July 31: Deadline to comment on proposed paperless hunt permit-tag, licensing system

 

PHOENIX — Time is running out to provide comment on a notice of proposed rulemaking within Articles 1 and 3 for the purposes of modernizing the big game hunt permit-tag, and hunt and fish licensing system.

The new system will provide customers with added flexibility following the purchase of a license or hunt permit-tag. An app on their own electronic device will enable customers to view their licenses and hunt permit-tags, allow them to electronically “tag” their harvested animal, and complete their harvest questionnaire. Hunters would still have the ability to receive a paper hunt permit-tag, if preferred. 

The public comment period runs through Saturday, July 31. Comments are being accepted by:

  • Email: rulemaking@azgfd.gov or ccook@azgfd.gov.
  • U.S. Mail: Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn.: Celeste Cook, Rules and Policy Manager, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ  85086.
  • Telephone: Celeste Cook, Rules and Policy Manager, 623-236-7390.

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission will consider the final rulemaking at its public meeting Sept. 24. To track the progress of this rule, view the regulatory agenda and all previous five-year review reports, and to learn about any other agency rulemaking matters, visit www.azgfd.com/agency/rulemaking/.

 

PHOENIX — Stocking live, healthy fish for anglers to enjoy can be challenging, but the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is up to the task, even in this time of widespread drought.  

While AZGFD places a high priority on meeting its stocking schedule found on the department’s website (azgfd.com/fishing/stockschedule), all scheduled stockings are subject to change based on weather, water quality, or road conditions.

With warmer water temperatures and lower water levels affecting many of the state’s lakes and streams, changes to the stocking schedule may become more frequent. To that point, AZGFD has begun a renewed effort to inform anglers about these changes on a weekly basis, hopefully before they head to their favorite fishing places.  

As of Thursday (July 22), Haigler Creek upstream from the crossing (where temperatures were 69-70 degrees in the upper holes) was stocked. No trout were stocked below the crossing, where temperatures measured 74 degrees. 

AZGFD also stocked Christopher Creek at R-C Scout Camp and See Canyon, where temperatures measured 68 degrees at both locations. The campground at Christopher Creek was not stocked due to warm water temperatures (73-74 degrees). The portion of Tonto Creek at Kohls Ranch did not receive any trout due to warm water temperatures (72-73 degrees).

Public encouraged to submit comments through Sept. 1

  

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is initiating the review of the five-year game management hunt guidelines that provide the biological and social parameters used by wildlife biologists to formulate the annual hunt recommendations — season structures, season lengths, season dates, permits allocated, etc. These recommendations result in the annual hunts in which all licensed hunters may participate. 

The public is encouraged to review the existing hunt guidelines (www.azgfd.gov/huntguidelines) and then offer feedback on how to improve them so AZGFD can continue the sustainable management of the state’s game animals. While acknowledging that hunting opportunity is important, and that wildlife is held in the public trust, wildlife biologists also concur that using science-based principles to shape the hunt guidelines process remains paramount to ensure healthy, sustainable and diverse wildlife populations in perpetuity.

“All of us are passionate about wildlife,” said Amber Munig, AZGFD’s big game management supervisor. “There will be a lot of varying views that must be considered and balanced to create the guidelines for setting hunting opportunities in Arizona.

“We are seeking your ideas, comments, concerns and observations on how to meet the many demands by our varied hunting public, as well as fostering new opportunities for continuing our hunting heritage for future generations.” 

Comments on the existing hunt guidelines may be submitted through Sept. 1 by email to AZHuntGuidelines@azgfd.gov, or by mail addressed to: Hunt Guidelines, Arizona Game and Fish Department, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086.

After initial comments are received, reviewed and processed, the department will:

  • Host several webcasts or public meetings in late October-November on the draft revisions, answer questions and collect any further public input
  • Present proposed hunt guidelines to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission on Dec. 10-11.  
  • Open a 30-day public comment period Jan. 1-30, 2022.
  • The final proposed hunt guidelines will then be prepared and posted on the department’s website prior to being presented to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission in April 2022.

For more information about the hunt guidelines process, as well as to review the existing hunt guidelines, visit www.azgfd.gov/huntguidelines.

 

PHOENIX — Stocking live, healthy fish for anglers to enjoy can be challenging, but the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is up to the task, even in this time of widespread drought.  

While AZGFD places a high priority on meeting its stocking schedule found on the department’s website (azgfd.com/fishing/stockschedule), all scheduled stockings are subject to change based on weather, water quality, or road conditions.

With warmer water temperatures and lower water levels affecting many of the state’s lakes and streams, changes to the stocking schedule may become more frequent. To that point, AZGFD will begin a renewed effort to inform anglers about these changes on a weekly basis, hopefully before they head to their favorite fishing places.  

As of Thursday (July 15), no stocking took place at either the East Verde River or Haigler Creek due to poor water quality. Both streams recorded temperatures that were above 76 degrees when hatchery trucks arrived this week. On Christopher Creek, stocking only took place at the See Canyon trailhead location. The water at the Christopher Creek campground location is too warm to stock. 

The water quality at Tonto and Canyon creeks remains good, and stocking is continuing at both locations. Additionally, Tonto Creek is now receiving 500 trout per week instead of the usual 350, providing additional opportunity for anglers. 

Meanwhile, stockings have been halted at Fool Hollow Lake in Show Low due to high pH readings.

 

Constituents can submit questions, comments online from 6-7 p.m.  

 

PHOENIX — In an ongoing effort to better serve its constituents, the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) will host a webcast to provide an update on the tag modernization process and to gather public input. 

Those who access the webinar from 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, July 20, will be able to submit questions, comments or concerns about the tag modernization process. Flagstaff regional supervisor Larry Phoenix, and Luke Thompson, the department’s habitat, evaluation and lands branch chief, will open the online discussion with a short presentation and address input and questions as they relate to AZGFD’s tag modernization process.  

The webcast can be viewed by clicking here. Participants can submit questions through the webcast chat. Those who cannot attend the webcast can email questions to tagmodernization@azgfd.gov

AZGFD is committed to improving the customer experience related to tagging a harvested animal, obtaining hunt permit-tags, licenses, and reporting after a hunt. Modernizing AZGFD’s  tag system provides value to customers, supports the ability of officers to enforce laws, and ultimately improves the quality of hunt data from which our biologists make recommendations and the AZGFD commission makes decisions.

AZGFD is accepting comments related to the tag modernization rule making process through July 31, 2021. Comments can be submitted by emailing them to rulemaking@azgfd.gov

AZGFD continues to seek feedback on how to best meet the demands of the hunting public, while finding ways to develop new opportunities that help pass along the hunting heritage to future generations. 

 

 

Crime was committed in Game Management Unit 39  

  

BUCKEYE, Ariz. — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is seeking information about the recent poaching of a mature desert bighorn sheep ram in Game Management Unit 39 in the Buckeye Hills at Gillespie Dam, south of Buckeye. 

The incident took place in the evening of July 10. AZGFD officials have reason to believe a group of five Asian males seen leaving the scene at approximately 8:30 p.m. in a gray sedan and a black sport utility vehicle may be involved in this incident.   

“We rely heavily on the assistance of the public in coming forward with information, and we are hopeful that a tip could lead us to those responsible for this heinous criminal act,” said Ryan Randall, wildlife manager. “This is a horrible waste of the state’s most precious resource, its wildlife.” 

Anyone with information about this case can call the AZGFD’s Operation Game Thief hotline at 800-352-0700 and refer to case #21-002114. 

Callers can remain anonymous upon request and may be eligible for a reward up to $1,500 for information that leads to an arrest in this case through the Operation Game Thief program. The Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society is offering an additional reward of $1,000 for information that leads to a conviction.    

 

Paper applications will be accepted by mail beginning July 26  

 

PHOENIX — Arizona hunters will have an opportunity to receive a permit-tag for select 2021 fall hunts. 

There are 89 leftover permit-tags available for general deer hunts, with most of those hunts being for antlered white-tailed deer only in Game Management Units (GMUs) in the southeastern portion of the state. 

There also are leftover permit-tags for muzzleloader deer (237), fall turkey (88), youth-only general deer (25), youth-only muzzleloader deer (1) and youth-only javelina (22) hunts. 

For a complete list of leftover hunt permit-tags, as well as a printable paper application, visit https://www.azgfd.com/Hunting/Draw/. Paper applications also can be found at more than 200 license dealers statewide (call in advance for availability).  

The Arizona Game and Fish Department will accept paper applications for leftover hunt permit-tags — by mail only — beginning July 26. All completed paper applications must be addressed to: Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn.: Draw/First Come, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ  85086. There is no “mini” draw. Allow 10 to 15 business days to receive a hunt permit-tag by mail.

Any remaining leftover hunt permit-tags will go on sale on a “first come, first served” basis beginning Aug. 2. 

For more information, including license and hunt permit-tag requirements, refer to the “2021-2022 Arizona Hunting Regulations,” or call 602-942-3000.     

Hunters can check portal account, or by phone 

 

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) has completed its random draw for 2021 fall hunts.  

The results are now available for those who have a free AZGFD portal account, or by calling the department at 602-942-3000, pressing “2” and following the prompts. Be prepared to provide a Social Security or Department ID number, and date of birth. This service is free. 

To open a portal account, visit accounts.azgfd.com/Account/Register and complete the required fields. A portal account allows customers to create a secure account where they can view and manage their contact information, as well as their licenses, draw results history and bonus points in their personal “My AZGFD Dashboard” section. For questions about creating a portal account, call the department at 602-942-3000 and press “7.”                                                      

By the numbers:

  • 50,258: The total number of hunt permit-tags issued.
  • 191,182: The total number of those who applied for hunts or bonus points.
  • 148,409: The total number of applications submitted.

All hunt permit-tags are expected to be mailed by Aug. 9.   

 

PHOENIX — A pair of Arizona Game and Fish Commission-owned shooting ranges will resume operations this week following recent rains that have led to the reopening of some of the state’s national forests.

The Northern Arizona Shooting Range will open at 8 a.m. Friday. The range, located about 20 miles east of Flagstaff, has been closed since June 23 after fire danger, dry conditions and wildfire activity forced a full closure of the Coconino National Forest.

With the reopening of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, the Second Knoll Target Range, located about six miles east of Show Low, will resume operations at 9 a.m. Saturday. The range has been closed since June 24. 

PHOENIX — The Ben Avery Shooting Facility (BASF) has announced it will be making some changes to accommodate more recreational shooting customers on its rifle and pistol ranges effective Wednesday, July 7. 

  • Almost all shooting tables will be available by online reservation. BASF no longer will be limiting customers to every other shooting table.
  • Up to four customers will be allowed at each shooting table. The previous limit was two customers per shooting table.
  • An online reservation for the main range must be made no later than 2 p.m. to ensure a shooting opportunity for the following day. For example, if a customer is planning to shoot Wednesday, a shooting time for that day (if available) must be reserved by 2 p.m. Tuesday.
  • The fee to shoot on the main range is being reduced by 50 cents, to $7 per shooter. The reduced price does not include targets, however. Targets, and eye and hearing protection, can be purchased in the shooting store. All customers are encouraged to arrive at the facility 30 minutes prior to their scheduled starting time to purchase or rent any necessary equipment.     

In addition, BASF will begin to accept walk-in customers again, based on availability. BASF still encourages all customers to utilize the online reservation system at bookben.azgfd.com/.

“The reservation system has been extremely popular, with many customers appreciating the certainty that if they make a reservation for 9 a.m. on a Saturday that they won’t have to wait to get their shooting table and get started,” said Christopher Dean, range manager.

“Of course, some customers miss the ability to shoot all day, and we are working toward accommodating them. In the meantime, we wanted to get the shooting tables opened for families and others to enjoy recreating at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility.”

For more information about BASF, visit www.azgfd.com/Shooting/BASF or call 623-582-8313. 

Pleasant Harbor July_Sept 2016