More than 100 captive desert tortoises need forever homes

Prepare now to welcome home new pet 

 

PHOENIX — For some, a dog or cat will do just fine. But for others who are considering adopting something truly unique to Arizona, say hello to your next family member: 

A Sonoran desert tortoise.

“Many people don’t even consider opening up their homes to desert tortoises, but they make fantastic and personable pets,” said Tegan Wolf, desert tortoise adoption program coordinator for the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD). 

“It’s rewarding to hear stories from those who have adopted a captive tortoise and made them part of the family, because they’re a unique alternative to traditional family pets. They offer many of the same life lessons to children, and they can provide just as much companionship and personality as a dog or cat.”

Due primarily to illegal breeding, AZGFD has more than 100 tortoises of various ages and sizes available for adoption. Captive tortoises grow up to about 14 inches long and can live upward of 100 years. They cannot be released back into the wild, however, because they could spread diseases that harm wild populations. 

Arizona residents interested in providing an adoptive home should review the Tortoise Adoption Program page on the department’s website. How to properly care for a desert tortoise, including instructions on how to build an enclosure/burrow, also are included. 

AZGFD staff will also hold a free virtual tortoise adoption information session via Zoom at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 10, for anyone interested in adopting.

Once the burrow is completed, potential adopters can submit an online application at www.azgfd.gov/tortoise. All applications will be reviewed, and applicants will be contacted by the department.  Adopters must have a securely enclosed yard and construct a separate enclosure/burrow to protect the tortoise from potential hazards, such as a fire pit, unfenced pool or dogs. 

The enclosed area must include an appropriate shelter for the tortoise to escape Arizona’s extreme summer heat and a place to brumate — a seasonal period of inactivity similar to hibernation — during winter. 

AZGFD allows for one tortoise to be adopted per person, per household, but an additional tortoise of the same sex can be adopted if it is placed in a completely separate enclosure, as these reptiles can be territorial. Federal law prohibits desert tortoises from being transported across state lines. 

While it is illegal to remove Sonoran desert tortoises from the wild, it’s also illegal to allow them to breed in captivity. AZGFD and its partners must spend valuable resources and time each year to find homes for dozens of captive tortoises. 

“One female tortoise living to 80 years old can produce more than 800 babies in her lifetime,” Wolf said. “This is why it is crucial that we work together to ensure that tortoises are not only placed in proper homes, but with responsible owners.”

For more information about AZGFD’s Tortoise Adoption Program, or to provide a donation to help the department cover costs for tortoise food, shelter and medical expenses, visit www.azgfd.gov/tortoise. Or listen to the Wild About Arizona episode on desert tortoise adoption, the official podcast of AZGFD. 

If you suspect someone is illegally breeding Sonoran desert tortoises, contact the department’s Operation Game Thief hotline at 800-352-0700. Those submitting a tip can remain anonymous. 

 

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) reminds hunters that the processing of draw applications for 2021 elk and pronghorn hunt permit-tags is underway. The deadline to submit applications was Feb. 9.

AZGFD continues to validate a record 170,000 applications, an increase of almost 18,000 over last year. As a reminder, a customer’s receipt is verification that their application was received by the department. There is no need to contact the department if a customer cannot view data (such as submitted applications, bonus points, license purchases) in their personal portal account at this time. 

AZGFD expects to resolve this inconvenience once the draw has been completed and hunt permit-tags are issued. In the meantime, the department appreciates the continued support and patience of its valued customers. 

There also is no need to contact the department about draw results. AZGFD will post an announcement on its website and social media channels when draw results are available. All hunt permit-tags will be mailed by April 2. 

 

Applicants also can purchase PointGuard to protect bonus points 

 

PHOENIX — Time is running out for hunters who applied for 2021 elk and pronghorn hunt permit-tags to update their credit card or debit card account information, as well as purchase PointGuard to protect their bonus points.

The deadline is 11:59 p.m. (Arizona time) Thursday, Feb. 25.

Applicants are responsible for keeping their account information current. If payment is declined at the time of the draw, the application will not be drawn. The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) no longer calls customers to obtain payment on drawn applications if their credit card or debit card has been declined. Also, if a credit card or debit card has been used to pay for more than one application, the applicant is responsible for notifying their financial institution that multiple charges could be simultaneously processed from AZGFD.  

No action is needed if the credit card or debit card used at the time of application is still in good standing. Otherwise, applicants who have been issued a new credit card or debit card, a new expiration date, or had a change to their card’s number should visit draw.azgfd.gov/. Scroll down the page, select “Update Credit Card” and follow the prompts. Note: It is important to update payment information for each species for which an online application has been submitted. 

Applicants also can purchase PointGuard through 11:59 p.m. (Arizona time) Thursday, Feb. 25. While a free AZGFD portal account is not needed to purchase PointGuard, draw results will be posted to portal accounts. It’s quick and easy to create a portal account — just visit accounts.azgfd.com/Account/Register and complete the required fields.  

IMPORTANT: AZGFD continues to validate more than 150,000 applications. As a reminder, a customer’s receipt is verification that their application was received by the department. There is no need to contact the department if a customer cannot view data (such as submitted applications, bonus points, license purchases) in their personal portal account at this time. 

AZGFD expects to resolve this inconvenience once the draw has been completed and hunt permit-tags are issued. In the meantime, the department appreciates the continued support and patience of its valued customers. 

 

PHOENIX — The next meeting of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission will be Friday, Feb. 19, in the Willcox City Council chambers, 300 W. Rex Allen Drive, in Willcox, Ariz. 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/.

Note: New commission member Clay Hernandez, who was confirmed Feb. 2 by the Arizona Senate, will be seated for his first commission meeting.

AZGFD to provide after-hours assistance tonight, Tuesday 

 

PHOENIX — Less than 24 hours remain to apply for a 2021 elk or pronghorn hunt permit-tag issued through the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s (AZGFD) random draw.

Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. (Arizona time) Tuesday, Feb. 9. To apply, visit www.azgfd.gov/hunting/draw and click on “Apply for the Draw.” NOTE: It is not necessary to access your AZGFD portal account to apply for a hunt. 

All applicants, including youth (ages 10-17), must have a valid Arizona hunting or combination hunt and fish license to apply for a hunt. That license must be valid through deadline day, Feb. 9. Visit www.azgfd.com/license/, click on “Buy a License Online,” then click on “Purchase a License,” then use the “Continue as a Guest” option. NOTE: To be able to continue as a guest, be sure to click on the “accept” button to enable cookies. 

Before starting the application, have the following information available: 

  • Department ID number or Portal Customer ID number. This is a must to submit an application. The ID number is located on a hunting or combination hunt and fish license if purchased online. Customer service representatives also can provide assistance by calling 602-942-3000 or by emailing customer@azgfd.gov
  • Where you want to hunt. It’s important to have your four-digit hunt number(s) pre-determined (not game management units).  

AZGFD is available to assist with the application process. Customer service representatives can be reached between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. by calling 602-942-3000. NOTE: Customer service representatives also will be available to provide after-hours assistance — by telephone only — from 5 to 10 p.m. tonight (Monday) and from 5 to 11:59 p.m. Tuesday (deadline day).

For an overview of the application service, including license requirements, applying for bonus points and payment information, see Page 8 of the “2021 Pronghorn and Elk Hunt Draw Information” booklet. Printed booklets are available at all license dealers statewide. 

PHOENIX — The deadline is only days away to submit applications to hunt elk and pronghorn in 2021.

Applications must be received by the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) by 11:59 p.m. (Arizona time) Tuesday, Feb. 9. To apply, visit www.azgfd.gov/hunting/draw and click on “Apply for the Draw.” It is not necessary to access your AZGFD portal account to apply for a hunt. 

All applicants, including youth (ages 10-17), must have a valid Arizona hunting or combination hunt and fish license to apply for a hunt. That license must be valid through deadline day, Feb. 9. Visit https://license.azgfd.com/, click on “Purchase a License,” and then use the “Continue as a Guest” option. NOTE: To be able to continue as a guest, be sure to click on the “accept” button to enable cookies. 

Before starting the application, have the following information available: 

  • Department ID number or Portal Customer ID number. This is a must to submit an application. The ID number is located on a hunting or combination hunt and fish license, if purchased online. Customer service representatives also can provide assistance by calling 602-942-3000 or by emailing customer@azgfd.gov
  • Know where you want to hunt. It’s important to have your four-digit hunt number(s) pre-determined (not game management units).  

For an overview of the application service, including license requirements, applying for bonus points and payment information, see Page 8 of the “2021 Pronghorn and Elk Hunt Draw Information” booklet. Printed booklets are available at all license dealers statewide. 

PHOENIX — Arizona hunters have one more weekend to get out in the field and pursue the state’s three main species of quail  — Gambel’s, scaled and Mearns’. 

The season ends Sunday, Feb. 7. The general bag limit is 15 quail per day in the aggregate, of which no more than eight may be Mearns’ quail. The general possession limit is 45 quail in the aggregate, of which no more than 15 Gambel’s, scaled or California quail in the aggregate may be taken in any one day. The 45-quail possession limit may include 24 Mearns’ quail, of which no more than eight may be taken in any one day.

A valid Arizona hunting or combination 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.  

All 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.

Before heading out, watch this short video showing two methods Arizona Game and Fish Department biologist Johnathan O’Dell uses to field-dress quail. For more information about hunting quail in Arizona, visit www.azgfd.com/hunting/species/smallgame/quail/

 Deadline is 11:59 p.m. (Arizona time) Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021   

 

PHOENIX  — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is accepting applications for 2021 hunt permit-tags issued through the draw process for pronghorn and elk.   

To apply, visit www.azgfd.gov and click on “Apply for a Draw.” For an overview of the application service, including license requirements, applying for bonus points and payment information, see Page 8 of the “2021 Pronghorn and Elk Hunt Draw Information” booklet. Printed booklets soon will be available at all license dealers statewide.

The deadline for the department to receive all applications is 11:59 p.m. (Arizona time) Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.

All applicants are encouraged to purchase PointGuard, which allows hunters to surrender their hunt permit-tag(s) for any reason without losing their bonus points. An applicant does not need an AZGFD portal account to apply for the draw or to purchase PointGuard. Information: www.azgfd.gov/pointguard.

NOTE: As a result of the high volume of draw applications received by the department, the ability for customers to view data in their personal portal accounts — such as bonus points, license purchases and submitted applications — may be slightly delayed. AZGFD is aware of this inconvenience and is working toward a solution. The continued support and patience of all customers is appreciated at this time. 

Hunters need to make most of remaining opportunities  

 

PHOENIX — There’s still time for Arizona hunters to take aim at some of the best wing-shooting opportunities the state has to offer — but the clock is ticking. 

Dove

Unlike the 15-day season that begins Sept. 1, the late season lasts 45 days and runs through legal sunset Sunday, Jan. 3. There still is a 15-bird daily bag limit, all of which must be mourning doves. The possession limit remains 45 mourning doves, of which no more than 15 may be taken in any one day. As always, there is an unlimited daily bag and possession limit for the invasive Eurasian collared-dove. 

Waterfowl

The general season in the “Mountain Zone” (Game Management Units 1-5, 7, 9, 11M, 12A, and those portions of Units 6 and 8 within Coconino County) runs through Sunday, Jan. 10. The general season in the “Desert Zone” (Game Management Units 10 and 12B through 46B, and those portions of Units 6 and 8 within Yavapai County) runs through Sunday, Jan. 31. Ducks, including mergansers, coots and common moorhens (gallinules); white geese (snow, blue and Ross’); and dark geese (Canada, cackling, Brant and white-fronted) are legal wildlife in both zones. Scaup can be harvested in the Mountain Zone through Sunday, Jan. 10, and in the Desert Zone through Sunday, Jan. 31.

Quail

Circle Sunday, Feb. 7, on the calendar. That’s when the season ends for the state’s three main species — Gambel’s, scaled and Mearns’. The general bag limit is 15 quail per day in the aggregate, of which no more than eight may be Mearns’ quail. The general possession limit is 45 quail in the aggregate, of which no more than 15 Gambel’s, scaled or California quail in the aggregate may be taken in any one day. The 45-quail possession limit may include 24 Mearns’ quail, of which no more than eight may be taken in any one day. 

As a reminder, all hunters 10 and older must possess a valid Arizona hunting or combination license. Those 18 and older also must possess an Arizona Migratory Bird Stamp ($5) to hunt dove or waterfowl. Also, hunters 16 and older must possess a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp to hunt waterfowl. Licenses and state migratory bird stamps can be purchased on the department’s website at https://www.azgfd.com/License/

All 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.

For more information about hunting in Arizona, visit https://www.azgfd.com/Hunting/

 

PHOENIX —  Arizona is home to 128 lakes and five major rivers. With cooler weather comes some unique opportunities for anglers who are looking to cast a line during the winter months.

“Arizona has some of the best fishing, from the Colorado River to the White Mountains and everywhere in between,” said Andy Clark, statewide sportfish program supervisor for the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD). “Winter months in our state make Arizona a whole new destination for anglers.” 

AZGFD has identified the best locations for anglers this winter:

Colorado River below Davis Dam 

This portion of the lower Colorado River in Bullhead City offers some of the best rainbow trout fishing in Arizona, as well as a chance to catch some hearty striped bass. Trout stockings, which resumed in the fall, will continue through March. Anglers have some of the best luck catching trout on mealworms, nightcrawlers and PowerBait.  

Lower Salt River 

The Lower Salt River allows anglers to fish for trout in the desert, a rare opportunity so close to the Phoenix metro area. The river is stocked with trout throughout the winter months, offering excellent shoreline fishing. Anglers have some of the best luck with nightcrawlers, small spinners, Kastmasters and flies. Bass and sunfish also can be caught in some of the deeper holes. 

Dead Horse Ranch State Park lagoons 

Just outside of Cottonwood in north-central Arizona, Dead Horse Lake offers some of the best catch rates for rainbow trout and is stocked throughout the winter months. Anglers have some of the best luck on a variety of PowerBait colors, homemade dough baits and spinners. Fly fishermen also report great success. 

Alamo Lake  

Largemouth bass at Alamo are less active in the winter; however, the lake is known for some of the best crappie fishing in the state during the winter months. Minnows work well for crappie, along with crappie tubes, spoons and jigs for the more experienced angler. Remember, use light line and lightweight spinning tackle to maximize the enjoyment of catching these scrappy fighters.  

Lake Havasu 

Consistently ranked as one of the top bass fishing destinations in the nation, Lake Havasu offers anglers great opportunities to catch both largemouth and smallmouth bass. In the fall, tournament anglers caught several bass, with the largest weighing in at 5.65 pounds. Havasu is also home to some monster redear sunfish, including the world-record 5.8-pound redear that was taken from the lake in February 2014.   

Patagonia Lake 

Anglers often catch crappie, bass, bluegill, catfish and especially trout this time of year. Patagonia is considered a hidden treasure of southeastern Arizona, about an hour and a half south of Tucson. The lake was just stocked with trout in early December. Anglers have some of the best luck with nightcrawlers and a variety of PowerBait colors and spinners. 

To buy a fishing license, visit www.azgfd.com/License

An Arizona fishing license is good for 365 days from the date of purchase and helps to conserve and protect wildlife in Arizona for current and future generations. To learn more about fishing in Arizona, including the latest fishing report, forecast, regulations and stocking schedule, visit www.azgfd.com/fishing

Pleasant Harbor July_Sept 2016