Time to get your Game and Fish questions answered
If you've ever wondered why the Arizona Game and Fish Department recommends an increase or decrease in harvest of game in your favorite unit, or have other hunt questions you've been wondering about, get your answers Wednesday between 6-8 p.m. at the Yuma Regional office of Game and Fish, 9140 E. 28th St., when explanations will be given during a public forum and open house.
Following Wednesday's meeting, the final draft of the hunt recommendations will be made available for public review through future open houses - in Yuma between 3-5 p.m. on April 12 - prior to being presented to the Game and Fish Commission for consideration when they meet April 16-17 in Phoenix. Be a part of the process by attending these Yuma meetings to take advantage of opportunities of having your voice be heard.
• NPR jaguar story inaccurate: Gary Hovatter, deputy director of Arizona Game and Fish Department, reports the National Public Radio report resulting from the U.S. Department of the Interior Inspector General report about the capture and handling of the jaguar known as Macho B was misleading. As part of a larger story about jaguar conservation, the NPR reporter made this inaccurate statement: "A recent congressional investigation concluded (the capture) wasn't incidental at all, but a bungled intentional operation." The department would like to correct the factual errors in this statement by noting the following:
• The report NPR refers to was issued by the U.S. Department of the Interior Inspector General - it is not a "congressional report" at all.
• Nowhere in the IG report does it state that the capture was a "bungled intentional operation."
The department believes the IG report is inaccurate and draws conclusions from unsubstantiated allegations and hearsay statements of unidentified persons. It is important (and disappointing) to note that the IG's office never contacted the Arizona Game and Fish Department during the IG Investigation. No department employees were interviewed and no Department documentation was requested by IG investigators during the course of their investigation. The department stands by its previous statements that it did not direct any department employee to capture a jaguar. Should the outcome of the ongoing federal or department investigations demonstrate that any employee acted contrary to the department's understanding of the facts, the department will take appropriate disciplinary action.
• New commissioner confirmed: John Harris, 35-year law enforcement veteran and reserve game ranger, has been appointed to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission by Gov. Jan Brewer and confirmed on Feb. 16 by the Arizona State Senate. In part, Harris stated he wants to take the great things that have been done regarding wildlife and work to make them even better. Wildlife and wildlife issues have been a lifelong passion for Harris and he has been very active in the conservation field, a life member of NRA, The Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, the Wild Sheep Foundation, The Grand Slam Club and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Harris will serve a five-year term on the commission.
• Arizona hunting and fishing licenses available online again: Visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department Web site at www.azgfd.gov to decide what license suits you or your family best and make the online purchase using your Visa or MasterCard - there is a $1.50 fee that pays for this service. Telephone assistance is available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays - call 1-602-942-3000.
For pre-spawn bass at Yuma-area waters, it's a great time to hit the water to try your luck - backwaters are good locations - with your favorite bait. Congratulations to Andy Van Hassel and Kyle Burgett who did just that last week with Van Hassel catching a 6.15-pound largemouth bass beauty using a crawdad crankbait while Burgett enjoyed flippin' with a pumpkinseed lizard with a chartreuse tail. If you'd really like to learn how to catch bass, get together with any of the fishing clubs to learn the tricks of the trade.
• American Bass: Conditions at latest competition were rainy until mid morning with 60 degree water temperature for the 12 teams fishing. Results were good with Kelly Leigh/Jim Waits capturing the top spot with their 23.60 total and Big Fish honors with a whopping 8.18-pound largemouth. Other results: 2. Joe Mayerchik/Jeff Cotten 15.38 as well as their 6.50-pound bass for 2nd place Big Fish, 3. Craig Johnson/Pat Whitaker 14.12, 4. Billy Shinner/Bucky Leigh 13.12, 5. Gary Understiller/Ken Howden 12.86, 6. Chris and Mike Walker 12.42, 7/ Richard Gill Jr./Dwight palmer 10.52, 8. Bob La Londe/Kalib Lund 10.10, 9. Rick Fallon, Michael Natison 7.15, 10 Keith Lute/Rick Stewart 6.13. Sign up 4-6 p.m. March 12 at Sportsmen's Hideaway or 1 to 2 hours prior to safe light March 13 at Fisher's Landing to fish that day's team tournament. Call Gabe Valdez at 1-928-897-5691.
• Yuma Bassmasters: Attend Tuesday's 6 p.m. club meeting at River Marine, Avenue 3-1/2E and 32nd Street when March 20 tournament plans will be on the agenda.
• Desert Bass Anglers: Sign up and launch at Fisher's Landing for Saturday's Open Team Tournament at Colorado River waters. Call Mac or Bobbi McDermott at 726-1984 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org. All boats must have remote steering and kill switch with a livewell with aeration capable of supporting a 5-fish limit of bass.
• Yuma Pro/Am Series: Keep in practice for March 28 competition launching out of Fisher's Landing with signup March 22-27 for the draw on the 27th at Sportsmen's Hideaway. Call Bob La Londe at 520-1270 or visit email@example.com.
Contact Jean Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 726-0953.