Arizona Recommends Increasing Spring Hunting Opportunities

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A record number of spring turkey tags and an increase in javelina tags are being recommended by the Arizona Game and Fish Department this year, which should provide more people an opportunity to go hunting.

Game Chief Leonard Ordway says the spring hunt recommendations reflect the Arizona Game and Fish Commission's direction to enhance hunter opportunities and reduce barriers to hunter retention, while maintaining sustainable big game populations.

"Recommended tag numbers reflect current biological conditions and will allow more people a chance to hunt," he says.

The department's spring hunt recommendations will be considered by the Game and Fish Commission during its meeting in Flagstaff on Aug. 11-12 at the Radisson Woodlands Hotel at 1175 W. Route 66, starting at 8 a.m. both days. The commission will address the spring hunting seasons during the Saturday portion of the two-day agenda.  The entire agenda meeting is available here.

The department is recommending 6,246 spring turkey tags, which is a 670-permit increase from the 2006 season. 

"Last year was a good year for turkey reproduction. The hunt success was high. The turkey populations are doing well. Those factors combined with having stratified hunts provide us the opportunity to recommend a record hunt-permit number for spring turkey," says Brian Wakeling, the department's big game program biologist.

The department is also recommending a 225-permit juniors-only season to begin one week earlier than the standard seasons and run for five weeks. That would be April 20-May 24, using a similar structure to last year. Juniors-only permits are recommended for a 60-permit increase over last year, with the overall junior hunt opportunity distributed across the state.

For javelina, the department is recommending 11,480 permits for the general javelina season; 865 permits for the juniors-only season; 5,465 permits for the handgun, archery and muzzleloader season (HAM); and 9,200 permits for the archery season.

When considered together with the fall javelina hunts being conducted for the first time ever this year, this results in an overall recommendation for an increase of approximately 1,100 javelina permits compared to the last javelina season.