This issue is dedicated to Walt Nicoson 1939 - 2008 Photo by George Andrejko
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2 The Tracker - Winter 2008
ARIZONA ELK SOCIETY FOUNDING MEMBERS Founding Associate Members Douglas Sr & Donna Obert Founding Life Members Ken Alexander+ Michael J Anderson Ernest Apodaca, Jr+ 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 Mel Risch+ Tom Schorr Gregory Stainton Douglas Stancill Vashti “Tice” Supplee+ Dan Taylor John Toner Corey Tunnell Rick Vincent, Sr Don Walters, Jr 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+ Keith & Lois Zimmerman Founding General Members Kendall Adair
Gary R Anderson Jim Andrysiak Denny Ashbaugh Ron Barclay David Baril 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
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
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 Mark Raby 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 Arizona Elk Society 3
president’s message by Steve Clark
The first months of 2008 have brought both highs and lows for the Arizona Elk Society. Since the first of the year, the Projects Committee has been working hard on another large project near Big Lake, AZ that will set aside thousands of acres for elk habitat. We are very close to finishing this project and hope to have it completed in a few weeks. The Banquet committee, led by Sharon Eichelberger, put together the best banquet sportsmen have ever seen in the state of Arizona. There were many highlights including the auctioning of a live mule that was paraded around the banquet tables to the delight of all in attendance. The Commissioner Elk Tag Auction reached a fever pitch ending with the highest price ever paid for an elk tag in the U.S. – $195,000. The Arizona Elk Society raised more than $525,000 for elk habitat throughout Arizona. This money will be matched with funds from other sources and may end up funding projects that together will cost a total of over $2.5 million dollars. I would like to take this opportunity to let all of the volunteers, corporate table sponsors, donors and all of the banquet attendees know that without you, these accomplishments would not have been possible. Thank you for your commitments in support of the AES mission. Work project time is now! If you would like to get more involved in wildlife habitat improvements, we would love to have you come out and join us. Check the website for dates and information on how you can get involved with the AES.
I am extremely sorry to report that the Arizona Elk Society and the wildlife community lost one of its biggest supporters. Founding Life Member, visionary and the most caring person I have ever met, Walt Nicoson, passed away on April 1, 2008. I consider myself very fortunate to have known Walt. Walt’s generosity, the way he conducted his life, and his passion for elk and wildlife were the main reasons I chose to get involved in the operations of the Arizona Elk Society. Walt considered everyone he met a friend. He always had a smile on his face, a big old cowboy hat on his head and a positive attitude. He not only gave of his time and craft, he gave of his heart. If it was for the kids, Walt was there; if it was to raise funds for wildlife habitat, Walt was there. No matter the cause, Walt would do anything in his power to help. I lived next to Walt and Cookie for many years. I remember many instances of coming home with a full trailer or returning from a trip – Walt was always the first one to come over and help me unload as soon as I pulled in my driveway. I remember sitting in his workshop or on his porch when total strangers who were lost would drive up. Walt would invite them in and as they left, he always invited them to come back any time to visit. My family and friends will never forget Walt. He was everyone’s friend. To me, Walt was one of a kind. Walt was one of the nicest, most caring and loving individuals I have ever met. I consider myself a better person for knowing and spending time with Walt. Walt Nicoson is one friend and role model whose memory will always be etched in my heart. I will truly miss him.
Board of Directors
President.......................................... Steve Clark
Banquet........................... Sharon Eichelberger
Vice President..................... Ron Eichelberger
Treasurer................................. Cookie Nicoson
Secretary............................................ Tim Evans
Past President...............Sharon Eichelberger
& Cookie Nicoson Grant Writer.................................Lin Maschner Membership........................................Dee Clark
Newsletter............................ Maria DelVecchio
You may contact any officers,
board members or committee chairs at
Website..........................................Leo Balthazor Wapiti Weekend.........................Shelly Hargis Scholarship.......................... Wendy Stressman & Shelly Hargis
4 The Tracker - Spring 2008
AES Mission Statement The Arizona Elk Society is a non-profit 501(c)(3) wildlife organization. Our mission is to raise funds to benefit
In This Issue
President’s Message by Steve Clark ....................................... 4 Upcoming Events.................................................................. 5
elk and other wildlife through habitat conservation
In the Crosshairs: Fact vs Fiction of Travel Management by John Koleszar.............................................................. 6-7
and restoration and to preserve our hunting heritage
Hunt of a Lifetime by Cody Malone & Craig Malone............. 8-9
for present and future generations.
First Elk by Don Williams.................................................... 11
AES WEBSITE www.arizonaelksociety.org
BB’s Column by John Koleszar........................................ 12-13 Our Man of Steel by John Koleszar and Craig Thatcher .... 14-15 Lucky 7th Banquet by Steve Clark .................................. 16-19 The Management Hunt by Steve Armstrong ........................ 20
AZGFD WEBSITE www.azgfd.gov
Habitat Happenings........................................................... 21 Take a Walk with Pat by Patrick Weise............................ 22-23 Inspiring Volunteers by Steve Clark..................................... 24
NATIONAL FOREST WEBSITES
We Must Become Proactive to Save Hunting, Fishing by Jeff Harrington............................................................. 25
Tonto - www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto
The New Director of AZGFD - Larry Voyles by John Koleszar................................................................ 27
Apache/Sitgreaves - www.fs.fed.us/r3/asnf Kaibab - www.fs.fed.us/r3/kai/
Commentary by John Koleszar ........................................... 29 Habitat Partners of Arizona ................................................ 30
Coronado - http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coronado
Cover photo courtesy of George Andrejko.
AZ Sportsmen for wildlife website www.arizonasportsmenforwildlife.org
View more of George’s photos at http://www.azgfd.gov/i_e/wildlife_photo.shtml
UPCOMING EVENTS Arizona Deer Association Banquet May 10; Chaparral Suites, Scottsdale
Arizona Antelope Foundation Banquet July 19; El Zaribah Shrine, Phoenix
AES Annual Burro Creek Project May 30 and 31 & June 1; Big Lake, AZ
AES Elk Clinic July 26; Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 19th Ave & Sweetwater, Phoenix
Arizona Elk Society Wapiti Weekend June 21 & 22; Sipes White Mountain Ranch Springerville, AZ
AES Annual Meeting & Board Elections August 9
26 Bar Adopt-a-Ranch Work Project June 28, 29; Big Lake, AZ
Unit 1 Champs Hunt Camp October 10, 11, 12
AES 4th of July Campout and Barbeque July 3, 4, 5, 6; Williams, AZ
Junior Elk Camp October 16, 17, 18, 19; Happy Jack Lodge and Bear Springs Ranch Arizona Elk Society 5
Fact vs Fiction of Travel Management by John Koleszar
“The sky is falling. The sky is falling”. The sounds of anguish have resonated throughout the chat rooms and across the state of Arizona since the release of the initial Travel Management Plans by the National Forests. The mere mention of road closures has brought a firestorm of comments that range from the sublime to the asinine. Some of the more memorable statements have been that the forests are planning to close “over 90% of the roads” and that “They are making this wilderness area and that requires an act of Congress” and my personal favorite “These are public lands, I pay taxes and by god I’m going to use them”. So in order to satisfy my own curiosity and be accurate, I contacted my favorite forest, the Apache Sitgreaves. I spoke with several people, got some great stories and finally went to the published document regarding which roads are open and which will be closed. The following is what is happening in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest. Sadly, the rhetoric and angst from the chat rooms and some groups is just that…rhetoric. Historically, the forests across this country have graded many roads for the purpose of timber sales and administrative purposes. These roads are utilized by companies that do logging work and when their work is finished, the forests place burms and signs indicating that the road is closed. When the next timber sale comes around, the forest personnel do not have to rebuild or maintain these roads. They can also be utilized by the forest personnel as fire breaks or study areas. Normal, respectful people will take that as a sign that the road is indeed closed. Not so with some of our OHV friends. Signs disappear at a pace that would stun the public if they knew the truth. It is no secret that the National Forests are dramatically under-funded and that enforcement of closures has
6 The Tracker - Spring 2008
become something of a joke. So over the past 20 years, closed roads have been used carte blanche and more significantly with impunity. To further compound the problem, over the years the OHV crowd has established their own network of roads, commonly called “wildcat” roads. These roads/trails/excursion areas have been created with only OHV use in mind. The Travel Management Plan has been mandated to take place in ALL National Forests and the result in the Apache Sitgreaves has been stunning. Map #1 displays all roads, both legal and illegal in units 4A and 4B. It looks just like a huge spider web of dramatic proportions. Map #2 displays the planned open roads after closure. The difference is remarkable and to my mind a reasonable approach to the multi-use mantra that has always been part of our national forests. Map #2 still allows for reasonable use of the forest and certainly there are a lot of trails…but there won’t be massive incursions into the forest any more. Here lies the battleground for the future. Currently in the Apache Sitgreaves there are 6,155 total miles of open/closed roads as well as most of the wildcat trails. Roads are classified as level 1-5 and that includes everything from highways to 40 inch two tracks. Level 1 roads are always closed and used by the National Forests for administrative and emergency purposes. The remaining roads have basically been left open for visitors to use. The total in the Apache Sitgreaves is 2780 miles for all people to travel on. What we have to bear in mind is that the public has been using the Level 1 roads for many years and that practice is going to end. With the resulting closure, the forest is drawing a middle ground that seeks to appease everyone… sadly, that is not happening. As a member of several conservation groups, I have looked at
the mission statement of each of them. In every instance we specify that we want to protect habitat, wildlife and the future of hunting for generations to follow. There is no middle ground in this issue. If you feel proud about working on a water project over a weekend but want to have roads every ½ mile, then the result is much less usable habitat for wildlife and your one good deed is wasted by your need to play. You can’t go to a banquet, donate a few hundred dollars and then go shed hunting and do grid work through meadows to find the sheds, or worse, chase bulls that have one antler off and one on. I have read countless studies on what happens to elk when a quad draws near. Typical response distance for elk when a quad approaches is 500 yards. For a human on foot, it is less than 100 yards. Sorry folks, we can’t choose to do a good deed today but render vast acres useless for wildlife by demanding that there be a trail every ½ mile. Another favorite excuse is that we (the aging baby boomers) can’t get to where we used to and that we need these
vehicles to get to where the elk are. Let’s see…because we are old, arthritic and out of shape, we feel an entitlement to take the place of many hours of getting into shape. That attitude is similar to the “drive through” mentality that much of our society has today. I would like to be able to keep up the same pace I did 20 years ago but it takes a lot longer and I have to work out most of the summer just to stay in place. I will not ruin another hunters’ experience because I can’t hike back to where the big bulls or bucks hang out. Leveling the playing field through machinery just denigrates the process. The forests are meant to be used by all people. Look at the amount of people who want to use the national forest – the ranchers who pay for their grazing allotments, the OHV users who want to ride in pleasure in the high country, the backpackers and campers who want to have peace and quiet away from the city and the hunters who do not need to have a quad driving up and down the roads all day long during a rut hunt. These are just a few of the various users of the forests. It does not touch on the riparian areas that are critical for all of us, the wildlife that requires calving grounds and quiet places to raise their young and the myriad of other folks who just want to enjoy the scenery. The maps are there for all to see. The myth of 90% closure is just that…a myth. The right to use the national forests is still there, but it must not be to the detriment of everyone and everything else. I fail to understand how so many can expect so much at the expense of all that we supposedly hold dear. The process we are in the middle of will go a long way towards the legacy we leave our children and grandchildren. Teaching them that riding to see wildlife is flat out wrong. It would be far better to teach them to exercise and develop skills to get close to wildlife the old fashioned way… hiking, glassing and other outdoor skills that have benefits that far outweigh benefits of knowing how to use a throttle.
Thank You o
ra orpo te Spo C n e
te to us ye a
Arizona’s SR 260 wildlife protection project was awarded the 2008 National Environmental Excellence Award for Environmental Stewardship from the National Association of Environmental Professionals.
Did You KNow... The Arizona Elk Society donated money to fund research associated with this project!!
Arizona Elk Society 7
HUNT OF A LIFETIME Eddy Corona: The following two articles are in response to the Hunt of a Lifetime. The first one is written by one of the young hunters and the second article is by his father. e drive to Arizona. W
was a long ona it was great. Ite different terrain there. They had iz Ar in g in nt hu k th El
e all and I wanted to se drove because dad ol. co ry ve re we at ns th some rock formatio wow, can he . That cook Eddy – od go s ke wa od fo e th and of you. They will wa The camp was nice they take good care e when they woke d, kin d an ce ni s cook. Everyone wa him a cup of coffe dad they would give you up and for my us up. broadside at a five point bull ce an ch a d ha I nt the hu eelchair out On the third day of time to take my wh ve ha t no d di ey . Th So they put me up only 75 yards away were already there. elk e th e e er th t go dad to shoot but th because when we stopped, I told my ys ll da bu e w fe th a n, s gu wa y m ce other chan y on a rock with M . ay aw t go ll d bu an e in and the d a four point cam safety was half on ter hole at night, an ll heard it wa a bu at e t th sa – e W ise . at no after th y too much wa e ad m g in a six by us s s wa ld. There the gun mount I wa ll, and told us to ho hi a on got 16 I up y s da wa t d es. The las and left. My da bull stayed in the tre t him but broke his at th t bu in g in m six was co s away – I hi didn’t die. The guys six bull at 681 yard 3 years the big bull but he t go I d shots off at a six by an e, t the worst storm in er bu th ll up bu lls at th bu d 15 fin re to shoulder. There we nt on Friday to try t die. st hope he does no h and they let us hu ay but that is ok, I ju called Game and Fis aw t go He . in ra d fog an d to be with made it hard with ay from the city an aw t ge to is g in nt me next year cause hu ere – I hope I can co y but that is okay be g th in e th tim t no ea th gr wi a e d m I came ho e bonus. I ha e story of m ling something is th the same guys will be there. That is th your friends, but kil all d an n because it is fu alone elk hunt. God bless, Cody M
Through the eyes of a father Elk hunt in Arizona…you gotta be kidd ing me, I was so excited for Cody whe n we received the phone call. I consider hard elk hunter, and I would kill for the myself a die opportunity to chase big bulls through Arizona! 1 application, some signed form doctor, 1 month later and we received s by the the call, Cody was going to Arizona for a “Hunt of a Lifetime”. Cody Malone is my son whom is now 12 years old. At 14 months old we rece ived the worst news parents could ima perfect little angel had a life shorteni gine. Our ng disease; he was diagnosed with Spin al Muscular Atrophy Type II. SMA is a neuromuscular disease that is destroyi progressive ng my son’s ability to do anything. It is destroying his primary muscles (mo is now moving into his secondary mus tor muscles) and cles (organ function). Most parents watch their kids grow and play sports, join bands, drive, and so on… I slowly watch my angel wither away. days, I wonder if today is the day that Some things turn for the worst. I don’t plan for the future, Cody and I take each day time, and we try to enjoy as much as one day at a we can. So when Cody developed a love for the outdoors, and wanted to try the sports I love so much, I was ecstatic. It hunting is just another excuse to spend time with my boy! One day he watched the hunting chan nel and wrote down a website: www.hun tofalifetime.org. He told me “Dad, I reall to try hunting elk on my own”. I had alwa y want ys made excuses, to be honest I wanted him to hunt with me, but I was scared. it meant so much, and I did not know I knew if I could make it happen the way he deserved. I him-hawed around, trying another excuse, but that little butt was to fabricate ready for me. He educated himself and was able to argue his point. My little bab developing into a young man! So we y was did it, printed the application. We com pleted the application, got the doctors signature and away it went…that simp okay and le. Elk Hunting, a simple request for som e folks, a dream for my son. He got it! The phone rang, we got the news and done deal. Now we wait. Hav e you ever told a child he got the thin the most? Then told them now they have g he wanted to wait 4 months??! For those of you that don’t have kids or your kids are you olds do not have much patience. So 4 ng, 12 year months and many headaches later, we are on our way. Arizona here we com e!! The Hunt of a Lifetime group is, well I honestly can not put into words how great they are. I had nothing to worry to plan. They asked a couple of question about, nothing s and they take care of everything. Clot hing, all provided by Cabela’s. Firearm provided by Savage Arms. Even transpor with optics, tation, they handled everything. No wor ries, no issues. The support staff and coor 8 The Tracker - Spring 2008 dinating
staff will always be in our thoughts and prayers. to much help or financial “giving” from people and I wanted We drove, most folks fly. We drove for two reasons: First, I am not accustomed ent and adaptive equipment. His power wheelchair equipm to keep cost as low as possible. Second, my son required a lot of medical not been a good year for lung function), he needs oxygen for weighs well over 350 lbs, he requires breathing assistance at night (2007 has a static gun mount for his wheelchair, and then all our gear. daytime emergencies, he also is unable to move his arms well and required Imagine trying to get all that to one place and intact via the airlines! say is WOW. Everybody was there; just waiting…all these All loaded up, hit the road, and 16 hours later we arrive to camp and all I can UNBELIEVABLE!! Thanksgiving dinner was great, getting to us. for wonderful people gave up their time and their Thanksgiving to be here was actually treated like royalty! meet and get to know everyone, and planning the upcoming hunt. Cody The kid has the heart, he has the desire…but how can we make How are we gonna do it? This is the question Chris Denham and I shared. too familiar with them, and a big F250 not meant to get it happen? Imagine 2 guys, one not familiar with power wheelchairs and one got to get him set-up in front of the elk with his static gun stuck anywhere, and a kid with a 350 lb. power chair. Then top it all off, we and I had it down like art…less than 2 minutes and we could Chris mount. Wanna talk about a nightmare!! Guess what, after a few tries, gun, mount the rifle to the gun mount, and get him positioned unload the chair, set Cody up in it, attached the static gun mount, load his y all that work just hoping and praying this set-up would be for a shot. All that, just hoping the elk would cross in front of Cody, seriousl the one. elk. That is all that was on my mind, he wanted an elk and we I am going to be very blunt and honest; we were there to harvest Cody’s bull less if we even saw another elk. I wanted Cody to get his care could I were gonna do just that. But let me tell you this, after the first 48hrs, gals that are fun to hang with every now and again, but life bull deep in my heart, but we made friends. I am not talking about guys and desire, and the love you only hope for…well folks we found it. long friends that will always be in our hearts. The compassion, the drive, the I can say I am honored to know…The Arizona Chapter of Hunt We found it on a ranch near Sedona, Arizona and found it in the group that (Howell Wildlife Outfitters). group HWO of a Lifetime, the group from Chandler Rod and Gun, and finally the mount at the Taxidermist? I can honestly say it was the most I could go into detail on the hunt, but why? Was it a success? Is there a huge is even stronger, the people we now call friends for life, successful hunt I could have ever hoped for. Cody’s desire and love for hunting ful hunt. and the special moments and bonds I shared with my son…Yes, a very success let alone on us parents who always struggle to give I truly do not think anyone realizes the impact you folks have on these kids, us. The Hunt of a Lifetime organization and all those people that everything our angel’s want and need…things that come natural to all of is often a gloomy world I dwell in. If anyone has a chance to what in e give their time, energy, donations, and heart are rare rays of sunshin Hunt of a Lifetime, I can only say I hope you take advantage of participate or be involved in any activities that are sponsored or put on by it. It will be a truly blessed experience you will cherish for all your life. the experience we shared in Arizona. Goose, Lee, and the rest I wish I could pass on thanks to everyone by name, but I am still absorbing share a special spot in my heart and Cody loves you (Lee I at HWO I appreciate all you did, and I appreciate each of you. You will forever that go beyond what is needed. Chris & Mark Denham, you guys of owe you a special thank you and you know why)…talk about a group additional father/son adventures! Eddie, you and the crew both should know where you stand with Cody and I, we look forward to some had on us…Thank You. The Arizona Fish & Game, I tell you the from Chandler Rod and Gun, I can not even put into words the impact you local warden, wildlife manager for 6A – AWESOME. These poor guys always get the bad from folks. Hats off to you for all you did for Cody. I wish I could thank you all, but I am not going to even insult anyone by trying to put it in words…I can’t. What everyone did, the time they gave up, the long hours of work…all I can say, and I truly say it from the heart, Thank You, God Bless you…you made my angel’s dream come true. Each of you is an angel in my book and will be welcome by our fire anytime. Thank You. From, The Father of a Special Angel The Arizona Elk Society is a proud sponsor of Hunt of a Lifetime. AES provided a major portion of the funding that was used towards food and fuel for the hunt. We are thankful that there are organizations like “Hunt of a Lifetime” who continue to make kids’ hunting dreams come true. “Hunt Of A Lifetime” is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to grant hunting and fishing adventures and dreams to children age 21 and under, who have been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. To help a child live their dream or for more information about Hunt of a Lifetime, contact Terry Petko at (602) 689-9524 or visit www.hoal. arizona.org. Arizona Elk Society 9
COMMENTARY by John Koleszar I read the letter to the editor in our last issue and while I may agree with his frustrations regarding quality vs quantity hunting issues, I was disturbed with his language and broad overview of the Arizona Game & Fish Department and their personnel. The department takes its marching orders from the Commission. The Commission had mandated to the department that they increase the number of available tags for hunting. Many of the department personnel are members of the AES and they have heard our story and have tried to help in the outlying communities to spread the good word. Criticizing the whole department is a step that I do not believe anyone should be willing to take. I know for a fact that many of the department personnel have the exact same concerns we do. Expressing concerns is a right that we have but it must be tempered and to the point rather than the broad generalities that Greg chose to take. Day in and day out the AES works shoulder to shoulder with many department personnel and they feel that the sportsmen are an important part of the puzzle. Our biggest concerns have been with the Arizona Game & Fish Commission. Certainly in the past few years we have felt alienated from the commission and that our feelings, decisions and input have been discounted. Ideas that we have talked about, surveys that we have taken and philosophies we have espouse have all been rejected. Greg however chose to heap his tirade on the Arizona Game & Fish Department. Why not go to the top if you have a complaint? Beating up on the messenger
accomplishes nothing…except to push those in the field away from us. Greg should also take a long look at someone else in his article. He should have chastised the hunting public members that take but do not give back, the hunters who complain but never lift a finger to help, the average Joe who responded to the survey without a clue as to what the implications of their response would be. We typically have over 100,000 people that apply for elk tags in Arizona. How many of those folks work on banquets? How many people are involved enough to go to the public meetings? How many do you see at our annual projects? My guess would certainly be under 500 people. That represents less than ½% of all the people who want to hunt elk in Arizona. I have seen the enemy…and it is us. I have had many conversations with the department and we can agree to disagree on many topics. My idea of a quality hunt is certainly different than a lot of other people.’s But if they take 100 prime tags and create 500 “opportunity” tags (based on degree of difficulty to fill the tag) is that helping or hindering? Why not try and create better habitat for wildlife and grow more elk? Why not raise the elk herd numbers back to the 35,000 animals that we had just 10 years ago? There’s lots of room for discussion and certainly differing ideas. Beating up on ALL the department just was not a path I would think anyone should have chosen.
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10 The Tracker - Winter 2008
FIRST ELK by Don Williams
I was finally able to fulfill a lifelong dream of mine by harvesting an elk with my bow. My brother Woody and I went elk hunting in Utah with a very good friend and hunting buddy, Jason Barker. My brother, the elk slayer, has been trying to help me get an elk with my bow for years now. He has put me in the right spots many times and it just never happened. I think he wanted me to get an elk as much as I did. Jason is one of those guys that the minute you meet him, you are friends for life. He is a genuine true friend and an awesome hunter. I bought an archery elk hunters choice tag over the counter. This tag allows you to harvest either a bull or cow depending on the area. We ended up hunting a canyon that allowed only spike bulls or cows to be harvested with a bow. I told Jason that I wanted to hunt out of a tree stand since that is the way I had hunted 98% of the time for white-tailed deer back east. He kind of laughed and said that no one in that area hunted out of tree stands for elk. He kind of chuckled again and said that he had a great location in mind by a water source near the bottom of a canyon in which to put the stand. We would hike down into the canyon early the following day and place the stand and then hunt it that evening. I was so excited I could barely sleep that night. Early the next morning we made our way to the top of the canyon and started glassing for elk. We didn’t see any, so Jason got out the elk call and let loose with a bugle that sent a shiver down my spine. Immediately, from the other ridge, an elk bugled back. Wow!!! What an awesome sound, my first sounds of a wild elk bugling. I looked down the ridge about 100 yards away and out stepped a 6x6 bull that looked magnificent to me. We then looked across the canyon and saw eight or nine cows and yearlings going up the ridge. To say I was excited was an understatement, I was ready to start hunting.
I got my stand and gear together and off we went down a narrow two-track trail dropping approximately 1500 feet in elevation to the bottom of the canyon. We located a suitable aspen tree that only allowed me to place the stand approximately 14 feet off the ground. This is pretty low compared to when I am hunting for whitetail, so I figured it was too low for elk hunting as well. Since that was the only suitable tree around to put the stand in, I resigned myself to the fact that it would have to work. I would just make sure I was well camouflaged and stay as still as possible. We hiked out on the two-track trail, this time going up the 1500 feet of elevation. Let’s just say, I am not as young as I used to be and it dawned on me why Jason chuckled the second time about the tree stand location. It took me three times as long to hike out of the canyon as it did to hike down. Later that day we did some spot and stalk hunting without any luck. The next morning found me at the stand and ready for the days’ hunt. I hiked down to the stand while my brother and Jason sat near the top of the canyon to glass for the elk. The morning came and went without out any elk sightings. I heard some bugling and also saw a hawk that tried to get a chipmunk near my tree. The hawk was not successful so it lifted up and landed on a branch three feet directly in front of me. He turned his head and looked at me as if to say, better luck next time. He then flew to a tree opposite the little clearing where he sat for a good ten minutes. It was almost as if he was also hunting out of a “tree” stand. My brother and Jason did not see any elk that morning either. I hiked back out of the canyon later that morning a little let down, but ready to go back and try again in the evening. I was back in the stand later that afternoon at about 1500 hrs. Jason had to go home, but once again, my brother was up on the side of the canyon glassing for the elk. It was a pleasant evening with a fairly brisk breeze blowing in my face and the temps in the high 40’s. I just “knew” that today was the day. I said (continued on page 26) Arizona Elk Society 11
BB’s COlumn by John Koleszar
“BB” and the Animal Travel Plan I received the letter from “BB” asking that we meet outside of Show Low…As usual, it was right along the fence bordering the Reservation and Unit 3C. “BB” had specified that we meet at 1p.m. and that I bring maps. Unfortunately, I had no clue what kind of maps he was talking about. So, I gathered up any topographical maps that I had, as well as the Apache Sitgreaves map and headed up towards our meeting spot. I had to park a good distance away and hike in to the fence line spot that he had indicated. I saw “BB” from about 100 yards and he was surrounded by several other bulls. They were all looking at some papers laid out by a small stream and held in place with rocks. The other bulls shied away and took off as soon as they saw me coming. “BB” however looked up and motioned for me to come over. “Greetings “BB””, I said. Then I started to chuckle as I noticed his bald head was once again shorn of his massive antlers. Velvet was covering the new buds that were already a few inches above his forehead. “BB” glared at me and said, “At least mine grow back smart mouth.” I was not ready to get into a discussion about my readily apparent lack of hair so I tried to be polite. “Okay “BB”, why did you want me to bring maps?” I tossed my bundle of maps on the ground and looked up at my old friend. “BB” pawed through the maps and grunted when he finally found the Apache Sitgreaves map. “Word has it that the Apache Sitgreaves is completing the travel management planning, so we are going to finish off our animal travel planning as well.” I was shocked at what he said, but also very curious. “What are you talking about “BB”? How can animals have a travel management plan?”“BB” gave me his best disgusted look and explained. “Every 20 years or so, we sit down and devise a travel management plan for all the forest animals. Since we are the largest and since the damn horses are not really legal, we get first dibs on where we want to travel. Cattle come and go on a seasonal basis, but we just push them into smaller blocks of grazing areas where their human owners can find them. Besides, those guys are so slow and dumb they accept whatever we say. So once we declare the areas that we want, we then compromise a little with the mule deer for some of the grazing and travel rights. Next comes the coues deer and then the black bears. It kind of works out 12 The Tracker - Spring 2008
as long as everyone is willing to compromise a little.” I thought that one over for a few seconds when I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye. Low and behold a beautiful mule deer buck made his way over to where “BB” and I were standing. He made some noises to “BB” and then looked at me. “BB” muttered something under his breath and turned to me. “This is “MD”. You can’t understand him, but he’s the rep from the mule deer herd of the Apache Sitgreaves. I’ll interpret for you since you don’t speak deer yet.” Then I saw a couple of other animals approaching. Right in front of my eyes we had an enormous sow black bear, a turkey, and a little coues deer all strolling right up to our gathering. Last but not least, I heard a thundering of hooves and saw one of the feral horses come galloping up to our group. I was absolutely stunned to see so many critters all in one place and all at one time. “BB” I said, “what in the world is going on?”“BB” snickered and said, “Well boy, we heard all about the fact that the forest is closing down over 90% of the roads in the forest and we felt that it was time to divvy up what you humans won’t be using anymore. As a matter of fact, we heard that the Forest Service is planning on making this whole forest a wilderness area, and no one will be able to ride anywhere. We can split up all those areas that are too close to roads now and use them the way we want to. He really seemed to believe that the forest was going to come back to him and I hated to be the bearer of bad news, but I had to tell him the truth. “BB” I said, “just so you really know what is going on, I think that we ought to chat a little bit before you make any serious plans.” “BB” looked at me and said, “What are you talking about boy?” I motioned him over to the side and dragged the map out with me. “BB” I said, “The rumors that you have heard in town or read in the papers are just not true. The forest is undergoing a Travel Management Plan, and yes they will be closing some roads, but the facts are as follows. Currently there are over 6,000 miles of roads in the Apache Sitgreaves Forest. About 3300 miles are for forest use only and have been closed for years. Due to the fact that the forest service has no money, they have not enforced the road closures. The signs they put up were torn down by humans and so people have been using them all along. They will try and enforce the road closures in the future, but there will still be over 2700 miles of trails for people to ride on. There are some city folks in Heber who have claimed that the forest service is
making this a wilderness area, but to those folks anything over a mile in any direction without a road is wilderness to them.”“BB” looked stunned, “Are you telling me that there will still be travel all over the forest?” I looked at his angry eyes and said, “Yes “BB”, there will still be travel all over the forest. Not only that, some folks are fighting the OHV bill that Representative Weiers has going through the legislature this year. Even worse, there are some folks who are threatening to treat this like the prohibition era and violate whenever they want to.” “BB” stood still for more than a minute and finally turned to the group that had gathered. In a language that I did not understand he vocalized a whole bunch of sounds and the rest of the animals started getting very agitated. “BB” turned back to me and said, “Let me guess…the Forest Service has no money, the OHV bill is getting plenty of opposition and the OHV crowd is screaming about their rights?” “Yep “BB”, the whole thing is getting pretty messy. We won’t know for a while what the outcome will be, but I’ll let you know as soon as I hear anything.” “BB” turned back to the group and did some more of that vocal stuff. The coues deer was first to leave, bounding away at warp speed. The sow growled and shook her head and then ambled off. The turkey and the mule deer both went west as fast as their wings and hooves could carry them. The horse however kept on grazing, seemingly unfazed by the news. “BB” turned back to
me and had a pained look in his eye. “I kind of thought that the news of 90% closure was elk crap, but I was hoping that there was a grain of truth to it. You know, 2700 miles of trails, if they went in a straight line – you could go across the United States and not use up 2700 miles.” I nodded my head and could say no more. The sad truth is that whatever the forest decides today will have lasting effects for years to come. ““BB” I said, “There is some worse news. I have seen some maps of what the future looks like in Arizona. In 40 years, they are expecting to have at least 13 million people here. With the way quad sales are going, one in three people will own one and that means on any given weekend there could be as many as 4 million quads in the forests at any time.” “BB” just looked at me and asked, ”What forest? You put that many people in here and all you will see is road after road after road.” I felt his disgust and apologized for the humans who are threatening his existence. “BB” just shook his head and said, ”Glad you and I won’t be around then boy, the future you are describing is almost here already. Given those numbers we might well become extinct in Arizona again.” For once I could not offer any encouraging news. I picked up my maps and headed back to the truck. The truth hurt “BB”…but he had to know it. An old song by Joni Mitchell kept coming into my mind as I rode back to the Valley, “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.They paved paradise and they put up a parking lot”.
“You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. They paved paradise and they put up a parking lot”.
Arizona Elk Society 13
We’ll Miss Our “Man of Steel” It was just two years ago that I wrote about Walt Nicoson whom I referred to as “The Arizona Elk Society’s Man of Steel”. Sadly, on April 1, 2008 Walt passed away after a lengthy illness. Many of us are fortunate to have items that Walt had created with that special blend of hardened steel and vivid imagination. I know most of us will remember his wide, twirling mustache and big grin whenever we pause to think about him. Each year, Walt took the time to conceive a vision, put it down on paper and then magically make it appear through his welding skills. His artwork will live for many years to come and wildlife and the AES are all the better for having known him. Walt continually donated his art as banquet items and helped to raise thousands of dollars through his efforts. I suspect that if heaven needs the gates welded, they’ve finally got their man. Please join all of us in extending our condolences to his wife Cookie and their family. by John Koleszar
14 The Tracker - Spring 2008
For those who’ve never had the pleasure, Walt and his wife Cookie are two of Arizona’s greatest conservationists and have become so under the radar of fanfare. When we held our first Arizona Elk Society exploratory meeting in 2001 at a north Phoenix Bill Johnson’s restaurant, Walt and Cookie were there and they never looked back. Both are Founding Life members, with Cookie serving as our Treasurer since day one – still holding that position today. I will remember Walt as a friendly, gentle, caring cowboy who never failed to greet you with a smile and a twinkle in his eyes. A master metal craftsman, over the years he has donated thousands of hours and many custom-made items to benefit all types ofwildlife and those who enjoy them. I was told he went to the happy hunting grounds with his favorite AES hat and cowboy hat in hand. Walt never asked anyone to do more than just give a little back for what they had received. His dedication to the AES and Arizona’s wildlife paid the debt many times over for many of us and his legacy will continue to inspire those who were privileged to have met him and Cookie. God bless you Walt and Cookie for what you’ve given to all of us. It has been my honor to have been your friend and our prayers are with Cookie.
Walt didnot want tohaveafuneral or anytypeof memorial service. He must haveknownthat aservicewas not needed– wewill always holdhis memorydear toour hearts. Inlieuof flowers andcards, Cookiehas asked that anydonations bemadetotheArizonaElkSocietyor RTAHospice. ArizonaElkSociety, P.O.Box190, Peoria, AZ85380 RTAHospice, 1000NorthHumphreys Street, Suite220Flagstaff, AZ86001
by Craig Thatcher, Founding Member
By making a donation to AES in memory of a loved one or friend, you will help ensure that their memory lives on in helping Arizona’s wildlife and hunting heritage. In memoriam donations will be recorded in our Tracker newsletter and on the AES website. In memoriam donations can be made as a special tribute for a birthday, anniversary or in memory of a friend or relative.
In Memory Of: Warren Eichelberger
Arizona Elk Society 15
7 y k Luc quet Ban ts Se s! d r o c e R
On March 22, 2008 the Arizona Elk Society held our 7th annual banquet and the results were incredible. The banquet was held at the Mesa Convention Center. We had a little trepidation about moving such a large affair to a new venue but we soon knew we had made the right decision. The additional square footage allowed for more comfort at the tables and was very helpful in showcasing all of the banquet items. The banquet was sold out weeks in advance and the total number of attendees was around 800 people. Everyone came for a fun-filled night; they opened their pocketbooks and set a new record net amount of over $525,000 that will be well spent on wildlife habitat and projects in Arizona. Matched by funds from other wildlife organizations and agencies, this money will fund projects and programs whose value will total up to $2.5 million dollars.
This past February, Utah set a record with an elk tag which auctioned for $158,000. That record stood for only a month! At the banquet, we topped it by selling the Arizona Commissioners Elk Tag for a whopping $195,000! We not only regained the record, we set the bar very high. The Commission antelope tag was also auctioned and that tag sold for $62,500. The money raised by the sale of the antelope tag will be used for improving antelope habitat.
16 The Tracker - Spring 2008
One of the highlights of the evening was the sale of a mule that had been trained and donated by Ronnie McKay of Mule Barn Farms of Yuma. This one year old mule was paraded onto the banquet floor; she was handled, petted and touched by many of the attendees. Ronnie had her bow to the crowd, sat under her belly and picked up her hind legs, all to the delight of the crowd. Incredibly, she was calm throughout the entire bidding process, even when the roar went up as she sold for $8,500. This year, the AES gave out three scholarships to Arizona graduating seniors. Having received many applications, we had a hard time narrowing the field to just three. The $1,000 scholarship winner, Matt Lewis was presented his check at the banquet. Matt will be pursuing wildlife management in Arizona with a goal to work for Arizona Game & Fish. Matt has worked with the department on many projects and as an Eagle Scout he designed, funded and oversaw the construction of a wildlife drinker. Our second place $750 scholarship was given to Kyle Thompson. The $500 third place winner was Richard Staffeldt. We look forward to seeing all of the recipients at future projects and events.
Arizona Elk Society 17
Congratulations to all of the AES 2008 Scholarship recipients. I especially want to thank Sharon Eichelberger, Cookie Nicoson and Dee Clark for all their hard work. They all put in a tremendous amount of time and effort before, during and after the banquet. They were instrumental to the success of our banquet. The AES is fortunate to have many dedicated volunteers who work hard gathering donations and meeting weekly for months in preparation of the banquet. The committee members, some 70 strong, all dedicate their time and energy for the banquet. The results prove that hard work and organization go a long way towards making a successful event. A big “thank you” for a job well done goes to all the AES volunteers that helped make the night a huge success. The Arizona Elk Society also would like to thank all who attended and donated to our banquet. We hope to see you again next year! by Steve Clark
THANK YOU 2008 BANQUET DONORS! 4 Peaks Game Processing Gary & Lin Maschner Performance Suspension 4 Wheel Parts & Performance Center Gary Williams Phoenix Coyotes American Bullion and Coin Co. George Lockwood Studio Phoenix Precast Products Antler Art Giftworks Plus Platte Valley Woodworks Anton Sport Gold N Antler Ponderosa Outfitters Archery Headquarters Granado Group Praxair Arizona Antelope Foundation Gregory Naff Primos Arizona Cardinals H&M Landing PSE Arizona Game & Fish Commission Hahn’s Outdoor Power Equipment, Inc Rawhide @ Wild Horse Pass Arizona Truck Performance Hair Design @ Sweet Harmony Ram Riders Guides & Outfitters AZ Golf Resort Harry Carlson Renegade Seats USA Bass Pro Shops Havago Australia
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Renee Montrachet Bavarian Bloodhounds of Arizona Hellwig Products Resplendent Skin, LLC Big O Tires Heritage Metalworks Rhonda’s Butcher Shop Bob Read Horn-A-Plenty Antler Art Ronny McKay Body Therapy & Hair Spa Horstman’s Kodiak Guide Service Rooster Junction Borderline Outfitters Hoss Plumbing Ross Outdoors Bowtech Howard Shaffer Ruffs Sporting Goods Brad Bradley HQ West San Carlos Apache Tribe Buck Knives Hunt Map Savage Arms Bull Basin Archery James Lynch SCI International Butler Bags Jensen Jewelers See’s Candies Cabela’s Jim & Suzy Carney Shawn & Lisa Carnahan Cathy Cimellaro Joshua Spies Art Design Signature Furnishings Chappell Productions
Kings World Signature Taxidermy Christian Wolff K.C. HiLites Sky Hawk Rugs Continental Divide Knives Landmark Valuation Services Sportsman’s Warehouse Cross Creek Trading Co. Leo & Bobbie Balthazor Star Valley Outfitters LLC Cruise America Long Valley Service Steve & Dee Clark Crystal Clear Pools Macayo Restaurants Straight Arrow Outfitters David Baril Mafigeni Safaris Swafford Guide Service DCS Concrete LLC Mark Nixon & Kathi Thompson Swarovski Optics Debbie Samson McClendon & Sons Guide Service The Car Shop Dee & Mike Kennedy McGregor River Outfitters Thunder Bow Outfitters Desert Christian Bowhunters Meryl Mineer Tire Pros Desert Bowhunters Millers Southwest Processing Trendwood Inc. Diamondbacks Baseball Club Modern Age Tuhulils Outfitters
Diane Davis Mossback Uni-Daptor Discount Tire Mount Carmel Safaris Van Chevrolet Don & Charlie’s Mountain Tool & Supplies Van Jackson Doug Parish Nolan Fire Sprinklers Inc. Vortex Optics Dukes Art Oak Bay Marine Group Waddell’s Longhorn Corral Flagstaff Motor Sports Old Wood Creations Walt & Cookie Nicoson Floyd Green Outdoorsman’s Weiss Air LLC Francisco Denogean Pack-n-Horns Wilderness Lodge Fraser Safaris New Zealand Yellowhair Buckles
THANK YOU ARIZONA ELK SOCIETY BANQUET COMMITTEE MEMBERS! David Baril Leo Balthazor Bobbie Balthazor Cody Boose John Cadzow * Shawn Carnahan Lisa Carnahan Jim Carney Suzy Carney Pete Cimellaro* Cathy Cimellaro Chip Church Dee Clark Steve Clark* Todd Coleman Chuck Decker Julie Decker Maria Delvecchio Bill Didio Joi Didio Christian Ernst Ron Eichelberger* Sharon Eichelberger* Tim Evans Ryan Feringa Suzanne Gilstrap
Carl Hargis Shelly Hargis Glen Jones Susan Keller Kara Kennedy Dee Kennedy Mike Kennedy Brandon Kenney Mel Kincaid John Koleszar John Krause Kathy Lunghi Bill Manley Lin Maschner Gary Maschner Steve McGaughey Lori McGaughey James Mingus Jim Mullins Matt Mullins Gregory Naff Norman Naff Cookie Nicoson* Walt Nicoson* Mark Nixon* Bob Olds
Pete Page Sally Page Tony Padilla Bob Read Debbie Samson Tom Schorr Howie Shaffer T. J. Shrock Brian Skinnell Randy Stalcup Doug Stancill* Pat Stancill Wendy Stressman Tice Supplee Pat Swafford Kathi Thompson* Joan Toner John Toner* David Weiss Tyler Weiss Gary Williams Jeff Wolf Christian Wolff
* Members with an asterisk are AES Founding Life Members
Arizona Elk Society 19
The Management Hunt by Steve Armstrong
As hunters, we know that opening day feeling is hard to describe. Full of anticipation, anxiousness, and excitement as the sun creeps over the horizon, my mind was racing. Did I choose the right spot? Am I positioning myself so that I see the elk before they see me? Will that big antlered bull give me a shot opportunity? All of those thoughts and more were racing through my mind as I raised my binoculars to view the treelined area where I had predicted the elk to be. As a bit more light illuminated the brown grass, I noticed movement and then many figures that turned into the real vision of a herd of up to 50 elk. My son-in-law Armando’s and my task was to close the distance. The excitement of learning that you have been drawn, scouting, studying maps, and all of the mental excitement is hard to manage. I would not trade this feeling with any other hobby or pasttime. This is therapy to me and it will be something that I look forward to always. My father took me hunting when I was 4 years old. At 84 years old my father applied for a cow elk hunt so you can see that elk hunting is important to our family. We could not advance any closer than 800 yards before the elk became restless and started to move into the cover of the ponderosa pines. Before they vanished I was able to see two good bulls that on this hunt I would consider as shooters. So I elected to try and intercept the herd. Armando stayed with the truck and I left to hopefully get into position. I ran the first 200 yards and then slowed my pace to constantly check wind and listen for sound while searching for movement of those dark legs.
did know that he was better than any bull I had shot. Since it was Thanksgiving weekend and with family sickness at home, this bull looked great. I searched for an opening in the trees and put the crosshairs in it. When the bull entered I squeezed and he went down immediately after the Barnes Triple X bullet found its mark. I walked up to my bull and checked to see if it had expired. I tagged him and went to get Armando. After walking out of the area I saw the hunters that had shot at this bull. They were searching for blood where the elk had been. I told them that the bull was running just fine when I shot at him and if it had been wounded I would have searched for them. I later examined the bull and there were no other bullet holes in him. Back at the truck Armando was excited for me. So after high fives and congratulations we started to do the fun work of taking photos, field dressing, skinning and loading the bull. On closer examination of his antlers we found that he was a non-typical that had one of his main branch antlers coming out of his forehead with no brow tine on that side. Strange and ugly could describe this bull’s antlers but he looked fine to me. I had known of a genetic strain in this unit and had seen a photo of a bull a hunter had taken that had the same genetics. Considering all of what was going on at home, harvesting this bull on opening morning two hours into the hunt was great and besides, the white packages in the freezer are great. The antlers are hanging in our garage and will provide a conversation piece that will be fun to recollect.
I had covered a mile or better when I heard two shots. As a kid growing up in Iowa whitetail hunting, I always would find a good vantage point and freeze after hearing shots. My training of years ago clicked and I moved up on a hill and froze by a pine tree.
Even if I had not tagged a bull, just having the challenge was great. Being able to take my grandson scouting and his dad on the hunt was fantastic. I also know that the management of quality in our hunts in Arizona is vital. The AZGFD along with the important role of the AES will ensure this vital management.
Typically elk run in single file through the timber and this was no exception – four cows were running through the timber followed by a bull. I could tell that this was not the heavy antlered bull that stays with me in my dreams but I
So my 2007 bull elk hunt was to be a management hunt in several ways. Taking a bull with inferior genetics and managing everything at home worked out well. I look forward to the next elk hunt because that bull of my dreams is still out there.
20 The Tracker - Spring 2008
HABITAT HAPPENINGS Made possible by YOUR AES dues and donations!
Water catchment Unit 9
ing Unit 1
n Pine tree thin
water Installing Unit 1.
Concrete catc h
ment filling Arizona Elk Society 21
take a walk with pat story and photos by Patrick Weise
Take a Walk with Pat Through Flagstaff and in His Mind 9-17-2007 Again for the second straight year I have failed to be drawn to hunt elk in Arizona and New Mexico, but here I sit nonetheless in the wide open country side after dreaming about it for a whole year. 9-18 It was down right chilly this morning, gloves, ski mask, and three shirts; big change form yesterday. As I walk thru the dark, the elk acknowledge a two legged creature approaching and jog away. As dawn approaches I snap some photos of the sun rising and marvel at how it all works. Out here it’s easy to ponder at how awesome all of nature is. Everything I look at, I’m amazed. How did it grow, how did it die, how was it formed? Back home my wife hates driving with me; I’m always gawking at everything, from trees, landscapes, it’s a wonder I even stay on the road. What I’ve discovered from being out here is that the beauty in things we see is meaningless unless you have true joy in your heart first. One man enjoys the beautiful sunset, another man says ‚“Aw shoot, it’s already dark.” I can see the beauty in everything from harsh dry deserts to the crying old woman, there is beauty all around, and the question is ‚“Am I carrying enough joy in me that it just overflows from me?” Today after my morning scout I rested for about 20 minutes and decided to go on a hike thru Millers Wash. It’s real pretty thru the little canyon, so I decided to do it just for fun. Last year I wanted to hike it but never took the time because I was too preoccupied with chasing elk and I’ve regretted it for 12 months. That’s the problem with life; we never take the time to do the things we love because there’s always something more pressing to do right now. 9-20
“Wise men do not fear in extreme moments, they make calculated, correct decisions.” –J.P. Weise The alarm clock goes off at 4 a.m. and I shut it off. As the dawn horizon turns gray I ascend up the hill only to find myself stopping to take yet another picture of the horizon turning orange 22 The Tracker - Spring 2008
from a far off sun. As the ground goes from black to dawn light, I stop yet again to look at some extremely large coyote tracks. Halfway up the mountain side I catch an elk trail that I know leads to two well used elk beds. As I come to a crease in the mountain side I’m amazed at how tall and green the grass is here. Pow! Like a lighting bolt out of nowhere a 4 foot plus mountain lion jumps out of the grass 15 yards in front of me and walks away. I am shocked, startled and amazed all at the same time. I reach deep into my pocket to get my camera, (this would be another first for me,) when common sense says,‚“Hey Pat you should be reaching for a gun instead.” I acknowledge the wisdom God gave me and fling my backpack around in front of me to retrieve the small pistol I carry. Pow! A second mountain lion jumps out of the grass 20’ from where the first one was, turns and walks off. As they make their retreat from there ambush site my hands are chambering a round in the pistol and my body is getting into a defensive posture. I so wanted to stay on that hill side and glass for elk, but I just couldn’t quit looking over my shoulder, and common sense kept saying ‚“move on.” The most troubling part about the encounter was that the lions never ran away after seeing a man, they just walked. Even though the barrel of my pistol was as cool as the morning air, the grip stayed at a steady 98.6 degrees for the next
hour. Call it luck of the draw, or everything is by Gods design, but the next ridge over was full of elk that I glassed all morning with excitement. For the first time I watched a bull drop to his knees in his bed and later chew his cud. As morning faded away I slowly descended from the mountain side, keenly aware of every sound, and every movement. My senses have been elevated two notches. As I walked my right hand kept slapping my right thigh about every minute or so, yep, the pistol is still there. This is why you find me at elk Camp every year. If the cool mountain air doesn’t invigorate you the wildlife will. As every year passes, I find myself loosing the desire to chase the almighty dollar back down in the city. Not too long ago it took priority, but now I realize that past years can never be captured and relived and our bodies are like an hour glass, when the sand runs out, time is up. Every moment and every day is precious, spend them how you will. When I think back to all the camping trips I missed with my boys because I was too busy working, it makes me sick. People often ask my ‚“Pat, when is the best time to fertilize my trees, my shrubs, my lawn? My first response is always the same,‚“right now.” If you don’t do it now you’ll never do it. Do it now while it’s fresh in your mind and get it done. If your plants don’t thank you, your heart will.
own peace. Down below in the meadow I stare at a sea of swaying grasses from the breeze and I feel her same contentment. I stand up, stretch out my arms horizontal and turn 360 degrees. All I can see is a blue sky, pure white clouds, green mountains, a horizon of green trees, a yellow meadow and nothing else. It’s a piece of heaven on earth; and my joy is overflowing. Not long later the sky turns cloudy grey; the first sprinkles kiss my face. It’s a thankful wetting of the land, which is one of sustainment of all life. As my eyes absorb the changes in color the emotion of my heart changes in sync. There is now a somber anticipation of how strong the storm will become. I head back to camp and start a pot of coffee. Dry under my canopy I listen to the rain drops hit the tarp in a frenzy pitter patter. My front porch is the open meadow and with a cup of warm Joe in hand, I can’t imagine life getting much better than this. Another piece of the puzzle put together; this heaven on earth. Hours later the day is still gray with the sound of thunder in the background. The breezes are a different type of cool. It’s going to rain hard again, but now it’s dry. The calm before the storm,
9-21 Ring-Ring-Ring! The 4:00am fire alarm goes off again. Today seems easier to get up. There is anticipation to see what the day is going to deliver. I drive to my predestined spot and start the 40 minute walk thru the dark night air. There is something spooky, calm, and exhilarating about walking thru the forest with no moon light; something that words can’t describe. I know that I’m alone, but then the forest is full of life. I reach my lookout and everything happens all at once. The sun kisses the horizon, 5 elk walk by, a bull is trying to bugle with his hoarse voice, two deer walk by, one with a small sticky pine cone stuck to her face and side, and then the grand finally. Most elk hunters will never see this with their own eyes, but only dream about it and drool at the cover of hunting magazines. A world class monster bull crests the top of the mountain next to me. He walked slow and steady with grace in every footstep. He carried his rack like a king with his crown of jewels. He was the master for miles around and just bedded down on top of the mountain. I’ve watched many bulls walk by in my days and only three times has my jaw ever dropped to my feet, today was one of them. 9-22 It’s Saturday morning, the rising dawn finds me sitting in the bed of my pick-up in the center of a meadow looking up into the mountain side thru my spotting scope. If my spotting scope were a woman, we’d have 10 kids by now because we see eye to eye on everything. I wrap my hands and arms around her, spin her from right to left and up and down. She is the perfect dance partner ever mounted on her tripod. To say the least we’ve become intimate. When not in use I keep her protected and safe. She has shared some of my most exciting experiences. This morning I am watching a large 6x6 bull, two spikes, and about 5 cow elk. It’s the cows that lead the way. She walks gracefully up the mountain side. Up there she is safe and secure. She leaves her worries of hunters and danger in the valley down below. Up here she is free to eat and relax, and then rest. This is where she finds her
the birds everywhere are chirping and in 24 hours I’ll be back in Phoenix. My mind and all of its senses are in over drive right now to savor this moment. It will probably be another year before I recharge my batteries like this again. I close my eyes and inhale a huge amount of air. The same air that makes the sound thru the trees. My lungs expand fully as I taste the cool air. As I exhale I feel as though I’ve been kissed by the beauty of it all. What a privilege it is to live, God Bless Our Soldiers in Iraq. It’s 4:00pm, last evening scout. It’s still barely sprinkling but I have hope it might clear. I drive off in my pick up and find myself locking it into 4 wheel drive to stay on the slippery muddy roads. I arrive at a small hill which gives me a vantage point of two mountain sides. I set my spotting scope up and immediately see a large 6x7 bull in plain view. I can see the rain drizzling on the bull and feel the wind touching my face; guess what? Here it comes. I grab my scope and look at the other mountain. Immediately I see another bull. A smaller 6x6. I record one minute of him raking and shaking a small 12 foot juniper tree. I keep watching him until the rain whites-out my view. I didn’t have to stand there that long and watch him, but I did and savored every minute. (cont’d pg. 29) Arizona Elk Society 23
inspiring volunteers by Steve Clark
While working an event at Cabela’s, my wife and I had the pleasure to meet a very special young man. We had taken a lunch break and the tables were full, so we shared a table with Christian Wolff and his dad Randy. During the conversation it became apparent that Christian was an internet personality who went by the name of “Younghunter”. I had read his blogs on many of the hunting bulletin boards in Arizona. I immediately felt as though I knew him. Dee and I invited Christian to volunteer for the Arizona Elk Society. He readily agreed, jumped in with both feet and has never looked back. It is wonderful to have a young enthusiastic volunteer like Christian. Christian has attended many of our events. He has become one of our biggest volunteers and always carries a smile and his infectious enthusiasm. At one of our AES meetings, I challenged all the volunteers to bring one friend to the next meeting in order to try and boost our volunteer base. Christian brought his good friend, Cody. Christian then went out and recruited
GOT A STORY? Send us your story and we’ll include it in a future issue of The Tracker. Email your story and email or mail your photos. If you send a self-addressed, stamped envelope with mailed materials, they will be returned. Send to Steve Clark at: email@example.com Arizona Elk Society, P.O. Box 190, Peoria, AZ, 85380
24 The Tracker - Spring 2008
four more friends – Ryan, T.J., Brandon and Tyler – to work at the banquet during set-up, the event night and tear-down. It was great to have young, strong volunteers helping with this job. Every organization needs young volunteers and I am extremely proud of our newest. Christian’s enthusiasm has defiantly inspired others to volunteer as well. Cory Woricheck and Matt Lewis have volunteered for future events and projects with the AES. I am excited to have these young men as members and volunteers. I am confident that they will continue giving back to a sport they enjoy and will be inspiration to other young adults. The future of the Arizona Elk Society and improving wildlife habitat will be positive with young men like these getting involved and donating their time. They have earned my respect and gratitude as well as the respect and gratitude of everyone involved with the AES.
Commentary the ballot in the first place remains a mystery to me. In 1996, voters in Michigan decidedly rejected a proposal initiated by anti-hunters to limit bear hunting opportunities by banning the use of bait and dogs. (Incidentally, the result has not been catastrophic for the state’s bear population, which is said to be at modern-day record.)
We Must Become Proactive to Save Hunting, Fishing By Jeff Harrington Hunters and anglers aren’t exactly in danger of extinction, yet, but reports and statistics reflecting the continuing decline in our numbers are just the kind of ammunition animal rights activists love to add to their ever-expanding assault on sport hunting and fishing. Falling participation, such folks like to suggest, is proof positive that these “blood sports” are little more than politically incorrect relics of a bygone era…when people actually had no other choice but to hunt or catch their food. And there should be plenty of concern among us — as another hunting season winds down and another election cycle heats up — especially in view of the anti-hunting establishment’s stunningly successful disinformation campaign at the polls here in Michigan just over a year ago. Like many outdoorsmen, I grew up in a family of hunters and fishermen. I’ve been fortunate to extend that passion, to one degree or another, to my son and stepsons. Unfortunately, too few young people today have the same opportunities. And too few of us who are heirs to this tradition and heritage have done enough to pay it forward; to perpetuate and defend our beloved pursuits and assure that they continue for the current and future generations. This has to change, of course. Otherwise, we risk losing even more in the face of the absurdity that saw the anti-hunting movement gain a huge foothold across this state in 2006. I fish and I mostly hunt deer. Evermore infrequently, I hunt small game. I’ve never “hunted” doves, although admittedly I once shot one while pheasant hunting as a teen. If Michigan’s shortlived dove hunting season had survived the legal, social and political blitz that killed it, I’m quite sure that I would not be a “dove” hunter today, any more than I am a bear hunter. However, I am a hunter, and proud to admit it! I was among the roughly 30 percent minority who voted “yes” to keep the right for those who wished to hunt mourning doves in Michigan through the season that had been legislatively established on a limited, trial basis in 2004. Actually, the fact that Michigan Proposal 3 of 2006 ended up on
While handing the antis that defeat nearing twelve years ago, voters also overwhelmingly approved “Proposal G,” resulting in Public Act 377 of 1996. The act granted the state Natural Resources Commission the “exclusive authority to regulate the taking of game…” Among other things, it requires that the NRC utilize “principles of sound scientific management” to regulate hunting and the taking of game. Once the mourning dove had been re-established as a game bird — as it was in early 2004 — it was up to the NRC to establish guidelines for the “taking” of that species by hunters, based upon “principles of sound scientific management.” Somewhere along the line, however, and I’ve yet to hear a good explanation as to when, why or by whom, I’ve been told it was decided that “social science,” (read: public opinion) is part of the science equation, along with biological and ecological science. And it was clear from the start that, when it came to public opinion, the Michigan dove hunt was doomed at the polls. Not only did it lose, it lost big, and in every single one of the state’s 83 counties. Backed by hundreds of volunteers and more than $2 million from the misguided Humane Society of the United States, the campaign absolutely ignored biology and ecology while playing to the emotions of non-hunters and backyard bird watchers. Suddenly, doves gained near mythical status as the state’s “official bird of peace,” beautiful, harmless and “monogamous” creatures, too small to eat and nothing more than “target practice” to those who would “shoot and not even bother to retrieve” them. Not only did the public buy into it, those and other outright lies and misrepresentations of fact perpetrated by HSUS and others became lexicon. Amazingly, they were repeated in near unison among editorial endorsements of a “no” vote on the dove season by dozens of newspapers, both large and small. Witnessing such mindless acceptance of the anti-hunting creed by so many of my journalistic peers throughout the state — even some “sportsmen,” obviously — was and still is maddening. Too small? We better watch out, woodcock (or perch) could be next. Certainly, doves are peaceful and beautiful, but who couldn’t make the same arguments on behalf of the wood duck, the mallard, the ringneck pheasant or ruffed grouse…certainly the whitetail deer, or any number of other wild critters. The problem is that many, including myself, believe that the resounding defeat of the dove-hunting season was just a start. There has already been a fair amount of speculation as to what might be next on the antis’ hit list…trapping, archery, or perhaps baiting in general. (continued on page 29) Arizona Elk Society 25
FIRST ELK by Don Williams continued from page 11
the little hunter’s prayer, not asking for a shot, just asking that if I got a shot, please steady my hand and help me make a clean, quick kill. The time passed uneventfully and my brother suggested I try some cow calls. I hit the hoochie mama cow call a few times and the canyon above me exploded with the bugles of at least three different bulls. Wow!!! That was very encouraging, however, after about 30 minutes of nothing but birds it was now about ten minutes to eight. I stood up and took one last look around. Nothing!!! I had the feeling all day that today was “the” day. I felt so disappointed but, with a sigh, I tied my bow to my rope, lowered it to the ground, dropped my pack to the base of the tree, stood up and took off my safety strap and tied it to a limb. (Since now, I would be back in the a.m.) I turned around and coming out of the aspens in front of me was a herd of about twelve elk with a huge 6X6 bull in the lead. They were a good fifty yards away and headed straight for me. Now picture this – here I am 14 feet up in a tree stand, bow tied to a rope on the ground, my pack on the ground, safety strap tied to a limb, release in my pocket with the elk steadily walking straight towards me. I slowly bent down, grabbed the rope and started to pull my bow back up into the stand when the arrows caught on a limb. I got the arrows cleared from the limb and slowly pulled the bow up to me. The elk now notice that something was not quite right with the aspen tree in front of them so they stopped and stared at me from 25 yards away. I reached in my pocket for the release and the velcro caught on my pocket with a tearing sound. I looked up and the elk were still standing about 25 yards away looking at this strange thing in the tree. I got my release on and attempted to pull the bow back. It only came back a few inches. I tried again. It only came back a few inches, and I tried one more time with the same result. I was confused as to why the bow wouldn’t pull back. It wasn’t that cold out and I have shot numerous deer with my
bow, so I am sure it is not “buck” fever. I finally looked at the bow and noticed the rope was tied thru the cam. I thought to myself, I never do that for this very reason, yet here it is. I then attempted to untie the knot which by now is very tight from attempting to pull it through the limbs. I looked up and the elk were actually walking towards me at only 15 yards out. They were looking at me as they walked up and I was sure they were still wondering what was in that tree. I finally got the knot loose and dropped the rope off the bow. It promptly fell down beside the tree at the same time the bull (which I have ignored up to this point since I cannot shoot him) walks right under my stand. The rope spooked him and he actually stepped on my pack shoving it into the ground as he jumped to my left about 15 yards. I barely noticed him since I am now concentrating on the cow I want to shoot. She was also under my stand when the bull spooked and she ran about 14 yards slightly to the front and left of my stand. She stopped, quartering away, right into the perfect shooting lane I had cleared earlier. I very calmly drew my bow, picked a spot right behind the last rib and released. I saw the hair split at the exact spot I aimed at. She staggered and took off running. After about 20 yards she went down and all of a sudden I started getting the familiar “shakes” I get after a successful shot. I sat down and looked again at the spot where she fell to make sure she really was there. She was still there and the realization struck me that at 47 years old, I had harvested an elk with a bow. Even after the many things that went wrong, the hunt turned out perfect. Equally as cool as harvesting this magnificent animal, was the fact that my brother had watched the whole thing unfold from his vantage point high on the canyon as if he was right beside me. I may shoot another elk in the future, however, there will only be one “FIRST ELK” .
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26 The Tracker - Winter 2008
THE NEW DIRECTOR OF AZGFD LARRY VOYLES by John Koleszar
I had an opportunity to interview Larry Voyles, the new director of the Arizona Game & Fish department and we covered a few topics that would interest sportsmen. I congratulated Larry on his appointment and commented that he was coming into the position with many questions on the horizon. I asked what he perceived as the most critical of the issues and he stated that “finding a way to have healthy conservation and wildlife in the face of our booming population” was by far his greatest challenge. Larry has been with the department for over 35 years and has had a good view of the changes in Arizona over that period of time. The interaction of wildlife and humans has been duly noted from Tucson to the White Mountains and beyond. We were able to talk about the relationship between sportsmen’s groups, the Arizona Game & Fish Commission and the Arizona Game & Fish Department and the one thing that he said that was most interesting was, “The public at large does not and cannot differentiate between conservation groups, the department and the commission, they just see us as a whole entity”. The ability to sit down and hash out problems, ideas and philosophies must be done and in a manner that is respectful to all parties involved. He stated that the department has a stake in supporting all the conservation groups as well as the relationships we have developed over the years. The more we talked, the more I recognized that he is a very thoughtful person, not prone to quick statements. He seems to be a very analytical person who sees a very wide range of possibilities on most topics. We discussed the issue of employee retention and he acknowledged that maintaining the bright people that he has
on staff and helping to make their careers fulfilling was indeed a challenge. I know that I have written about losing employees in the past and the pay differential that a lot of the Wildlife Series people faced were very substantial. I know that after our first few conversations Larry and the rest of the department have that issue at the top of their list. I have spoken to many of the staff of the department regarding his appointment and the first and foremost opinion was that they were glad that the appointment went to someone who had a good grasp of that which is uniquely Arizona. His background and experience along with the respect of those in the department will help as we move into the future. He pointed out that which I have said repeatedly… There are so many more people and opportunities trying to all use the same recreational resources…trying to effectively let them all enjoy their recreational experiences is the challenge. The future of the Arizona Game & Fish Department is at a critical juncture. I know we all wish Larry well in the years that follow and I hope that he calls on all of us in the conservation community for help and input as time passes. I think he will.
Thank You o
ra orpo te Spo C n e
te to us
Arizona Elk Society 27
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TAKE A WALK WITH PAT by Patrick Weise continued from page 23
As I write, a tall dead pine tree on the mountain side next to me falls over with a huge crash. The saturated soil released its decayed roots and gravity won. Only out here can you experience the reality of nature firsthand. I just finished dinner. Everything is under water. It refuses to stop pouring. Inside my tent is the only dry place. A new 10x10 cotton duck canvas tent, Thank God! The roads are so bad now that leaving Sunday may be impossible. The sound of the rain continues to pound my tent. My ceiling is now a clothes line holding silhouettes of camouflage pants and shirts. The tide turned, once a free roaming elk hunter, now enslaved to a 10x10 cell. The simple sound of rain is now more like a roaring river. Only out here can you experience reality first hand. “The Beginning” I’ve had to think for 24 hours before I said goodbye till next year. I wasn’t sure how to end this years story and didn’t want to tell you how sorry I was to leave or how I felt like crying for leaving a beautiful place. No, coming back into the city gave me the correct ending / answer. We live squeezed together in one big ‚“Grand Illusion.” We see advertised the latest 2008 vehicle on TV and say to ourselves ‚“I have to have it.” We buy it and park it in front of our house and say ‚“I sure look great in that new vehicle but my house is a dump.” We buy or rent the latest new pad and say‚“life is swell.” The only problem is we’re working 80 hours a week and eating Big Mac’s to pay for all our new stuff. The Grand Illusion, give me, give me, give me, there’s no end; now our life sucks, because we don’t enjoy. I think back to the mountain side, the cow elk grazing away with no worries, content as a pig in mud. She has food, water, security and... AH, SPACE. Space to roam around and not be crowded; to feel free. To let her mind think of other things. In the city we people have become domesticated. We are no longer free to roam and be open minded but enslaved to that paycheck to pay our debtors. When our hearts and minds have space to think and ponder and grasp, then we see what our eyes could never before see, “The glory of it all.” EDITORIAL by Jeff Harrington continued from page 25
Personally, I do not hunt over bait, but as long as “science” and the law say it’s a permitted means of hunting, who am I to condemn it? Want to get a picture of what hunters and hunting, fishermen and fishing are up against? Spend some time on the HSUS or PETA web sites. If you are not angered and disgusted by what you see, check for a pulse. The organization still lists the Michigan dove referendum as one of its “major victories on behalf of animals.” Under a link entitled “past ballot initiatives,” you’ll learn that, between 1990 and 2006, “animal advocates squared off against hunters and other animal industries in 38 statewide ballot campaigns, winning in 26 and marking a huge surge in the use of the (voting) process on animal issues.”
cash donations, not to mention recruitment of more young lawyers looking to make their mark. The organization has even collaborated with Georgetown University in establishing an “animal law” curriculum, offering “animal law fellowships,” and … here’s the kicker: “…development of a joint animal law conference, to be held in 2008, to bring together a diverse group of experts from around the country, including judges, legislators, prosecutors, and other legal professionals, to engage in dialogue about the development and enforcement of animal law in the United States.” Animal law, indeed! So, what can we do about all of this nonsense?
Not to be outdone, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals last year launched an anti-fishing campaign targeted at — of all demographics — school children. “Your Daddy Kills Animals” and “Fishing Hurts” are among the catch phrases.
Since it would appear that the future of hunting and fishing may very well come down to a question of which side has the most money and the best if not most lawyers, we must stop being mere passive bystanders, especially in the off-season.
Did you know that fish are “smart, interesting animals with their own unique personalities, just like the dogs and cats who share our homes” or that they are capable of using tools, recognizing individual “shoal mates,” and have “impressive long-term memories and sophisticated social structures?”
We all need to become more proactive and less reactive.
I didn’t think so. While propaganda that not too long ago called for an “end to all sport hunting and fishing” has curiously disappeared from the HSUS web site in recent months, HSUS continues to champion itself in a variety of high profile causes aimed at the “most egregious” forms of hunting. And all the while, the ultimate goal is to draw in more and more
Those of us who know the truth know that sportsmen truly are the conservationists of this great land. Join a conservation group. There are many out there, and which one is really a matter of individual choice. Attend one of this year’s upcoming outdoor sports shows and buy a few raffle tickets; subscribe to an outdoor publication and stay informed of the issues we face. Ask politicians running for office this year where they stand on hunting and fishing. Above all, if nothing else, resolve to take a kid, or several kids — or even another adult who has never had the opportunity — hunting or fishing this year. Arizona Elk Society 29
Habitat Partners of Arizona With the rapid loss of open space to development, wildlife habitat is being reduced at a rate of 7 square miles per day. Arizona’s elk herds are loosing traditional migration corridors, calving grounds, forage meadows and other important habitat. The new “Habitat Partners of Arizona” program is designed to help protect that land. The main focus of this program will be to preserve land and prevent the rapid decline of Arizona’s elk habitat. HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP: Become a Habitat Partner with your tax deductible donation starting at $2500 ($1000 for 17 and under). Payment Plan Available: $500 minimum commitment per year. You will be recognized for a donation level once your payments reach that level for each level you attain.
Walt and Cookie Nicoson Supporting Partner Level
Steve and Dee Clark Sponsor Partner Level
Ron and Sharon Eichelberger
All program participants that reach the $2500 level and above ($1000 for youth) will be recognized in literature and on the AES website and will receive a plaque at each level. If you are interested in donating property or a conservation easement, the AES will work with you to designate the appropriate level based on the value of the donation. DONATION LEVELS: Legacy Partner $500,000 Habitat Guardian $250,000 Monarch Partner $50,000 Imperial Partner $25,000 Royal Partner $10,000 Supporting Partner $5,000 Sponsor Partner $2,500 Spike Partner (17 & under) $1,000
AES Habitat Partners Sportsman’s Warehouse Sponsor Partner Level
Sponsor Partner Level
Bass Pro Shops
Sponsor Partner Level
30 The Tracker - Winter 2008
Pacific West Representatives Sponsor Partner Level
FOR MORE INFO AND TO DONATE: You can find more details and the donation form at www.arizonaelksociety. org. Click the link on the left side of the home page.
Sponsor Partner Level
Sharon and John Stuckey Supporting Partner Level
Royal Partner Level with goal of Imperial Partner Level
Arizona Elk Society P.O.Box 190, Peoria, AZ 85380
NON-PROFIT US POSTAGE PAID Phoenix, AZ Permit No. 5572
ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED
aa aaa MAR K YO U R CALE N DAR! Annual Burro Creek Project
May 30 and 31 & June 1 Big Lake, AZ
July 4th Camp Out and Bar-b-que July 3, 4, 5, 6 Williams, AZ
26 Bar Adopt-a-Ranch Work Project
July 26 Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 19th Ave. and Sweetwater Phoenix, AZ
June 28, 29 Big Lake, AZ
Junior Elk Hunters Camp
October 16, 17, 18, 19 Happy Jack Lodge & Bear Springs Ranch
Check arizonaelksociety.org for more project information.
The cover photo is courtesy of George Andrejko of the Arizona Game & Fish Department. Thank You George! Your photos are always spectacular.
Spring 2008 Photo by George Andrejko CATALOG - Call 800.588.7512 for a FREE Catalog INTERNET - Visit cabelas.com RETAIL - Call 623.872.6700...