Mohave Sportsman Club on board in opposing elimination of youth hunt
In a unanimous vote, the Mohave Sportsman Club’s Board of Directors voted at their regular meeting Thursday to oppose the Arizona Game & Fish Department’s proposal to eliminate the December youth muzzleloader hunt in Game Management Unit 16A, the Hualapai Mountains.
This hunt, which was started in 1999 at the bequest of local sportsmen, offers youth the opportunity to hunt with a primitive firearm. It also offers an opportunity for those who are engaged in sports or other school activities to go on a hunt that doesn’t interfere with those programs.
School administrators have expressed their support in the past for this hunt time frame as the kids miss no school.
The department is planning on increasing the number of youth tags from the current 5 percent to 8 percent, but none of these hunts would be in December.
Many residents of Kingman and Mohave County have seen their children participate in these hunts over the years, and it appears that there are those who would like that opportunity to still take the young hunters out hunting with a muzzleloader.
AZGFD believes that this is a “trophy hunt,” but in reality the bucks that have been taken in the past have mostly been small and under 2 years of age. That means the vast majority of the bucks taken on this hunt are 2 1/2 years old or younger. This hunt, in my opinion, can hardly can be described as a trophy hunt.
Jim Unmacht is the executive director for the Arizona Sportsmen For Wildlife Conservation. The group is a consortium of 34 conservation organizations from all over Arizona.
The MSC is part of that group. Unmacht told me this issue would be put on the agenda for discussion at the group’s July meeting.
Terry Herndon is a regional director for the Mule Deer Federation. He wrote a letter to the AZGFD stating he did not support this proposal.
Emails have also been sent to other groups, including the Arizona Deer Association, asking them to weigh in on the subject.
There are posts on two of the major outdoor internet sites Monster Mulies and CouesWhitetail.com addressing the issue.
I spoke to Taco Esquibel, a local archer, and asked him if he thought other archers in our community would be in support or opposed to this proposal.
His answer was that he would personally support the idea, but he does know that some others would like to see the muzzleloader hunt removed and the unit opened to archers.
When I reminded him that the unit is open in January for the archers and that there are 44 other units open statewide for archers, he just smiled.
I’ve said it before, if AZGFD and the commission don’t get at least 100 comments on this, then the hunt is gone.
I know several of us are going to be attending the September commission meeting to speak on this subject, but they need to hear from you now.