Tracker Third Quarter 2012
The quarterly magazine of the Arizona Elk Society (AES) with articles involving Arizona Elk and the AES's efforts at conservation of the hunting heritage for future generations.
3 rd Quar ter 2012 Photo by George Andrejko of Arizona Game & Fish Department. L i f e m e m b e r s OF Ken Alexander • Michael Anderson • John Anton • Ernest Apodaca, Jr. • Pete Baldwin • James Ballard • Leo Balthazor • David Baril • Ron Batz • Randy Beck • F.K. Benbow • David Bennett • Keith Berger • Janet Bowman • Tom Bowman • Dan Bradford • Tish Bradford • Richard Briskin • Stephen Brown, MD • Kurt Buckwald • Mike Burr • Esther Cadzow • John Cadzow • Harry Carlson • Lupe Carlson • Kenneth Carney • Steve Casterton • Joe & Marisa Cerreta • Randy Cherington • Pete Cimellaro • Steve Clark • Bob Cockrill, Jr. • Todd Coleman • Frank Cooper • Russell Coover • Lonnie Crabtree • William Cullins • Richard Currie • Patrick Curry • Don Davidson • Kay Davidson • Bill Davis • William Davis • Larry Day • Jim deVos • Steven Dodds • Ron Eichelberger • Sharon Eichelberger • Peter Ekholm • Daron Evans • Tim Evans • David Forbes • Tom Franklin • Douglas Fritz • Will Garrison • Walt Godbehere • Richard Goettel • Carl Hargis • Dan Hellman • R. Todd Henderson • Terry Herndon • Ed Hightower • Paul Hodges III • Mel Holsinger • Scott Horn • Michael Horstman • Timothy Hosford • Bryan House • Wayne Jacobs • Brian Johnsen • Earl Johnson • Edward Johnson • Gary Johnson • James Johnson • Richard Johnson • Jim Jones* • Mitchell Jones • Bruce Judson • Sandra Kauffman • Richard Kauffman, Sr. • Jim Kavanaugh • Bill Kelley • Denise Kennedy • Chuck Kerr • Bill Kiefer • Brian Kimball • David Kinman • Peter Klocki • John Koleszar • Charles Koons • Joseph Krejci • Otto Kuczynski • James Lara • Michael Lechter • Jorge Leon • Ruben Lerma • Tim Littleton • Deanne Long • James Lynch, Jr. • Bob Mallory • Don Martin • Gary Matchinsky • Karl Matchinsky • Russ McDowell • Steve McGaughey • Angela McHaney • Kelly McMillan • William Meredith • James Mingus • Matt Minshall • James Mullins • James Mullins • Matt Mullins • Robert Murry DVM • Gregory Naff • Mark Nicholas • Anthony Nichols • Brandon Nichols • Fletcher Nichols • Logan Nichols • Cookie Nicoson • Paige Nicoson • Walt Nicoson* • Kathi Nixon • Mark Nixon • David Nygaard • Donna Obert • Douglas Obert, Sr.* • Bob Olds • Martin Paez • Pete Page • Sallie Page • Duane Palmer • Marlin Parker • Don Parks Jr. • Shawn Patterson • Art Pearce • Paul Piker • Forrest Purdy • Jan Purdy • Jim Renkema • Keith Riefkohl • Mel Risch • Travis Roberts • Mike Sanders • Rick Schmidt • Tom Schorr • Scott Schuff • Terry Schupp • Bill Shaffer • Howard Shaffer • Steven Shaffer • William Shaffer, Jr. • Lonzo Shields • Terrence Simons • Charlene Sipe • Robert Spurny • Connor Stainton • Gregory Stainton • Randy Stalcup • Douglas Stancill • Mark Stephenson • James Stewart • Shane Stewart • Vashti “Tice” Supplee • Al Swapp • Debbie Swapp • Dan Taylor • Pete Thomas • John Toner • Corey Tunnell • Bill VenRooy • Rick Vincent, Sr. • Don Walters, Jr. • Bill Wasbotten • Dale Watkins • Jerry Weiers • Dee White • Larry White • Richard Williams • Matt Windle • Cory Worischeck • Joseph Worischeck • Mark Worischeck • Chuck Youngker • Scott Ziebarth Arizona elk society * deceased Arizona Elk Society 3 presidents’ message by Steve Clark OUR HUNTING HERITAGE Elk season is upon us. Archery season is over and as usual, the rut was spotty across the state. Some places had bulls screaming and others had silent bulls. If you were lucky enough to get a tag or spend some time in the woods, I hope you had success and a good time. There is nothing better than getting to spend time in the woods with the elk bugling. last couple of years, we have started focusing our thousands of volunteer work hours on these important habitat areas. LEGISLATION Times are changing like the seasons. Threats to the sport that we love continue. There are groups, agencies and even politicians that want to limit where we go and what we do on public land. I can assure you that the AES is working very hard to make the voice of sportsmen heard on many issues affecting hunting, access, use of our forests and more. We have forged relationships with agencies and united other sportsman’s organizations and land users groups, so that we carry a bigger stick when it comes to being heard and being more effective. HABITAT WORK PROJECTS The Arizona Elk Society has been very busy; work projects, water hauling, fixing drinkers to help them catch water, funding the cleanout of 20+ dirt tanks in elk country and gearing up for our Junior Elk Hunters Camps. I would be remiss in not thanking the hundreds of volunteers that make this organization successful. THANK YOU for all you do! Together we are working with Arizona Game and Fish and the U.S. Forest Service in planning our work and habitat projects to get the biggest bang for your dollars. For the upcoming year, we will be putting in place a new program where we’ll be working in the field repairing water drinkers and tanks throughout the summer months. We will be focusing our work on high-quality habitat projects with the hope that we can increase elk in the areas and units where we are working and providing funding. We have gotten very good at removing fences but as you can see in this issue, especially at Buck Springs (see pages 20-21) , our projects will be geared towards improving essential elk habitat in riparian areas that supply water and feed to all the wildlife. These riparian areas are the focal points for wildlife. Up until now, we have funded projects to work in these areas and other habitat improvements like controlled burns and juniper thinning. In the TELL-A-FRIEND As you will see by some of the new articles in this quarter’s Tracker, the Arizona Elk Society is trying to bring you factual, biological information about the issues and programs we are putting in place. Tell a friend about what we are doing. Share your Tracker magazine with them and ask them to join up and support us. Come out with us on a project and bring a friend along. The work we are doing is very important. The issues we are tackling are important. We need your help and support! Don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook. It is a great way to stay in touch. Steve Clark AES President 4 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2012 In This Issue Executive Board President.........................................Steve Clark Vice President............................... Carl Hargis Treasurer..................................... Annette Naff Secretary.........................................Liala Wood Past President............ Sharon Eichelberger President’s Message by Steve Clark............................................................... 4 What Does the Future Hold for Buck Springs? by Jim deVos......................... 6-9 Duel in the Pines by John Koleszar.......................................................... 10-12 Finding Elk Year Round by Jim deVos...................................................... 13-16 2012 AES Wildlife Water Program by Steve Clark.......................................... 17-19 2012 Buck Springs Work Project by Steve Clark............................................ 20-21 2012 Burro Creek Work Project by Steve Clark.............................................. 22-23 The Magic of Elk by Patrick Weise........................................................... 24-29 AES Founding Members............................................................................ 30 Habitat Partners of Arizona...................................................................... 31 Upcoming Events.........................................................................................32 Board of Directors Ken Alexander, Gary Eichelberger, Cookie Nicoson, Jim Mullins, Matt Mullins, Greg Naff, Megan Naff, Mike Norburg, Rick Schmidt, Tom Schorr, Bill Walp Committee Chairs Banquet................... Sharon Eichelberger & Cookie Nicoson Grant Writer..............................Lin Maschner Membership.................................... Dee Long Projects........................................... Carl Hargis Newsletter.........................Maria DelVecchio Website..................................... Leo Balthazor Wapiti Weekend.......................Shelly Hargis Scholarship..........................Wendy Norburg Dir. of Conservation Affairs.........Jim deVos You may send a message for any officers, board members or committee chairs to firstname.lastname@example.org C over photo of bulls fighting by George Andrejko of Arizona Game & Fish Department. AES Mission Statement The Arizona Elk Society is a non-profit 501(c)(3) wildlife organization. Our mission is to raise funds to benefit elk and other wildlife through habitat conservation and restoration and to preserve our hunting heritage for present and future generations. AES WEBSITE www.arizonaelksociety.org Arizona Elk Society 5 CONSERVATION CORNER What does the future hold for Buck Springs? by Jim deVos, Arizona Elk Society Director of Conservation Affairs In this column, I’ve written about BUCK SPRINGS and have said it’s a special place, and indeed it is. From a wide variety of wildlife perspectives, it is special. With the exception of bighorn sheep and bison, all of Arizona’s big game species roam the area. I was recently at BUCK SPRINGS on a field trip and the diversity of song birds was amazing. An important native fish species, the Little Colorado Spinedace, finds important habitat in East Clear Creek and some of its tributaries. Everywhere, wildlife abounds. I also like giant, yellowbarked Ponderosa pines and Gamble oaks that are too large to get your arms around. Both species are widely distributed on the allotment. All of this said, although it is a great place, there is a lot to be done to make it better. One of the key ecological features at BUCK SPRINGS is the wet meadows that are the cornerstone of many biological processes. Wet meadows hold water from snow melt and summer rains and like a sponge, slowly leak the moisture into the streams acting as their lifeblood in dry periods. Over decades, a number of adverse impacts have reshaped these meadows and at least in part, have redefined their ecological role. There has been a cascade of events, one building on the previous, to markedly affect the importance of these meadows. Let’s look at what these meadows once looked like. Prior to the arrival of early explorers to the region, these were wide, grassy meadows generally with a flowing stream that emanated from the many springs in the region. These streams were lined with broad-leafed deciduous trees such as Bebb’s willow and the meadows supported many aspen clones. As early explorers found these lush meadows and open uplands, they brought untold numbers of livestock to the region and humans began to leave their footprint on the area. The unique broad-leafed trees were reduced in numbers and from some streams, even eliminated. The lush wetland plant community was reduced. Concurrent with all of this was the initiation of a relentless invasion of ponderosa pines to the once-open meadows. These invading pines have changed and will continue to change the ecological balance of these unique habitats until the meadows regain their open nature. Again, think of these meadows as sponges holding water to be slowly released into streams and supporting the broadleafed community that adds huge diversity to the region. Well, these pines act like straws and suck up huge amounts of water from the area that is used via transportation to support the growth of the pines. Simply put, the pines are water thieves that affect the downstream environment. In a study of the issue in Arizona, researchers found that soil moisture was three times greater in open meadows than in meadows invaded by pines. Hard to be a sponge, when your water is drained as soon as it becomes available. One last bit of history on this issue. As all of the above happens, when snow melts and heavy monsoonal rains occur, the lack of vegetative cover facilitates rapid run-off and the streambeds begin to erode. Slowly at first, but a small headcut rapidly deepens and moves upstream, making the problem greater each year. There is essentially no headwater meadow on BUCK SPRINGS that doesn’t have at least minor headcutting and the namesake meadow for the region has extensive 6 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2012 erosion. The erosion is so pronounced that it has completely changed the dynamic hydrological cycle and the change is not for the good. When the headcutting occurs, the water table of the meadow sinks to the depth of the headcutting making it much more difficult to reestablish the natural vegetative community. Also, the most productive soil is swept downstream, a serious loss to the meadow. While this may be a depressing note so far, there is great hope for BUCK SPRINGS based on an amazing story of collaboration. About five years ago, the management agencies for the area looked to the Arizona Elk Society for financial help to acquire the base property and the grazing permit so the area can be set aside for conservation purposes. As always, we answered the call and provided close to $175,000 dollars to help accomplish this important conservation action. Being set aside for conservation allowed a great partnership to be formed. The AES developed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Forest Service that sets forth an approach to make conservation projects move forward. Key to this management action has been the full participation of the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Now, let’s look forward. All involved recognize that the key to restoring the ecological function to the area rests with restoring function to the wet meadows and that is where the new management chapter begins. We have completed some wonderful projects and have a lot more planned. Here are some of the plans and an open invitation for volunteers to not only help, but to experience some really cool country at the same time. Ponderosa Pine 67 Meadow Invasion Getting rid of invading ponderosa pines is easiest when the trees are small. In the summer of 2012, a herd of angry pine cutters descended on both the BUCK SPRINGS and Merritt Springs meadows with saws and loppers in hand. Over the course of the weekend, tens of thousands of small diameter trees were eliminated from the meadows. I say “small diameter trees” and when we started, we were asked by the Forest Service to cut trees less than 4 inches in diameter, but as the Forest Service staff saw how proficient we were with saws, the diameter limit slowly grew to the point that like Paul Bunyan, tree fallers were shouting “timber” to protect their nearest neighbor. By removing these small trees from the meadows, we kept water in the soil to make it available for downstream leakage and for supporting the more natural meadow vegetative components. Interestingly, a study in Oregon found that younger ponderosas used water at a greater rate than larger trees so focusing on small trees is not only easier, but it pays bigger water dividends. In 2013, the BUCK SPRINGS partners are planning to remove more trees not only at BUCK SPRINGS but in Holder and Limestone meadows as well. These areas are heavily invaded and need to be Tom Runyon, Forest hydrologist explains the mechanism of downcutting in meadows and describes how we can help repair this damage. Arizona Elk Society 7 In the foreground is the major downcut at Buck Springs. Note the water level is at the bottom of the downcut. In the background, you can see small diameter trees cut by the Buck Springs project. volunteers in July of 2012. opened up for the reasons outlined above. It will no doubt take many years to finish this segment of the restoration effort, but the payoffs are big since when you stand at the edge of the newly restored meadow, you just feel good at what you have helped create. Meadow Headcutting Repair On a recent field trip to BUCK SPRINGS, we saw a new approach applied to heal meadow erosion implemented by Tom Runyon, the Forest Service hydrologist for the area. Tom had worked with a crew of young people and had placed what he called a “Zuni bowl” in a headcut. This entails reducing the slope at the upper end of the headcut and backfilling with stones so water flow is slowed to reduce erosion and loss of soil is eliminated. In turn, this will allow vegetation to establish between the stones to help catch more soil. In time, the goal is to allow the headcut to heal itself and to restore the normal streambed. In instances where obtaining the proper stone is difficult, logs can often be used in their place and there is no shortage of small diameter trees in the forest, so we are limited only by time and volunteers to make meadows healthier. We have a number of these projects identified and in July of 2013, the AES volunteers will hit the field to implement as many of these features as our energy permits. We are working on the design for a major erosion area at BUCK SPRINGS that will be tackled in the future, but we need more planning on this one, as the erosion scar is hundreds of yards long and several feet deep. in many of the meadows at BUCK SPRINGS. These species not only increase forest diversity by providing important features of niches for many bird species, but they play an important role in the hydrological cycle by slowing flow rates and facilitating soil deposition along streambeds. In several spots on BUCK SPRINGS, exclosures have been put in place to keep herbivores from munching these trees but the number of trees in the exclosures is limited in some exclosures. AES staff is currently working with the Forest Service to develop funding proposals to begin experiments with methods most suitable to restore these broadleafs along the riparian corridors. Several methods have been attempted elsewhere and we want to try several of these to see which is the most promising for our northern Arizona forests. Once we know how, like Johnny Appleseed of folklore, we can wander about and get these trees established in many areas thereby adding one more component of this forest back on the landscape. Aspen and Bebb’s Willow Restoration These important ecological features have been reduced 8 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2012 Fence Removal Since the focus of the area has changed from one of livestock production to one of wildlife conservation, many of the fences of the region are no longer needed, which is a good thing as many are completely dilapidated and pose risk to wildlife and recreationists in the forest. AES and agency folks have worked hand in hand to roll up the wire and remove the posts from these features. Talk about instant gratification. When we get to the location these failing fences hurt your eyes when you try and take in the grandeur of the forest. They are just nasty looking. At the end of the day, only your minds eye still sees the fence. It is amazing how much nicer the forest looks when they are gone. Equally important though is that the risk of entanglement to wildlife and people is gone making the forest a nicer place to be. It will take years to remove all of the unneeded fences but with the support of the Forest Service, each year we make more progress on this task. Again, in 2013, we have identified a number of fence segments to begin to take down. In summary, the potential to make BUCK SPRINGS a natural resource treasure is certainly there. The partnership with the federal agencies and the Arizona Game and Fish is a model to what can be done when we all keep our eyes on the objective at hand. Healing the scars of past practices will take time and a lot of both money and labor – having a great volunteer force to help is key to how much we can bite off. In 2013, we have a lot of project diversity and there is something for everyone to do. Make plans to show up and help make this spot one that gives us a glimpse of what our forefathers saw when the arrived at one of the greatest spots on earth. Zuni bowls, a riparian restoration technique, are put in place using stone which will help eliminate headcutting and restore stream morphology. With the completion of each project at Buck Springs, habitat for elk and other wildlife is improved and calves such as this have a better place to grow. As time gets closer we will provide more information on the AES website relative to the July 2013 BUCK SPRINGS projects so plan on lending a helping hand. If you need an extra prompt, I hear that steaks will be sizzling on the grill if you show up! Arizona Elk Society 9 s tarri n g JOHN KOLESZAR BIG BULL “BB” aka 10 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2012 I was heading through Christopher Creek when my phone beeped that I had received a text message. The surprise was that the text was from “BB” and as usual, the message was brief and to the point. “No go on meeting at Bugle Inn. Meet at the boundary fence line across from Deer Springs Lookout.” We had previously scheduled our meeting to be at the Bugle Inn, but for some unknown reason, “BB” had changed plans at the very last moment. I was curious but not concerned with the change and late that evening I headed out from Forest Lakes to the meeting spot. This year the archery bull hunt was held without the benefit of any moon and it was absolutely pitch black when I arrived and shut down the Tundra. I clicked on my hat lights and headed for the boundary fence. The night was alive with all kinds of screaming bulls and the bugles, chuckles, grunts and drumming were all rising up from various canyons around Deer Springs. I had archery hunted for deer in this same location a few weeks before and had done plenty of canyon exploration that showed me just how many elk were running through there each night. I easily found the fence line and snapped off my hat lights to absorb the sounds and take in the magnificent star-lit sky. As I watched, listened and waited, I decided to try a few bugles, just to add to the frenzy. I grabbed my mouth diaphragm and grunt tube and let out a long, piercing scream. To my satisfaction, several bulls immediately responded with their own thunderous bugles. I was feeling pretty good until “BB” whispered from almost on top of me. “That was pathetic. My brethren must be trying to pump up your ego by responding. I wouldn’t give you a half call back, let alone a grunt or two.” It took a few seconds for me to realize that I had jumped darn near into the boundary fence. “Damn it “BB” how many times do I have to tell you not to sneak up on me like that? You scared me half to death!”“BB” just chuckled and said, “You deserve that boy, that bugle call you do is worthless.” I flushed with the righteous indignation of a man who has spent many hours practicing the craft of calling and I blurted out the words that would come to haunt me, “I bet I’m a better caller than you are!”“BB” dipped his antlers and let loose a rousing rendition of his call and I plugged my ears. Sadly I had neglected to side step away from him and the ever present mist of “BB” spraying after his bugle was all over my boots. “BB” started actually laughing as he watched my discomfort at the new boot aroma. “Thanks “BB” that was really uncalled for. Granted, you can do a bugle better than me, but I have more weapons than you do. I can sound like a young bull, old bull, cow or calf.” I knew he was thinking of a clever response, I could hear the gears turning in that tiny brain of his. “Why not have a contest? Whoever calls in the most cows, calves and bulls wins and the loser has to buy the other drinks at our next meeting.” It took all of 2 seconds for me to agree to the challenge. The ground rules were quickly laid out. I would stay on the Apache Sitgreaves and “BB” would go over to the reservation. We would separate by 200 yards and we had 45 minutes to try and call any and all comers to our calls. Loaded with optimism, I broke into a trot and went over to the lookout tower. The rules were that we would each do a call and then count coup on anything that came in. We had flipped a coin and “BB” had won, so he went first. As usual, he let loose with a booming, plaintive scream and let it die down into his deep grunt. I followed up with what I thought was a pretty good response call, ending with my own peculiar grunt at the end. As time ticked away, I began to have some concerns. Nothing was coming in to my calls. Granted it was pitch black out there, but I still felt that there should be more of a response. “BB” kept screaming, but I switched over to my cow calls, thinking that perhaps the seductive chirps I had perfected would do the trick. Finally, a lone young cow came into my area. I could hear her chirping back at me so I knew I had at least one in the bag. I flicked on my hat lights and there she stood, searching for the other cow that I had perfectly mimicked. She had a calf with her and low and behold a rag bull was just behind both of them! I knew that would give me at least some points and I kept on calling as often as I could. “BB” on the other hand never seemed to break a sweat. He would call every 5 minutes and then I could hear him raking his antlers across a helpless tiny Ponderosa. As Arizona Elk Society 11 the clock ticked down, I felt more and more confident. Finally, the 45 minutes were over. I turned on my hat light and sauntered down the road to the reservation boundary. “BB” was contentedly grazing right at the fence line, and I could not figure out why he quit calling. “Hey BB” I said, “why did you stop calling?”“BB” looked up and then started smirking. “Take a look over to my left boy!” I swung the lights away from “BB” and looked to his left. A whole herd of cows and calves had seemingly appeared out of nowhere. They had come in as silently as ghosts – no mewing or calling, no barks nothing. I counted 25 and finally agreed that he had won the bet. “BB” started another chuckle and then broke into a deep laugh. “Oh boy, I got you on that one! You may be okay for human calling, but never try and challenge a former champion cow caller. Even when I was a mere raghorn, I just had a way of getting the ladies to come in to my bugles. It never fails and between you and me, I think some of them just flat out recognized my beautiful voice.” I agreed to pay off at our next meeting, and then remembered that he had changed locations. “Why did you decide not to meet at the Bugle Inn “BB”? We had agreed to go there and then you changed it.” “BB” seemed to get a little nostalgic for a moment. “Ya know boy, we met there so long ago, and it really was a cool place to meet and hoot and holler. But when I ran close to Forest Lakes this rut, I swear there were so many people, so much traffic and so many new places, I just thought it might be a little dangerous.” I thought of how much had changed over the past 8 years and “BB” was right. Progress, change and development had made the tiny hamlet now a tiny little city. They will probably have stoplights and speed traps in a few years. I noticed “BB” had gray hairs as did myself. “Time stands still for no man or elk “BB” . We’ve had a good run up here but it has changed a lot. There were shining times and we were young and crazy, so where do we go from here?”“BB” thought for a moment and finally decided. “Get a reservation camping pass and I’ll meet you outside Maverick Camp just before the snow flies.” As I drove back from the ridges, I thought long and hard about all the humans I’d seen during the archery hunts I had been on. The excessive quad use at early and late hours, going up and down without a concern that a hunt was under way. The campers who played rap music as loud and as long as they could until almost daylight. The more I thought about it, the more Maverick seemed a perfect place. I smiled to myself and the thought made the whole ride back all the more pleasant. THE END “BB” was contentedly grazing right at the fence line, and I could not figure out why he quit calling. “Hey BB” I said, “why did you stop calling?” “BB” looked up and then started smirking. “Take a look over to my left boy!” 12 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2012 Finding elk, year round Knowing where elk are and what they are doing at any given time is important. If you’re a hunter and it is the night before the opener, your success the next day depends on being in the right place at the right time. From a habitat management standpoint, it is important for us to know where we can make the most improvement in what limits elk (and other wildlife) survival. To an elk, being able to meet the basic survival needs throughout the year is most important. That said, lets take a look at a year in an elk’s life and see what they are up to at any given time. For convenience, lets start in winter and follow the herds from that point. Winter is usually one of the toughest periods in an elk’s year. Most elk herds in the western United States are migratory. That is, they have places where they prefer to summer and when the snow flies, the food that elk depend on finding is covered with snow. Besides, it is really pretty cold even for those wearing fur coats so they move to lower elevations. There are a lot of reasons why winter is so hard for elk. First, all animals have what is referred to as a thermonuetral zone. This is a temperature where life is pretty good – not too hot and not too cold – so that a lot of energy is not wasted by the animal to control their body temperatures (think Hawaii for people). When In late summer, cow/calf groups are formed and foraging is nearly nonstop as elk prepare for the cold winter months. by Jim deVos, AES Director of Conservation Affairs the ambient temperature is very cold, an animal has to expend a lot of energy to keep from freezing. Much of this energy expenditure comes from moving to find microclimates where the wind isn’t blowing or where the snow isn’t quite as deep. Using the San Francisco Peaks as an example, elk move from this area onto the lower elevation habitats, usually grasslands interspersed with pinyon and juniper. How far downslope they go is really dependent on snow depth and temperature. For cow elk, another important factor in winter is that they are really trying to meet the demands of not only their survival but the calf they are carrying. As this calf gets larger, it will need more nutrition. I believe that in most regions of Arizona where elk winter, this is one of the key bottlenecks in their life. As I have said before, most of Arizona’s winter range has been adversely affected by the invasion of conifers to the point that the habitat is of a much lower quality than what is needed. Not only have conifers invaded, but lack of fire and changes in the plant community to plant species that are less valued by elk during this critical time, limit the quantity and quality of feed available to needy elk. The makeup of the plant community in winter range is quite important. Elk are intermediate foragers, which means that they use almost any plant on the range to Arizona Elk Society 13 In winter, snow covers the forage causing elk to have to work harder to find enough to maintain themselves at a time when their energy demands are high. meet their dietary needs. If grass is available, great, their digestive system can use this hard-to-digest plant. If browse species is all they can find, they can get by on this also. Unfortunately, on most winter ranges generally the natural plant community that is so important to wildlife has been depleted and replaced by noxious species that are of little use to elk. The bottom line is that during winter, elk are wandering about lower elevation areas trying their best to make it through this time and to get to spring when life gets a little easier. As an aside, this is one of the reasons that the Arizona Elk Society has completed so many volunteer projects in winter range by helping thin invading species and restoring a better forage base for wildlife in places like the IDA grasslands and at Slate Lakes. Spring has sprung and elk are thinking about moving back to their summer range as snow melts. I consider spring as the “make it or break it” period for elk. Cows are approaching the timeframe when their energy demands are greatest as they are in the last trimester of pregnancy. The calves are growing at an amazing rate and when mom gets lots of good groceries, the calves develop to larger size than when the females are nutritionally stressed. The issue is that the larger the calf, the greater the odds of its survival. So what is going on with elk in spring? As snow melts, the plants begin rapid growth in response to high soil moisture and warmer days. A key issue is that as these plants grow rapidly, both their digestibility and palatability are at their highest so elk have it relatively easy. This flush of green slowly creeps upslope as the snow melts. So do elk. As spring progresses, they use what is often referred to as intermediate or transitional range. That is range that is part way between the lower winter range and the highest mountain meadows. Through the winter, elk have been in fairly large groups but as the late spring calving period approaches, this social structure begins to break down with bulls usually pretty much by themselves and smaller bands of cows hang together. The gestation period for elk is about 8 ½ months and since rut begins in mid-September, calves Young calves are spotted to help camouflage them from predators. At this age, the calf is solely dependent on the cow for nutrition, which places a huge drain on the mom. 14 The Tracker - 2nd Quarter 2012 Open meadows offer a smorgasbord of dietary delights and with the tree line nearby, an easy escape route to safety. These areas are very important for elk to get ready for the rut and the winter that is coming. rapidly as they do. If you are looking for elk at this time of year, high-mountain meadows are a good place to look. These areas provide a lot of fresh grass and forbs (basically broadleafed weeds) yet are close enough for the cow to slip back into the timber at the first hint of danger. As the calves begin to grow and become more mobile, the threat of predation is reduced and it is safer to form into larger herds. Predators still lurk about in search of an easy meal but in larger herds, there are more eyes to watch for predators and more angry mothers to chase a predator way. At this time of year, you can see fairly large herds of cows and calves with some small bulls hanging around. One of the things that these groups do is eat – a lot. You see, this is when forage is at its best and the calves need to grow big enough to make it through the harsh winter while the cows have to replace body condition after calving. The big guys are still in bachelor herds away from the cows and calves. This may be a strategy to give the cow herds the best habitat because they need to go into breeding season in great shape in order to begin the reproductive cycle again. are born as early as late May, into July but peaking in June. At this time, the days are long and the temperatures get hot; summer is here. This is the time that as birthing gets closer, cows completely separate from groups and find a nice spot to have their calves. This is no doubt a predator avoidance behavior. You can imagine if there were a bunch of cows together with vulnerable calves, predators would have an easier time of finding a cheap meal of the elk equivalent of veal. This separation behavior is so pronounced that I have worked with a graduate student from Texas Tech University who was able to capture both deer fawns and elk calves at birth solely on being able to recognize how the mom behaved as birthing was imminent. Calving generally occurs on the summer range which is the highest, most lush area that elk can find. This choice of where to give birth is not a random choice but rather a carefully selected spot with adequate cover to hide junior, but close to water and great forage. The cow doesn’t want to hang out with the calf to avoid predation on the calf but she needs to meet her needs without making long-range wanderings that leave the calf unprotected. As the young calves begin to grow, the cow really has to scramble to meet her metabolic demands as it takes a lot to make enough milk to get the youngster growing as As the days begin to grow shorter and a hint of Autumn is in the air, elk behavior begins to move into another important phase of their annual cycle. It is breeding time and the bulls are saying the elk equivalent of “yee haw.” Usually around the first part of September, the more mature bulls start separating from their bachelor herds and begin to go in quest of harems that they will hold together and defend from other wandering bulls. A couple of things are happening as this time approaches. This is the time when bulls begin to call their eerie bugle to advertise to other bulls that they are in the neighborhood and think they are the baddest bull on the mountain. They also want to let the ladies know that they are the most macho. This past weekend, I was with a friend just outside of Flagstaff and as the sun began to rise, four bulls were awaking all concerned with a concert of bugles that made me feel happy to be able to be in the woods that day. From the intensity of the bugles, I guessed that there was one super bull and three that would get there someday unless my friend didn’t launch his arrow in a true direction. The rut is a time of extreme energy expenditure for the bulls. They have to get their harem together and defend them from other bulls, which means they are always alert and on the look out for other bulls. Any bull that Arizona Elk Society 15 approaches the harem is challenged and often a fight ensues. To the victor goes the girls, so the fights are intense with a lot at stake for both combatants. As the rut proceeds, cows come into estrus and return the romantic approaches of the bull and breeding occurs and breeding is often. It is to the advantage of herd survival that all cows are bred during their first estrus cycle so calves are born at about the same time, which shortens the time when calves are vulnerable to predation. After all the cows are bred, the bulls begin to lose interest in the rut and move away from the cows and back to the bachelor herds to tell tales that boys tell. Well, the story is nearly complete. As the rut wanes, fall progresses to winter and the migration to winter range progresses as the snow falls. The more snow, the harder life is during this period. Earlier, I spoke of the demands on females during this time of year as they are once again carrying calves, but this is also a hard time for last summer’s calves. If a calf was born healthy and was sufficiently large, their potential for surviving the winter is greater. But if a cow was in poor condition and the calf was born in less than great conditions, it really has a hard time with winter survival being reduced. During hard winters, calf survival is often lower than when winters are milder. Okay, we have made it around the elk calendar, but there is an important take-home message. Although elk are dietary generalists and by virtue of having very large rumen (stomach) volume in comparison to their body size, each season and each habitat type play a critical role in elk survival. If summer range is weak, so too is the elk herd. The same is true of winter and transition range. Managing elk is in no small part managing the habitat upon which they depend to ensure the habitat provides what the elk need. If there is a missing component, it jeopardizes the welfare of the herd for the entire year. Recognizing this is one of the reasons that the Arizona Elk Society works so closely with our management partners: the federal land management agencies and the Arizona Game and Fish Department, on several work projects each year. We need to identify the habitat limits and do what we can to make life easier for the elk to ensure productive, healthy herds. Check the AES website to find a project near you and get involved. Your help can give elk a couple more bites of grub during a lean time. 16 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2012 2012 Arizona Elk Society Wildlife Water Program by Steve Clark Dirt Tank Renovations It’s been a busy year for water issues for the Arizona Elk Society (AES). In June, we were getting calls from Wildlife Managers, hunters, AES members, ranchers, and folks that we didn’t even know telling us about the problem of tanks and drinkers being dry or nearly so. This was no surprise as it was a long, dry winter and a hot spring. In response, we contacted the appropriate personnel at the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) in both the Phoenix and Flagstaff offices to determine if there were ways we could assist during this emergency. Much the same as we had seen a couple of times in the last 15 years, the demand for water hauling and tank repair was more than the AZGFD could handle in the short term. Simply put, animals were using water tanks and drinkers extensively and AZGFD resources were limited. AES was already trying to deal with water issues on and near the Buck Springs allotment as we had obtained a grant from the National Forest Foundation and had removed silt from four tanks there. We were scheduled to clean five tanks but one had caught some early rain and when we went to work on it, the tank was full. We had also helped the Wildlife Manager in Unit 5A with a project that entailed cleaning 10 tanks on the allotment adjacent to Buck Springs. So altogether, we had a hand in the refurbishing of 14 tanks in Unit 5A. We cleared the silt and debris from Barber Tank in 5A. It is estimated that we increased capacity of this tank by approximately 25,000 gallons based on the amount of silt we removed. This type of project is particularly important as it provides water in the upland areas and helps to manage riparian areas by providing water away from important meadows. This summer, the AES also had a request from a Unit 9 rancher who had been working with Colby Walton, the Wildlife Manager and the Kaibab Forest Service in identifying 11 dirt tanks that the ranch wanted to work on to remove silt that had reduced the capacity of the tanks. These 11 tanks were identified as important historical elk and wildlife waters. This is an important program for elk in Unit 9 as much of the water infrastructure has not been maintained since some of the livestock producers are no longer active in the area. Arizona Elk Society 17 We worked out an agreement and funded this project in Unit 9. As part of the agreement the rancher cleaned out additional tanks at his expense. All of these projects were requests that we received from someone who needed help with developing waters that were either targeted for wildlife or were mutually used by wildlife and livestock. It is difficult to estimate the new new water volume approx. = 4 to 5 million gallons capacity of the tanks that were renovated but the photos above represent a before and after of two of the tanks worked. A reasonable estimate of the amount of sediment removed is 5,000 cubic feet based on an estimated 10 feet deeper over an area 50 feet wide (10 X50) and about 100 feet long (10 X 50 X100 = 5,000) which yields an estimated increase in water capacity of about 400,000 gallons. Approximate new water volume = 4.0 to 5.0 million gallons. Water-Hauling Repairs in Units 7 and 9 Due to the dry conditions throughout elk country in northern Arizona, the AES, in cooperation with the AZGFD, began to haul water in June 2012. To ensure that we focused on the wildlife waters that were a priority to the AZGFD, we worked closely with the Wildlife Managers in these units and with development staff in Phoenix to haul water to developments that these people requested help on. Early in the summer the demand was brisk and the person that the AES hired for this purpose had hauled about 50,000 gallons of water before the great monsoons began to replenish dry tanks in the region. One of the problems that we encountered with many water developments is that they have lost at least some level of serviceability due to lack of maintenance or abnormal weather events. The catchment below is an example of a water that had become unserviceable due to maintenance issues. In total, the AZGFD provided a list of nearly 20 wildlife waters that the AES either hauled water to or provided some level of repair to. Much of this work was done in cooperation with persons associated with Coconino Sportsmen. The work that was completed ranged from providing a new drinker to an existing facility to a complete rebuild of the apron used to catch water during storm events that is stored in a holding tank for use by wildlife. Dent Tank was repaired this past summer 18 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2012 Elk taking advantage of water that was hauled by AES volunteers. Cows in particular need water when carrying their calves and when nursing them. In cooperation with the AZGFD and Coconino Sportsmen, the apron at drinker 651 was resealed. It now will be ready to better capture moisture over the winter and make it available to wildlife during the next dry period. Summary So where does AES go from here? First, we stand ready to help the AZGFD as they find needs for our services. We are preparing some proposals to work on waters that have been identified as priorities so we can get funding for repairs. We are also working with the Kaibab National Forest and the Coconino National Forest to see what developments we can partner on. In all of this, the operative word is” PARTNERING” . By next summer, the AES will have agreements in place and our new “Water For Wildlife Program” will be off the ground to continue these projects for years to come in Arizona elk country. The program that we are developing is to put AES in the position of working where we are needed to keep water on the landscape to benefit not only elk but also all wildlife that use these sources of water. To be sure, the list of species that are using these waters is long and when the drought sets in, water for wildlife is a major wildlife management emergency. Arizona Elk Society 19 2012 BUCK SPRINGS WORK PROJECT by Steve Clark Stacking and piling trees that had been cut by the Forest Service in the Buck Springs riparian area. Buck Springs allotment in Unit 5A was the focus of over 100 volunteers from the Arizona Elk Society this past July. Included in those volunteers, were two Boy Scouts working on their Eagle Scout Projects. The volunteers were divided into teams each tasked with a different project. One group went to the Buck Springs riparian area where some of the group stacked and piled trees that had been cut by the Forest Service. Others in the group cut small-diameter trees that had encroached on the riparian bottoms and were stealing water from the sponge meadow. Members of this team also fixed an enclosure fence around an aspen grove. Another team assisted the Boy Scouts and their team in cutting and lopping small-diameter trees in another riparian area, Merritt Draw, and connected drainages. This group also removed one mile of uneeded fence and installed an enclosure fence around one of the only Bebb Willow left in the area. Tom Runyan and Brian Dykstra from the Forest Service were on hand to see the AES in action and both were pleasantly surprised at the amount and scope of work performed by the volunteers. Tom has some great plans for next year and we think the volunteers will love the projects they have in mind for us. The AES is always amazed at how dedicated and hard working our volunteers are. This was demonstrated on Saturday 20 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2012 Great chow is definitely one of the perks. A father teaching the next generation to take care of wildlife and their habitat by removing trees encroaching in valuable riparian areas that support the wildlife. when we awoke to a steady rain that continued all day, and through all of the rain, the volunteers worked their butts off. We estimated that roughly upwards of 25,000 invading trees were cut over this weekend and if you could see the before and after pictures, the meadows and draws are more open. By opening these habitat spaces back up, we have improved the land for and untold number of wildlife species and for future watershed abilities. All of the volunteers did a great job and should be very proud of the work that was done. The future of many of the areas we worked in will be greatly enhanced. Installing an enclosure fence around one of the only Bebb Willow left in the area. THANK YOU to all of our volunteers who helped to make the 2012 Buck Springs project a success! Arizona Elk Society 21 2012 Burro Creek , Work Project by Steve Clark With 90 volunteers and many miles of fence to tear down and repair, the crews went to work on Saturday morning. This year’s project saw 30 volunteers working in some rough terrain removing a 3.5 mile stretch of fencing that was damaged in the Wallow Fire. It seems that every year there is a section of fence that is down in a steep canyon that needs the A-Team to get at. This year was no exception. The A-Team got the work done. The rest of the volunteers were spread throughout the forest to repair fences around the riparian basins. These fences keep the cattle out of the wetland areas. The Wallow Fire and deep snows push the fences over and break the barbed wire in places. The AES fixes and strengthens the fences. We fixed about 10 miles of fences during the weekend. Part of this project is our Adopt-a-Ranch Project with the 26 Bar Ranch out of Eagar. This year we rebuilt some fencing around some springs that were down and damaged. Again this is to keep the cattle out of the spring but let wildlife have access. 22 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2012 Many of the volunteers got to see the results of the Wallow Fire and comments came back that the wildlife should benefit from a majority of what the fire burned. There were areas that were lush and green and then there were areas that were moonscape. All in all it was evident that there will be some great benefits to wildlife but it will be many years before the trees return. The most important part of any of the Arizona Elk Society work projects and events is the volunteers. Without the support of the volunteers that we get we wouldn’t be able to accomplish the work we do. Thank You to all the volunteers that give of their time to help out. From the workers to the cooks and all in between, we appreciate your help! Watch our website, sign up for our email newsletter or LIKE us on Facebook and come out to the next event or work project. You’ll be glad you did. If you like what you see and what we are doing, please consider joining the AES. You can join at the projects and events or you can sign up online. Your membership helps us to continue the work! Arizona Elk Society 23 The Magic of Elk by Patrick Weise She had sandy brown, curly hair, and a smile to make you fall in love. I was walking her home on a warm summer night, after a little league game. We were in grade school, teenagers, trying to act cool. Deneen was a year younger than I, cute, and wanted my attention. I was proud to be with a girl, bursting with so much life and conversation. Deneen was happy-go-lucky, and talked all the while her jaws smacked away on a piece of gum. She acted as though the whole world was hers for the taking; that all she had to do was to reach out and grab hold. As we walked, she tilted her head back, staring at the twinkling stars, jawing on her gum. She talked as though the stars were only two-feet away, and at any moment, she might reach out and grab one, put it in her pocket, asking me if I wanted one too. When we arrived at the corner of her street she stopped, and faced me. The dim glow from the streetlight made her look beautiful, more so than those bright baseball field lights. Her eyes opened wide and a smirk smeared across her face. She looked as though she had a secret to tell me, so I stood there, staring back at her. The smirk turned into a smile, something big was building up inside that young smooth skin. Forces behind creating pressure, collimating to the point of bursting open. She took her gum out, pinching it between her fingers. Her hands grabbed my shoulders, pulling in close she gave me a big kiss, then another when I put my hands on her. The second one was longer, more intense. My heart skipped a beat before starting to race. She broke free, standing there smiling. “I’ll see you later,” she said putting her gum back in, and then bolted off running down her street, home. 24 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2012 I was stunned. I watched her run until those little legs faded into the dark, then, I turned and started to walk home myself. Inside, I was praying that she would run back, calling my name in loud, out of breath words, and give me one more kiss. No. I caught myself turning around once, well twice, okay… three times, to see if I could still see her running, but I could not. Jitters went down to my legs, then, a childish skip began to move my feet, higher, faster. I felt like I wanted to start running too, maybe we could run together – Forest Gump style – I was on top of the world. I felt like everything in my life was miraculously lining up. There was joy and happiness in my heart. I felt like someone had reached into the heavens, grabbed a star, and given it to me. I was in grade school love. That evening and that kiss were so long ago. And for whatever reason, those moments still remain tucked away inside me. Mine to conjure up at any moment, request again, the passionate joy, the energy and magic, which life has to offer. It was a warm, mid-September afternoon when It happened again. This was twenty years after that kiss. I was unprepared for the way my heart started to thump inside my chest, trying to hammer its way out. And frightened by the way my breathing turned to gasps for air, my body starting to quiver. I was in elk country, sitting in a tree stand, with no girls in sight. One-by-one, a whole herd of elk walked into the water hole and began to drink and socialize. They played and splashed, ...THE SUN SETS, PAINTING THE BLUE-GRAY CANVAS SO SPECTACULAR... and though twenty years had passed, I had not practiced keeping my cool. There is no country more beautiful, than where elk live. Not only am I talking about the tall white aspens, with leaves golden yellow, burning orange and red, parading a Thanksgiving, a harvest to come. Or the tall pines that shadow my face and secrete an aroma – a smell permeating deep into moist nostrils, reminisce of fresh cut wood. Nor am I only referring to the mountain top views I have witnessed as the sun sets, painting the blue-gray canvas so spectacular that I have said aloud, “There must be a God.” Yes, the landscape is incredible, but it is the elk within Nature’s bosom that truly makes this place special. The mountains I hunt are laced with zigzagging footprints where I have been. Coulees I have circled around, ridges I have walked. High points where I have stood for long moments and stared, with nothing left to say. All the while, the soles of old boots have worn thin, a testament to the many miles traveled. For the soreness in my legs, the cartilage I have worn down, a feeling continues to build up, as my soul reaches new heights. These days, elk hunting is a dream come true for so many men and women. To be in the woods during the rut, to listen and hear the calls and sounds, then see a bull elk. It is this opportunity that keeps us connected to nature, our roots, making us…well…American. THE MOUNTAINS I HUNT ARE LACED WITH ZIGZAGGING FOOTPRINTS... 26 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2012 Every hunter has in his or her Own mind a definition of what elk hunting means. Many hunters enter the woods with one thing in mind – a single objective to harvest an animal. This is fine, and at first, this was my only objective as well – to banish a large rack back at camp. Creating a story larger than life as you relive the moments over and over with each person you meet. Nevertheless, deep down inside, something else lurks. A void that can never be filled while living in the city. Could it be the desire to get out of town, leaving behind the sounds and pressures of city life? Or is it the silence and big open space of elk country that makes this forest golden, and the hunt just a good excuse to wear thick your soul? Every hunter has in his or her own mind a definition of what elk hunting means. For some it is a freezer full of tasty meat, the smell of jerky smoking out back. Others are looking for a branch-antlered bull to mount on the wall, and to reminisce for the rest of their lives. Still others go to be in the company of like-minded hunters and friends. They love sitting around the campfire, telling and listening to the stories as they circulate. Some desire all of these things. A culmination of solidarity and camaraderie, of bugles and sunsets. Maybe this is the magic we purchase when buying our license, and a downed elk, only a bonus. After that first hunt, that first kiss, my blood became infected. The disease produced a weird feeling in me. One I crave every night as I lye in bed awake, busy-mind. And with each hunt, it progresses. Like a cancer growing, mutating, it controls thinking until you’re addicted. We do it over and over. Not knowing why, but the feeling we get is good. The mystique of the land, the bellows of elk in the night, they call to us, to come. It has been going on for generations. Fathers taking their son and daughters out to hunt. Sons growing up, marrying, and then taking their children hunting too. Grandfathers, fathers, sons, and grandchildren, all hunting together as the years grow old. It has been going on with the rise of the sun for as long as men have walked. And when we do not hunt, we plan for the next. We dream about the past. We scout for the future. Elk hunting is planning all year for a two-week event. It is making camp with friends and asking them, “What’d ya see today?” It is getting up at 3:30 in the morning to go to your spot; wondering what you’ll walk into as you move through the dark. It is the sound of that first bugle, floating through the air like fresh baked bread. It is being rained on, seeing a rainbow, with no there one to show it too. It is heavy breathing as you climb, the pain of screaming leg muscles. It is freezing in motion, holding your breathe, because you just walked into a herd of elk. It is a morning sky on fire, a nap later underneath bending trees. It is time alone with oneself, to reflect; making me want to talk to God. Arizona Elk Society 27 It has been going on with the rise of the sun for as long as men have walked. Elk hunting is all of these things and many more. Some trips have branded me in a way that past moments and I are now one. This sometimes happens at full draw. When the pressure of the hunt, the power to take life, lingers in my mind just before the index finger touches off my arrow. While both hearts still beat, now only louder, and with more thrust. I wonder about the outcome of the shot as the elk runs off, is the hunt over, did I miss? Afterwards, the whole time while walking through the woods, looking for my arrow, looking for what it is attached to, a culmination of feelings takes me on a merry-go-round ride. Then eyes tell my heart to skip a beat, because in front of me a set of antlers erupts from the earth, motionless, in the shade of a pine. Then, the long slow walk to him… it’s the end of the last chapter, with no more pages left to turn. This is all part of the magic. Your feelings, and how to deal with them, is what you’re left alone with. It is nature, raw, and unblemished. Crazy thoughts may sometimes race through your head. If you had not taken the shot, he would still be running wild and free. You contemplate that if you could take the arrow back… would you? Then you lay your bow down next to him, dropping to your knees in submission, touching him for the first time, thanking someone other than yourself. Your hands rub up and down the antlers feeling every knurl, every rubbed tree he has whittled down. You try to imagine the mountaintops he has crossed, all the bugles he has screamed. And all the hunters he has slipped past. Then, in your mind, you see their faces. The guys back at camp, before you come walking in late at night. “Where is he,” they will probably be saying, talking among themselves. Wondering where you are, before you arrive. “He must have gotten something,” the first might say. “Maybe he’s lost, or broken his leg and needs our help,” another spits out. But then they will hear the crunch of leaves, the crack of a twig. All heads will turn to look that way. The rack of a large bull, tethered to your back, will reflect in the light of their campfire, the one that guides you in. “I knew he got one,” the first will then say. “Where did you shoot him at?” will beg the second. It will sprout from your face; a smirk to a grin, a smile will then lay wide. Inside, a tidal wave of joy, abounding emotions will start to spill out as you begin to tell your story. You’ll want to scream and shout as your buddies come over to touch the antlers, and help you unload the weight. But you don’t mind feeling heavy. You’ll just stand there, smiling, nodding your head to their responses, as if holding back a secret, because Victory knows your name. There are no better feelings than the ones you’ll caress tonight. It is hard to hold them all in, so you share them, letting them percolate and filter out, making room for more to come in. Then you’ll do it. Look up into the heavens, for just a moment, to gaze at the stars. You feel like there is something you should say. It’s right on the tip of your tongue. A sort-of hello, goodbye, and thank you, all wrapped up into one thought. But you say nothing, just stare. You feel the mountains, the hunt, the elk, and your friends, all bonding and living forever inside you. The joy you hold comes from the journey you have just traveled, the getting from there, to here. This is the kiss of elk country, and you, the proud recipient of something magical. An Arizona native, Patrick Weise has been living and breathing elk since his first arrowed bull in September of 2000. He sleeps in the Phoenix metro area, most nights, but his home lichens outdoors, somewhere north, between the dry desert floor and a pine tree canopy. Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation Conservation License Plate By purchasing this plate you will be making a contribution to Arizona’s wildlife and wildlife habitat. Seventeen dollars ($17) of each twenty-five ($25) special license fee will go to AZSFWC’s Wildlife Conservation Committee (WCC). The WCC will review and approve all grants from the special license plate program revenues. These grants will fund important outdoor recreational and educational opportunities and on-the-ground wildlife habitat restoration and enhancement projects. These plates can be purchased online and can also be personalized. To order an AZSFWC Conservation License Plate go to: www.servicearizona.com Arizona Elk Society 29 ARIZONA ELK SOCIETY FOUNDING MEMBERS Founding Associate Members Douglas Sr & Donna Obert Founding Life Members Ken Alexander+ Michael J Anderson Ernest Apodaca, Jr+ David Baril+ Randy Beck Keith Berger Esther Cadzow John Cadzow Harry Carlson Randy A Cherington+ Pete Cimellaro Steve Clark Todd A Coleman Richard Currie Don Davidson Kay Davidson Larry Day Sharon Eichelberger Ron Eichelberger Peter Ekholm Daron Evans Will & Fran Garrison* Ed Hightower Michael Horstman+ James Johnson Earl C Johnson Edward E Johnson Richard Johnson+ Mitchell Jones Sandra G Kauffman Richard E Kauffman, Sr Bill Kelley Peter S Klocki+ John Koleszar+ James Lara Tim Littleton James Lynch Jr+ Don Martin Russ McDowell William D Meredith Anthony Nichols Cookie Nicoson Walt Nicoson* Mark Nixon Donna Obert Douglas Obert, Sr* Shawn Patterson Jan Purdy Forrest Purdy Mark Raby+ Mel Risch+ Rick Schmidt+ Tom Schorr Gregory Stainton Douglas Stancill Vashti “Tice” Supplee+ Dan Taylor John Toner Corey Tunnell Rick Vincent, Sr Don Walters, Jr 30 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2012 Dee White Larry White+ Mark Worischeck Joseph Worischeck Chuck Youngker Founding Sustaining Members Everett & Joyce Nicoson Founding Couple Members Bridgid & Ron Anderson John & Patty Anderson Denny* & Paula Bailey Robert F & Shirley J Banks John & Taina Beaty Robin & Billie Bechtel Brad & Shelley Borden Philip* & Jamie Brogdon+ Mark & Shanna Brooks Shawn & Lisa Carnahan Kim & Lynn Carter, Sr Danny R Cline & Pat Thompson Tim & Patti Garvin W Hays & Suzanne Gilstrap Don & Gwen Grady Steve & Bobi Hahn Igor & Christy Ivanoff Daniel & Danny Johnson Glen & Tracey Jones Richard & Wendy Kauffman Bill & Mary Keebler Mark & Lynda Kessler Mel & Diane Kincaid Richard & Christine Krantz Dick & Nancy Krause Eric & Wendy Krueger Ron & Lisa Lopez+ Gary & Lin Maschner Shane & Tiffany May Kevin & Donna McBee Roger & Micaela Mellen Denny & Pat Moss Robert & Diana Noel Richard Oberson & Bonnie McAuley* William & Vera Rezzonico Clarence Rodriquez MD Richard & Anna Schmidt David Scott & Rosemarie Nelson Bruce & Lisa Snider Macey & Becky Starling Ed & Ace Stevens Tim & Ellena Tanner Craig & Susan Thatcher Tom & Kristel Thatcher Marvin & Margo Thompson+ Jim & Shellie Walker+ Keith & Lois Zimmerman Founding General Members Kendall Adair Gary R Anderson Jim Andrysiak Denny Ashbaugh Ron Barclay Cal Bauer John F Bauermeister Robert Baughman Manny Bercovich Dr Tom Boggess, III Tom Brown Tom Carroll Steve Cheuvront Carolyn Colangelo Mike Cupell Jack Daggett Kyle Daggett+ Bob Davies Gary A Davis Nathan Day John W Decker* Chris Denham Neal E Dial Craig Dunlap Jennifer Evans Bobby Fite Chris Flanders Lorenzo A Flores Roger Gibson Courtney Gilstrap Floyd Green Jon Hanna Douglas Hartzler Art Hathaway Dean Hofman David J Hofman Norma E Hook* Russ Hunter David Hussey Rick Johnson Mike Jones Doug Jones Todd Julian Charlie Kelly Charles A Kerns John Krause Joseph M Lane Robby Long Aaron Lowry Rick MacDonald Joe Makaus Daniel Martin Michael L Mason Mike McCormick Donald Meakin James O Meeks Jason Mercier Jim Mercier Tracey Miner Ken Moss Ronald J Nadzieja Mike N Oliver Craig Pearson Kenneth B Piggott Bethena Pugh Carlos Quihuis Robert L Read Neal Reidhead* Kyle Sanford Craig Sanford Tony Seddon Arnold Shelton Dennis Shipp Tom Sisco Bruce Sitko M Scott South Carl Staley Randy Stout Kenneth K Stringer John W Stuckey Dave Swayzee* Troy Tartaglio Gary TeBeest Todd Thelander Charles B Thompson Stan Thompson Thom Tokash Brian Van Kilsdonk Rick Vaughn Kathy L Vincent Rick Vincent II Don R Walker Douglas Watson Vince Watts Todd Weber Donald D Weber Jr Tom Wooden Douglas Woodward Founding Junior Members Tyler Getzwiller Kevin H Knight Daniel Raby Nathan Raby James Rawls Sheena Smith Blake Tartaglio Alexandra Tartaglio Alexis Tartaglio Travis Thatcher Clayton Thatcher Nathan Thatcher Wayne Thatcher Taylor Thatcher Alexandra Vincent Emma C Vincent Justin M Vincent Prior to March 17, 2002, AES Founding Memberships were available. These individuals and couples came forth to show their support for the AES in it’s early stages of development. During the formation of the AES, administrative funds were needed to pay for organizational costs that led up to the first fundraising banquet on March 16, 2002. Founding Members paid a premium membership fee to help make the first year a success. For their support and dedication, the following Founding Members will receive permanent recognition by the AES. + Membership upgraded * Deceased Arizona Elk Society 31 P.O.Box 190 Peoria, AZ 85380 CHANGE SERVICES REQUESTED NON-PROFIT US POSTAGE PAID Phoenix, AZ Permit No. 5572 EVENTS 2013 ANNUAL BANQUET WILD IN THE CITY, JAN Ben Avery, Phoenix ISE SHOW, FEB 21-24 Cardinals Stadium, Glendale Mark Your Calendar for 3/23! 2 0 1 3 MAR 23 CON G R AT U L ATIONSSTEVE ! Steve Clark, AES President, was recently recognized as one of six nominees in the Field & Stream 2012 Heroes of Conservation Contest. Steve was notified that he was one of the nominees and on October 5, he went to Washington D.C. to attend the gala along with other events. Even though Steve did not win the grand prize, he was incredibly honored to have been chosen as a finalist and thoroughly enjoyed himself along the way. As Steve commented to me a few days after he was back in town, “I met some fantastic people who are doing this for the same reasons I am and I look forward to keeping in touch with them.” Next time you see Steve, be sure to congratulate him on this honor! Check out the Field and Stream website for the videos of all of the Heroes of Conservation nominees and to learn more. Go to http://www.fieldandstream.com/heroes/videos 32 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2012 by Maria DelVecchio