This is an ideal time to head for the hills for some camping in the cool Arizona pines. Along with all the pure enjoyment such a trip will create, the Arizona Game and Fish Department warns us to be “bear aware” while there, which includes keeping a clean camp so you don’t end up feeding wildlife, bears in particular. Never intentionally feed wildlife and keep all food well away from your sleeping area. All outdoor recreationists should take the following precautions to minimize potential conflicts with bears and other wildlife:
• Never intentionally feed wildlife. Keep a clean camp. Do not cook in your tent or sleeping area. Store all foods, toiletries and other scented items away from sleeping areas and unavailable to bears. Wash up, change clothing and remove all scented articles before retiring to your sleeping area. Leave any and all scented articles at home. Walk or jog in groups and pay attention to your surroundings at all times. Supervise your children (especially toddlers) and keep them in sight at all times. It’s definitely a must to be with your children at night in particular to be sure they don’t wander off and become prey for predators. Keep your pets on a leash, no free roaming. Better yet, leave them at home if you can to prevent conflicts with wildlife including skunks and coyotes. Exercise your common sense and be safe out there.
If confronted by a black bear (the only bear species in Arizona), consider these tips: Don’t run, this elicits a predator-prey response. If you run, the animal will instinctively want to chase and catch you (bears are quick and can reach speeds of 40 mph). Stay calm, continue facing the animal and slowly back away. Make yourself appear as big and imposing as possible.
If you choose, put young children on your shoulders. Speak loudly or yell and let it know you are human (don’t scream). Make loud noises by clanging pans, using air horns or whatever is available. If attacked, fight back with anything at hand, and never get between a female bear and her cubs.
• Hunter education classes: The next class begins Monday at the Yuma Regional office of Game and Fish and a class at Sprague’s Sports June 24. Check this column for the date of the July class coming up. In addition to hunter education classes, the 1st shots classes run twice each month as do the Arizona CCW classes, all at Sprague’s Sports. Check the web at www.apragues.com for information or call 726-0022.
• Practice makes perfect: A reminder to all who have applied for fall deer hunts to get busy with lots of practice so you’ll be ready for the job should you be drawn. We’re all hoping that the practice will pay off with good meat in the freezer come hunt time. Ranges at Adair Park are open for practice from dawn to dusk with matches on the weekends held by maintaining clubs for some really down and dirty practice at scheduled shoots. For some nifty practice, try filling gallon milk jugs with colored water (food coloring) to practice long-range so you can really see how you do. This was a hint from Marty Prokop, deer hunting expert. Marty explains, “The plastic jugs are a perfect target at long ranges as they will be comparable in size to the vital heart/lung area of a deer (be sure you use these in a safe area where there are no buildings, people or animals in your line of fire or beyond the jugs). Create the closest conditions to your actual deer hunting situation. If you miss the target or hit off center, move closer in 20 yard increments until you can hit center consistently. This may be humbling at first, but is far better to know exactly what your long-range shooting abilities are before you head out deer hunting. This knowledge will help ensure you don’t wound the animal.”
Along with the practice needed for the actual hunt, spend time now cleaning your shooting and camping equipment so you’ll be ready to hit the road. As I’ve said before, list all foods you want to take and be sure you take along plenty of water for cleaning your downed animal in addition to what you’ll need for yourself and for your camp. A two-gallon pump sprayer filled with water will help when it comes to cleaning the inside of your animal once it’s hung in the shade back at camp to ensure clean, unspoiled and tasty meat that has been drained of moisture, then covered with clean game bags in preparation for the trip home when the hunt is done. I don’t know about you but I can hardly wait to know whether or not I’ve been drawn.
• Desert Bass Anglers: 33 boats worked the June 1 Colorado River Tournament with a good share of bass caught and released back to the water in good shape. The team of Gary Understiller/Kenny Howden took first place with their 20.05 pound total as well as the number 1 big fish weighing 7.43. Other results: 2. Harold Wah/Pepper Mellon 17.69 with the number 2 big fish 6.66; 3. Robert Murray/Mike Edwards 15.68; 4. John Borghoff/Ed Reeder 14.73. Winner of the junk fish was Jerry Janda with a 2.33 catfish. A reminder that instead of fishing the July 4 weekend, the July monthly tournament will be held June 29 launching out of Fisher’s Landing. Call Mac or Bobbi McDermott at 726-1984.
• Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club: The Ted Townsend Memorial Catfish Derby was a huge success with 35 new members signing up to fish along with other members for a grand total of 77 members fishing. There were 14 places paid out. John Henry Luke took first place with his 28-plus flathead followed by Colton Slaughter with his flathead weighing 24.14. Robby Ballew placed third with his 14.9 flathead. Thanks to sponsors Harold Wah at Sportsmen’s Hideaway, the Leghrys at Sunset Nursery, Mathew and DeeDee Phillips and to Phil and Debbie Townsend for their continued support.
• Yuma Pro Am Series: Get signed-up for the June tournament with the draw meeting at Baron Fuels Saturday. The launch June 23 out of Fisher’s Landing, www.YumaProAm.com for sign-up and payment of fees and/or dues or visit Bob La Londe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Wednesday Jackpot Derby: Sign-up $5 at Fisher’s Landing gas dock at 8 a.m. each Wednesday with the biggest fish weighed in, any species, taking the pot. To fish the Swede Ferguson Monthly Memorial Bass Derby, sign-up $10 anytime during the month and weigh-in at Fisher’s gas dock. The winner is determined the last day each month. Call Jimmy Phipps at 782-2207.
• Martinez Lake MCAS Recreation Area: Call Mike Castello at 783-3422 to learn about camping, fishing and other outdoor recreation available to military personnel and families at Martinez Lake.
• Bass Class on the Water: To learn all the how’s, when’s and where’s about bass fishing at local waters with a bass boat and all gear provided for a great day on the water, call Dave Willhide at 726-2621. Ask also about bass fishing seminars for RV parks and home groups.
• Renegade Archers: Shoot the trail of 3D animals at 8 a.m. Sunday at the Foothills Archery Range with all archers welcome for safe fun, recreation and good practice for archery hunts. Kids are always free with reasonable shoot fees for adults. Call Jean or Kevin Wilson at 247-4450 or 726-0953.
• Yuma Trap and Skeet Club: Open trap and skeet 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays and Sundays at the Adair Park range. Call Gary Knight at 210-0805.
• Yuma Territorial Longrifles Club: Open black powder matches held at 8:30 a.m. the 1st and 3rd Saturdays at Adair Park with the monthly meeting proceeding the match on the 1st Saturday. Call Dennis Hansel at 342-7573.
• Cholla Gun Club: The club will resume matches at the Adair Park metallic silhouette range this fall with the range open now to shooters for practice during daylight hours.
• Yuma Rifle and Pistol Club: Matches at the Adair Park big bore range will begin again this fall with the first long-range Palma Match Sept. 15. Call Paul Lerma at 783-6766 or Gerald Brooker at 305-9681.
• Yuma Matchmasters: Open matches at the Adair Park small bore range will sign-up shooters at 6:30 a.m. the 1st Saturday for the Steel Challenge, the 2nd Sunday for IPSC Combat Matches. Cowboy Matches on the 4th Sunday will sign-up at 7:30 a.m. Safety meetings proceed all matches. Call Bob Wiles at 920-2157 or Joanne Schickle at 502-1298.
• Southwest Bowhunters Archery Club: Open archery shoots at 8 a.m. Sundays at the Adair Park range with the practice range open all week. Call Wayne Wittenberg at 314-0140 or Uschi House at 345-3770.
Contact Jean Wilson at email@example.com or call 928 247-4450.