First place honors

First place honors and big fish honors both went to the team of Manuel Santa Cruz (left) and Robert Murray during the Desert Draw Series June bass tournament.

A bit of good news we can be happy about is the announcement by the Trump administration of a plan to expand access even further to protected federal lands for hunting and fishing. “The plan seeks to increase access across 1.4 million acres of public land in 74 national wildlife refuges and 15 national fish hatcheries.”

According to the report, “The department also plans to update hunting and fishing regulations at refuges across the U.S. to more closely match state regulations, U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a statement on Wednesday. “President Trump is committed to expanding public access on public lands, and this proposal is executing on that directive by opening and increasing more access to hunting and fishing by the Fish and Wildlife Service at more stations and across more acres than ever before,” Bernhardt’s statement said. “Hunting and fishing are more than just traditional pastimes as they are also vital to the conservation of our lands and waters, our outdoor recreation economy, and our American way of life.” Bernhardt said he is committed to giving people more access for sporting activities. According to Bernhardt, lack of access is one of the most common reasons people don’t participate in outdoor activities.

The Interior Department said hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities contributed more than $156 billion to the economy in 2015. It also highlighted the sporting groups supporting the proposal, including the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Delta Waterfowl, a nonprofit group that supports duck hunting, and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.

Both Bernhardt and service Principal Deputy Director Margaret Everson emphasized the importance of hunting and fishing as a tradition to be passed down among families from generation to generation. “By aligning our refuge regulations with our state partners, we are reducing confusion and the regulatory burden on the American public, helping ensure the tradition and benefits of hunting and fishing can continue,” Everson said.

The announcement comes as the Trump administration continues to roll back Obama-era conservation policies. Last month, the government announced plans to replace barriers through 100 miles of the southern border in California and Arizona, including through a national monument and a wildlife refuge, which environmentalists say will be detrimental to wildlife.

Last summer, administration officials announced plans to limit some protections for endangered species and proposed a new rule to reduce the number of wetlands under federal protection, which are vital to the nation’s water quality (remember this when you make your comments to the Fish and Wildlife Service later).

In May, the United Nations released its first comprehensive report on biodiversity, which found that the risk of extinction currently looms over one million species of plants and animals. According to the report, species loss is accelerating to a rate tens or hundreds of times faster than in the past, with over-fishing being one of the five main ways that people are reducing biodiversity. The Fish and Wildlife Service will seek comments from the public input on Draft Environmental Assessment for 45 days on the proposed plan.” I’ll let you know when I hear more on this important issue.

Hunt happenings

• HAHWG presents learning outdoor skills: June 22 — J.A.K.E.S. Day at Sierra Vista for kids 17 and younger to learn basic outdoor skills. All equipment provided as well as lunch and a 1-year NWTF JAKES membership included for free. Huachuca Gould’s Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. Register by Monday at nwtfhuagoulds.org. Call John Millican 520-508-4272, j2dbmil@msn.com or Wayne Kaiser at 520-678-9827, Lmkwak@cox.net. July 5-7 — Outdoors skills, PVCI take a kid fishing derby. Family focused and all ages welcome. Get out to the lake, learn to catch fish, camp and enjoy the outdoors. Bring your kayaks, fishing poles, tents and g-trailers. Have fun with the family and learn about the outdoors, fishing, outdoor skills and critters at Woods Canyon Lake area 4A, hosted by Phoenix Varmint Callers, Inc. Register: James Strang, pvcigroup@gmail.com. Elk and antelope hunting seminars/show, CHA — The largest event of its kind. Doors open at 5 p.m. for dinner and vendors and presentations starting at 6 p.m. Raffles and auctions for hunting trips, guns, optics, bow, camping and hunting gear, taxidermy, furniture, jewelry, etc. with kids only raffles, door prizes, toys. Limited seating at Calvary Community Church, 12612 N. Black Canyon Highway (I-17) Phoenix, west entrance hosted by Christian Hunters of America, AZ Elk Society. Info: David, davidmyrick@christianhuntersofamerica.org or 602-309-3430. July 20 Shoot ‘n; Shindig — Stan Greer Memorial family event for youth to compete in silhouette target shooting with a scoped .22 rifle. Equipment provided. .22 rifles, ammo, safety glass and hearing protection. The free event starts at 8 a.m. includes free potluck lunch, raffles and prizes. Sierra Vista Shooting Range, Sierra Vista. Hosted by Huachuca White-tail Club. Register by July 13. Tom Green, 520-255-1652, tmgreen_1@hotmail.com.

• Arizona Antelope Foundation report: In their recent update, they report the Glassford Hill pronghorn still seem to be doing well. “Our little one-horned migrant tried to bust his way through the trees east of 191 (north of Morenci), but decided against it and went back to the Eagle Creek school area. We’re still hopeful that he’s connected with a small herd there.”

“We’ve been observing fawns here and there, but haven’t seen any with our transplants yet. A big thanks to Ron Day, who has frequently been reporting observations he’s made during his travels to and from the Muleshoe Ranch (TNC). This morning he reported 4 fawns, 5 does, and a buck in an ag field south of Bonita.”

Fish findings

• Crawdads at Yuma area waters: To follow up after having the story about crawdad hunting in this column recently, a call to Game and Fish told me to try the Betty’s Kitchen area at Mittry Lake as well as the backside of Mittry Lake, so that gives us a start. Give me a holler or email if you already know where to find these tasty creatures and might not mind sharing, so we can all have some fun and mighty fine eating (email jeanrenegade@gmail.com or call 247-4450). In the meantime, when Ryan, the fisheries guy at Game and Fish Yuma Region IV get’s back to town, I’ll check with him and report my findings.

Fishing clubs

• Desert Bass Anglers “The Fun Way to Fish”: It was “good fishin’” for the 28 boats that fished the latest tournament with a good share of very healthy bass weighed in to return to the water. Taking first place as well as the No. 1 big bass honors was the team of Curtis Cernic/Dave Greaves with their 20.08 total weight with their 7.67 big fish. Bob Benton/Chad Bentorn teamed to take second place with their 19.56 total as well as a 7.22 bass. Brian McDermott/Matt Yates captured third place with their 17.24 total followed by Lynn Domby/Tim Price in fourth place with 15.55. First out of the money was the team of Craig and Tyler Johnson with 15.37 pounds of bass to their credit. The junk fish option winner was Tyler Shaddy with his 2.31 striper. Stay in practice by fishing the June 29 tournament on the Colorado River (moved from July because of the July 4 holiday). A club reminder to keep your livewell in good working condition, take along towels, hats and long sleeved shirts to protect from our hot sun as well as a lot of water and other cool beverages to prevent dehydration while on the water. Call Mac or Bobbi McDermott at 726-1984 with questions.

• Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club: Latest results show some mighty nice catches during the latest tournament competition with first place team Brandon Kendall/Bo Williams with 20.49 lbs, second place goes to Craig Johnson/Tyler Johnson with 19.10 lbs, third place to Chris Walker/Simon Apodoca with 18.40 lbs. Big fish honors to Tyler Johnson with a 7.70 lb, 2 lb pot goes to Curtis Cernik with a 1.99 lb. First team out of the money was Cody Benton/Hank Benton scoring them the Gowan Milling ‘First Out of The Money’ check for $50, second team out of the money was Tyler Shaddy/Joe Mullis also scoring them a Gowan Milling ‘First Out of the Money’ check. The Gowan mystery weight winner also went to the team of Kellan Morris/Stacy Morris with their weight of 7.31 lbs. We would like to thank our sponsors for this event, Gowan Milling, Taipan Rods, The Hideaway Bait and Tackle, YVRGC, Bordertown Bait Co., 84 Lumber, CMC Custom signs and Yuma Self Storage. Got questions? Email Robby Ballew at robbyballew@yahoo.com or call 919-2453. Watch for results of this year’s big bass derby June 22 launching out of Fisher’s Landing once it’s done and over.

• Desert Draw Series: June tournament results with the bite turned and how that made for a great time with some very nice fish come to the scales. Michael Obney reports he’s very happy that all teams came to the scale with a 5-fish limit. Woohoo! First place honors and big fish honors both went to team Robert Murray/Manuel Santa Cruz with a 16.46 lb bag and with a 5.81 lb fish. All anglers are welcome to get in on our next tournament scheduled for July 20 at Fisher’s Landing. Details will be forthcoming or call Michael at 928-750-7081.

• Visit the Hideaway (previously Sportsman’s Hideaway): The shop is now located where Mitch’s Bait Shop had been — you’ll be surprised at all they have. The new owners Danny Woods and Blake Hash as well as Edgar will assist with your every fishing need. Check out the YVRGC bass board while there — you might decide to join the club and get in on the fishing action.

• Yuma High School Bass Fishing Club: A great way for any high schooler, both boys and girls, to learn about fishing for bass with members of both the Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club and Desert Bass Anglers assisting the kids in providing them with boats and equipment as well as guidance as they learn — it is an exciting year so far for our next generation of anglers at Fisher’s Landing/Martinez Lake. Interested high schoolers can call Terry Hurt, school sponsor, at 580-6567 or visit StudentAnglerFoundation.com to get started.

Hunt happenings

• Fishing Arizona and the Colorado River with Bob La Londe: Check next week for results of the latest fun tournament or visit La Londe at Yumabassman.com.

Shooting sports

• Bowhunter 3D shoot at Mormon Lake, July 19-21: Family fun 3D animal target archery shoot with seven courses including one extreme and one kids course. There will be raffle prizes for both the novelty long shot and aerial archery trap shoot plus many general raffle items (bows, backpacks, optics, coolers) at the Mormon Lake Rodeo Grounds, hosted by AZ Bowhunters Association. Pre-register online at arizonabowhunter.org. Information, Hunter Wall 480-529-3781, hunter.wall@cox.net.

• 4-H Shooting Sports: The Yuma County 4-H shooting sports is open to any 4-H youth ages 9-19. Call the Yuma 4-H office at 726-3904 or Stan Gourley at 344-0740 with questions or if you have a youngster who might want to join a 4-H club and get in on the shooting sports at the Ware Farm in Gila Valley.

• Renegade Archers of Yuma: Archers are welcome to shoot the 3D trail shoots with the club. Call 726-0953 and we’ll be glad to set up the trail for your shooting enjoyment. We are glad to assist anyone in their learning as well with free archery instructions. The practice range area is open (use is free) daylight hours all week for practice and enjoyment. Because of vandalism, we will have to take down torn apart cotton bales, so best bring your own target for use at the practice range.

• Yuma Trap and Skeet Club: Anyone interested in trap and skeet? Shoot 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays and Sundays at Adair Park, located off Highway 95, 15 miles east of Yuma, turning west onto Adair Range Road, 1st range on the right. Range fees are $1 to sign up with $6 non-member fee per round of 25 targets. Member’s fees are $4 per round with 5 shooting fields available — field 1 & 2 skeet, field 3 wobble trap, field 4 & 5 trap. Eye and hearing protection required. Annual dues $30 per calendar year. Call Bob Avila at 928-919-0622.

• The Yuma Young Guns with the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP): The program is open to ages 9-25 still in school. Call head coach H. McNutt at 928-580-0918 or John Gross at 580-1836 if with questions.

• Yuma Territorial Longrifles Club: Get in on the open black powder matches at the Adair Park range, 1st and 3rd Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. Call Roger Bickel at 726-7453 with questions or to ask about .22 matches.

• Cholla Gun Club: Club NRA approved matches (NRA membership not required) will resume in November at Adair Park. Call Rick Kelley at 928-502-0736. The range will remain open to the public for safe shooting practice through the summer until the maintaining club returns.

• High Power Rifle and Pistol Club of Yuma: All shooters are welcome to shoot with the club. Call Joseph Murek at 928-627-4556 with questions. Shooting activities are also available for club junior “Whipper Snipers” for all ages. Check club matches as well as Whipper Snipers news listed on the club website at hprifleyuma.net.

• Yuma Matchmasters: A variety of matches are offered each month at the range, all open to shooters at 7 a.m. with the steel challenge the 1st Saturday, multi-gun matches the 1st Sunday, IPSC combat matches the 2nd Sunday, with the cowboy fast draw the 3rd Saturday. SASS cowboy fast draw matches have moved from Saturday to the 4th Sunday. Interested in cowboy action shooting? Call Irene Snyder at 209-613-4598 or Bob Wiles at 920-2158 with questions.

• Southwest Bowhunters Archery Club at Adair Park: Archery is offered Sundays with the practice range open all week. Call Keith Parsels at 782-1086 with questions.

Contact Jean Wilson at jeanrenegade@gmail.com or call 247-4450.

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