Arizona Bighorn Sheep Deadline June 22

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The deadline for the draw to participate in the Arizona Game and Fish Department's popular Bighorn Sheep Workshops is quickly approaching.

The deadline for the draw is June 22.

These workshops offer wildlife enthusiasts an opportunity to learn about the sure-footed desert bighorn sheep and view them in their native habitat. The two-day workshops will be held July 31-Aug. 1 and Aug. 7-8.

The workshops are open to any member of the public 14-years-old and up. Nobody under 14 will be registered. Space, however, is limited to 40 people per session. Preference will be given to those who have not attended the workshop in the last two years.

The first day of each workshop involves mandatory classroom education from 6-8 p.m. at the Kingman Game and Fish office, followed the next day by a field trip on the Colorado River from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The sheep-viewing boat trip will depart from Willow Beach.

Participants will be selected through a draw process. Applications received on or before June 22 will be drawn at random. Following the draw, all applicants are contacted by mail or e-mail.

"If you like wildlife, you don't want to miss this opportunity," said Zen Mocarski, information and education program manager for the Game and Fish Kingman office. "You can't begin to appreciate these animals until you've seen them in the wild. Of course that aspect depends on the cooperation of the bighorns, but we've never been shut out."

The workshops include an optional tour of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery prior to the Colorado River field trip. The 45-minute tour will begin at 9 a.m. and will feature both sport fish and endangered native fish.

To reserve a spot, a $20 per person refundable deposit is required in the form of a check made out to the Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation to help reduce the problem of no-shows. The money is refunded when a person either attends the workshop or calls to cancel at least 48 hours in advance. Wildlife for Tomorrow is a non-profit group that works closely with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Registration is by mail only. Send the check to: Sheep Workshop, Arizona Game and Fish Department, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road, Kingman, AZ 86409. Include the names of participants, address, phone, e-mail (if available) and specify which weekend, if either, is preferred. Also, please include a note if you are interested in the tour of the fish hatchery.

Cash donations, which are not mandatory to participate, will be accepted at the workshop to help offset increasing costs for boat rentals and fuel. Please do not send cash donations prior to the event.

Participants are encouraged to bring a camera, water, snacks, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. No tripods will be allowed on the boats, but small coolers are okay.

"It will be hot on the river," Mocarski advised, "but that's when bighorn come down for a drink. There is limited shade on the boats, but the temperatures will be in the triple digits."

Anyone with questions about the workshop may contact Mocarski at (928) 692-7700, ext. 2301, or e-mail zmocarski@azgfd.gov.