Endangered Mount Graham red squirrel population on rise 

New survey method credited for showing latest increase 

 

PHOENIX — The annual interagency survey of the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel showed an increase in the latest population estimate in the Pinaleño Mountains of southeastern Arizona, likely due to a new survey method.

The annual survey, conducted jointly by the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), Coronado National Forest, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, resulted in an estimate of 156 squirrels. This is an increase from the 109 squirrels estimated in 2021 after a new survey method was implemented to more thoroughly survey their habitat.

“After the Frye Fire impacted a significant amount of the forest, we needed a better survey method in order to search out areas that red squirrels may not have been previously occupying,” said Holly Hicks, the department’s small mammal project coordinator. “This method was piloted for the past three years in conjunction with our usual annual survey to determine the accuracy and to compare the two methods.” 

Previous annual red squirrel surveys focused on visiting all known “middens,” or areas where red squirrels store their cones. This method did not systematically detect middens created by red squirrels as they moved to new or different areas on the mountain. 

The new method now involves systematically searching for active middens within survey plots that are designed to capture the majority of red squirrel habitat in the Pinaleño Mountains. This enables new middens to be detected as they are created, and activity at these middens is then used to estimate the population size.

“We work to actively manage and restore forest conditions for the benefit of all species on Mount Graham, including the Mount Graham red squirrel,” said George Garcia, the Safford District Ranger of the Coronado National Forest. “We are proud to be part of the efforts being taken by the interagency team.”

Marit Alanen, lead biologist for the Mount Graham red squirrel with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said: ”It’s exciting to have a method where we can survey red squirrels and also allows us to detect occupied areas we may not have known about before. 

“Some of these areas are pretty tough to get to and survey, so we appreciate working with the interagency team and all our partners to make it happen.”  

The continuing conservation measures for this endangered species and its habitat include the following: assessment of the remaining habitat, insect pheromone treatments to protect trees,  conifer seed collection (including storage,and planting), forest stand monitoring/enhancement,  reducing food and habitat competitors, captive rearing with partners at the Arizona Center for Nature Conservation, The Phoenix Zoo, continuing life history and translocation/augmentation research through the University of Arizona, and continuing annual survey monitoring.

This subspecies was listed as endangered in 1987. Mount Graham red squirrels live only in the upper-elevation conifer forests of the Pinaleño Mountains and feed primarily on conifer seeds. This subspecies is highly territorial and has lower reproductive rates than red squirrels in other locations. 

Other long-term impacts to Mount Graham red squirrels and their habitat include insect infestations, competition with non-native Abert’s squirrels, and poor cone crops caused by drought, all of which influence population size. 

The Mount Graham red squirrel population peaked at about 550 animals in the late 1990s, but typically ranged between 200 and 300 individuals until the 2017 Frye Fire devastated  much of their habitat.

 

Outdoor recreationists, pilots, drone operators asked to avoid nesting areas 

 

PHOENIX —  Arizona’s bald eagles are back, and they will soon be preparing for the next generation of eagles at breeding sites statewide. 

To assist with the state’s continued bald eagle population growth, the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) encourages outdoor recreationists, aircraft pilots, drone operators and motorized paragliders to do their part by not disturbing the state’s 94 eagle breeding areas. 

To protect breeding attempts, some portions of public land and water areas will be temporarily closed to help these majestic animals and ensure even more young eagles take to the skies this spring. 

“Arizona’s bald eagles are hard at work preparing their nest for what we hope will be a productive breeding season,” said Kenneth “Tuk” Jacobson, bald eagle management coordinator. “The birds nest, forage and roost at rivers and lakes that are also popular recreation spots. That’s why we must be vigilant to help protect the birds and ensure their populations statewide continue to flourish. That success wouldn’t be possible without the cooperation of outdoor recreationists who respect the closures during the breeding season.” 

During the 2022 breeding season, 78 young hatched, and 61 reached the important milestone of their first flight, known as fledging. 

Pilots are reminded to maintain the FAA-recommended 2,000-foot above ground level advisory when flying over bald eagle habitat, while drones and paragliders are asked to avoid the areas completely. Bald eagles are sensitive to even short durations of low-flying aircraft activity near their nests, and just a few minutes of disturbance can lead to a nesting failure. 

AIRSPACE ADVISORY

Statewide

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established a 2,000-foot above ground level (AGL) advisory along the Salt and Verde river drainages and lakes such as Lake Pleasant, Roosevelt Lake and Alamo Lake. These areas are designated on the Phoenix Sectional Aeronautical map and also include Alamo Lake, Ashurst Lake, Greer Lakes, Crescent Lake, Luna Lake, Show Low Lake, Chevelon Canyon Lake, Woods Canyon Lake, Lake Mary, Dogtown Reservoir, White Horse Lake and the Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge. Special brochures for pilots regarding this advisory can be obtained by calling the Arizona Department of Transportation or AZGFD’s Terrestrial Wildlife branch at 623- 236-7506.

SEASONAL CLOSURES

Verde River 

  • A closure for the Verde River below Sycamore Canyon Wilderness is not planned this year unless the eagle pair resumes nesting. Verde River below Sycamore Canyon Wilderness may be closed to foot and vehicle entry from Dec. 1 to June 15. Floating through is allowed, but contact the Coconino National Forest, Red Rock Ranger District office for more information at 928-203-7500 or 928-203-2900.
  • Verde River near Chasm Creek is closed to foot and vehicle entry from Dec. 1 to June 30. Floating through is allowed. Contact the Prescott National Forest, Verde Ranger District, at 928-567-4121.
  • Verde River near Cold Water Creek, allows watercraft to float through but no stopping on the river or landing is allowed Dec. 1 to June 30. Contact the Prescott National Forest, Verde Ranger District, at 928-567-4121.
  • Verde River upstream of the East Verde confluence is closed to vehicle and foot entry from Dec. 1 to June 30. Floating through is allowed, but no stopping in the river or landing is allowed. Contact the Tonto National Forest, Cave Creek Ranger District, at 480-595-3300. 
  • Verde River near Mule Shoe Bend allows watercraft to float through but no stopping in the river or landing is allowed from Dec. 1 to June 30. Contact the Tonto National Forest, Cave Creek Ranger District, at 480-595-3300.
  • Verde River below Bartlett Dam is closed to foot or vehicle entry from Dec. 1 to June 30. Floating through is allowed, but no stopping in the river or landing is allowed. Contact the Tonto National Forest, Cave Creek Ranger District, at 480-595-3300.
  • Verde River at the Needle Rock Recreation Area is closed to foot and vehicle entry on portions of the west side of the river from Dec. 1 to June 30. Contact the Tonto National Forest, Cave Creek Ranger District, at 480-595-3300.

Tonto Creek 

  • Tonto Creek from Gisela to 76 Ranch is not planned to be closed to vehicle, foot entry, and floating through from Dec. 1 to June 30, unless the eagle pair resumes nesting within the closure area. Contact the Tonto National Forest, Tonto Basin Ranger District, at 928-467-3200.
  • Tonto Creek inlet to Roosevelt Lake is closed to vehicle and foot entry within 1,000 feet of the nest on land and to watercraft within 300 feet on water from Dec. 1 to June 30. Contact the Tonto National Forest, Tonto Basin Ranger District, at 602-225-5395.

Salt River

  • Salt River from Horseshoe Bend to Redmond Flat allows watercraft to float through, but no stopping in the river or landing is allowed from Dec. 1 to June 30. Contact the Tonto National Forest, Globe Ranger District, at 928-402-6200.
  • Salt River near Meddler Point is closed to vehicle and foot entry within 1,000 feet of the nest on land and to watercraft within 300 feet on water from Dec. 1 to June 30. Contact the Tonto National Forest, Tonto Basin Ranger District, at 602-225-5395.
  • Salt River below Stewart Mountain Dam is closed to vehicle or foot entry on the south side of the river from Dec. 1 to June 30. Floating through is allowed. Contact the Tonto National Forest, Mesa Ranger District, at 480-610-3300.
  • Salt River near Goldfield-Kerr Fire Station is closed to foot and vehicle entry on the north side of the river from Dec. 1 to June 30. Floating through is allowed. Contact the Tonto National Forest, Mesa Ranger District, at 480-610-3300. 

Crescent Lake

A portion of land west of the lakes is closed to all entry from March 1 through Aug. 31. Contact the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, Springerville Ranger District, at 928-333-6200.

Fool Hollow Lake

A portion of the shoreline may be closed to foot entry from Dec. 1 through June 31. Contact the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, Lakeside Ranger District, at 928-368-2100.

Greer Lakes

(Tunnel and River). Depending on the nesting location, portions of the lakes may be closed to watercraft and a portion of the shoreline may be closed to foot entry from March 1 through July 31. Contact the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, Springerville Ranger District, at 928-333-6200.

Horseshoe Lake

Depending on the nesting location, a portion of the lake may be closed from Dec. 1 to June 30. Contact AZGFD at 623-236-7506. 

Lake Pleasant

No vehicle, watercraft or foot entry is allowed into a portion of the Lower Agua Fria Arm from Dec. 15 to June 15. Contact Maricopa County Parks and Recreation at 928-501-1710. 

Luna Lake

Depending on the nesting location, the portion of land to the north or south of Luna Lake may be closed to vehicle and foot traffic from Jan. 1 to June 15. Contact the Apache National Forest, Alpine Ranger District, at 928-339-5000.

Lynx Lake

Depending on the nesting location, a portion of the trail on the lake’s east side is closed to vehicle and foot traffic from Dec. 1 to June 30. Contact the Prescott National Forest, Bradshaw Ranger District, at 928-443-8000.

Show Low Lake

A portion of the lake may be closed to watercraft and a portion of the shoreline may be closed to foot entry from Jan. 1 through July 31. Contact the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, Lakeside Ranger District, at 928-368-2100.

Woods Canyon Lake

A portion of the shoreline is closed to foot entry from March 1 through Aug. 31. Contact the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, Black Mesa Ranger District, at 928-535-7300.

TIPS FOR VISITING EAGLE AREAS

If you are visiting bald eagle country, an advance call to the local land management agency, such as the local U.S. Forest Service district office, or the Arizona Game and Fish Department may help to plan your trip to avoid disturbing bald eagles. By following these simple guidelines, we can all help to ensure that our living wildlife legacy will last for generations to come: 

  • Enjoy bald eagles from outside the closures, which are marked with signs and/or buoys. Watch from a distance using a spotting scope, binoculars or telephoto camera lens. If the eagles are persistently watching you, observation at a greater distance is advised.
  • Anyone approached by a nestwatcher and asked to cease an activity or leave a closed area should comply. A few good places to see bald eagles without disturbing them (during December and January) are at Lake Mary and Mormon Lake near Flagstaff, on the Verde Canyon Train in Clarkdale, or Roosevelt Lake.
  • Bald eagles protecting an active nest will let you know if you are too close. If a bald eagle is vocalizing and circling the area frantically, you are too close and need to leave the area quickly. Bald eagles incubating eggs or brooding small young should never be off the nest for more than 15 minutes.
  • Help from anglers is especially needed. Fishing line and tackle have killed two nestlings and been found in two-thirds of all bald eagle nests in the state. Biologists remove these lethal hazards from nests and/or entangled nestlings every year. Discard any fishing line properly in specially-marked recycling containers or at fishing stores. Also, use fresh line that isn’t old and brittle. Use the correct test line for the fish you are trying to catch. Also, do not cut the line when an undesirable fish is caught and return it to the water with the hook and line attached. 
  • Duck hunters should scout out their hunting area to ensure that bald eagles are not nesting nearby.  

You can help conserve and protect bald eagles and conservation research and recovery efforts by reporting any harassment or shooting of bald eagles. Call the Arizona Game and Fish Operation Game Thief Hotline at 800-352-0700 or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement at 480-967-7900.

AZGFD’s bald eagle management efforts are supported by the Heritage Fund, an initiative passed more than 30 years ago to provide for wildlife education and conservation through Arizona lottery ticket sales. 

Online-only sales to nonresidents begin at 12 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 1 

 

PHOENIX — The recent changes to Arizona statutes and the rules that govern the sale of over-the-counter (OTC) nonpermit-tags for the state’s archery deer hunting opportunity will affect both nonresident and resident hunters. 

Nonresident hunters

These changes include limiting the sale of archery deer nonpermit-tags to nonresident hunters beginning with the 2023 calendar year. The number of archery deer nonpermit-tags available to nonresidents will be set annually at 10% of the average total sales of archery deer nonpermit-tags for the most recent five years, rounding down to the nearest increment of 5.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) will make available 2,890 archery deer  nonpermit-tags for purchase by nonresidents for the 2023 calendar year. After the allotment of 2,890 archery deer nonpermit-tags for nonresidents has been sold, no additional archery deer nonpermit-tags will be made available for nonresidents for the 2023 calendar year.

The archery deer nonpermit-tags for nonresidents will only be sold online — on a first come, first served basis — by visiting OtcArcheryDeer.azgfd.gov beginning at 12 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. The archery deer nonpermit-tags for nonresidents will no longer be sold at third-party license dealers. 

This nonresident restriction does not apply to nonresidents possessing an Arizona Pioneer, Lifetime Hunt, Lifetime Combination, or Lifetime Benefactor license. Nonresidents with one of these licenses will be required to pay the nonresident archery deer nonpermit-tag fee, but they will not count toward the 10% cap. Nonresidents with a Pioneer, Lifetime, or Benefactor license must purchase their archery deer nonpermit-tag from any department office statewide or by mail (mail order form). They will not be available at licensed dealers or online (the online sales option is only available to those nonresident hunters affected by the 10% cap).

Resident hunters 

A resident hunter may purchase an archery deer nonpermit-tag at any third-party license dealer (available mid-November) or any department office statewide, where they are available now. There are no restrictions on the total number of archery deer nonpermit-tags available to Arizona residents.

All hunters

A valid 2023 archery deer nonpermit-tag is required to hunt all open seasons during the 2023 calendar year. These seasons include Jan. 1-31, 2023; Aug. 18-Sept. 7, 2023; and Dec. 8-31, 2023. Check online at www.azgfd.gov/ArcheryDeerReport for open areas; open areas will close when harvest limits are met. Some units have already reached their harvest limit and are closed for the January 2023 season.

Harvest limits now apply to all archery deer hunts in Arizona. Harvest limits apply to hunts between August and January; they will reset each year in August. When the number of deer equaling the archery deer harvest limit for a unit and species has been reported, the unit will close to further archery deer hunting at sundown on the immediate Wednesday. The unit will remain closed until August of the next calendar year. All over-the-counter archery deer hunters are required to report their harvest either online (www.azgfd.gov/ArcheryDeerReport) or by telephone (623-236-7961) within 48 hours of taking their deer.

  • Season dates for over-the-counter, nonpermit-tag archery deer seasons vary by unit and may be: Aug. 19-Sept. 8, 2022; Dec. 9-31, 2022; and/or Jan. 1-31, 2023. Not all units are open for all time frames; hunters should check the status of harvest limits online (www.azgfd.gov/ArcheryDeerReport). The harvest limits have been reached in some units and these units are closed until the August 2023 season. Archery deer hunters are responsible for checking if their desired hunt unit is still open prior to hunting.
  • The bag limit is one deer per calendar year. If a hunter harvests a deer during the over-the-counter archery season, that hunter may not take another deer (archery or general hunts) during that calendar year.
  • A physical inspection is not required of a harvested animal taken during the over-the-counter archery deer season.
  • AZGFD is strictly enforcing all changes, including failure to report a harvest and hunting in a closed unit.

The next public meeting of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission will be Friday, Dec. 2, at the Arizona Game and Fish Department (headquarters), 5000 W. Carefree Highway, in Phoenix.

The meeting begins at 8 a.m.

A complete agenda and more information on viewing the meeting, or speaking to the commission, can be found here or at https://www.azgfd.com/agency/commission/meetingagenda/.

Event set for Dec. 4 in Sonoita  

 

SONOITA, Ariz. — Get ready for a top-notch event that’s all about the popular bird with the topknot.

If you’re a fan of Arizona’s quail, the fifth annual QuailFest is the place to be from 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 4 in Pioneer Hall at the Santa Cruz County Fair and Rodeo Association in Sonoita, Ariz.

The free event, hosted by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Southern Arizona Chapter of Quail Forever, will feature representatives from more than a dozen organizations, including hunting groups, conservation organizations, land management and wildlife management agencies, working dog clubs, birding groups, researchers, and more.

Hamburgers and hotdogs, as well as assorted quail “swag,” will be available for purchase. 

The Santa Cruz County Fair and Rodeo Association is located at 3142 S. Highway 83, Sonoita, AZ, 85637.

As a reminder, the general quail season runs through Feb. 12, 2023. The season for Mearns’ quail, primarily found on oak-grassland or pine-grassland savannas in the southeastern corner of the state, opens Dec. 2.

A valid Arizona hunting license, or combination hunt and fish license, is required for all hunters 10 and older. All youth hunters 10 to 17 can purchase a youth combination license for only $5. Those hunters under 10 must be accompanied by an adult who possesses a valid hunting or combination license. Licenses can be purchased online at www.azgfd.com/license/, or from license dealers statewide.  

Leftovers available for general, youth-only, HAM, archery-only    

 

PHOENIX — Arizona hunters who were unsuccessful in the recent 2023 spring draw still have an opportunity to receive a hunt permit-tag for javelina.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) has posted a list of leftover hunt permit-tags on its website at www.azgfd.com/Hunting/Draw/. A total of 758 leftover hunt permit-tags are available for the following hunts:

  • 394 handgun, archery or muzzleloader (HAM) javelina
  • 217 archery-only javelina
  •   83 general javelina 
  •   51 youth-only general javelina
  •   13 raptor capture

A total of 17 hunt permit-tags for javelina remain for properly licensed military and Fort Huachuca personnel holding a valid Fort Huachuca post hunting permit. Hunt numbers, season dates and/or special regulations must be obtained from Fort Huachuca (Unit 35B).  

Hunters can apply on a first come, first served basis one of two ways: 

  • Beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, Nov. 21, fill out a paper application and bring it to any department office statewide, at which time a hunt permit-tag will be issued.
  • Fill out a paper application and mail it to: Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn.: Draw/First Come, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ  85086. Allow 10 to 15 business days to receive a hunt permit-tag by mail.

For more information, including license and hunt permit-tag requirements, refer to the “2023 Spring Turkey, Javelina, Bison, Bear and Raptor Capture Hunt Draw Information” booklet, or call 602-942-3000.   

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. 

All 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. The department is requesting that hunters call in advance before delivering a head for sampling. 

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 have not detected any cases of CWD in the 500-plus deer (mule and white-tailed) and elk that have been harvested by hunters and voluntarily submitted for testing this fall. Game and Fish has been testing for the presence of the disease in Arizona since 1998. 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 deer or elk develops symptoms of CWD, which can include drastic weight loss (wasting), stumbling, listlessness and other neurological symptoms. CWD can infect deer and elk animals of all ages, although it’s most frequently noticed in older animals. 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 http://cwd-info.org/

 

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s proposed recommendations for 2023 pronghorn, elk, fall turkey, population management hunts, and limited entry seasons, as well as for 2024 spring turkey hunts, are available for review at www.azgfd.gov/huntguidelines

The hunt structures and recommendations were formulated based on the hunt guidelines approved by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.

All questions or comments about a particular game management unit or hunt can be emailed to AZHuntGuidelines@azgfd.gov. The public also is invited to call any of the department’s regional offices statewide and ask to speak with a game management biologist. No formal presentations are planned. 

The proposed hunt recommendations will be presented to the commission for its consideration during a public meeting Dec. 2 at department headquarters (5000 W. Carefree Highway) in Phoenix. The agenda will be posted at www.azgfd.gov/commission

To learn more about the hunt recommendations and hunt guidelines processes, visit www.azgfd.gov/huntguidelines.

“Second” season runs Nov. 18 through Jan. 1 

 

PHOENIX — When it comes to experiencing some of the finest wing-shooting that Arizona has to offer, the “second” dove season — which opens Friday, Nov. 18 — is not to be missed.

While the bigger white-winged doves, prized during the traditional 15-day season in September, have long since migrated to Mexico, the more acrobatic mourning doves remain abundant and widespread. The second season is a long one, lasting a whopping 45 days and running through Jan. 1, 2023. 

There still is a 15-bird daily bag limit, all of which must be mourning doves. The possession limit remains 45 mourning doves after opening day, of which no more than 15 may be taken in any one day. Note: The Arizona Game and Fish Department encourages all hunters to harvest as many Eurasian collared-doves as possible. There is an unlimited daily bag and possession limit year-round for this invasive species. 

A few things to remember to make the most of the upcoming season:

  • A combination hunt and fish license for youth hunters ages 10 to 17 is only $5. Children 9 and under do not need a license when accompanied by a licensed adult (two children per adult). Licenses can be purchased online at www.azgfd.com/License/, or from any license dealer.
  • Hunters 18 and older must possess an Arizona hunting license, or a combination hunt and fish license, and an Arizona migratory bird stamp ($5), all of which can be purchased online or from any license dealer.
  • Shooting hours are 30 minutes before legal sunrise until legal sunset.
  • One fully feathered wing must remain attached to each harvested dove until it reaches its final destination. 
  • Keep in mind that dove hunters are responsible for cleaning up after themselves. Shell casings (shotgun hulls) and associated debris constitute litter and must be picked up and packed out. Littering while hunting or fishing are revocable violations, and a conviction can result in the loss of hunting privileges for up to five years.
  • For everything “dove,” read the “2022-2023 Arizona Dove and Band-tailed Pigeon Regulations.” Also visit www.azgfd.com/hunting/species/smallgame/mourningdove.

Dove hunters play an important role in conservation. Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) funds consist of excise taxes collected on the sale of hunting and fishing equipment (including 11 percent on ammunition), the benefit of which comes right back to Arizona for habitat improvements, shooting ranges, boating access and more.

In addition to the late dove season that opens Friday, several other small game hunting seasons are underway, including quail (Gambel’s, scaled), Oct. 14, 2022-Feb. 12, 2023; cottontail rabbit, July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023; chukar, Sept. 1, 2022-Feb. 12, 2023; and tree squirrel (Abert’s, Kaibab and red, excluding Mount Graham red squirrel), Sept. 30, 2022-Jan. 31, 2023. The season for Mearns’ quail opens Dec. 2, 2022 and closes Feb. 12, 2023.    

 

PHOENIX — Thanking our veterans is something the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) does every day, not just on Veterans Day.

AZGFD reminds all veterans that they may qualify for license discounts, including a special benefit for Arizona veterans who have received the Purple Heart medal. Effective Sept. 26, 2022, a Purple Heart recipient who has been a state resident for at least one full year is eligible to purchase a state combination hunt and fish license for 50 percent off the standard price.  

“The Arizona Game and Fish Department and Commission have a long history of honoring our veterans, this is another way we continue to thank them for their service,” said Ty Gray, director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. 

“Thanks to Governor Ducey and the Arizona Legislature for the opportunity to offer this to the brave men and women who have served our country, and value the role our veterans play in wildlife conservation.”

A Purple Heart recipient is required to complete an application and provide proof to the department that the person is a bona fide Purple Heart medal recipient and has been a domiciled resident of Arizona for one or more years immediately before applying for the license. Note: This benefit is not available for nonresidents. 

For more information, visit https://www.azgfd.com/license/. To locate the nearest AZGFD office, visit https://www.azgfd.com/Agency/Offices/.

AZGFD also offers a complimentary license for disabled veterans. A person must show certification from the Veterans Administration confirming permanent service-connected disabilities rated as 100 percent disabling, plus one or more consecutive years as a bona fide Arizona resident immediately preceding application for license. 

In addition, disabled veterans can apply for a reduced-fee license. For more information, visit https://www.azgfd.com/license/.  

Pleasant Harbor July_Sept 2016