The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) reminds the public to leave baby wildlife alone. As temperatures rise and days grow longer, newborns of many species of wildlife are beginning to explore the world around them.

AZGFD encourages people to resist the urge to help seemingly abandoned animals, including baby birds and young rabbits, as a parent is likely nearby and will return once humans have left the area. “Picking up or ‘rescuing’ baby wildlife is often unnecessary and can have negative consequences. While the intention is well-meaning, the ‘rescue’ often results in a newborn or juvenile animal being taken from its parents, which are likely just out foraging for food and water,” said Stacey Sekscienski, wildlife education program manager. “This can often leave a parent searching for its young, and wildlife raised by humans is less likely to survive if released back into the wild.” Once they’ve been removed from the wild, some species of baby animals, such as elk calves or deer fawns, may even have to be euthanized because they cannot be released back into the wild due to disease concerns. In addition, zoos and other wildlife sanctuaries have limited space to hold them.

Each year, wildlife centers around the state are inundated with baby birds, rabbits and other wildlife that were unnecessarily taken from the wild.

The public should contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator if they encounter an animal that is clearly sick or injured with wounds or broken bones; is unresponsive or lethargic; has been attacked by a cat or dog; or there is strong evidence that the mother is dead.

Young wildlife found in a yard or in the field is rarely abandoned. Typically, once the perceived predator (perhaps a dog, cat, or person) leaves the area, one or both parents will return and continue to care for the young. Baby birds are the most common wildlife species encountered by the public and removed from the wild. Additionally, eggs of ground-nesting birds like quail should be left in place when discovered.

“It’s reassuring to know our Arizona community is passionate about caring for wild animals, but most often, the best thing anyone can do is just to leave baby wildlife alone,” Sekscienski said. For more information on what to do if you encounter abandoned or injured wildlife, visit: azgfd.gov/urbanrehab.

HUNT HAPPENINGS

A final reminder that the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is accepting applications for 2020 hunt permit-tags issued through the draw process for deer, fall turkey, fall javelina, bighorn sheep, fall bison and sandhill crane. To apply, visit azgfd.gov and click on “Apply for a Draw.” For an overview of the application service, including license requirements, applying for bonus points and payment information, see page 26 of the “2020-21 Arizona Hunting Regulations” booklet. Printed booklets will be available soon at all department offices and license dealers statewide. The deadline for the department to receive all applications is 11:59 p.m. (Arizona time) June 9. Applicants must possess a valid Arizona hunting license to apply for a hunt permit-tag. That license must be valid on the last day of the application period (June 9).

A tip: Know your department ID. This is a must to submit an application. There are three ways to locate a department ID. Log into your AZGFD portal account, click on “View Details” under “My AZGFD Dashboard;” check your hunting or combination hunt and fish license if it was purchased online; or call AZGFD at 602-942-3000 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. All applicants are encouraged to purchase PointGuard, which allows hunters to surrender their hunt permit-tag(s) for any reason without losing their bonus points. Information at azgfd.gov/pointguard.

FISH FINDINGS

Be aware of what you can and should do to rid our waters of invasive species: Did you know that invasive quagga mussels cause millions of dollars in damage to boat motors, docks and water intake systems? Or that unwanted turtles, and other pets illegally released into the wild can hurt our native species by introducing disease or outcompeting them for habitat and food? The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) does its utmost to make us aware of the harmful impact of invasive animals, plants and other organisms and wants to highlight some of the invasive species in Arizona along with telling us how we can help slow their spread. “Invasive species don’t respect boundaries, which makes them a continent-wide problem that starts at home,” said Sabra Tonn, Heritage Data Management System supervisor for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “The good news is that we can all play a part in helping stop their spread.” AZGFD and the North American Invasive Species Management Association encourages people to help in the following ways:

Learn about invasive species, especially those found in this region. The Arizona Game and Fish Department website and the National Invasive Species Information Center are both resources. If you’re a boater or an angler, remember to clean, drain and dry your boat (and leave the plug out) before moving to another area. This helps stop the spread of quagga mussels and other aquatic invasive species. It’s not just a good practice, it’s the law. Azgfd.gov/AIS. Anglers should clean and dry their gear. Don’t forget to clean your wading boots! Never transport live fish from one water body to another. StopAIS.org. Don’t release pets back into the wild. Every year there are some pet owners who no longer wish to care for their exotic pets and illegally release them into the wild or dump their aquariums in water bodies, potentially harming local ecosystems. DontLetItLoose.com. Land recreationists should clean their hiking boots, off-road vehicles and other gear to stop invasive species from hitching a ride to a new location. Learn more at PlayCleanGo.org. Campers should not move firewood. Instead, buy it where you’ll burn it, or gather on site when permitted. DontMoveFirewood.org. Slow the spread of invasive pests by taking extra care when traveling, gardening or moving recently killed plant material. Buy your plants from a reputable source, and avoid using invasive plant species. HungryPests.com. Buy forage, hay, mulch and soil that are certified as “weed free.” “Everyone can do something to help prevent invasive species from impacting our natural environments,” said Tonn. Let’s do our part anytime we are outdoors enjoying what our water areas have to offer and do whatever we are able to assist in keeping it all in good shape.

FISHING CLUBS

• Game and Fish planting channel catfish: The current stocking of channel catfish will happen between May 25-29 in the Yuma area at Fortuna Pond, Redondo Lake, the PAAC Pond, West Wetlands Pond and Somerton Council Avenue Pond. A reminder to continue taking precautions while fishing to stay healthy and keep the safe distances in mind. Happy fishing, everyone! I’m still happy to hear if you have fun catching. I can share that good news here if you’d like. Visit me at Jeanrenegade@gmail.com. A good time for parents to take your kids fishing to keep them from going stir-crazy — be sure to choose a location without other people (plenty of room along the Colorado River including the ponds and Mittry Lake).

• Free swimbait giveaway every day for 10 days: Bob La Londe, through his fishing forum, offers chances to win his current contest as part of fishing Arizona and the Colorado River. Visit CNC Molds N Stuff, CNCMOLDS.com. Our focus is on producing custom molds, yumabassman.com/forums-new/index.php/topic,10091.msg46209.html#msg46209. Bob La Londe with the Fishing Arizona and the Colorado River team, yumabassman.com/forums-new/index.php and CNC Molds N Stuff. Ask La Londe about the Premium 3m vinyl boat or vehicle lettering. Nominal size 18 inches long and about 2 inches high are available. Visit the website to learn what to do to try to win one of the swimbaits. Colors made in the swimbait for the giveaway will be taken from those suggested. All winners will receive at least one of each size. Small, standard, and large.

• No update at this time from other Yuma area fishing clubs: Desert Draw Anglers club, the Yuma region of American Bass or Yuma Valley Rod and Gun Club — you’ll need to call them to learn about what their current plans are since some of the virus restrictions have been lifted: Desert Draw Anglers, Michael Obney, 928-750-7081; American Bass, Billy Clothier, 928-919-0304; YVRGC, Travis Hurley, travishurley@gmail.com or call 803-463-3655. You might also stop by the Hideaway (where Mitch’s Bait Shop used to be) on east 16th Street as you leave Yuma and check with them (take the time to look around at what they have while you’re there and if you have questions about fishing for bass in the Yuma area).

• Yuma High School Bass Fishing Club: Even with school not being in session until fall, if you’re a high school student interested in getting together with these other youngsters who are already members of this club for the great learning on how best to fish for bass, call Terry Hurt, school sponsor, at 580-6567 or David Parrish at 928 941-6168. Now that virus problem restrictions are partially lifted in Arizona you might even be able to get together with them during summer months if they go fishing at all to get an early start for school to be in session again this fall.

SHOOTING SPORTS

• It’s a good idea to check with the various shooting clubs at Adair Park ranges to learn about possible shooting matches being planned now that some health-safety restrictions have been lifted in Arizona. Following are contact numbers for the various shooting clubs so call first before heading for the ranges. If you can’t get reach them, call Ron Gissendaner at Sprague’s Sports at 726-0022 for information. Also, for those who might head for the ranges for practice, the ranges are open from dawn to dusk (restriction still in force on staying six feet apart from other shooters while at the ranges).

• Yuma 4-H shooting sports: For information on the 4-H Shooting Sports for youth ages 9-19, call the 4-H office at 726-3904 or Stan Gourley at 344-0740. Ask about getting together with a 4-H club in town now in order to be able to sign up for 4-H Shooting Sports program in September.

• The Yuma Trap and Skeet Club: All matches have now been closed until the quarantine has been lifted. During this closure, call Bruce at 928-941-2240 and leave a message if no answer. Should conditions improve and board members make the decision to open, Bob Avila will notify you.

• The Yuma Young Guns shooting the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP): The program is not shooting until further notice or call head coach H. McNutt at 928-580-0918 or John Gross at 580-1836 for answers to questions.

• Yuma Territorial Longrifles Club: Call Roger Bickel at 726-7453 with questions about shooting at the black powder range at Adair Park.

• Cholla Gun Club: Scheduled matches are done until fall but the range is open daylight to dusk for shooting practice for those interested. Call president Rick Kelley with questions at 928-502-0736 or visit rickinyuma@gmail.com.

• High Power Rifle and Pistol Club of Yuma: Call Joseph Murek at 928-627-4556 with questions or check club information on the club website at hprifleyuma.com.

• Yuma Matchmasters: Call Irene Snyder at 920-613-4598 or Bob Wiles at 920-2158.

• Southwest Bowhunters Archery Club: Good news! The club will host a Memorial Day fun shoot today at the Adair Park archery range with a total of 40 3-D targets — and you can shoot the course as many times as you want! Ricky Bielke says, “We’ve been cooped up too long, so to celebrate the warm weather, SWBH is hosting the fun shoot with no scoring, no prizes, no concession stand, no mulligans or doe tags, no shotgun start, just good, old-fashioned arrow flinging (and lots of water to drink!) Binoculars and range finders are welcome! The cost for adults (18 and older) is $30, family’s (with kids 17 and under) $40. Bring your family and friends to Adair Park Archery Range for some R&R and a little fresh air and exercise.” Check with Rick Bielke at 928-750-6279 to see if archery shoots are still taking place or for more information, email info@southwestbowhunters.net. Get monthly information on the club at southwestbowhunters.net.

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

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