery harvest.
The guidelines state that if the archery harvest in any unit exceeds 20 percent of the total take, then that hunt must be closed.
Archers would have still been able to hunt in the 15s during the August/September time frame and once again in January.
The trade off would have been that Unit 16A (Hualapai Mountains) would have been opened for archery deer hunting in December. Currently, this unit is closed to archery hunting in December due to the fact that there is a 30-permit juniors-only muzzleloader hunt held there.
Under the Region III proposal, the juniors-only muzzleloader hunt would have been moved to the 15s and unit 18A would have also been added.
It was nothing more that a flip-flop of opportunity.
Archers would hunt the Hualapais in December, while the kids got to hunt deer in some new country.
The Mohave Sportsmen's Club Board of Directors noted at their board meeting that there would not be any loss of opportunity for archers, so they had sent in a letter of support to the department and commission.
However, when the ABA objected and the issue was debated, the commission decided that the swap would not take place and the archery hunt in the 15s and the muzzleloader hunt for the kids would remain the same for '08.
A proposed increase by Region III of 30 juniors-only general-rifle tags for the early hunt in Unit 16A was also shot down by the commission.
Region III Supervisor Bob Posey and Game Specialist Erin Riddering were both surprised at the opposition to the proposals by the ABA. Posey said it was just a misunderstanding about what was being proposed.
"I spoke with Dick King of the ABA after the vote by the commission and it's all good," Posey said.
Sportsmen will have to apply for tags with the old paper applications, which means they'll have to submit a check for the tag fees when applying for deer or sheep tags.
The last day for applications to be submitted will be Tuesday, June 10. And as a special incentive to apply early, for those whose apply by May 29 and make a mistake on the application, the department will make three attempts to call them and correct the problem.
Apply after May 29 and make a mistake, and you'll not get into this year's draw and you'll also not get a bonus point. If that isn't bad enough, if you have been applying for five or more years and you make a mistake, you'll also lose the loyalty bonus point.