New online course allows hunters to earn lifetime bonus point 

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) has created an innovative online course — “Ethically Hunting Arizona” — that provides hunters 18 and older with an opportunity to earn a lifetime bonus point.

A bonus point is simply an accumulated credit (or point) that authorizes the department to issue additional computer-generated random numbers to a big game draw application, thus providing an applicant with an added chance of receiving a low random number in the draw and improving their draw odds. 

The Ethically Hunting Arizona course was developed primarily for those hunters who are looking to acquire their permanent Arizona Education Bonus Point without having to compete for limited seating in the classroom-style structure of the traditional Arizona Hunter Education course. This new online course should help to free up seating for youths 9 to 13 who must complete a hunter education course in person to hunt big game. To register for the course, visit https://www.azgfd.com/hunting/eha/

NOTE: If a hunter already has earned an Arizona Education Bonus Point by completing Arizona Hunter Education, a second bonus point cannot be obtained through the taking of the Ethically Hunting Arizona course. In addition, completing the online course does not fulfill hunter education requirements to hunt in other states.  

Ethically Hunting Arizona is geared primarily for experienced hunters, including those who are nonresidents, new residents to Arizona, and longtime state residents. Statistically, 9% of hunter education graduates are nonresidents. Of those 18 and older, 76% take the course for this bonus point, and only 20% identify as new hunters.

Ethically Hunting Arizona’s 10 hours of online coursework will cover the following topics:

  • Responsibility, safety, skills.
  • Conservation, Fair Chase, ethics, hunters’ image.
  • Planning, preparation, survival skills.
  • Firearm safety, handling, shot selection.
  • Hunting strategies, vital shots, game care.
  • Arizona hunting laws, regulations, licensing.

The course provides focused learning to hopefully help reduce hunting incidents through safety education, as well as the number of citations issued for violations that occur in the field.  

The cost of the discretionary course is $150 for Arizona residents, $300 for nonresidents (who now benefit from not having to outlay travel expenses, such as gas, airfare, lodging and meals, to take the course in person in Arizona). 

A student will have two opportunities to pass the course with a minimum score of 80%. The course must be passed 30 days prior to the draw deadline day for the bonus point to be valid for that particular draw. 

Hunters should look for spots that received localized moisture 

 

PHOENIX — There’s just no other way to say it: This is going to be one tough quail-hunting season.

Now that we’ve gotten that announcement out of the way, that doesn’t mean hunters who have high hopes of chasing Gambel’s and scaled quail across the landscape should keep their boots in the closet and their shotgun in the safe when the 2021-22 season opens Friday, Oct. 15. 

“Hunting desert quail will probably be mediocre, generally,” said Larisa Harding, small game program manager for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, “but there still are pockets where you can find quail, and most of those are probably carry-over birds from previous years instead of a fresh crop of young birds.

“Quail numbers, and where you’ll find them, will depend on carry-over and spotty moisture over the past 18-plus months; if precipitation fell in areas, and at times, when desert quail could take advantage of a local green-up, birds there probably fared better than in our drier regions.

“The storms we got in July may have come too late to produce a large flush in desert quail reproduction. But we’ve got a lot of tough birds that seem to persist against the odds, so we’re hoping if we can get more moisture in the coming months, we’ll see quail numbers respond more favorably in the future.”

A valid Arizona hunting or combination hunt and fish license is required for all hunters 10 and older. Those hunters under 10 must either have a valid hunting or combination hunt and fish license, or be accompanied by an adult who possesses a valid hunting or combination hunt and fish license. Licenses can be purchased online or at license dealers statewide. A youth combination hunt and fish license (ages 10 to 17) is $5.

The general bag limit is 15 quail per day in the aggregate, of which no more than eight may be Mearns’ quail (when the Mearns’ season opens Dec. 3). The general possession limit is 45 quail in the aggregate after opening day, of which no more than 15 Gambel’s, scaled or California quail in the aggregate may be taken in any one day. After the opening of the Mearns’ season, the 45-quail possession limit may include 24 Mearns’ quail, of which no more than eight may be taken in any one day. 

More quail-hunting information can be found on the department’s website at www.azgfd.com/Hunting/. Another resource for both new and experienced hunters alike is “An Introduction to Hunting Arizona’s Small Game.” Written by Randall D. Babb, the 196-page, full-color book covers where and how to hunt small game birds (like quail), squirrels, rabbits, ducks and geese. It also includes how to prepare and cook your harvest, with illustrations and recipes. The book can be ordered for $16.95 at www.azgfd.gov/publications.

Finally, check out a field-dressing demonstration by AZGFD small game biologist Johnathan O’Dell at www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gRwZAcWzzk.     

AZGFD available to provide application assistance 

 

PHOENIX — The deadline to apply for 2022 spring hunt permit-tags is only hours away.

Applications for spring turkey, javelina, bison and bear hunts, and raptor capture, must be received by the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) no later than 11:59 p.m. (Arizona time) tonight, Tuesday, Oct. 12. To apply, visit www.azgfd.gov/hunting/draw.  

AZGFD is available to assist all applicants with the application process. A customer service representative can be reached by calling 602-942-3000 until 5 p.m. today. The department also will provide after-hours assistance — by telephone only — from 5 to 11:59 p.m. tonight. 

To expedite the process, applicants are encouraged to be prepared with the following before calling AZGFD:

  • An applicant’s hunting or combination hunt and fish license must be valid on Oct. 12. All applicants, including youth (ages 10-17), who are applying for a hunt permit-tag must possess a license that is valid on the last day of the application period. Licenses can be purchased online at www.azgfd.com/license/.
  • Know your Department ID or Customer ID. This is a must to submit an application. There are four ways to locate a Department ID or Customer ID: (1) Use the new “Customer ID Retrieval Tool” that can be found either at www.azgfd.com/Hunting/Draw/, www.azgfd.com/license/ or when adding applicants while applying for a hunt permit-tag; (2) Log into your AZGFD portal account and click on “View Details” under “My AZGFD Dashboard;” (3) Check your hunting or combination hunt and fish license, if it was purchased online; or (4) Call AZGFD at 602-942-3000 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Purchasing PointGuard is encouraged. This benefit ensures that if a successful applicant is unable to participate in a hunt for any reason, the accumulated bonus points that were expended to draw that hunt permit-tag will be reinstated. The cost is $5 for each species. Note: A free AZGFD portal account is no longer required to purchase PointGuard. A portal account is still needed for those hunters wishing to view their draw results, however. Visit accounts.azgfd.com/Account/Register and complete the required fields.

For an overview of the application service, including license requirements, applying for bonus points and payment information, see Page 8 of the “2022 Spring Turkey, Javelina, Bison, Bear and Raptor Capture Hunt Draw Information” booklet. The booklet is posted online at www.azgfd.com/Hunting/Regulations. Printed versions of the booklet are available at all license dealers statewide.

AZGFD available to provide application assistance 

 

PHOENIX — The deadline to submit 2022 spring hunt applications is fast approaching.

Applications for spring turkey, javelina, bison and bear hunts, and raptor capture, must be received by the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) no later than 11:59 p.m. (Arizona time) Tuesday, Oct. 12. To apply, visit www.azgfd.gov/hunting/draw.  

AZGFD is available to assist all applicants. A customer service representative can be reached by calling 602-942-3000 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (except Columbus Day, Oct. 11). AZGFD also will be staffed to provide after-hours assistance — by telephone only — from 5 to 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12 (deadline day).

To expedite the process, applicants are encouraged to be prepared with the following before calling AZGFD:

  • An applicant’s hunting or combination hunt and fish license must be valid on Oct. 12. All applicants, including youth (ages 10-17), who are applying for a hunt permit-tag must possess a license that is valid on the last day of the application period. Licenses can be purchased online at www.azgfd.com/license/.
  • Know your Department ID or Customer ID. This is a must to submit an application. There are four ways to locate a Department ID or Customer ID: (1) Use the new “Customer ID Retrieval Tool” that can be found either at www.azgfd.com/Hunting/Draw/, www.azgfd.com/license/ or when adding applicants while applying for a hunt permit-tag; (2) Log into your AZGFD portal account and click on “View Details” under “My AZGFD Dashboard;” (3) Check your hunting or combination hunt and fish license, if it was purchased online; or (4) Call AZGFD at 602-942-3000 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Purchasing PointGuard is encouraged. This benefit ensures that if a successful applicant is unable to participate in a hunt for any reason, the accumulated bonus points that were expended to draw that hunt permit-tag will be reinstated. The cost is $5 for each species. NOTE: A free AZGFD portal account is no longer required to purchase PointGuard. A portal account is still needed for those hunters wishing to view their draw results, however. Visit accounts.azgfd.com/Account/Register and complete the required fields.

For an overview of the application service, including license requirements, applying for bonus points and payment information, see Page 8 of the “2022 Spring Turkey, Javelina, Bison, Bear and Raptor Capture Hunt Draw Information” booklet. The booklet is posted online at www.azgfd.com/Hunting/Regulations. Printed versions of the booklet are available at all license dealers statewide.

PHOENIX — In an ongoing effort to better serve its constituents, the Arizona Game and Fish Department will host a pair of webcasts this month to provide an update and gather public input on the review of the five-year game management hunt guidelines.

  • 6-7 p.m. Oct. 21: This webcast will focus on changes being considered for the game management hunt guidelines.
  • 6-7 p.m. Oct. 28: This webcast will focus on archery deer harvest allocations.

The webcasts can be viewed at www.azgfd.gov/webcast. The public can email questions or comments during or after the webcasts to AZHuntGuidelines@azgfd.gov. All questions and comments, along with department responses, will be posted at  www.azgfd.com/Hunting/Guidelines/ within one week of each webcast. 

For those who miss the webcasts, they will be recorded and available to be viewed at www.azgfd.com/Hunting/Guidelines/. Additional comments can be emailed to AZHuntGuidelines@azgfd.gov.      

2021-2022 waterfowl, snipe hunting regulations available online 

 

PHOENIX — This is the time of year that Arizona’s small game and waterfowl hunters have been waiting for.

In addition to the start of tree squirrel and band-tailed pigeon seasons Friday, Oct. 1, hunters can pursue dusky (blue) grouse through Nov. 7 and chukar until Feb. 6, 2022. The season for cottontail rabbit runs through June 30, 2022, and the start of the season for Gambel’s and scaled quail is just around the corner (Oct. 15).

For more information, hunters should check out the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s (AZGFD) small game forecast at www.azgfd.gov/hunting/species/smallgame/forecast/. Also visit www.azgfd.com/Hunting/Species/.

Meanwhile, the general waterfowl and snipe seasons in the “Mountain Zone” (Game Management Units 1-5, 7, 9, 11M, 12A, and those portions of Units 6 and 8 within Coconino County) begin Friday, Oct. 1, and run through Jan. 9, 2022. 

The department’s regional office in Flagstaff recently completed its fall waterfowl survey in Units 5B, 6A and 8, which are part of the Mountain Zone. While the Flagstaff area received poor precipitation in the winter and spring months, the monsoon provided above-average to near-record amounts of rainfall. Still, traditional wetlands like Mormon, Marshall, Prime and Vail lakes that depend on winter moisture are dry and without ducks. 

Many dirt tanks throughout Units 5B, 6A/B and 7 are filled from summer storms, however. These tanks are where hunters should concentrate their efforts. In addition to tanks in Unit 8, Sunflower Flat caught summer rains and has good waterfowl numbers.

The majority of waterfowl observed during the recent survey were mallards, teal, wigeons and Canada geese. 

The general waterfowl and snipe seasons in the “Desert Zone” (Game Management Units 10 and 12B through 46B, and those portions of Units 6 and 8 within Yavapai County) begin Saturday, Oct. 23, and run through Jan. 31, 2022.

The following (excluding scaup) are legal wildlife in both Mountain and Desert zones: ducks, including mergansers, coots and common moorhens (gallinules); white geese (snow, blue and Ross’); and dark geese (Canada, cackling, Brant and white-fronted).  

Scaup can be harvested in the Mountain Zone from Saturday, Oct. 16, through Jan. 9, 2022, and in the Desert Zone from Sunday, Nov. 7, through Jan. 31, 2022.

NOTE: Opening days in bold (for general waterfowl and snipe seasons in the “Desert Zone,” as well as for scaup in both zones) are correct. Per federal regulations, those seasons will now end on Jan. 31 each year, instead of the “last Sunday in January.” This will cause the opening day to shift accordingly, affording hunters an opportunity to hunt later in the season.

All waterfowl hunters 18 and older must possess a valid Arizona hunting license and state migratory bird stamp, as well as a federal migratory bird stamp. All waterfowl hunters 16 and older must also possess a federal migratory bird stamp.

Need a license? Visit www.azgfd.gov/license/. Keep in mind that a combination hunt and fish license is only $20 more (for state residents) than the price of an individual hunting or fishing license. As a reminder, a youth combination hunt and fish license (ages 10 to 17) is only $5 and includes the privileges associated with the state migratory bird stamp.  

The “2021-2022 Arizona Waterfowl and Snipe Regulations” are posted at www.azgfd.gov/Hunting/Regulations/. For more information about waterfowl hunting, visit www.azgfd.gov/hunting/species/waterfowl/.

NOTE: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has expanded hunting opportunities on national wildlife refuges for the 2021-2022 seasons. Hunting opportunities are authorized and provided on USFWS-managed lands in accordance with federal, state and tribal (where applicable) regulations and seasons. For questions on hunting opportunities, consult current refuge hunt regulations.

Arizona remains CWD-free due to surveillance efforts   

 

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department is asking hunters to continue doing their part to help keep Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) at bay. CWD is a fatal wildlife disease that affects the nervous system of deer and elk. 

With big game hunts already underway, successful deer and elk hunters are encouraged to bring the head of their harvested animal — especially bucks and bulls — to any department office statewide between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. To schedule a drop-off time, send an email to CWD@azgfd.gov or call Jon Heale, wildlife health biologist, at 623-236-7227.

The preferred method for storage is to place the head in a heavy-duty plastic trash bag, and keep it cold or frozen until it can be sampled. The department also requests hunters to provide accurate hunter information (name, telephone number), as well as hunt information (hunt number, game management unit in which the animal was harvested, state and hunting license number). This information is crucial should CWD be detected in a sample. 

Department officials did not find any cases of CWD in the nearly 1,600-plus deer (mule and white-tailed) and elk that were harvested by hunters and voluntarily submitted for testing in 2020. In addition to hunter submissions, the department collects samples from across the state through partnerships with meat processors and taxidermists.  

Game and Fish has been testing for the presence of the disease in Arizona since 1998 and has tested more than 25,000 samples. While CWD has been found in the neighboring states of Utah, New Mexico and Colorado, the disease has not been detected in Arizona. CWD has not been documented to cause disease in people.

CWD is transmitted and spread by animal movement and direct contact, which means the illegal importation of a cervid carcass or parts with brain or spinal column tissue of an infected animal could introduce the disease into Arizona. To that point, an individual is only allowed to possess, transport or import the following portions of cervids lawfully taken in another state or country:

  • Boneless portions of meat, or meat that has been cut and packaged.
  • Clean hides and capes with no skull or soft tissue attached.
  • Antlers, clean skull plates or skulls with antlers attached with no meat or soft tissue remaining.
  • Finished taxidermy mounts or products (hunters may ship their harvested animal to a taxidermist).
  • Upper canine teeth with no meat or tissue attached.
  • Do not bring the brain, intact skull or spinal column of a deer or elk harvested in another state back into Arizona.

It may take longer than a year before an infected animal develops symptoms of CWD, which can include drastic weight loss (wasting), stumbling, listlessness and other neurological symptoms. CWD can infect animals of all ages, although it’s most frequently noticed in older animals and can affect males more than females. CWD is fatal, and there are no treatments or vaccines.

All hunters are advised not to shoot, handle or consume any animal that is acting abnormally or appears to be sick. Wear latex or rubber gloves when field dressing deer or elk. All hunters are asked to contact the department at 1-800-352-0700 if they see or harvest an animal that appears to be sick.  

For information about importation of harvested animals in other states, contact that state’s wildlife management agency. For more information about CWD, visit the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website at cwd-info.org/

Deadline is 11:59 p.m. (Arizona time) Tuesday, Oct. 12 

 

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) encourages hunters to submit their 2022 spring hunt applications early and avoid the stress of waiting until the last minute.

The deadline to apply for spring turkey, javelina, bison and bear hunts, and raptor capture, is 11:59 p.m. (Arizona time) Tuesday, Oct. 12

To apply, visit www.azgfd.com/Hunting/Draw/. For an overview of the application service, including license requirements, applying for bonus points and payment information, see Page 8 of the “2022 Spring Turkey, Javelina, Bison, Bear and Raptor Capture Hunt Draw Information” booklet. The booklet is posted online at www.azgfd.com/Hunting/Regulations/. Printed versions of the booklet soon will be available at all license dealers statewide.

A few helpful reminders:

  • An applicant’s hunting or combination hunt and fish license must be valid through Oct. 12. All applicants, including youth (ages 10-17), who are applying for a hunt permit-tag must possess a license that is valid on the last day of the application period. Licenses can be purchased online at www.azgfd.com/license/. Note: When purchasing an Arizona hunting (or combination hunt and fish) license online, the license number will appear at the bottom of the customer’s receipt. Don’t throw it away! That license number will be required as part of the draw application process.
  • Know your Department ID or Customer ID. This is a must to submit an application. There are four ways to locate a Department ID or Customer ID: (1) Use the new “Customer ID Retrieval Tool” that can be found either at www.azgfd.com/Hunting/Draw/,  www.azgfd.com/license/, or while adding applicants when applying for a hunt permit-tag; (2) Log into your AZGFD portal account and click on “View Details” under “My AZGFD Dashboard;” (3) Check your hunting or combination hunt and fish license if it was purchased online; or (4) Call AZGFD at 602-942-3000 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 
  • Purchasing PointGuard is encouraged. This benefit ensures that if a successful applicant is unable to participate in a hunt for any reason, the accumulated bonus points that were expended to draw that hunt permit-tag will be reinstated. The cost is $5 for each species. Note: A free AZGFD portal account is no longer required to purchase PointGuard. A portal account is still needed for those hunters wishing to view their draw results, however. Visit accounts.azgfd.com/Account/Register and complete the required fields.

In the meantime, hopeful hunters might want to view a couple of short videos before applying for a hunt. 

AZGFD is available to assist all applicants. A customer service representative can be reached by calling 602-942-3000 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.  

 

Gov. Doug Ducey signs proclamation honoring “original conservationists”  

 

PHOENIX — Whatever a person’s interest in wildlife, hunters and anglers — the “original conservationists” — have made significant contributions over the decades to the conservation of fish and wildlife through sound, science-based management. 

Even if a person doesn’t actively participate in the time-honored traditions of hunting or angling, it’s important to understand how those outdoor pursuits benefit wildlife, the impetus behind the creation of National Hunting and Fishing Day, celebrated every fourth Saturday in September. 

According to the 2016 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, 103 million Americans — an astonishing 40 percent of the U.S. population 16 years and older — participated in fishing, hunting or other wildlife-related recreation, such as birdwatching or outdoor photography.

In doing so, those participants kept cash registers humming to the tune of $156.9 billion spent on equipment, travel, licenses and fees. That figure represents almost 1 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, creating and supporting thousands of jobs and communities across the nation. This past year has seen even more Americans contributing to wildlife and conservation as they rediscover hunting and angling as healthy outdoor recreation consistent with the need to be physically distant during the pandemic. 

Gov. Doug Ducey recently signed a proclamation celebrating National Hunting and Fishing Day on Saturday, as well as recognizing the role that Arizona’s hunting and angling community plays as an economic driver. In 2018, almost $60 million was generated through the American System of Conservation Funding to support the conservation efforts of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The system is a “user pays-public benefits” approach that is widely recognized as the most successful model of fish and wildlife management in the world.  

More than 786,000 Arizona hunters and anglers spend more than $1.2 billion annually and support 18,220 jobs, according to the latest report (2011) by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. As a result, $132 million in state and local taxes, and another $155 million in federal taxes, are collected annually. 

Since 1939, hunters and anglers nationally have generated more than $20 billion toward wildlife restoration through an excise tax imposed on the sale of hunting, angling and shooting-sports equipment. Those funds are administered by the federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) program, one of the most significant programs benefiting wildlife conservation and outdoor recreation. 

WSFR funds, along with the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, provide a substantial portion of wildlife conservation funding for activities such as fish and wildlife population management, habitat management, research, surveys, land acquisition, hunter education, shooting and archery ranges, boating access, and more. 

Who benefits? The general public gets better stewardship of natural resources. Hunters and anglers get more and better places to hunt and fish. State and federal agencies receive more funds to meet their conservation needs. To learn more, visit www.azgfd.gov/outdoorskills, or www.azgfd.gov/getoutside

 

Arizona’s deer, elk populations remain free of CWD 

 

PHOENIX — Join Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) wildlife health biologists to learn more about Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), how the department monitors for it, and how hunters can collect and submit samples for testing. 

  • Noon Saturday (Sept. 25), Tucson regional office, 555 N. Greasewood Road, Tucson, AZ 85745 
  • 5:30 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 28), Mesa regional office, 7200 E. University Drive. Mesa, AZ 85207 

CWD is the single biggest threat to cervid (deer, elk, moose, reindeer) populations in North America and around the world. CWD is an untreatable and always-fatal neurologic disease affecting free-ranging and captive cervids. It is characterized by progressive weight loss, abnormal behavior and eventual death. Mule deer, white-tailed deer and elk are all susceptible to the disease, and, once infected, populations can experience severe declines. 

CWD has not been detected in Arizona, but it has been found in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, as well as in more than 20 other states. 

Seating is limited. Those planning to attend must RSVP to CWD@azgfd.gov and provide their name, phone number, how many guests will be attending, and preferred seminar location, or contact Jon Heale, the department’s wildlife health biologist, at 623-236-7227. NOTE: Face masks will be required for unvaccinated guests. 

For more information about CWD, visit www.cwd-info.org or www.azgfd.com/Wildlife/Diseases/. 

 

Pleasant Harbor July_Sept 2016