Hunting javelina? Here are some tips
For a lot of outdoor enthusiasts, February doesn't only mean Valentine's Day but having javelina hunts continuing for general, muzzleloader and ham seasons as well. Necessary time, effort and plenty of practice should have been going on all year long with plans to fill your tag and bring home the meat for your table. Rumors have it that javelina meat is not good to eat, wrong! It all depends on taking care of the animal and the meat properly once your chosen animal has been harvested beginning with the field dressing, followed by plenty of care to keep the meat clean (the cleaner the better) and cool once on your way back from the field and to your camp prior to hanging and skinning (a good idea to cover the meat with cheesecloth or game bags), then packing it up for the trip home.
Arizona is blessed with more than enough javelina in residence. If you are new to hunting javelina and have your permit-tag in hand or obtain a permit over-the-counter for leftover tags at Game and Fish, get in plenty of necessary practice and have inquired with Game and Fish to locate a good area at your chosen hunt unit to get you started. Topographical maps can be a great help locating where your game should be. Check with Sprague's Sports for maps, then plan on scouting your area looking for tell-tale signs of javelina as you walk the washes and climb those mountains while on your actual hunt. Watch for bedding areas, trails and recent droppings — bathroom areas smell “piggy.” Check out areas around water sources and look for freshly-chewed prickly pear and the tiny cloven hoofed tracks. Javelina have the disgusting habit of defecating in the same ground as they bed down at as well as along trails. Javelina also mark bushes and rocks with the scent gland on their backs and the odor is distinctive.
Binoculars can be your best friend while hunting javelina so be sure to have them with you every minute. A lot of the time, sitting up high on the side of a hill checking out the terrain can bring more success in locating a herd than keeping on the move burning shoe leather. Noisy gear can blow it big time when stalking game, with proper footwear and clothing a definite must. Javelina may be nearsighted but they have excellent hearing and extraordinary sense of smell so be sure to stay downwind and make as little noise as possible. Wait, too, for the sun to begin warming things up in the mornings on the days you plan to hunt. Take time to make breakfast before hitting the trails. Then check down low and on sunny sides of the mountains where the game is most likely to be. Try a varmint call. Javelina will almost always respond to a dying rabbit squeal or other sounds they don't always hear. Good hunting!
• Application deadline: Applications to Arizona Game and Fish for this year's elk and pronghorn hunts will be accepted until Feb. 12 so get busy before it's too late for this year's hunts. Applications are also being accepted online so pick up your copy of the regulations from Game and Fish or from a local dealer and get it done. Also available are physically challenging remote area elk hunts offered for the fall season near Flagstaff at Unit 7 (terrain very much like Colorado or Montana). Visit www.fs.usda.gov/coconino or view hunt regulations on www.azgfd.gov/draw.
• Women's javelina camp: Feb. 15-17. Interested women, call Amanda Moore at 200-0544 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org. We can now purchase two tags, each in different hunt units per year. For more information, call Val Morrill, Region IV director of Arizona Wildlife Federation at 550-9390.
• Sportsmen and women: Feb. 21-24 is the International Sportsman's Exposition at the University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale. Visit www.sportsexpostadium.com; March 23-24 is the Outdoor Expo at Ben Avery Park shooting facility. Visit www.azgfd.gov/outdoorexpo.com.
• Arizona concealed carry class: Class will be Feb. 16 at Sprague's Sports with instructor Matt Dusek. Cost of the class is $89 with the 5-year Arizona CCW permit, $60 after completion of the class. To secure a seat, call 726-0022.
• Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club: Come to the Wednesday meeting (dinner 6:30 p.m., meeting 7 p.m.) and fun auction, open to anyone interested in hunting, fishing, conservation and assisting wildlife being held at American Legion Post 19, 2575 S. Virginia Drive. Members are urged to attend and bring along any and all still-usable items for the auction. Proposed dates for 2013 waterhole projects are: Feb. 8-10 (1st choice); Feb. 21-24 (2nd choice) for John Morgart Tank (Knucklehead Tank). March 7-10 (1st choice); Feb. 28-31 (2nd choice) for Chain Tank Road Pronghorn Water on Kofa.
• Desert Bass Anglers: Check next week's column for results from yesterday's tournament on the Colorado River or call Mac or Bobbi McDermott at 726-1984. Latest suggestion for most fun on the water: When an angler starts to fish where another competitor is already fishing, he is expected to start at least three boat lengths from the angler on the bank. It is also polite to ask the other boater which direction he is moving. While everyone wants to get to their “magic spot” as quickly as possible, common courtesy requires the boater to slow down when it is obvious that passing on the pad will negatively affect the boat being passed.
• Yuma Pro Am Series: Sign-up for the Feb. 24 began Friday with the draw meeting at Baron Fuels Feb. 23. Annual membership is $15 with basic tournament entry $25 plus options.
• Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club: Feb. 10 is the All Members Bass Derby with sign-up at Sportsman's Hideaway until the day prior to the event. Call David and Jon Parrish in charge at 941-6168. To be able to fish this one, non-members can join the club at the Wednesday meeting at American Legion Post 19, 2575 S. Virginia Drive. (regular member $30, husband and wife $30, senior $25, active military $20, youth 17 and under, free). Visit www.yumarodandgun.org. Don't forget the Alamo Lake Clean-up on March 3 with camping at the lake. Call Chris Gotchie Sr. and Jr. at 726-5930.
• American Bass (Yuma Division): Feb. 23 tournament launching out of Fisher's Landing. Contact Jeff Woods at 1-951-201-9461. Hopefully I'll have details soon to report on.
• Wednesday Jackpot Derby: Entry $5 each Wednesday with sign-up at 8 a.m. at Fisher's Gas Dock, weigh-in 1 p.m. with the winner taking the pot for one big fish, any species. Call Jimmy Phipps at 782-2207.
• Swede Ferguson Memorial Monthly Bass Derby: Sign-up $10 anytime during each month to fish with the winner taking the pot for the biggest bass determined the last day each month. Call Phipps for details or to sign up.
• Bass Class on the Water: Want to learn all the tricks of the trade for successful bass fishing at local waters at all times of the year no matter what the weather? Call Dave Willhide of Goin' Fishin' Productions at 782-2621. Willhide provides a bass boat and all necessary equipment for a great day on the water. Ask about fishing seminars for RV parks and home groups.
• Renegade Archers: All archers are welcome to shoot archery for fun and recreation as well as practice for bow hunting and competition at 9 a.m. each Sunday at the Foothills Archery Range, located south of I-8 and east of S. Foothills Blvd. close to the Gila Mountain range. Shoot fees for the 3D trail shoot is $3 adult with youngsters always free of charge (equipment is available for those not having their own by calling Jean or Kevin at 247-4450 or 726-0953 beforehand). We'll also give detailed directions to the range.
• Yuma Trap and Skeet Club: Open trap and skeet matches 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. A Presidents Day buckle shoot will be 9 a.m. Feb. 18. Scholastic clay trap practice for youngsters at 4:30 p.m. each Wednesday as well as at 1 p.m. Saturday Feb. 16 at the range. Call Gary Knight at 210-0805.
• Yuma Territorial Longrifles Club: Open black powder matches 1st and 3rd Saturdays at the Adair Park range with sign-up at 8:30 a.m. Call Dennis Hansel at 342-7573.
• Cholla Gun Club: Offering a variety of metallic silhouette matches each month at Adair Park for hunter pistol, lever guns, high-power, small bore and black powder cartridge with the season running through April. Call Rick or Glenda at 502-0736.
• Yuma Rifle and Pistol Club: Open vintage service rifle match Feb. 16 at the Adair Park big bore range for interested shooters signing up by 7:30 a.m. followed on Feb. 17 by a long range palma match at the range. Call Jerry Brooker at 305-9681 or Paul Lerma at 782-6766.
• Yuma Matchmasters: Shooters can sign-up at 7 a.m. and attend the shooters meeting at 7:30 a.m. for monthly matches at the Adair Park small bore range. Shooting schedule: 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.
• Southwest Bowhunters Archery Club: Archery shoot each Sunday at 9 a.m. All archers welcome with the practice range open all week. Call Wayne Wittenberg at 314-0140.
Contact Jean Wilson at email@example.com or call 247-4450.