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AZGFD invites hunters to take Arizona Small Game Challenge

Posted August 30, 2018

Proceeds will be matched by Quail Forever, Valley of the Sun Chapter, for habitat


PHOENIX — Up for a challenge?

The Arizona Game and Fish Department still is accepting registration for hunters to participate in the Arizona Small Game Challenge, a new concept created in partnership with the Valley of the Sun Chapter of Quail Forever that highlights the state’s abundance of small game hunting opportunities.

“With the start of the general hunting seasons right around the corner, this is a great time — and a fun way — for all hunters to get out and experience the rewards associated with small game hunting while enjoying the vast beauty of this state,” said Wade Zarlingo, the department’s small game program manager.  

“In the process, every $25 registration will be matched, dollar for dollar, by the Valley of the Sun Chapter of Quail Forever to benefit small game species through habitat improvements such as grassland restoration, planting crops for wildlife and water source development.”

What it is

The Arizona Small Game Challenge is comprised of four individual challenges:

Desert (harvest five of seven): mourning dove, white-winged dove, Eurasian collared-dove, cottontail rabbit, Gambel’s quail, Mearns’ quail, scaled quail.

Mountain (harvest five of seven): Dusky (blue) grouse, chukar, band-tailed pigeon, cottontail rabbit, tree squirrel (Kaibab, Red, Abert’s).

Native Quail: Gambel’s quail, Mearns’ quail, scaled quail.

Upland Bird: Dusky (blue) grouse, chukar, Gambel’s quail, Mearns’ quail, scaled quail.    

A logical progression toward completing all four individual challenges might be to start with the Desert Challenge. A hunter only needs five of seven desert species to complete the challenge, and three of those species are doves — mourning, white-winged and Eurasian collared. With the start of the dove season Saturday (Sept. 1), hunters can take a big step toward finishing off that first challenge.

How it works

The first step is to register at The registration fee is $25 per challenge (a hunter is eligible for only one challenge per year). Then go hunting in accordance with all legal requirements, including season dates.

Be sure to take a time-stamped photograph of each species harvested for a particular challenge, then visit the website and fill out the verification form to certify the completion of that challenge. All photographs and the completed verification form should be emailed to:, or mailed to: Arizona Game and Fish Department, Small Game Program Manager, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ, 85086. Photographs will not be returned.


A hunter who completes his or her first challenge will receive a plaque that includes an engraving plate to mark the achievement. The plaque comes with space for additional engraving plates as a hunter completes one of the remaining challenges each hunting season.

General rules

General season dates

Dove: Sept. 1-Sept. 15, 2018 (mourning, white-winged, Eurasian collared), Nov. 23, 2018-Jan. 6, 2019 (mourning, Eurasian collared), Sept. 1, 2018-Aug. 31, 2019 (Eurasian collared).

Quail: Oct. 19, 2018-Feb. 10, 2019 (Gambel’s, scaled); Dec. 7, 2018-Feb. 10, 2019 (Mearns’).

Cottontail rabbit: July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019.

Dusky (blue) grouse: Sept. 1-Nov. 11, 2018.

Chukar: Sept. 1, 2018-Feb. 10, 2019.

Band-tailed pigeon: Oct. 5-18, 2018.

Tree squirrel: Oct. 5-Dec. 31, 2018 (Abert’s, Kaibab, Red).

Need a license? Then consider buying more than just an individual hunting license. Go online and purchase a combo hunt and fish license that will be valid for the next 365 days – and for only $20 more (for state residents) than the price of an individual hunting or fishing license. Visit to get a combo hunt and fish license today. As a reminder, a youth combo hunt and fish license (ages 10 to 17) remains $5.