3 r d Q u a r t e r 2 0 11
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Arizona elk society
Arizona Elk Society 3
presidents’ message by Steve Clark
I hope that hunters who have tags succeeded in finding elk to fill their freezers. The archery season was rough with quiet elk and lots of rain and hail. Early snows are falling in the high country which bodes well for the habitat and next year’s wildlife. By now, the leaves on the aspens have fallen and the Forest Service is again ramping up to ask AZGFD to reduce the elk number in many units. The Arizona Elk Society is working closely with the Forest Service in identifying areas of concern for the aspens and trying to move funding into those areas to help mitigate aspen/elk issues. Some of you may know that the Mexican wolf program is going through an overhaul and the preliminary ideas that are being thrown around are that the USFWS thinks that Arizona needs to expand the wolf range to all areas of the state that have a population of elk and deer. The recommended number of wolves for Arizona is upward of 250. They have coordinated with Mexico and released 5 wolves in Northern Mexico. If these new wolves cross the U.S. border they will have full protection and the game will change drastically. The Arizona Elk Society has a new Director of Conservation Affairs monitoring the aspen and wolf issue. Jim deVos is that Director. Jim’s background brings a level of expertise and professionalism to the AES as he fills a seat at the table for many issues that require knowledge of Wildlife Biology and research.
Jim will also be able to make contacts with the upper management of the many agencies that we interact with. Jim’s involvement in the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (www.4fri.org) will help to make sure that any plans for forest rehabilitation include the concerns for the health of elk and other wildlife. What the Arizona Elk Society needs is more members to give us added clout when we are at the tables working on issues related to wildlife and sportsmen of Arizona. If you have friends that are not members please ask them to support the AES by becoming a member. On a personal note I had the opportunity to host a young man, Matt, from Arizona Hunt of a Lifetime in elk camp this year along with Matt Minshall, his family and Keith Newby the guide. Spending time with a young man and hearing and seeing firsthand the challenges associated with having a life threatening illness at a young age really tugs at the heart strings. Matt didn’t get an elk but it wasn’t for the lack of trying. I commend any person or organization that reaches out to these kids and helps them have a better life. Please check the back of this issue for the date of our 11th Annual Banquet. MARK YOUR CALENDARS for March 24th and get ready for a great time. Remember that all the money that the Arizona Elk Society raises stays in Arizona to benefit the elk, other wildlife, habitat and youth of Arizona.
Board of Directors
Vice President................................... Carl Hargis
Banquet............................ Sharon Eichelberger & Cookie Nicoson
Treasurer................................. Cookie Nicoson
Grant Writer.................................Lin Maschner
Secretary.......................................... Liala Wood
Past President...............Sharon Eichelberger
Projects................................................ Carl Hargis
Newsletter............................. Maria DelVecchio
Wapiti Weekend.........................Shelly Hargis
You may send a message for any officers, board members or committee chairs to email@example.com
Ken Alexander 4 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2011
In This Issue
Presidentâ€™s Message by Steve Clark.......................................................................... 4 In the Crosshairs: By the Numbers by John Koleszar.................................................7-9 2011 Arizona Junior Cow Elk Hunt by Steve Clark.................................................10-12 1st Annual White Mountain Arizona Junior Varmint Hunter Camp by Woody Farnsworth of Youth Outdoor Unlimited............................................................13 BBâ€™s Column: Is It Time To Stop the Madness? by John Koleszar........................... 14-15 Arizona Elk Society Wapiti Weekend Identified as a Top Conservation Program by Jim de Vos................................................................................................. 16-19 Resolution by Patrick Weise.............................................................................. 20-23 Youth Camps Feedback by Michael Godwin, AZGFD Region I Field Supervisor.............24-26 AES Membership................................................................................................. 28 Habitat Partners of Arizona................................................................................. 29 Upcoming Events....................................................................................................32
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 Photo by George Andrejko, Arizona Game & Fish Department Arizona Elk Society 5
Expose your product to thousands of outdoor enthusiasts and hunters. Place your ad in
For ad sizes and pricing, go to www.arizonaelksociety.org and click on â€œLinks/Formsâ€?. Or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The Tracker is a quarterly publication for the members of the Arizona Elk Society. Letters, comments, news items, articles, pictures and stories are welcome and will be considered for publication. You may mail or email any such items. Materials mailed for publication will not be returned to the sender unless accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Arizona Elk Society, P.O. Box 190, Peoria, AZ, 85380 email@example.com, 602-885-0835
6 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2011
IN THE CROSSHAIRS:
by the numbers by John Koleszar
While the hunting community has been in the mountains utilizing those long desired tags, I have had an opportunity to sit back and reflect on what I will call the “State of Affairs”. Since I have always enjoyed numbers, I think I will dedicate this article to the numbers that we have out there. Number of Feral Horses along the units that have been ravaged by the Rodeo – Chedeski and Wallow fires: Best guess is over 500. These wonderful critters can be seen on a regular basis in any of the units that had fire. With the fencing a shambles because of the blazes, they will continue to cross from the White Mountain Apache reservation into these units. They have absolutely no fear of man and they continually do what horses do best. Eat, breed and….. well, you know the rest and we have all seen those piles. On the reservation they routinely suffer from life ending injuries. I have seen meadows that have multiple carcasses with bones strewn all around an area. Amazing what a bullet will do. In Arizona, they are federally protected, fawned over and given carte blanche to our best grazing grounds. It amazes me that less than 1 mile can make so much difference.
Number of Mexican Gray Wolves in Arizona: Best guess again, depending on who you talk to is between 50 and 75. The really great news is that the Mexican government has just this week announced that they have released a new pack about 60 miles south of Douglas, Arizona. The web site “Lobos of the Southwest” has indicated that they fervently hope that the newly released pack will cross over and breed with the Mexican gray wolves that are in Arizona and New Mexico. If that does occur, there will be a complete change in the status of all the wolves in Arizona, as they will now be labeled as “endangered species” rather than the “experimental non essential”. This will be the dream of the Center for Biological Diversity….. and the worst thing that could happen to the conservation groups in Arizona. The facts will speak for themselves. We have spent millions of dollars trying to establish better habitat for elk, deer, antelope and sheep. The thought process has long been that we were helping wildlife. The truth is that all we have done is set the buffet table for these top line predators.
Number of applicants for elk tags this coming year: Well, no matter what anyone says about the loss of hunters and hunter retention and recruitment, with the new on line application, we should see a jump in applicants to around 120,000. I hope the process succeeds, since we seem to be the last state that had to send in money and then get refunds. Arizona Elk Society 7
2nd Annual White Mountain Trophy Elk Contest 2011 Home of the standing World Record Trophy Typical Elk- 4425/8â€?: B&C Gross ARizonA GAME & FisH REGion onE, UniTs 1, 2A, 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 3C, 4A, 4B, 27. nEW MExiCo GAME & FisH UniTs 13, 15, 16A, 16C, 16D, 16E
over $25,000 in Prizes in Five Categories
Top Bull overall Grand Prize, Rifle Bull-1st, 2nd & 3rd, Archery Bull -1st, 2nd & 3rd, Muzzleloader Bull -1st, 2nd & 3rd, Youth Bull -1st, 2nd & 3rd
nEW MExiCo & ARizonA ELK HUnTERs REGisTER onLinE ToDAY! www.WhiteMountainTrophyElkContest.com Proud sponsors
8 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2011
Dream Mountain Outfitters
Photo: Hunt Dream Mountain
Number of members of the Arizona Elk society: Depending on the day, probably around 1200 people call themselves members of the AES. These are the folks who pay their dues and at the very least have a level of commitment to wildlife here in Arizona. Now, if you look at the number in this paragraph and the number in the previous paragraph you will notice that 99% of the people do not contribute, do not participate and generally are interested in only one thingâ€Ś.. getting an elk tag! I have never been able to figure our species out. At the time of the draw, there is weeping and wailing when someone does not get drawn. These same folks scream and shout about the lack of opportunity yet will do absolutely nothing to help increase habitat, do projects or help in any way. The sense of entitlement just puzzles me.
The number of states left in the southwest that will work with the USFWS regarding Mexican gray wolves. Director Larry Voyles has made it clear that he would prefer to stay involved with the process and at least have an understanding as to the direction that the feds will be going with wolves in the future. New Mexico made it clear that they are done with the process and have pulled out. So, even though the AZGFD personnel are treated like the red headed step child by the feds, and barring a decision by our current Commissioners, we are in this mess for the long haul.
The weapon of choice for me this fall while spending a few days chasing some deer in the White Mountains. This caliber will bring down deer, elk, feral horses and wolves. I would never advocate disobeying a law...
This has been floating around for a few weeks now. There have been meetings that the USFWS have been holding in Albuquerque and of course the conservation organizations have been told that we could not be in attendance. The number 750 represents what wolf biologists feel is the best number for wolf genetic diversity and for the Mexican gray wolf to be brought back from extinction. The 750 would be spread over virtually all of Arizona, Southern Utah, southern Colorado, New Mexico and even western Texas.
At the last Arizona Game & Fish Commission meeting, former commissioner Bob Hernbrode stated that sportsmen of Arizona just want to hunt and that we needed to increase the number of tags available, even though we have a decreasing deer herd. Mr. Hernbrode still believes that we can get great pleasure from watching 100 does and maybe 8 to 10 bucks. Thankfully commissioner John Harris pointed out that Mr. Hernbrodes logic was a bit flawed, since we already have over 4600 deer tags that are not applied for through the draw. I wonder why folks are not clamoring for those coveted deer tags along the border?
Okay, this is a bit of a teaser. If anyone can figure out what this number stands for, I will personally buy them the beverage of their choice at an establishment of their choice. The number has some historical significance to the Arizona Elk Society. First one to call me with the correct answer will win the drinks.
Arizona Elk Society 9
2011 Arizona Junior Cow elk hunt
by Steve Clark
10 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2011
75 young Junior Elk Hunters participated in this yearâ€™s Arizona Elk Society Unit 6A Junior Elk Hunters Camp. It was cold, it snowed, it was muddy but the kids had fun. Our mentors were on-hand to help the kids and they had a great time. This yearâ€™s camp included an archery range for the young hunters and other family members and friends to learn how to shoot a bow to give them increased opportunities to hunt. It is always a treat to spend time with the young hunters and hear their stories about their
successes, and the one that got away. These camps are designed to help the young hunters have a positive experience on their hunt. Hunting is not always about being successful in the field and harvesting an elk. Many hunters go home without an elk. Our camps are designed to let the young hunters intermingle with other kids that have similar interests in a positive way. Our goal is to provide guidance to help the kids be more successful and instill a sense of responsibility about wildlife and their habitat. Conservation education is important so that the kids donâ€™t take the hunting heritage for granted. Hunters are the backbone to wildlife conservation in the United States. The Arizona Elk Society camp was
Jarod Van Buren harvested his elk on the Monday morning of the hunt after hunting hard through the bad weather over the weekend. He is pictured here with his dad. Congratsâ€™ Jarod!
Arizona Elk Society 11
supported by many businesses and folks that go out of their way to provide funding and donations for the kids. Happy Jack Lodge and RV has been very generous towards the camp in providing their ramada and space for the camp. Cabela’s, Sportsmans Warehouse, Bass Pro Shops, Millers Southwest Processing and many others also contribute and their help is greatly appreciated. Thanks to all the kids and their families that stopped by and thanks to all the volunteers that made it a great camp. We had some some new volunteers and we hope to see them at next year’s camp. Matt and Keith from Hunt of A Lifetime came up and jumped in to assist with camp too – it was much appreciated.
We hope that all of the kids who attended this year’s junior cow elk hunt had a great hunt!
12 The Tracker -3rd Quarter 2011
1st Annual White Mountain Arizona Junior Varmint Hunter Camp by Woody Farnsworth of Youth Outdoor Unlimited
Arizona junior hunters are now able to experience a new camp thanks to the Arizona Elk Society, the RMEF, Youth Outdoor Unlimited and Phoenix Varmint Callers. Over the weekend of July 23rd, 30 junior hunters and their parents showed up at Arizona Game and Fishâ€™s Bear Springs Cabin to try their hand at calling coyotes. Despite the high temperatures, the mentors convinced several coyotes to show themselves at calling stands made throughout the weekend. Every junior hunter at the camp got to witness coyotes or foxes respond to a varmint call and come in to the callers. A few coyotes were harvested and all of the kids learned a new hunting technique while improving their hunting skill sets. We were able to engage these kids in an aspect of hunting that has not had much attention in the junior hunting market to date. The sponsors and mentors were all smiles watching the kids practicing calling and plan to make this a new annual event in the White Mountains of Arizona!
The junior hunters receive calling instruction from one of their mentors. Photo by: DeWane Tabbot of Youth Outdoors Unlimited Arizona Elk Society 13
by John Koleszar
14 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2011
“BB” contacted me through an old method this time. A letter stamped with his huge hoof print arrived early in September and he specified an exact location for us to meet. I was fairly surprised to note that we were once again meeting at the “Bugle Inn” restaurant in Forest Lakes. Our very first meeting back in 2005 was at this same location, but since his move to the Big Lake area, we had not been that close to the edge of the Rim. The night in question turned out to include an incredible downpour of rain and hail. I patiently drove the Tundra up the hill and pulled into the parking lot at Bugle’s around 4:00 am. The owner had once again left the keys to the front door and I apparently was the first to arrive. I turned on one, single dim light and patiently awaited the arrival of my old friend. I have to admit, I was a bit tired from the long ride and the ugly rains, so I helped myself to a bottle of merlot and began thinking of all the times that “BB” and I had met and conversed. Before I could get too nostalgic, I heard a deep throated bugle along with a series of hoarse grunts that seemed to come from the parking lot. As if on cue, “BB” crashed through the front door. He was soaking wet, covered in mud and his eyes were bright red as if he was half in the bag. The drifting odor that followed him in gave me pause to smile. “BB” was in full rut and made no bones about it. “Well boy” he croaked, “how the hell are you?” I took a second to assess my wild friend. “Pungent” is a term that kind of gets across what I was thinking, but “reeking” was in actuality a more appropriate term. “BB” I said, “You have really outdone yourself this time. You smell marvelous, I’m sure every eligible cow from any unit would love to be part of your harem.” He broke into that deep throated chuckle of his and said, “Damn right boy, I’ve got 23 cows just on the dark side of road 200 yards up the hill. We have to keep this short since only half of them have been bred and the
other half are getting close. A bull has to have his priorities you know, so get on with it.” It was my turn to laugh now. The image of several impatient cows tapping their hooves while he and I shared some time was just a bit over the top. “Aren’t you worried about some other bulls sneaking in while you and I chat?” “BB” gave me that sly grin of his and said, “When you’ve had the best, why settle for the rest?” With that he began that damn chuckle of his and it kept reverberating in the room. When he had stopped with his chuckling I decided to get to the point and gauge his reaction. “OK “BB”, word has it that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service is planning to try and establish a more genetically diverse group of Mexican Gray wolves, and to do that, they may need up to 750 wolves all across Arizona.”“BB” started shrieking immediately. “How in the hell are we gonna survive if we have 750 wolves in Arizona? Who the hell is the lame-brained idiot who came up with that plan? What the hell are YOU gonna do about it? Why in the world are they doing this?” I sat back and stared at my aromatic friend and shook my head. “BB” I said, “There are a few people out there who have been trying to find a way to get rid of hunting and this seems to be the tool. There are other folks who claim that they love to hear a wolf howling in the wilderness. A small minority has been working on this project for years, and you may just have to plan on more of them being around.” “BB” started stomping around the bar and tossed his antlers into a light fixture. Thankfully the lights were off, but he pulled the whole thing down to the floor. “You humans just can’t get it right can you? I would take a bullet or an arrow right through me as a way to end my existence. There is some honor in that. Someone will have bested me and my abilities to
escape. Have you ever seen what a wolf pack does to an elk? They trail us for miles, nipping, slashing, biting and then when we finally collapse, they starting tearing us apart and we are not even dead. It’s the absolute worst nightmare for any elk.” He shuddered involuntarily as he conjured up visions of wolf packs tearing apart his flesh. “Have you seen what they did way up north in the states that have those huge wolf numbers? My old relatives are being torn apart. The little calves can’t even make it one week on the ground and they are destroyed. All the BS about wolves only taking the weak and the sick are just that, BS.” I had to break the news to him that was really the final straw. ““BB”, I have to tell you that the study that I read said that wolves will eat whatever happens to be the most available food base for them. In Arizona, they feel that wolves will eat elk, because that is what they have been doing…eating elk.”“BB” turned slowly and looked at me. “Boy” he said, “Do you have any idea why those wolves are eating elk? It’s not because we are the most available food source, it’s because that’s what the damn things were fed while they were being held in their release pens for months at a time. Every time there was an elk that got killed by a vehicle, the Arizona Game & Fish Department and the damn Forest Service would bundle up the bodies and throw them into the cages. Those early release wolves were fed almost exclusively elk meat. Why in the hell didn’t they feed them road kill coyotes? It would have made a lot more sense. One predator for another and I guarantee that there are a hell of a lot more coyotes than there are elk in this state.” I pondered his statement for a few moments and thought it through. “BB” was absolutely right. I remember all the elk road kills the AZGFD had been gathering up and feeding to
the wolves. I then wondered what would have happened if they had been fed coyotes. Would it have made a difference? I watched my old friend as he paced the room and I could not help but feel his pain. ““BB” if it’s any consolation, we are going to fight this thing every step of the way. My best guess is that it will take at least another 5 years before anything happens.”“BB” glanced over at me and seemed to be mulling something over in his head. “Boy, you and me are getting a bit long in the tooth. I don’t see me making it another 5 years anyhow. Time for me is now, same for you. I would have loved to have gone to someone’s dinner table knowing that at least some of my genetics would live forever in Arizona. If they put 750 wolves in this state, you can kiss the elk herd goodbye in less than 10 years. We will only be a distant memory of a species passing in time. Humans have all the politics, all the idiots with differing views and all the laws that bind them up into big knots. I hope the AES fights this thing Boy… or we may be a fond distant memory.” “BB” gathered himself up and nodded to me as he started strutting to the door. With a glance over his back he just smiled sadly and said, “Enjoy the moment my friend. The future does not look bright, so you and I may as well go out with our hair on fire.” He kicked open the door and did a stiff legged strut out the door. With an awesome bugle he started rounding up his ladies while I watched from the doorway. He was right of course, it will not affect us because we will be out of the pool by the time the catastrophe occurs. What about hunting for future generations? What is our legacy going to be? Is it time to stop the madness? Is it time to feed these pen reared wolves road kill coyotes? “BB” makes more sense than most of the USFWS folks do. Arizona Elk Society 15
ARIZONA ELK SOCIETY WAPITI WEEKEND IDENTIFIED AS A TOP CONSERVATION PROGRAM by Jim deVos
One of the primary focuses of the Arizona Elk Society is that of supporting hunter recruitment and retention. In part, this is accomplished through two programs; Wapiti Weekend and the joint National Wild Turkey Federation/AES Youth Turkey Camps. In 2010, Responsive Management, a national natural resource research program and the National Wild Turkey Foundation, conducted a study to evaluate the effectiveness of hunter recruitment and retention programs throughout the United States. The AES Wapiti Weekend was chosen from 400 similar camps and compared to 43 other camps throughout the United States. The NWTF/AES Youth Turkey Camps were also chosen to be a part of the study. One of the key approaches in the study was to measure youth attitudes to a variety of hunting/fishing/conservation issues before they participated in these programs and again after they had taken part in the weekend. In other words, the study measured the change in views as a result of these AES programs. This study was conducted by Responsive Management in cooperation with the National Wild Turkey Federation under a USFWS Multi-State grant administered by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. It was a nationwide survey of recruitment and retention program participants in the youth category. Approximately 5000 participants were surveyed. Question Topics Included: • Participation in hunting, shooting and fishing activities
• Sources of Information about the program
• Interest in hunting, shooting and fishing
• Likelihood of future participation
• Program ratings, characteristics and preferences
• Likelihood of participation
It is important to note that all of the programs that were evaluated were sponsored by State Game and Fish Agency Programs or programs sponsored by large national organizations.
• Knowledge regarding hunting, fishing and shooting
• Participation in other hunting, shooting, and fishing in general • Ratings of knowledge about hunting, shooting, fishing, their state agency and related issues • Equipment purchasing behavior • License purchasing behavior • Membership in sportsmen’s and conservation organizations • Opinions on the importance of stewardship and conservation
16 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2011
This study compared the following factors to show changes before and after program participation, thereby determining program effectiveness in each area. The areas include:
• Purchasing behaviors
• Knowledge of state fish and wildlife agency • Self-reported skills in hunting, shooting and fishing When looking at the overall ratings of the various youth programs in this study, those of the AES ranked high in most of the ranking criteria including:
Arizona Elk Society 17
18 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2011
When looking at the AES Wapiti Weekend data alone, there were some very interested findings. When you look at the amount of hunting experience the youth participants had before Wapiti Weekend, 71% indicated that they had little or no experience in hunting and 82% had low levels of experience in fishing so we are working with youths that are not well ingrained in these fields. Of these, 26% of the youth surveyed before the training indicated that they were not likely to hunt in the future but after the training, this number declined markedly to %5, a dramatic change. When looking at the whole report, it is clear that the program that the AES volunteers host are national leaders in the realm of youth training pertaining hunting/fishing/shooting. This is truly a proud moment in the history of the Arizona Elk Society. To find more about our program evaluation and to read the full report, go to: www.responsivemanagement.com/ download/reports/R&R_Evaluation_ Report.pdf
The women that have been an instrumental part of Wapiti Weekend from the beginning, Shelly Hargis, Wendy Norburg, Elizabeth Stewart and Sharon Eichelberger as well as all the volunteers that make this event what it is, deserve a huge pat on the back. Without them the Arizona Elk Society would never have produced a program like Wapiti Weekend.
Arizona Elk Society 19
R e s o l u t i o n by Patrick Weise
res · o · lu · tion (rez’ə lōō’shən) n. 1. the act or process of resolving something 5. a solving, as of a puzzle, or answering, as of a question; solution 6. that part of a drama or narrative in which the plot is unraveled He is sitting twenty-three feet off the ground, on two inches of foam, in a tree stand over-looking a muddy water hole. From this perspective, he doesn’t think the water is fit to drink, but any water in the middle of the forest means life. The summer rains have kept it full for all creatures to partake. Pat prays his turn is next. Elk tracks surround the perimeter, sunk deep into the muddy cone-shaped crust. He waits, and looks, shifting his weight from one cheek to the other. He hates sitting here. He has no patience. His mind recounts his last five days of spot and stalk hunting, during this September archery bull elk rut. He has already been at full draw on a 20 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2011
300, 6x6 bull, at 8 yards, too small. He has chased a 380 bull, Lucky Seven, broadside at 80 yards he stood, too far. Tailed a dark Heresy’s Special with baseball bats for antlers–pushing 400, but no shot. And even called in a bugling 5x5, up from the bottom of a canyon he came; Pat playing catch and release with him–so naïve–still he passed. In his mind he can see the faces and antlers of each bull from the last five days, all so vividly etched, some almost dead. Inside, his heart still revs a little too fast from the experiences of each day. This is why he struggles now to just sit here.
He knows the elk are somewhere all around him, milling about in the forest. Munching on grasses and browse, and bugling cries of love and unrest. He watches the tip of his boots move as his toes wiggle inside, imprisoned in leather, begging to walk. He does anything he can to keep his mind busy. He checks his release, wipes sweat from his hand, follows a bird from branch to branch, and then looks from side-to-side for elk.
hunt (hunt) vt. 1. to go out to kill or catch (game) for food 2. to search eagerly or carefully for; try to find 3. to pursue; chase 4. a) to go through (woods) in pursuit of game, b) to search (a place) carefully The waterhole seems depleted tonight. Just two days ago, Pat’s buddy Alan shot a nice bull off this very tank. Its bloody rib cage lies impaired only yards away, giving birth
to maggots and stench. It was Alan who had begged Pat to sit the tank, swearing that he would shoot an elk off of it tonight. Now he is wondering how he is going to shoot anything if nothing comes in to drink. The wait is like added pressure. The pressure to bring home hardened bone. To prove he is someone who can walk into the forest, hunts with bow and arrow, and haul out meat and antlers on his back. Proof that he is a successful hunter–a man’s man. He knows there is no audience. No crowd of people waiting at the finish line, and no one to cheer him on. But stories will have to be told. Success or failure, people will ask, and he desires to tell them. He remembers the expression on Alan and Scott’s faces after a morning hunt. He had dropped to his knees with arms stretched out in a fulldraw position, showing them, telling them, about the 8 yard bull. His body language saying more than his mouth. “I felt like a God,” he had exclaimed, “I had my sight pin right on his chest.” “Why didn’t you shoot?” They both replied. Pat remembers the sensation swelling inside him, his own smile. The feeling of power he had held at that moment, of life and death. He snickered in boastful pride, almost laughing as all the details poured out.
harmoniously broken and planted into the earth by 800 pounds of hoof and flesh. The sound is slow, intermittent, then, stops. His head stays forward facing but his eyes hook left and down to see his own nose, and what lies below. In this sunken corner of his vision he sees a bull elk, standing, looking, and waiting. Pat closes his eyes. He can feel his heart double-pumping blood as all his extremities become over-energized. His breathing quickens. Deep breath in--that’s it--let it out-slowly. He pleads with his mind to control himself. Control the insides that his fingers will never touch. He opens his eyes, half-way, in a squint to take a peak. The bull has moved forward and is now in full view. The bull’s right eye seems to be peering into Pat. Deeper than his tanned face or camouflage clothing, looking less at him and more into his intentions. Into the places he can not touch, but feels. Pat tries to avoid eye contact and closes his eyes once again. He wonders if the
not stare. He is broadside now and Pat decides to shoot when the opportunity is right. The bull looks around for the longest time with no hurry. His head bends down to drink; all is quiet except the pumping of blood. A slurping sound disrupts the calm and Pat can hear as each gulp of water is vacuumed up and in, then swallowed. The thirsty bull begins to satisfy his desire for water when a coyote calls from his far left, deep in the forest. The bull stops drinking, raises his head in the direction of the sound--water dripping from his mouth. This is the moment Pat has been waiting for. He draws his bow back in silence. Fluorescent red fletchings on the arrow come close to his mouth, so close he can almost kiss them. He places the 30 yard sight pin behind the bull’s right shoulder and holds steady. The stainless Slick Trick broad head flies straight. Released free from 70 pounds of compounded pressure. Pressure built up over the last five days, and pressure held back by limb
“He was too small,” he had said. And then the ahs. “I would have shot him,” said Scott. Now he has to produce. You don’t just pass on multiple bulls, brag, and then go home with nothing. And here he sits, unable to slither around the forest in search of lonesome bulls. Now, more than ever, there is a great need for this hunt to be over. For the climax to come. There needs to be resolution. It was after the sun had slipped behind the mountain, when the air became stagnant and his toes stopped dancing about that he hears a sound. Behind him, and to the left, the ground compresses. Pine needles that once lay flat are now
bull really sees him, knows what he’s thinking, or was he just looking. His body is calming. He opens his eyes to find the bull walking to the waters edge. The bull has large antlers, at least a 6x6, maybe a 340, though he does
and string. Now, gone in a blink, by only the slightest movement of his index finger. The fletchings imbed behind the bulls shoulder as it springs from the water hole--mud flies. It runs in the direction of the coyote call, away from the sting of pain, and out of sight. The sound Pat hears is of 800 pounds, running, breathing, Arizona Elk Society 21
of emotions, personality attributes, a) inmost thought and feeling; consciousness (to know in one’s heart) b) the source of intellect, c) one’s emotional nature; disposition (to have a kind heart) Pat continues to work on the elk. Tying legs off with rope to trees since no one is there to help hold. Then he sees a light bouncing through the forest. He shines his flashlight in the direction of the light and starts to walk toward it.
exhausting; dive-bombing to the ground as gravity wins--the final snap of a branch. The water hole again silent.
re · lief (ri lēf’) n. 1. a) an easing, as of pain, discomfort, or anxiety b) a lightening of a burden 2. anything that lessens tension or strain, or offers a pleasing change Pat climbs out of the tree stand and walks over to the spot where the bull just stood. He looks back up into the tree, where the arrow came from, then, turns toward the direction the bull ran. He sees drops of blood on the ground, the perfect shade of red. So beautiful, yet… Inside of him a rage of victory is waiting to erupt, but he shows no emotion as he walks toward the bull. He walks 100 yards, maybe less, and finds the bull sleeping with his head lying on a log like a pillow. A picture of rest. Inside of him–relief.
a l o n e
a · lone (ə lōn’) adj. 1. apart from anything or anyone else 2. without involving any other person (to walk alone) The air has thickened, tinted itself purple and gray. Tall pines cast curtains of slumber, shrinking how far he can see. Evening is here. He snaps a few photos, pulls a light out from his backpack, and then starts to skin and quarter the bull as night falls. When he is half-way finished, he takes a break and checks his phone for a signal. Four bars in the midnight black of nowhere among the trees. He calls his wife, telling her that he has a bull down. That he is standing in the middle of the forest with quiet and darkness all around him.
“I knew you shot something when you didn’t come back to camp. Why didn’t you come get some help?”
“It’s peaceful here, all by myself,” he tells her.
As they get close, Alan’s lantern opens their eyes to the sleeping elk.
“Why don’t you go get some help,” she asks him.
“We’ve got to cut him open and find out.” Pat makes a cut from the top of one rib down to the bottom and back up another. Steam rushes out into the night air, mystifying the glow from the lantern, which they and the moths hover around. Pat dives his right hand deep into the dark opening, feeling through soupy warmth. He pulls the heart out through the spread ribs, then, cuts free its once life-pumping connections.
“I’m enjoying the moment, the time alone. I shot him alone; I can take him out of here alone. It may take me all night but I’ll do it. I’ve waited a long time to stand here, cell phone in one hand and a bloody knife in the other, antlers at my feet.” She tells him to be careful, that she loves him, and then goodbye.
heart (härt) n. 4. the central, vital, or main part; real meaning; essence; core 5. the human heart considered as the center or source 22 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2011
“You skin’n-griz-pilgrim?” Pat knows the familiar voice. It is Alan wandering through the forest looking for him since it is now way past bedtime and Pat never came back to camp for dinner. Alan gets close then starts saying,
“I don’t know,” replies Pat. “Guess I felt like I didn’t need any. I’m feeling a little spiritual tonight.” “We’ll, what you got? Show me the goods,” says Alan, as they walk together in the dark toward the bull. “I think I shot him in the heart,” says Pat. “No way,” replies Alan, “Really?”
joy (joi) n. 1. a very glad feeling; happiness; great pleasure; delight 2. anything causing such feeling 3. the expression or showing of such
feeling (to be full of joy) “Through the heart baby. Just like I told you. Can you believe that shot?” Pat is doing a dance. In front of him he holds the heart like a trophy. His eyes engorged with conquered disbelief.
joy, like children going on a ride at the state fair—both creating memories.
“Both sides baby,” exclaims Pat, “In and out, dead-nuts to center.”
It is around midnight when they finish loading the bull into the back of Pat’s pickup truck. Four quarters of meat and bone dressed in pasty white cheese cloth bags. Two back straps, tenderloin, and an elk heart in long tube-like socks. With the lantern off, the moon illuminates the forest floor. It catches slivers of light reflecting off the bull’s antlers sitting quietly in the truck bed. The two of them stop and stare at their own shadows, realizing they are not really ever alone. Headlights then flicker on as engines roar to life. The trucks move foreword like feeding deer amongst the trees until their tires find dirt road.
“No way,” replies Alan. He was going to say something after that, now lost for words, caught up in the moment. The two of them dance around; full of
As Pat drives through the dark forest, he realizes his hunt is over. Emotions pound recklessly at his insides, like ocean waves against a rock face. The
“Look at the X.” Pat points, then sticks his index finger into the surgically cut entrance of the four-blade Slick Trick broad head. “Oh my goodness.” Alan’s mouth unhinges as though he is going to take a bite of an apple, staying stuck in this position. Pat flips the heart over to reveal the exit hole, matching the front.
explosions are of his memory, five days of experiences. Each day now drifting around the cab of his truck, slow as smoke. It is on this dirt road that he realizes that the hunt is not about a gross score in inches or points. Or nicknames like Monster or Giant. The hunt is about the experience that the hunter has during his time in the field. Was it a quality hunt? Did his heart pound with excitement? Did he expend a great amount of effort to realize satisfaction in the field? His answer is yes, yes, and yes. In the back of his truck is meat to help feed his family for the coming year. There are antlers to hang on the wall at home, to point at, and relive these days. But most important of all, between the muscle and bone, there is resolution. This is all that really matters as he drives back to camp with no one waiting or watching.
J OY Arizona Elk Society 23
Throughout the year the Arizona Elk Society holds and partners in many camps for both Elk Habitat Restoration and our Hunting Heritage. An important part of Hunting Heritage is the recruitment of young new hunters. To help get more kids involved in hunting the Arizona Elk Society helps fund, through our grant program, other Youth Hunting Camps in Arizona. Region 1 of the Arizona Game and Fish with a group of volunteers, including Youth Outdoors Unlimited, holds numerous youth camps in the White Mountains of Arizona. This past fall they held two very successful camps, one for squirrel hunting and one for the junior cow elk hunt. Here is some feedback from Michael Godwin, AZGFD Region I Field Supervisor:
JUNIOR ELK camp All, We had 50-60 people in camp Saturday night and more throughout the weekend. It started out as a cold and snowy Junior elk hunt but it turn out spectacular. Woody, The Youth Outdoor Unlimited crew did an excellent job, We had a lot of kids get elk and my last count on successful kids from camp and others we helped was around 22. Anne was able to collect several CWD samples at the camp and as always, we enjoyed having her in camp! Ken shared the Operation Game Thief message throughout the weekend and made contact with a lot of families a few I am certain had not heard these messages before. Shawn Wagner has been giving us a new presentation this year that describes what a filed contact with a Wildlife Manager looks and feels like with a role playing example. This is a great presentation and I get the feeling the kids and the parents come away with a totally different expectation about talking to Game and Fish while hunting or fishing. They seem to have a much better understanding “WHY” we are out there and that we actually can and want to provide help for their hunt! Great Job Shawn! I have received a few comments back from attendees and their parents saying they had a great time and felt welcome at every turn, that’s a great compliment. Thanks again, goes out to the Arizona Elk Society and RMEF for providing the funding for us to be able to pull of these junior hunter camps! The Arizona Elk Society would like to thank Mike Godwin, Youth Outdoor Unlimited and all the volunteers that make these camps possible. Volunteering at these camps is very rewarding and if you have the time you should try it out.. “The Arizona Elk Society is made up of a group of volunteers that raise funds for Elk Habitat and furthering our Hunting Heritage. The outreach to kids that are interested in hunting and conservation of Wildlife is an important part of what we do. Watch our Website, Facebook page for information on many of these camps and others. All the money raised by the Arizona Elk Society stays in Arizona to benefit our wildlife habitat.”
24 The Tracker - 3rd Quarter 2011
2011 Arizona Junior Cow elk hunt
Youth Squirrel camp All, I want to once again thank all of you, some of you for the first time, for contributing your valuable time to the small game camp. This was the most successful squirrel camp I believe we have ever conducted. We had 21 kids in camp and 15 parents with 24 volunteers and Department people helping out. The festivities included dinners, breakfast and lunch with presentations and programs Friday and Saturday nights. The hunting mentors did an awesome job getting the kids into squirrels as the harvest total was somewhere around 40 squirrels! A new camp record. The Tucson crowd of Maykayla aka – Tooter, Annie aka – Smello Jello, and Kaia aka – Boom-Boom, had top count at 14 squirrels, great job and Special Thanks goes out to Bonnie for being a driving force at hunter recruitment and retention, we should be paying her! We had archery and pellet gun instruction thanks to James Chandler and Dan Dymond (thanks for arranging the equipment Bruce). Saturday night we also had a junior camp first, we made 5 incredible cobblers in the dutch ovens and hand cranked out 22 quarts of blueberry, strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate chip homemade ice cream!!!! Several of us had to loosen our belts that night. I want to send out additional thanks to the Arizona Elk Society and RMEF – they have contributed $7000.00 to make this and three other camps even possible. Without that money we could not do what we do and thank you doesn’t seem enough, but it is heartfelt! Once again, THANK YOU to all of those that helped and I’m already looking forward to next year, any flavor requests for the ice cream?
2011 Arizona YOUTH SQUIRREL CAMP
Fred L. Crecelius Sr.
MAC-692 Arizona Elk Society 7.5x4.75:MAC-692 Arizona Elk Society
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Arizona Elk Society 27
ARIZONA ELK SOCIETY NEW MEMBERSHIP OR RENEWALS The Arizona Elk Society truly appreciates your support as we strive to improve the elk population, wildlife habitat and our hunting heritage. As a member of this great organization, you have been instrumental in helping us achieve our successes. None of this could have been accomplished without your membership. Please continue to help us in our quest. Membership in the Arizona Elk Society has enabled us to: Host youth programs such as:
Joi n or re n ew today!
Fund habitat improvement projects such as:
• Wapiti Weekend - a camp designed to introduce children to the outdoors, wildlife and hunting
• Pinon/juniper thinning
• Junior Elk Camps - camps designed to assist the youth during junior elk hunts
• Controlled burns & Grass land restoration and more...
• Elk Hunting Clinics - designed to teach elk hunting basics for successful hunts Host work projects such as:
• Water tank & pipe line constructions
Retire grazing allotments to insure wildlife habitat such as: • Burro Creek Allotment - over 26,000 acres
• Burro Creek - fence removal project
• Big Lake Allotment - 4,500 acres
• Buck Springs - 73,000 acres
• Buck Springs - fence removal project
In nine years, the Arizona Elk Society has funded 224 projects, helped restore 182,000 acres for wildlife and affected over 200,000 acres. We need your membership to continue our mission. Please take the time and renew today. On-line renewal available at our website: www.arizonaelksociety.org I guarantee this is the best action you can take to ensure the future for AZ elk, their habitat and our hunting heritage.
Steve Clark - President
28 The Tracker - 2nd Quarter 2011
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 Royal Partner
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
Arizona ELk Society
You can find more details and the donation form at www.arizonaelksociety. org.
Sharon and John Stuckey Royal Partner
Ron and Sharon Eichelberger
Bass Pro Shops
Pacific West Representatives
FOR MORE INFO AND TO DONATE:
Sportsman’s Warehouse Sponsor Partner
Tom & Janet Bowman Sponsor Partner
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 2011
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
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 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
P.O.Box 190 Peoria, AZ 85380 CHANGE SERVICES REQUESTED
s av e the
d at e ! Eleventh Annual Arizona Elk Society Banquet March 24, 2012 Featuring the Arizona Game & Fish Commissioner
Special Big Game Tags in the Live Auction
NON-PROFIT US POSTAGE PAID Phoenix, AZ Permit No. 5572
The quarterly magazine of the Arizona Elk Society (AES) with articles involving Arizona Elk and the AES's efforts at conservation of the hun...