Get familiar with area before hunting
Now that the new year is under way, thoughts are directed to January hunt seasons now in progress. Check on over-the-counter permit tags when you get your 2013 license, as well as spring hunt seasons beginning soon. The online application service is also now available for 2013 elk and pronghorn antelope hunts with the hunt draw information booklet as well as application forms now available online at www.azgfd.gov/draw. The application deadline for elk and antelope is by 7 p.m. Feb. 12 whether you apply online or by mail. Printed copies of the booklet are anticipated to be at department offices and license dealers around the middle of this month.
If you want to take the Hunter Education Course or have a youngster needing to take the class prior to hunting big game in Arizona, call the Yuma office of Game and Fish at 342-0091 for information on “free” classes being held in Yuma throughout each year. Even if you've taken the class before, it's a good idea to take it again as a refresher — you'd be surprised how easily some things are forgotten through the years.
Besides getting the class under your belt and going through all the various hunt regulations you are expected to be aware of, you might also make a list of all the necessary food and water, clothing and hunting/camping equipment needs you'll need to pack and have ready and waiting when your hunt time rolls around. Don't wait until the last minute, taking the chance of forgetting something you'll need in the field.
Once you decide what area you'll be hunting, it's a good idea to become familiar with that area through talking with other hunters or with Game and Fish personnel at that area. Get in some necessary scouting to become familiar with the land and check out where the game might be expected to be. Checking with someone who is familiar with the weather in your area is also a good idea so your clothing will be sufficient to keep you warm, cool or dry depending on what you find yourself confronted with. Include extra water, game bags, tarps and rope along with sharp skinning knives to take care of everything from field dressing, skinning, cleaning and wrapping/hanging your animal if/when you are successful. If you aren't familiar with field dressing, get together with a hunter-friend who can give you some on-the-job training for when the time comes (that is also covered in the hunter education class). Game meat “properly taken care of” in the field and back at camp can produce plenty of tasty, enjoyable meals, making your hunt really worthwhile.
Be sure to get in plenty of practice with your firearm or bow and arrow prior to the hunt. Read up in the regulations about ethical hunting and being a good sportsman or woman — a lot will depend on how proficient you are prior to your hunt. A good idea, too, is get in a bit of practice when you arrive at your hunt area. Altitudes can make a difference in your aim and may need a bit of changing before taking to the field on the hunt.
If you can, take a kid along or a new adult hunter to assist and encourage them in their hunting endeavors — a good way to help ensure that the future and tradition of hunting will be with us for a long time to come.
Good luck and good hunting. It's a great sport and makes for some mighty delicious eating to boot.
• Arizona Game and Fish Commission's awards banquet is Saturday at the Carefree Resort and Conference Center, 37220 Mule Trail Road, Carefree, AZ 85377, to honor recipients for their significant contributions to the conservation of the state's wildlife, outdoor heritage and the mission of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by a delicious dinner and the awards ceremony. $55 per person, RSVP. Download the registration form online at www.azgfd.gov/commissionawards.
• Becoming an Outdoor-Woman Deluxe Workshop: Jan. 25-27 and still time to sign up for this fun weekend in the desert. Learn to live and play in our unique Sonoran desert. Classes will be offered in fishing, hunting, tracking and desert survival, with sessions in hiking, paddling, geocaching, birding, outdoor photography and edible and medicinal plants of the Superstitions. A trail ride through the Saguaro Forest is also available. The Dutch oven class will prepare the evening meals.
There will also be nighttime presentations including Wildman Phil with his cast of desert critters and a stargazing event by the East Valley Astronomy Club. We will also have “bird lady” and javelina expert Tice Supplee with a presentation about that most misunderstood desert dweller.
The venue 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 cost is $380, which includes instruction, program materials, and use of equipment, deluxe lodging and meals Friday through Sunday lunch. Details of class descriptions can be found at www.azwildlife.org or call 1-480-644-0077. Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Arizona-Becoming-an-Outdoors-Woman.
Also coming up Feb. 15-17 is the Woman's Javelina Camp 2013. If you might be interested in attending, contact Amanda Moors (Amanda@Coues,whitetail.com) or call 200-0544. A reminder that we can now purchase two javelina tags each year, each at different hunt numbers. For more information on Arizona Wildlife Federation events for women, call their region IV director Val Morrill at 550-9390.
• Desert Bass Anglers: Check next week's column for results of Saturdays tournament or call Mac or Bobbi McDermott at 726-1984.
• Yuma ProAm Series: Pay your $15 membership dues for 2013 and get in on tournaments coming up. Check with (Bob La Londe) email@example.com.
• American Bass: Saturday is Yuma Region Bass Tournament launching out of Fisher's Landing with advance registration being sent to Jeff Woods, 2520 Tara Lane, Riverside, CA 92506, anytime prior to 7 days before the tournament, or sign-up also from 5-7 p.m. the night before the tournament or the day of the event at Fisher's. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Jeff Woods at 1-951-201-9461.
• Wednesday Jackpot Derby: Entry $5 each Wednesday with sign-up at 8 a.m. at 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 Monthly Memorial Bass Derby: Sign-up $10 anytime during each month to fish 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.
• MCAS Recreation Area: Call Mike Castello at 783-3422 at the Recreation Area at Martinez Lake to learn of 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: Want to learn everything there is to learn about bass fishing? Dave Willhide of Goin' Fishin' Productions can teach you all the tricks of the trade on catching those big bass at local waters at all times of the year with a bass boat and all equipment provided. Call 782-2621. Also ask about fishing seminars for RV parks and home groups.
• Renegade Archers of Yuma: All archers are welcome to shoot the 3D Trail Shoot on Sundays at 8:30 a.m. at the Foothills Archery Range, located east of Foothills Blvd., south of I-8 with adult fees $3, youngsters always free. Bows and arrows available, also free to use, for anyone by calling Jean or Kevin at 247-4450 or 726-0953 prior to the 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 (leave your phone number for a call back).
• 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 with scholastic clay trap practice for youngsters at 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays, 1 p.m. Jan. 19 and Jan. 26. There is also a vegetable growers shoot at 9 a.m. Jan. 16, an MLK buckle shoot at 9 a.m. Jan. 21. Attend the annual dinner and elections at 2 p.m. Saturday.
• Yuma Territorial Longrifles 2013 Rendezvous: Jan. 17-20 at the Adair Park black powder range with all black powder enthusiasts welcome. Primitive and Tin TeePee camping available as well as Traders Row (all traders welcome with no traders fee). Event shooting fees include adult $10 with family $30 plus a blanket prize per shooter worth $10 or more (something you'd like to have). Saturday barbecue and potluck at 5:30 p.m. with the club furnishing 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 per 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 except for the fort shoot at 10 a.m. Sunday. Awards at 1 p.m. Sunday. Call Dennis Hansel at 342-7573 or Glenda Graves at 502-0736.
• Cholla Gun Club: A variety of silhouette matches held at the Adair Park metallic silhouette 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: For club membership, send $20 annual dues (juniors $10) to Yuma Rifle and Pistol Club, LLC, in care of Joe Murek, 17715 S. Avenue B, Somerton, AZ 85350. Call Paul Lerma at 782-6766 or Gerald Brooker at 305-9681 for match information at the Adair Park big bore range.
• Yuma Matchmasters: Shooters can sign up at 7 p.m. with the shooter's meeting at 7:30 a.m. at the Adair Park small bore range. The monthly schedule is: 1st Saturday - Steel Challenge Match; 2nd Sunday - IPSC Combat Match; 4th Sunday - Cowboy Match. Call Ruth Wilmot at 726-7727 or Ron Gissendaner at 726-0022.
Contact Jean Wilson at email@example.com or call 247-4450.