Additional hunting opportunities 

Didn’t get drawn this year? Still want to go hunting for big game? In Arizona, at least, the game and fish department offers a an amazing opportunity for hunters. They have a special application for the population management pool. It’s off season hunts to help manage populations when regular season hunting is not meeting goals. 
I was drawn for one of these for elk a few years ago. I was able to hunt unit 1 here which has draw odds of less than 3%. However, with this special permit I was able to hunt in February with very light pressure. This is a great way to pick up a tag if you have not been drawn. 
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Did you know?

Out here in southern Arizona it’s currently encroaching on record high temperatures daily this week. While we have escapes from the oppressive heat, wildlife does not. The Tucson chapter of the Mule Deer Foundation posted a way to help. If you visit water catchments out in the surrounding wilderness and report low or empty ones to the game and fish department they will send a truck out to fill them up. This time of year it is especially important for fawn survival they have daily access to water. 

This is a great family activity as well. Take the kids out to explore your favorite hunting area and show them how much you care about wildlife by finding a way to help them survive. This is also another way the hunting and nonhunting community can come together on common ground. Use this as a teachable moment to share with those who think hunters do not care for the animals they pursue, that we very much do. 

This is all happening on the public land so anyone can help. Call 1-866-950-AGFD (2433) to report low or no water in the catchments. Get out there and enjoy the wild and help the animals. 

Happy Father’s Day 

Today I want to wish all of the fathers, and mothers doing the job of both parents, happy Father’s Day. I’m fortunate enough to be able to have two great role models as fathers, my own and my father-in-law. Both are very good men and set a great example for me to follow. 
In my opinion the best way to spend Father’s Day is not doing something alone but with your children. If I had the world of opportunity open to us we would be outside. But, we’re in the middle of a record heatwave so in the air conditioning we will stay! 
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Thank you for your support

The beach mystery

Yesterday my mother contacted me as she saw something strange while taking her dog for a walk. They were walking along the beach in Mission Bay Park, San Diego and spotted what she thought were fish fins. She picked them up and they were heavy and smelled strongly of fish. She saw flesh on one of them.  So the big question is what species of fish did they belong to? Hunting takes many forms, today we’re hunting for information. 
Can you help?


The Plague

With the fishing season upon us and hunting season just a few short weeks away I want to get out and prepare. Unfortunately, the plague has visited our house. My poor wife has a C-diff infection. While she recovers I’m taking care of the kiddos. With out nearly one year old, fishing and shooting are off the table. Hopefully she feels better.

Why hunting matters

The Importance of Conservation

One of the more contentious issues between those who hunt and those who do not is the conservation of wild animals. Conservation in the United States started at the end of the 19th century when vast herds of animals had been wiped out. Following that time period when certain species were hunted to extinction people came together to protect animals.  Now, more than 100 years later hunters and non-hunters alike agree on the importance of saving wild things and wild places. The need for conservation arose from rampant destruction of animals from the abundance of market hunting.

It may be difficult to believe that the “good old days” of hunting are happening right now. A little more than 100 years ago hundreds of species were on the brink of extinction due to over hunting, mostly as market hunters scoured the woods looking for meat to sell to the people on the eastern coast of the United States. Another issue that arose from this time is the over hunting of the American Bison, in the post-Civil War era hides and hunting of the bison was so common that the species was nearly wiped off the map by the US Army and others who skinned the animals and left the carcass to rot. The Range Rider, President Theodore Roosevelt, came to the rescue with the inception of the Boone and Crocket Club, whose goal was then and is now to preserve the species people hunt. Roosevelt also started the campaign to have the federal government control huge swaths of land across the west with the inception of the National Park system and the naming of Yellowstone as the first national park.

Out of this time period a model was developed to help bring these species back from near extinction to the place they are at today. It was through the efforts of groups like Roosevelt’s Boone and Crocket club that the Western Model of Wildlife Conservation was developed. To fund this effort hunters banded together and passed the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, better known as the Pittman – Robertson Act, which enacted an 11% excise tax on hunting related equipment and did all of this during the Great Depression when money was already scarce. That money is deposited into an account that states can apply to get money from the fund for habitat improvement projects only. The states hold the wildlife in trust for the citizens, so all management decisions come from the states and all money for the enforcement comes directly from hunting and fishing license sales. This holding of wildlife as a commodity for use by everyone is one of the major benefits of the Western Model because it assigns value to each animal and by selling hunting permits raises money to fund habitat improvement projects that benefit all animals, not just the game species being hunted. Many of those projects are funded with money from conservation organizations and volunteers from those groups help with the manpower.

Conservation in the modern world, or the 21st century, is under attack because of the dichotomy between hunters and anti-hunters. It is with the help from groups like: Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Mule Deer Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Safari Club International, Back Country Hunters and Anglers, and the Sierra Club, just to name a few of the groups whose members spend millions of dollars annually for the conservation of wildlife and their habitat. The majority of that money goes toward projects on publically owned land, that is land owned by the federal government and by extension the citizens, this is managed by groups like the Bureau of Land Management and the Forrest Service to name a couple. These lands are where a majority of hunters, especially in the western United States, are able to hunt without gaining additional permission from the land owner. All of these efforts are funded, in part, by hunting and fishing through the sale of licenses and tags as many of the state run game and fish agencies receive no tax funding. All of their work is to provide a sustainable resource for all citizens to enjoy, either through hunting and fishing or simply watching.

It is through the efforts of those people who hunt and fish that the citizens of the United States and the innumerable visitors here have the charismatic megafauna to enjoy watching. After the near extinction of the large mammals on North America with the abundance of market and hide hunting in the 19th century leaders arose to bring the plight of the wild animals into the forefront. Near the beginning of the 20th century a model for how to manage wildlife that would be self-sustaining was adopted and that allows for the abundance of wild game that exists now, so much so that there may be more white tailed deer than at the time of Columbian contact. It is through the efforts of the many conservation organizations that keeps this model alive and working. Hunting is conservation, it is the motto of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation because it is the simple truth as to why wildlife exists in the United States.

Swimming to train for hunting

I’ve been a long time swimmer. I swam on teams from ages 6-18 and enjoyed it immensely. Now, as an adult, I swim on a masters team not for competition, but to give me a chance to cross train for hunting. The low impact and sustained cardio vascular workout helps me maintain a good breath control. 
In addition to my swimming I have the opportunity to have my oldest daughter on a local swim team for summer. I enjoy watching her and she finally has had the desire to win show up. I’ve been waiting for that for the last three seasons. Tomorrow she swims the 100 IM for the first time in competition and I just want her to enjoy the race. My only advice to her before she swims, swim legally! After all, I am a stroke and turn judge. 

I’m back

Sorry for the long absence. The end of the school year brings interesting challenges to the life of a teacher. My wife is also a teacher and that doubles our workload. On top of that she is starting at a brand new school this fall so we have been packing her old classroom and preparing for the district to move her to the new school. All of that has just finished. 
Now that I have “free” time I’m going to take my kids on outdoor adventures to the unique places around Arizona. We started over the Memorial Day weekend. That weekend we traveled to Window Rock, the capitol of the Navajo (Diné) Nation, for a family gathering. While there we took the kids to see the window rock and visit the Code Talkers Monument. It, for me, was an amazing experience. 

Tuesday June 13 is the deadline to apply for all of the fall Arizona hunts that are not elk and antelope. Because I was drawn for elk I will buy bonus points for the species I would like to hunt in the future. This is not required, except in my house, it allows me to be home with my family more. 
If you have any questions in how you can start hunting please contact me at and checkout my podcast on iTunes and Podbean. 
Thanks for reading.