Arizona GFC Sets Record Number of Turkey Tags

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The Arizona Game and Fish Commission on Aug. 11 approved a record 6,983 spring turkeys tags for 2008 and also set a historic second Gould's turkey hunt.

During its meeting in Flagstaff, the commission set the spring 2008 hunts for javelina, turkey, buffalo and bear. As part of the turkey hunt recommendation, the commission approved a second hunt for Gould's turkeys, which will occur in the Chiricahua Mountains in Hunt Unit 29. The first-ever hunt for Gould's turkeys in Arizona was held in the Huachuca Mountains during the spring of 2002.

Hunters can start applying for the 2008 spring hunts via manual applications that can be downloaded online once the regulations are posted on the department's Web site (expected to be available around Aug. 20).

However, the online application process will not be available for the spring 2008 draw. All spring hunt-permit applications will have to be mailed or hand-delivered to department offices. The deadline to apply for the spring hunts is Oct. 9 (the day after Columbus Day, a state holiday).

The printed version of the spring 2008 regulations will not be available at license dealers in the state until early September.

Big Game Program Supervisor Brian Wakeling told the commission that one of the tremendous successes in recent years has been the stratified hunt seasons for spring turkey, which have resulted in the department providing more hunting opportunity during this popular hunt.

In addition, a successful Gould's turkey transplant program in Arizona conducted in close cooperation with the National Wild Turkey Federation has also afforded the ability to expand hunting opportunity for this subspecies.

For the spring 2008 turkey hunt, the commission set 6,983 permits, which is 737 more than in 2007, and increased junior's-only permits to 350, which is a 125-permit increase over 2007. Eight of these permits are available for Gould's turkey.

For javelina, the commission approved 27,760 permits for the 2008 year, which were split into the following seasons:

  • * General season – 11,705 (plus 225 over 2007).
  • * Archery season – 9,645 (plus 445).
  • * Junior’s only – 970 (plus 105).
  • * H.A.M 5,440 – (minus 25).

The 2008 buffalo season was approved at the same permit levels as last year – 10 each for the House Rock and Raymond wildlife areas. The season on House Rock, however, has been extended through May.

The spring bear season did not remain static. The commission approved 405 general permits, which is an increase of 15, along with 250 archery-only permits, which is an increase of 65. The commission also approved annual female harvest limits for units with spring hunts; the annual female harvest limits for the remainder of the units that only have fall hunts will be set next April.