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4 th Quar ter 2012

Photo by George Andrejko of Arizona Game & Fish Department

L i f e

m e m b e r s


Ken Alexander • Michael Anderson • John Anton • Ernest Apodaca, Jr. • Pete Baldwin • James Ballard • Leo Balthazor • David Baril • Ron Batz • Randy Beck • F.K. Benbow • David Bennett • Keith Berger • Janet Bowman • Tom Bowman • Dan Bradford • Tish Bradford • Richard Briskin • Stephen Brown, MD • Kurt Buckwald • Mike Burr • Esther Cadzow • John Cadzow • Harry Carlson • Lupe Carlson • Kenneth Carney • Steve Casterton • Joe & Marisa Cerreta • Randy Cherington • Pete Cimellaro

• Steve Clark • Bob Cockrill, Jr. • Todd Coleman • Frank Cooper • Russell Coover •

Lonnie Crabtree • William Cullins • Richard Currie • Patrick Curry • Don Davidson • Kay Davidson • Bill Davis • William Davis • Larry Day • Jim deVos • Steven Dodds • Ron Eichelberger • Sharon Eichelberger • Peter Ekholm • Daron Evans • Tim Evans • David Forbes • Tom Franklin • Douglas Fritz • Will Garrison • Walt Godbehere • Richard Goettel • Carl Hargis • Dan Hellman • R. Todd Henderson • Terry Herndon • Ed Hightower • Paul Hodges III • Mel Holsinger • Scott Horn • Michael

Horstman • Timothy Hosford • Bryan House • Wayne Jacobs • Brian Johnsen • Earl Johnson • Edward

Johnson • Gary Johnson • James Johnson • Richard Johnson • Jim Jones* • Mitchell Jones • Bruce Judson • Sandra Kauffman • Richard Kauffman, Sr. • Jim Kavanaugh • Bill Kelley • Denise Kennedy • Chuck Kerr • Bill Kiefer • Brian Kimball • David Kinman • Peter Klocki • John Koleszar • Charles Koons • Joseph Krejci • Otto Kuczynski • James Lara • Michael Lechter • Jorge Leon • Ruben Lerma • Tim Littleton • Deanne Long • James Lynch, Jr. • Bob Mallory • Don Martin • Gary Matchinsky • Karl Matchinsky • Russ McDowell • Steve McGaughey • Angela McHaney • Kelly McMillan • William Meredith • James Mingus • Matt Minshall • James Mullins • James Mullins • Matt Mullins • Robert Murry DVM • Gregory Naff • Mark Nicholas • Anthony Nichols • Brandon Nichols • Fletcher Nichols • Logan Nichols • Cookie Nicoson • Paige Nicoson • Walt Nicoson* • Kathi Nixon • Mark Nixon • David Nygaard • Donna Obert • Douglas Obert, Sr.* • Bob Olds • Martin Paez • Pete Page • Sallie Page • Duane Palmer • Marlin Parker • Don Parks Jr. • Shawn Patterson • Art Pearce • Paul Piker • Forrest Purdy • Jan Purdy • Jim Renkema • Keith Riefkohl • Mel Risch • Travis Roberts • Mike Sanders • Rick Schmidt • Tom Schorr • Scott Schuff • Terry Schupp • Bill Shaffer • Howard Shaffer • Steven Shaffer • William Shaffer, Jr. • Lonzo Shields • Terrence Simons • Charlene Sipe • Robert Spurny • Connor Stainton • Gregory Stainton • Randy Stalcup • Douglas Stancill • Mark Stephenson • James Stewart • Shane Stewart • Vashti “Tice” Supplee • Al Swapp • Debbie Swapp • Dan Taylor • Pete Thomas • John Toner • Corey Tunnell • Bill VenRooy • Rick Vincent, Sr. • Don Walters, Jr. • Bill Wasbotten • Dale Watkins • Jerry Weiers • Dee White • Larry White • Richard Williams • Matt Windle • Cory Worischeck • Joseph Worischeck • Mark Worischeck • Chuck Youngker • Scott Ziebarth

Arizona elk society * deceased

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presidents’ message

With 2012 behind us, it’s time to reflect on the many successful projects and events of the Arizona Elk Society as well as set the stage for a great 2013!

4 WORK PROJECTS Our volunteers, including many scouts and school kids, really stepped up their game in 2012 with four great Habitat Work Projects that had an average attendance of 90 -100 volunteers: 1. We fixed a 50,000 gallon water tank for the O’Haco Ranch that provides water for wildlife along a 40-mile pipeline. 2. We repaired fencing in riparian areas to protect the areas for wildlife. 3. We worked with the 26 Bar Ranch fencing a spring to benefit wildlife. 4. We removed several miles of fence from the forest while cutting about 70,000 trees from grasslands and riparian areas restoring ecological functions to help wildlife.

4 YOUTH CAMPS & MORE In 2012 the Arizona Elk Society held four youth camps and participated in a few more. We are proud to carry the torch of educating our youth about Arizona’s wildlife and our hunting heritage. In all, we had about 975 kids in the AES youth camps and reached out to many more.


to address water hauling and the maintenance of wildlife drinkers and dirt tanks throughout elk range. In 2012, we hauled over 65,000 gallons of water, fixed numerous drinkers and contracted and funded the cleaning out and expanding of 22 dirt tanks in northern Arizona.

A VOICE FOR SPORTSMEN In addition to on-the-ground work, the AES has been representing sportsmen regarding the many threats and issues affecting hunting and elk. We have been working with the USFS on the Travel Management Planning trying to maintain reasonable access to the forest and the ability to camp. We are working with AZGFD, Arizona ranchers and cattlegrowers about the increasing wolf threat in Arizona. We are working with the USFS on the 4 Forest Restoration Initiative to make sure that wildlife habitat is an integral part of the planning process. We work with AZGFD on elk management in Arizona.

MEMBERSHIP If you are a member, you should have received your renewal information. If you have renewed, thank you for your support. If you haven’t renewed, I hope that the accomplishments I have listed and you read about in the Tracker will encourage you to renew. Your membership and support is important to the Arizona Elk Society. We are working for you and the hunters, sportsmen and wildlife lovers of Arizona. Please let your friends know of the work we are doing and encourage them to join.

Our habitat committee funded many projects including juniper thinning, water projects, controlled burns, aspen enclosures, grassland restorations, riparian area restorations and much more. This year, projects we funded affected over 40,000 acres.

Don’t forget to join us at the 12th Annual Banquet on March 23, 2013. Tickets are on sale at

The drought was severe this year and the AES, in response to the lack of water, designed a program

Steve Clark, AES President

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Thank you for your support throughout 2012!

In This Issue

Executive Board President................................... Steve Clark Vice President...........................Carl Hargis

President’s Message by Steve Clark............................................................... 4

Treasurer.................................Annette Naff Secretary................................... Laila Wood

Conservation Corner: Being a Calf by Jim deVos.......................................... 6-9

Past President........Sharon Eichelberger

Board of Directors “BB” in Another World by John Koleszar.................................................. 10-11

Ken Alexander, Ron Eichelberger, Walt Godbehere, Jim Mullins, Matt Mullins,

Born in the Hands of Hunters by John F. Organ, Ph.D., Shane P. Mahoney,

Gregory Naff, Cookie Nicoson, Rick

and Valerius Geist, Ph.D........................................................................ 12-17 Beyond Elk Camp: What We See in the Field by Patrick Weise.................. 18-23 A Wonderful 75th Birthday Celebration by Jim deVos................................. 24-29

Schmidt, Tom Schorr, Bill Walp

Committee Chairs Banquet...............Sharon Eichelberger & Cookie Nicoson Membership................................Dee Long Projects.......................................Carl Hargis

AES Founding Members............................................................................ 30

Newsletter.................... Maria DelVecchio Website.................................Leo Balthazor Wapiti Weekend...................Shelly Hargis

Habitat Partners of Arizona...................................................................... 31 Upcoming Events.........................................................................................32

th iet a rizona elk soc y


Scholarship..................... Wendy Norburg Director of Conservation Affairs................ Jim deVos You may send a message for any officers, board members or committee chairs to

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.


Mark your calendar for March 23, 2013! Arizona Elk Society 5


Being a Calf

Nature has provided the above calf with a protective camouflage coat to help avoid detection by predators.

Things in nature usually don’t happen by chance. The push for survival helps shape most biological processes to optimize the survival of the organism. If this weren’t true, the natural world would be in chaos, which of course it generally isn’t.

by Jim deVos, Arizona Elk Society Director of Conservation Affairs

Let’s take a look at how the course of nature has optimized the survival of an elk calf. The story really begins in September, when a surge of hormones brings cows into estrus and bulls into rut. Is this chance timing? Hardly, and this timing is the first critical step in perpetuating an elk herd. You see, once mating occurs, the gestation period for an elk is about 250 days give or take a week. Let’s move forward for this timeframe and it puts us in late May to June. If you were to pick a time of year when you wanted to have a calf, you couldn’t pick a better time of year for many reasons. First, one of the keys to calf survival is to have a cow that is in a high nutritional plane. When is the vegetation the most lush and rapidly growing? Well, in most years, in elk country, it is after snowmelt when the weather begins to warm spurring a flush of vegetative growth. At this time, what an elk eats is at its peak of digestibility. This vegetation has more value for the cow that needs to produce sufficient, high quality milk to turn that gangly calf into a majestic bull.

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Once the young calf has grown for a couple of weeks, larger nursery bands form using the optimal foraging areas available to help set the stage for the life cycle to repeat.

Another important factor is that the calving period is usually after the harsh winter weather has passed and there is a long period for that calf to grow and get ready for the upcoming rough winter. Calves that are born a little later in the summer have less time to grow and to mature. With these calves there will be a higher mortality rate, so timing of calving is a critical factor of survival. Cow elk have a relatively short estrus cycle – usually only one or two days – where they are receptive to the ardent advances of that special bull. This is also tied to calf survival. You see, there are many critters in the woods that like to dine on elk calves and the shorter the time when young calves are vulnerable, the higher the likelihood of survival. Think about it. One of the survival strategies that many wildlife species have evolved with is to have all their young in as short of a period as possible. Newborn calves are most vulnerable to predators shortly after birth and in a few weeks, are more mobile and better able to avoid being dinner for a wily coyote or a wandering black bear. When most cows are breed during their first estrus cycle of the

year, most calves are born within days and sheer numbers help overall population survival. Birth synchrony is one survival strategy but certainly not the only trick in the book for elk moms. For most of the year, elk are fairly social and found in herds. As birthing time nears, cows break away from the crowd and find a nice secluded area where they give birth and spend a First, one of few weeks away from the keys to the rest of the herd. calf survival is This is also a strategy that optimizes to have a cow survival. Again, very that is in a young calves are most high nutritional prone to predation and plane. being solitary minimizes the probability of being found by a predator as scent in an area is minimized. Arizona Elk Society 7

Elk calves are precocious and develop rapidly. Within a few weeks, they have developed sufficiently, are quite mobile, more successful in avoiding predators, and nursery herds begin to form. Larger herds of mixed calves and cows are better able to detect and defend against predators and so it happens this way. These mixed herds spend the rest of the summer feeding on the best groceries available, getting ready for the demands of another breeding season, to then face the rigors of another winter in the high country. As I said above, larger calves are better able to survive the winter bottleneck that elk face and when the winter precipitation is good, the vegetative growth is in turn good and calves can grow rapidly. Contrarily, when soil moisture is low and vegetative growth is poor, both calves and cows have a much greater challenge in making it through a harsh winter. Further, research has shown that cows that are in good physical condition are better able to conceive and raise a calf the following year. This is one of the reasons that many of the projects supported by the Arizona Elk Society focus on improving winter range conditions while also working on key summer ranges. We want the best available habitat for elk to live in. We’ve missed a few key points in what an elk calf goes through to get to be an adult. At birth, calves weigh about 35 pounds and are born with a spotted coat to help camouflage them from predators. In the future, Junior will eat a broad variety of vegetation but their first meal is absolutely critical for their survival. The first meal consists of colostrum, a supercharged milk that sets the stage for being a healthy calf. Colostrum has about four times more

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One of the survival strategies that many wildlife species have evolved with is to have all their young in as short of a period as possible.

protein than the milk that the cow will produce later in lactation. While important, even more so are some of the other components in this meal. Colostrum is rich in immunoglobulin, which is critical in helping the calf withstand the challenges from the multitude of diseases that elk calves are exposed to. The colostrum that a calf gets on its first day of life is comprised of about 5.1% of immunoglobulins with this component declining to a mere 1% by day three of its life. Without this step toward immune defense, the calf is much more likely to succumb to an illness – like hemorrhagic disease – that exists in nature. Lastly, colostrum contains greater amounts of growth hormones that help the youngster grow rapidly and prepare it to better meet the challenges that it faces from day one. Elk are in the group of species called ruminants, which are animals that use micro-bacteria in their multi-chambered digestive systems to break down food items into usable proteins, vitamins, and minerals. At birth, calves are born with a relatively sterile gut with the needed bacteria gradually introduced by the food items it eats. By the time the animal is weaned at about two months old, all of the necessary bacteria have been established and the calf is pretty independent of its mother from a feeding standpoint. There are still a lot of things for Junior to learn

from the cow though and they will still remain loosely associated until the cows separate from the herd to begin the life cycle all over again. Nature has always been fascinating to me. It amazes me that the elk I see seemingly wandering with little pattern actually have an annual cycle that is complex to say the least. Think about it. The cow knows when to separate from the safety of the herd to ensure that the calf has the optimal chance for survival.

The first feeding of colostrum is super loaded with things to give the calf the first boost in life but this valued resource declines rapidly and by the third day is much changed. The timing of rutting, birthing, and calf rearing is perfect to optimize the youngster’s chance of survival. All of these factors are honed by eons of survival. Again, nature is amazing. Think about this complex cycle the next time you get to enjoy seeing a herd of elk in that open, green meadow.

At birth, calves are born with relatively sterile gut with the needed bacteria gradually introduced by the food items it eats.

Arizona Elk Society 9

By previous agreement, I

“BB” In Another World

He stared back at me and gave a slight smile. headed up to meet “BB” at “Silence my boy, silence. Maverick Camp in the White There are no quads, there Mountain Apache Reservation. are no hunters, there are no I had borrowed my Tundra from by John Koleszar campers – ain’t nothing but the new owner for one last ride wildlife and peace.” I thought about in the mountains. I came through his statement and begrudgingly Globe and headed up to the turnoffs nodded my agreement. “It does kind of along the way, climbing higher and higher feel like a church “BB”, so peaceful, so quiet, so until I crested out several miles from the camp. It was beautiful.” “BB” nodded his shaggy head and started to getting towards dusk and I was somewhat surprised at browse as we walked slowly across the meadow. “I wish the lack of activity on the Reservation. The beauty of the I had been born here instead of down by Forest Lakes. White Mountains never ceases to amaze me and I savored The food is great, the water is always available and after all the sights as I made my way the last few miles to the a tough rut, this is like a five star resort for elk.” I quietly Maverick Camp. There are several open meadows around agreed with “BB” . “Yep “BB” , this is probably the best spot Maverick and I pulled off the road and headed for the for you now. You can rest up, put some weight back on dark timber where we’d agreed to meet. I “felt” rather and live the good life until spring. I just wouldn’t want to than saw “BB” as he slowly emerged from the lengthening be here come fall again.” “BB” was munching and I waited shadows. Since there were no hunts going on, I shouted until he could talk. “I’ve heard and seen all the commotion out a greeting to “BB”. He simply stared at me and waited I need down closer to civilization. All I need to do is to until I was virtually right next to him. have broken antlers by the time they start out their hunts in the fall. With the prices all the tags go for up here, no one is going to shoot a bull with busted antlers. I saw the scoreboard up at Maverick and the size of some of those bulls was amazing. I didn’t think there were that many 400” bulls in all of Arizona, let alone on the White Mountain Reservation.” I looked “BB” over and started to chuckle, “You wouldn’t have been in anyone’s crosshairs based on your current rack anyhow “BB”. You can’t be more than 365” and that would be a cull bull to those guys.”“BB” tried to put on an indignant look but failed miserably. He eventually started to chuckle and then said, “Yeah, an old bull like me with just average growth would

“BB” whispered, “Do you hear that boy?” I strained in the quiet to hear what “BB” was talking about and then shook my head. “Nope “BB”, I can’t hear a thing. What’re you talking about?”

not light anyone’s fire up here. “ Just as I was about to say something, the reverie was broken by the piercing howl of a wolf in the distance. I had heard some a couple of years ago, but it always is interesting to hear it again. “BB” stared in the direction where the howl had come from and sighed. “Talk about a waste of money, those wolves are always running around like damn prima donnas.” It was the first time that we had discussed wolves in forever so I was interested in why he felt so strongly. “Come on “BB”. Those wolves have been around here since before you were born. What’s with the attitude?” “BB” shook his head and stared at me long and hard. “OK boy, I’m only going to talk about this stuff once, so get it right. I have copies of the Environmental Impact Statement from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife crew out of Albuquerque and all that garbage they printed is worthless. They used the Yellowstone elk herd as their model for Arizona and they claimed that no more than 30% of the Yellowstone herd would be taken as supper by those Canadian wolves. Guess what? That herd has gone from over 22,000 animals in 1995 to less than 4100 animals this year. My math ain’t that good, but that sure seems like a hell of a lot more than 30%.They also spouted off about how the costs to you dumb taxpayers was only going to be a paltry $8,000,000 over the life of this project. You know what they’ve spent so far? Damn if they aren’t over $25,000,000 for those 58 wolves. Each wolf has had almost a half a million dollars paid by you dummies so that they could traipse around out here. I read enough to know that times aren’t good for you humans and here you go pouring good money after bad. Does anyone have any common sense about this? It ain’t going to work. The Mexican gray wolf was an experimental project. Guess what? The experiment has failed and failed miserably. If

it isn’t the low end of the gene pool wolves being dumb, then it’s some humans shooting them. There’s no way this is ever going to work.” I was stunned by the outburst from “BB”.“You know “BB”, I’m pretty sure you’re right. The endless supply of money will keep right on pouring in and humans will keep trying to make the land what it was over 200 years ago, and it will never work. You know the groups I belong to and each year we raise over $1,000,000 for habitat basically setting the buffet table for predators. I wonder what all the taxpayers would do if they knew how much money has been wasted.

I wonder how much better the forests would have been if there had been $25,000,000 to reduce the fuel loads. I wonder how those folks who lost their summer homes would feel if they knew where the money is really going.” “BB” and I walked in the twilight, each in our own thoughts. We each knew the frustration of trying to make sense of those who want to rid the forests of humans and those who want to take life back to 200 years ago with no human intervention. We also knew the feeling of being powerless to stop those who make the decisions yet have no clue about what wildlife and habitat truly are. That made it all the more painful for both of us.

Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation License Plate By purchasing this plate you will be making a contribution to Arizona’s wildlife and wildlife habitat. Seventeen dollars ($17) of each twenty-five ($25) special license fee will go to AZSFWC’s Wildlife Conservation Committee (WCC). The WCC will review and approve all grants from the special license plate program revenues. These grants will fund important outdoor recreational and educational opportunities and on-the-ground wildlife habitat restoration and enhancement projects.

These plates can be purchased online and can also be personalized. To order an AZSFWC Conservation License Plate go to Arizona Elk Society 11

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Arizona Elk Society 13

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This article was reprinted by permission from The Wildlife Society Arizona Elk Society 17

Beyond Elk Camp What We See in the Field

A Photo Essay by Patrick Weise It is in the field where our journey truly begins. Our footsteps slow and methodical as we move beyond the roads. Our eyes scan for movement; looking for odd shapes dressed in fur and hardened bone. We see more than we bargain for. Signs of animal life, past and present, come alive along the way. Signs to Beware, to Keep-out, direct our path. Structures of long ago sleep silently, decaying with time. The beauty of it all makes us stop and ponder, even our own existence here on earth. We absorb it all—carrying it with us—long after the hunt is over. 18 The Tracker - 4th Quarter 2012

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Patrick Weise has been hunting, scouting,

and photographing elk for the past 12 years.

He loves and respects God and nature,

breathing the motto:

Live it - Do it.

BRAGGIN’ BOARD nt in This year’s successful hu ately 5B. Late bull rifle. Approxim 800 lbs., 6x6, 351 2/8. Elk Thanks for all the Arizona Society does.

John & Patty Corley

Show it off – send your submissions for The Tracker Braggin’ Board to Steve Clark at

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A wonderful 75 birthday celebration th

by Jim deVos, Arizona Elk Society Director of Conservation Affairs


ince you are reading this, I suspect that you enjoy and are interested in the wildlife we have in our wonderful country. We are lucky in that there were many early conservationists who saw the absolute destruction of America’s wildlife and took bold strides to ensure that we have species such as white-tailed deer, bighorn sheep, bald eagles, and many others. As the earliest settlers of our country arrived, they found an amazing array and number of wildlife species. In fact, the numbers were thought to inexhaustible. Let’s take a quick look at some information we have relative to numbers of wildlife that occurred in North America. One of the most famous cases is that of the passenger pigeon. This bird was once present in immense flocks, the size of which boggles the mind today. In looking at some records, I found one story of a single flock of pigeons that was described as being about 1 mile wide, nearly 300 miles long and taking more than half a day to fly over Ontario Canada. It is estimated that billions of this species were in the current day United States when European settlers arrived. The last passenger pigeon died at the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 1914. How did such an abundant species perish in a few short decades? As settlers expanded eastward, 24 The Tracker - 4th Quarter 2012

they changed the face of the landscape by deforestation for farming. That in combination with completely unregulated commercial harvests led to the birds’ demise. The passenger pigeon was not the only bird that was driven to extinction in the absence of effective environmental laws and with unregulated hunting. The Great Auk was driven to extinction in the mid-1800s due to demand for the meat and down. Both of these stand as tragic losses of unique wildlife species. Birds were not the only species that were greatly over-utilized during this era. The American bison (buffalo) was once present throughout much of the American Midwest, across the Great Plains into many western states. How many there were is a good question as estimates of 30 million or even more can be found but the herds were vast, no one really knew. Writer Horace Greeley in an 1859 journey across America described the number of bison he saw thusly, “What strikes the stranger with most amazement is their immense numbers. I know a million is a great many, but I am confident we saw that number yesterday. Certainly, all we saw could not have stood on ten square miles of ground.” By the late 1800s, the vast herds of American bison had been shot to near extinction and were reduced to mere thousands.

American bison herds were once so vast as to darken the horizon. Their alarming decline in numbers helped focus attention on the need for conservation instead of exploitation.

White-tailed deer suffered much the same plight as did the species above. At one time, whitetails were thought to be as numerous as perhaps up to 30 million in North America. Largely due to conversion of natural vegetation to farmland and due to unregulated hunting, the decline was so substantial that whitetails were thought to be extirpated from Illinois in about 1912 and from Pennsylvania sometime between 1904 and 1920. Today, both these states have very large populations of white-tailed deer. You get the picture. By the early 1900s, many wildlife populations were greatly depleted by market hunting for food, fur, and plumes and habitat changes were widespread. Fortunately, there were people who became greatly concerned with the plight of wildlife and other natural resources and began to raise awareness of the problem. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many people stepped forward to form organizations that were

instrumental in turning the tide of rampant resource destruction. One of the early persons who fought change was John Muir. Born in Scotland in 1838, he eventually came to the United States. Muir became a famous inventor and an ardent writer documenting the harm being done to the natural world in the Sierra Nevada where he eventually settled. Muir was one of the most influential persons involved in the enactment of an act of Congress that created Yosemite National Park. He was also involved in the legislation that created other national parks including the Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest in Arizona. In 1892, Muir and like-minded people formed the Sierra Club, where he served as president until his death in 1914. In all, Muir published over 300 articles and 10 books that helped raise awareness of the need to better manage natural resources.

Truly one of the most inspirational natural sights in Arizona, conservationist John Muir worked tirelessly to help preserve places such as The Grand Canyon.

While Muir was philosophically aligned with the preservation of natural resources, Gifford Pinchot was a leading proponent of using the natural resources of our lands within reasonable limits. Pinchot was born in Connecticut in 1865 and was to become the Chief Forester for the U. S. Forest Service under then President Theodore Roosevelt. He was one of the first people who had formal training in forestry practices being trained in France as there were no forestry education programs in the United States at that time. During his time as Chief Forester, millions of acres of lands were added to the national forest system where forest resources were managed by the federal government. Although, Pinchot pushed for proper use of resources, he eventually lost favor in government as pressure from private interests fought his efforts at managed use of the resources. Nonetheless, Pinchot left a lasting legacy with the expansion of managed forestlands.

If you enjoy wildlife and natural places today, you owe a debt of gratitude to the men above and the many others who recognized that natural resources were an important part of our life. These men and women worked hard to change the minds of a nation that viewed nature as theirs for the taking and not something to leave behind for future generations to enjoy.

Bear with me for one more minute while we discuss John J. Audubon, a personal hero of mine. Born in 1785, Audubon’s life story is one of trying many different pursuits, making some money, but living much of his life in the woods wondering about and drawing nature. Although interested in all nature, birds truly captured his imagination and talents. He conducted the first known bird banding study in America as he tied string to the legs of Eastern Phoebes and monitored their return to the area of their banding. An accomplished artist, Audubon took detailed notes that accompanied his magnificent paintings of birds. Eventually, he found financial support for publishing his most famous work, Birds of America. The importance of this work was that it brought further attention to birds and their predicament. So important was his work, that in 1905 the National Audubon Society was incorporated with the mission to conserve and restore natural ecosystems with a focus on birds.

The point of these few stories is that key people were beginning to influence the perception of wildlife and early environmental movements were afoot that helped rebuild depleted resources. While it was too late for the Great Auk, over the years a great many species have rebounded throughout the world.

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Let’s take a quick look at elk in Arizona. The Merriam’s elk was the native species that was found when the early explorers wandered about what was to become Arizona. Sometime before 1900 the last of this subspecies, which was found in Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Texas, was lost forever as they were overshot. As was becoming more prevalent in the wildlife conservation arena, private conservationists were taking action and brought 83 elk from Yellowstone for release in northern Arizona in 1913. Elk once again roamed the state.

The title of this article refers to a wonderful birthday celebration and while it took a little time to get to it, like Paul Harvey used to say, now for the rest of the story. President Theodore Roosevelt was drawn to the American West by the lure of big game hunting, a pastime that he thoroughly enjoyed. During his time as President, this hunter-conservationist applied federal protection on about 230,000,000 acres of public lands. I use the term hunter-conservationist because many of the conservation efforts of the time were lead by hunters who felt deeply for the wildlife they sought and believed that without conservation efforts, more species were doomed to become extinct.

Let’s move forward a few years to 1937 and one of the most important pieces of federal conservation legislation was passed that year. What was to be known as the Pittman-Robinson Act of 1937, or more commonly the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (or simply P-R), provided an excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition. This revenue was provided to the Secretary of Interior for distribution to the States to fund many of the key conservation activities that have taken place since the Act was initiated. Subsequent amendments have added the excise tax to pistols and revolvers, archery tackle, and expanded what these funds are used for to include hunter education and development of shooting ranges. More on this in a bit but here is a list of the wildlife conservation activities the act supports: acquisition and improvement of wildlife habitat, introduction of wildlife into suitable habitat, research into wildlife problems, and survey and inventory of wildlife problems. Indeed, these are many of the mainstays of what a modern state wildlife management agency does for wildlife and the people of the state. To me, an incredibly important component of the act is that it broadly defines wildlife to include all birds and mammals and not just those that are hunted. The importance of this is that an act that restores the ecological function of a grassland not only benefits the pronghorn of the area, but grassland birds such as horned larks and golden eagles and wintering elk are all beneficiaries of this restoration. Thus, while hunters and shooters provide the taxes collected and distributed to the states, everyone who enjoys wildlife and places wild have benefited from the vision provided by Nevada

Senator Key Pittman and Virginia Congressman Absalom Robertson. Lets look into some of the nuts and bolts of the act and what it does for us today. First as I said, this is an excise tax on items used by hunters and shooters that is collected and provided to the Secretary of Interior for distribution to the states. This distribution is accomplished based on the number of licenses that state issues and the geographic area of the state. That way, distribution is more fairly done without any one state hogging the money. In addition to this distribution formula, the states are required to put up at least 25% to match the federal funding provided. Today, one of the cornerstones of modern wildlife management is the increased use of science in decisionmaking. Wildlife Restoration Act funding is a key to many of the advancements made in understanding wildlife in the natural world. Records show that about 26% of the P-R monies provided to the states are used in research and surveys to provide essential data to decision-makers on best practices to count and classify wildlife, reintroduction methods, effective habitat restoration methods, and allocation of harvest numbers. The list of research projects in Arizona is too long to mention here but one example is the work that has been done on how wild turkeys use areas that have been treated with different forest restoration prescriptions. The importance of this is that these data will help with the massive Four Forest Initiative program that will treat millions of acres of forests in the Southwest. Without these data, forest managers are left to best guess as to how to incorporate the needs of wild turkeys in these treatments.

Arizona Elk Society 27

Think artificial waters are important to wildlife in Arizona? Another recent study looked at the benefits and adverse impacts of these features in desert environments and concluded that the adverse impacts that some suggested were tied to these artificial waters were not actually occurring. Interestingly, use was actually greater by nongame species than game species that some attribute as the sole benefactors of waters. Insert tree removal around here. Other research efforts have focused on bats, birds, bighorn sheep, elk and many other species. Without the P-R funds to use for these projects, we would lack a lot of the information that modern wildlife managers use on a daily basis. As it says on the Fish and Wildlife Service website, “Science replaces guesswork” as a result of these funds. Having spent most of my career working in research I can’t resist a quick list of some of the projects that the Department worked on in the last fiscal year. These include a gobbler mortality study, evaluation of the bighorn sheep recovery on the Kofa, results of aerial coyote removal, several turkey release and monitoring efforts, postrelease monitoring of several wild sheep releases, and release and monitoring of dusky grouse to name a few. One of the major components of P-R is managing lands for wildlife. The Fish and Wildlife Service estimate that about 62% of the funds allocated to the states are used to acquire and manage lands for all wildlife. In Arizona, we are lucky to have a number of state managed wildlife areas including several that are proximate to the urban sprawl occurring near the Phoenix metroplex such as

Powers Butte Wildlife Area. We also are very fortunate to have places like Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area outside of Springerville. What a great place for the public and wildlife as well. Purchased for a total of nearly $4.0 million with the funds coming from a variety of sources including P-R. The list of species found there is indeed impressive and include elk, pronghorn, waterfowl, hummingbirds galore, and endangered species such as the Little Colorado spinedace. If it lives in Arizona’s mountains, it is likely that it can be found there. I don’t know about you but I feel good knowing that such a place is there for wildlife and for me to use and enjoy. The funds spent were truly a wise investment for conservation. I am tired of typing and you are no doubt tired of reading but I have to make two more points. Please bear with me. If you hunt in Arizona you are a direct beneficiary of P-R. Permit allocations are based upon survey data. Collecting these data is expensive as much of it is done from the air in helicopters. The vast majority of survey data are collected using funds allocated to Arizona as a direct result of this all-important piece of legislation. Deer, elk, bighorn, doves, bandtailed pigeons, pronghorn; you name it, if it is hunted, it is counted in one-way or another. Did you get a hunter survey card in the mail? It was paid for with P-R funds. Wildlife management in Arizona would be vastly different if it weren’t for the excise tax that hunters and shooters pay to enjoy their sport.

Almost done! Let’s take a quick look at the magnitude of some of the projects funded in 2009 by the Pittman-Robison Act in the United States.

$50.2 million

f or o p e rat i o ns & maintenance across

$ 1 8 . 6 acres of million

wildlife habitat

$32.1 million to fund 9,567 population research projects



for habitat improvements on


acres of land


$11.5 million to acquire 1.3 million acres of land



to provide h u n t e r education to

Indeed, the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act has been a tremendous help in restoring America and Arizona’s wildlife resources. How important is this funding source for the operation of the Arizona Game and Fish Department? In 2012, the Department received about $7.0 Million in Wildlife Restoration funds to help

$372,000 students

manage your wildlife and the habitat that they depend on. What a great gift that Senator Pittman and Congressman Robertson gave to the American public. This funding turned the tide of wildlife declines in America and 75 years later it is the gift that keeps on giving.

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 - 4th Quarter 2012

Dee White Larry White+ Mark Worischeck Joseph Worischeck Chuck Youngker Founding Sustaining Members Everett & Joyce Nicoson Founding Couple Members Bridgid & Ron Anderson John & Patty Anderson Denny* & Paula Bailey Robert F & Shirley J Banks John & Taina Beaty Robin & Billie Bechtel Brad & Shelley Borden Philip* & Jamie Brogdon+ Mark & Shanna Brooks Shawn & Lisa Carnahan Kim & Lynn Carter, Sr Danny R Cline & Pat Thompson Tim & Patti Garvin W Hays & Suzanne Gilstrap Don & Gwen Grady Steve & Bobi Hahn Igor & Christy Ivanoff Daniel & Danny Johnson Glen & Tracey Jones Richard & Wendy Kauffman Bill & Mary Keebler Mark & Lynda Kessler Mel & Diane Kincaid Richard & Christine Krantz Dick & Nancy Krause Eric & Wendy Krueger Ron & Lisa Lopez+ Gary & Lin Maschner Shane & Tiffany May Kevin & Donna McBee Roger & Micaela Mellen Denny & Pat Moss Robert & Diana Noel Richard Oberson & Bonnie McAuley* William & Vera Rezzonico Clarence Rodriquez MD Richard & Anna Schmidt David Scott & Rosemarie Nelson Bruce & Lisa Snider Macey & Becky Starling Ed & Ace Stevens Tim & Ellena Tanner Craig & Susan Thatcher Tom & Kristel Thatcher Marvin & Margo Thompson+ Jim & Shellie Walker+ Keith & Lois Zimmerman

Founding General Members Kendall Adair Gary R Anderson Jim Andrysiak Denny Ashbaugh Ron Barclay Cal Bauer John F Bauermeister Robert Baughman Manny Bercovich Dr Tom Boggess, III Tom Brown Tom Carroll Steve Cheuvront Carolyn Colangelo Mike Cupell Jack Daggett Kyle Daggett+ Bob Davies Gary A Davis Nathan Day John W Decker* Chris Denham Neal E Dial Craig Dunlap Jennifer Evans Bobby Fite Chris Flanders Lorenzo A Flores Roger Gibson Courtney Gilstrap Floyd Green Jon Hanna Douglas Hartzler Art Hathaway Dean Hofman David J Hofman Norma E Hook* Russ Hunter David Hussey Rick Johnson Mike Jones Doug Jones Todd Julian Charlie Kelly Charles A Kerns John Krause Joseph M Lane Robby Long Aaron Lowry Rick MacDonald Joe Makaus Daniel Martin Michael L Mason Mike McCormick Donald Meakin

Prior to March 17, 2002, AES Founding Memberships were available. These individuals and couples came forth to show their support for the AES in it’s early stages of development. During the formation of the AES, administrative funds were needed to pay for organizational costs that led up to the first fundraising banquet on March 16, 2002. Founding Members paid a premium membership fee to help make the first year a success. For their support and dedication, the following Founding Members will receive permanent recognition by the AES.

+ Membership upgraded

* Deceased

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

Are You a ... ®

Feb. 21-24

FREE Parkin g

University of Phoenix Stadium Glendale, AZ

Hunter? Sportsman? Wildlife Lover? Someone Who Enjoys Working with Kids?

See the all-new RMEF Great Elk Tour, plus Eastmans’ all-new Trophy Deer Tour

Shop 300+ exhibiting companies at Arizona’s largest hunting, fishing & travel expo all year!

Special features like the giant, 3D Pop-Up Archery Range, and Adventure Theater (with new AES seminars).

Exhibitor List, Seminar Schedule and more at...

We have a way for you to do more of what you love while helping wildlife and their habitat. Join us in the field working sideby-side with people who have big hearts and little fear of getting dirty. Or volunteer for one of our many youth events.

Go to today or email Arizona Elk Society 31

Glendale, AZ NON-PROFIT US POSTAGE PAID Phoenix, AZ Permit No. 5572


See the all-new RMEF Great Elk Tour, plus Eastmans’ all-new Trophy Deer Tour

E V ENTS & P RO J ECTS international sportsmen’s Exhibition


Feb 21 - 24

March 23

Cardinals Stadium

Mesa Convention Center

Shop 300+ exhibiting companies at Arizona’s largest Aes/nwtf youth hunting, fishing & travelIDA expoGrassland all year!

turkey camp

Restoration project

April 18 - 21

May 18 - 19

Unit 23 Colcord Ridge

Unit 7W (Near Valle)

For details on these events and projects, visit

Tracker Fourth Quarter 2012  

The quarterly magazine of the Arizona Elk Society (AES) with articles involving Arizona Elk and the AES's efforts at conservation of the hun...

Tracker Fourth Quarter 2012  

The quarterly magazine of the Arizona Elk Society (AES) with articles involving Arizona Elk and the AES's efforts at conservation of the hun...