Arizona GFC Approves Fall Big Game Hunts

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The Arizona Game and Fish Commission approved the fall big game hunts for deer, turkey, javelina, bighorn sheep, buffalo, bear and mountain lion on Saturday, April 21.

Hunters can start applying for the permitted fall big game hunts once the 2007-2008 Hunting and Trapping Regulation booklet is posted on the department's Web site at azgfd.gov/draw by the first week of May.

License dealers in the state should have the printed regulation booklets by the third week of May. The online hunt application process is available but hunters can still choose to submit a paper application if they desire.

The hunt application deadline is June 12 at 7 p.m., (MST). Postmarks do not count.

However, those applying via the paper hunt permit-tag application form have a grace period; if a submitted paper application contains an error and is received by May 30, the department will make three attempts within a 24-hour period to notify the applicant by telephone, if indeed a telephone number is provided on the application.

The online application process allows hunters the assurance of entering a correct and complete application when submission occurs.

Don't forget that the small game seasons were set by the commission last year for a two-year period. However, the commission did make a slight modification to the season for blue grouse due to a planned grouse transplant effort.

Hunters this year will see a slight increase in deer permits and a continuation of fall javelina seasons.

Something new for the fall is juniors-only archery and muzzleloader javelina hunts in Unit 39. The commission also set a 400-permit juniors-only antlerless hunt in Unit 12A on the North Kaibab.

Although an early archery deer starting on Aug. 31 had been proposed for this upcoming fall season, the commission opted to move that season a week earlier to start on Aug. 24, thus preventing an overlap with early archery elk season that was previously set by the commission in December 2006.

Keep in mind that this is the first year for an early draw on elk and antelope. The draw has already taken place for those two species. Now hunters already know whether or not they have been drawn for those two species prior to applying for other fall hunts. It's anticipated that the next draw deadline for pronghorn antelope and elk hunts will be Feb. 12, 2008.

Public input sought on Game and Fish operational plans Eight informational meetings to be held statewide in May

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is seeking public comment on draft plans that will guide how the agency manages wildlife, outdoor recreational opportunities and its own detailed operations for the next two years.

Eight public meetings will be held around the state the first two weeks in May to provide an overview of the plans and to accept comments.

The draft operational plans identifies the approaches the department will take to implement key management programs including game, nongame, sportfish, off-highway vehicle, watercraft and business administration as well as support functions such as public information and education, law enforcement, shooting sports, habitat, research, and watchable wildlife. The department develops new operational plans every two years.

"Public input is important in helping us develop and finalize these plans," says Bob Broscheid, the department's assistant director for wildlife management. "Everyone has a stake in the continued health of our state's wildlife populations and in future recreational opportunities. It's important to make your viewpoint known."

The operational plans are the middle tier in a three part planning process for the department, bridging the department's six year visionary strategic plan, Wildlife 2012, with annual work unit implementation plans that include information on what work will be accomplished.

The draft documents are posted for review on the department’s Web site at azgfd.gov along with Wildlife 2012, the strategic plan that went into effect in January.

The public meetings will include a presentation on the planning process, an overview of operational plan highlights and public comments will be accepted. The meetings will be held from 6-8 p.m. on the following dates:

  • * Tuesday, May 1 – Yuma, Arizona Game and Fish Department Yuma regional office, 9140 E. 28th St.
  • * Wednesday, May 2 – Safford, General Services Assembly Room, 921 Thatcher Blvd.
  • * Thursday, May 3- Tucson, Arizona Game and Fish Department Tucson regional office, 555 N. Greasewood Road
  • * Monday, May 7 - Mesa, Arizona Game and Fish Department Mesa regional office, 7200 E. University Drive.
  • * Tuesday, May 8 - Kingman, Arizona Game and Fish Department Kingman regional office, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road
  • * Wednesday, May 9 - Pinetop, Arizona Game and Fish Department Pinetop regional office, 2878 E. White Mountain Blvd.
  • * Thursday, May 10 - Flagstaff, Arizona Game and Fish Department Flagstaff regional office, 3500 S. Lake Mary Road
  • * Wednesday, May 16 – Prescott, Prescott Resort and Conference Center, Clarkdale Room, 1500 Highway 69

Written comment can also be submitted anytime through May 31, by e-mail to wildlife plan at azgfd.gov, or by U.S. mail to Wildlife Plan, c/o Funds & Planning, Arizona Game and Fish Department, 2221 W. Greenway Road, Phoenix, AZ 85023-4399.