Cottontail rabbits — a great way to feed the hungries
Yuma weather has been perfect for anyone getting out in the field for the late dove and quail seasons. The birds are ready for the taking. Not only is it good hunting but with results of some mighty good eating to boot.
Game and Fish reminds us there is no need to get out early in the day as we had during this year's earlier season. Late afternoons and early evenings are doing just fine while the birds are on their way to feeding and nesting areas. Review your dove regulations for 2012-2013.
If you plan on hunting the Muzzleloader deer season beginning Dec. 14 (check open areas in the regulations) or archery only non-permit deer season, beginning the same day in certain units then again for the season starting Jan. 1, get busy now with some scouting at areas you plan to hunt so you're ready to get going when the big day gets here. Don't neglect going over the hunt regulations so you are up on all the do's and don'ts. If you plan to hunt in January, be sure to get the 2013 hunting license prior to your hunt.
Don't overlook cottontail rabbits while you're in the field — they're a good complement to other hunts and a great way to feed the hungries when you get back to camp after a day of hunting.
No matter where or what you plan to hunt, think about taking along both warm and cool clothing. In Arizona during our winter months, you may need both. Nights and early mornings can be cold, sometimes down to freezing, while it usually warms up during the day enough to make you shed clothing as you go in order to be cool enough. Having rain gear along also gives you an advantage just in case it should rain. Arizona weather is unpredictable to where you'd best be ready for whatever heads your way. A good idea to also take along is a decent pair of binoculars to assist in the hunt and plenty of water for drinking to keep you hydrated. Your body may be able to go without food for a bit but never without water. Having along an extra pair of boots is never a mistake. Also keep a supply of matches for building fires (for cooking and warming) in air tight containers so they stay dry and ready to use. A map of the area is also super important to have along and a GPS is even better.
• Open house at the Yuma Regional Office of Game and Fish is Wednesday: This is your chance to discuss regional hunt recommendations for elk and pronghorn antelope to establish seasons, dates, bag limits, open areas and hunt permit-tag allocations based on the framework of the hunt guidelines set by the commission every two years. The final elk and pronghorn hunt recommendations will be presented to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission for consideration during its meeting in Phoenix Saturday at the Game and Fish Headquarters, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix (1.5 miles west of I-17). The agenda will be posted at www.azgfd.gov/commission under commission agenda.
• Sprague's Sports update: The annual Christmas Classic sale at Sprague's is Friday and Saturday with the rolling showroom of values with over $5,000 worth of prizes to be given away. On Dec. 29 is the First Shots Classic from 9 a.m. to noon. Sign up anytime for the introduction to safe gun handling. Call Sprague's at 726-0022.
• Think Christmas for your favorite lady: Becoming an outdoors woman deluxe sponsored by the Arizona Wildlife Federation will be held Jan. 25-27 at the Goldfield Mountain Range to showcase the beauty and wonder of our desert. The place is Saguaro Lake Ranch which is a historical resort-style retreat located in the Tonto National Forest in the heart of the Arizona Sonoran Desert. The banks of the Salt River are a fly rod cast away, and Stewart Mountain Dam, which backs up Saguaro Lake, is a short walk. This unique venue provides both trout fishing and bass fishing opportunities for bow participants, an opportunity to get out on the water is offered with the still-water paddling class.
The Arizona Audubon will be there pointing out the huge variety of birds, winter visitors and natives with a session on hunting javelina and a predator-calling class. For those who feel the need to explore the desert, photography and trick track trail, Sonoran style will be offered. A 2-1/2-hour trail ride is also available.
Don Wells and Jean Groen, authors of “Foods of the Superstitions,” will be there with a session on edible and medicinal plants of the Southwest desert. There will also be a desert survival class, and the Dutch oven class will be preparing the evening meals on Friday and Saturday.
The cost is $380, includes instruction, program materials and use of equipment, deluxe lodging and meals Friday through Sunday lunch. The trail ride has an additional cost.
Details of class descriptions can be found at www.azwildlife.org or call Linda Dightmon, Arizona BOW coordinator, at 1-480-644-0077.
• Desert Bass Anglers, the fun way to fish: Check next week's column for the President's Choice Tournament results as well as the winner of the Angler of the Year 2012 award. Keep in practice for the Jan. 5 Colorado River Team Tournament. Dues are still $15 ($10 each additional family member) with reasonable tournament and option fees, open to all anglers with tournament approved boats equipped with remote steering and kill switches with a livewell with aeration capable of supporting a 5 fish limit of bass. Call Mac or Bobbi McDermott at 726-1984.
• Yuma Pro Am Series: Don't miss fishing the Dec. 16 Toys for Tots Bass Tournament launching out of Fisher's Landing. Your toys will ensure Christmas for kids who might otherwise do without. Call Bob La Londe at 580-1270 or visit email@example.com for sign-up information online along with paying your dues for 2013.
• Wednesday Jackpot Derby: Entry $5 each Wednesday with sign-up at 8 a.m. at the Fisher's gas dock, weigh-in around 1 p.m. with the winner taking all for one big fish, any species. Call Jimmy Phipps at 782-2207.
• Swede Ferguson Memorial Bass Derby: Sign-up $10 anytime during the month to fish the monthly big bass competition with the winner taking the pot with the biggest bass determined the last day of the month. Call Phipps for information or to sign up.
• American Bass: Bass Tournament launching out of Fisher's Landing is Jan. 12 with advance registration being sent to Jeff Woods, 2520 Tara Lane, Riverside, Calif., 92506 anytime prior to 7 days before the tournament, or sign-up also 5-7 p.m. the night before the tournament or the day of the event at Fisher's. Any person living within the Yuma region does not need to be an ABA member for the first year. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Jeff Woods at 1-951-201-9461.
• MCAS Recreation Area: Call Mike Castello at 783-3422 at the recreation area at Martinez Lake to learn about the various fishing, camping and other outdoor activities along the Colorado River at Martinez, open to all military personnel and families.
• Bass Class on the Water: If you'd like to learn all about fishing including all the tricks of the trade, call Dave Willhide at 782-2621. He'll teach you everything you need to know to catch those big bass at local waters at all times of the year with a bass boat and all equipment provided. Ask about the fishing seminars for RV parks and home groups.
• Renegade Archers of Yuma: All archers are welcome to shoot the 3D trail shoots at the Foothills Archery range located east of Foothills blvd., south of I-8. Adult fees are $3 with youngsters always free of charge. Bow and arrows are available, also free to use for anyone calling Jean or Kevin at 247-4450 or 726-0953 prior to a Sunday shoot. A great opportunity for anyone interested in learning how to shoot and enjoy archery as well as for experienced archers to stay in practice and have fun. Give us a call if you'd like to come shooting with us.
• Southwest Bowhunters: 3D trail shoots on Sundays for all archers at Adair Park with the practice range open all week. Call Wayne Wittenberg at 314-0140 for shooting times.
• Yuma Trap and Skeet Club: Open trap and skeet 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Adair Park Range. Call Gary Knight at 210-0805.
• Yuma Territorial Longrifles Rendezvous 2013: All black powder enthusiasts are most welcome to attend the Jan. 17-20 at Adair Park with primitive and tin teepee camping as well as traders row. All traders welcome with no traders fee. Events include rifle, paper and gong; trade gun, gong and paper; pistol, gong and paper; knife and hawk. Shooting fees include adults $20 with family $30 plus a blanket prize per shooter worth $10 or more. Saturday 5:30 p.m. is the barbecue and potluck. The club will furnish the cooked meat. Your ticket to attend is one side dish. Anyone not registered to shoot and wishing to attend the dinner must bring a potluck dish and pay $5 a person (fee does not apply to family members of registered shooters). Shooting times: the range will open at 9 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. All firing will be completed by 5 p.m. Saturday. The Fort Shoot will be held at 10 a.m. Sunday with awards at 1 p.m. Sunday. Call Dennis Hansel at 342-7573 or Glenda Graves at 502-0736.
• Cholla Gun Club: Holding a variety of silhouette matches at the Adair Park range with disciplines for hunter pistol, lever guns, high-power, small bore and black powder cartridge with the season running through the end of April. Call Rick or Glenda at 502-0736.
• Yuma Rifle and Pistol Club: Call Paul Lerma at 782-6766 or Gerald Brooker at 305-9681 for information on December matches at the Adair Park big bore range.
• Yuma Matchmasters: This time of year, shooters will sign-up at 7 a.m. with the shooter's meeting at 7:30 a.m., shooting at 8 a.m. at the Adair Park small bore range. Monthly shooting schedule: 1st Saturday - Steel Challenge Match; 2nd Sunday - IPSC Combat Match; 4th Sunday - Cowboy Match. Call Ruth Wilmot at 726-7727.
Contact Jean Wilson at email@example.com or call 247-4450.