2nd Quar ter 2021
WATER FOR WILDLIFE
We Needed Rain and Nature Repeated Itself HEROES RISING OUTDOORS
Brothers in Arms
Photo by Mike Pellagati, WildVisions, Inc.
AES LIFE MEMBERS Mike Abramovich Dan Adler Christopher Agnone Hector Albarran Ken Alexander John Anderson Michael Anderson Patti Anderson John Anton Ernest Apodaca, Jr. Steve Armstrong Tony Baca Pete Baldwin James Ballard Leo Balthazor Lee Banning David Baril Kenneth Barnes Philip Barrett Ron Batz Randy Beck F.K. Benbow Tony Benites David Bennett Joseph Berardi Danny Berg Keith Berger Robert Besst Bruce Bettis John Bingham Jason Bluhm Tom Bobo Jr. Tom Bowman Janet Bowman Tish Bradford Dan Bradford Richard Briskin Stephen Brown, MD Gary Bryans Jr Jeffrey Buchanan Kurt Buckwald Robert Bueche Mike Burr Carlton Buscemi Michael Bush Esther Cadzow John Cadzow* Daniel Capote Cindi Carlson Lupe Carlson Harry Carlson Kenneth Carney Brandon Carr Terry Carson Chris Casper Steve Casterton
Marcus Castro Nick Celenza Joe & Marisa Cerreta Randy Cherington Pete Cimellaro Richard Clark Steve Clark Gerad Claseman McAllen Coalson Bob Cockrill, Jr. Donna Marie Coleman Todd Coleman Francisco Contreras Barbara Cook James Cook Frank Cooper Russell Coover Robert Copeland Mike Coppock Richard Cowen Lonnie Crabtree William Crary Philip Cushman William Cullins Richard Currie Patrick Curry B. Todd Curtis Kay Davidson Don Davidson William Davis Bill Davis Jamie Davis Larry Day Kurt Davis Brian Delgado Jim DeVos Mike Dirilo Joe Divito Steven Dodds William Dorsey Ray Dresslar Patrick Dugan Thomas Duncan Paul Durbin* Nick Edwards Ron Eichelberger Sharon Eichelberger Brian Eilers Peter Ekholm Deborah Elliott Nathan Evans Tim Evans Daron Evans Shane Faulkner Scott Fisher Jeffrey Fleetham
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Randy Foote David Forbes Mark France Tom Franklin Douglas Fritz Will Garrison Mark Giebelhaus John Girvin Walt Godbehere Richard Goettel Joshua Grantham Charles Gray Edna Gray H. Alan Hallman, DVM John Hamett Carl Hargis Nate Harrel Charles Ray Harrison Sean Hatch Steve Havertine Merritt Haynes Keith Heimes Dan Hellman R. Todd Henderson Mario Hernandez Michael Hernandez Terry Herndon Charles Herner Joe Herrero Ed Hightower Mike Hobel Paul Hodges III Kevin Hogue Jim Holleran Mel Holsinger Scott Horn Michael Horstman Timothy Hosford Bryan House Danny Howard Ron Huddleston Bruce Hudson John Hull Todd Ingersoll Don Irwin Wayne Jacobs Kyle Jenkins Brian Johnsen Gary Johnson James C. Johnson James Johnson Earl Johnson Edward Johnson Richard Johnson Rick Johnson Adam Jones
Jim Jones Mitchell Jones Scott Jones Bruce Judson Andrew Kap Sandra Kauffman Richard Kauffman, Sr. Jim Kavanaugh Sandra Kearney Bill Kelley Denise Kennedy Chuck Kerr Roger Kesterson Bill Kiefer Brian Kimball Steve King David Kinman Donald Kinney Peter Klocki Peter Knadler John Koleszar Charles Koons Brian Koziol Joseph Krejci Otto Kuczynski Joseph LaJeunesse Joseph M. Lane James Lara Kevin Lawhor Randy Lay Dylan Lechter Michael Lechter Jeffrey C. Lehrer Justin Leitner Skylar Lempinen Jorge Leon Steve Leone Ruben Lerma Scott Lewis Kevin Libsack Bob Litchfield Tim Littleton Ryan Lloyd James Lynch, Jr. Bob Mallory John Marriott Eric Martin Don Martin Robert Martin Joseph Masseur Karl Matchinsky Gary Matchinsky Russ McDowell Steve McGaughey Angela McHaney Kelly McMillan
James Mehen* William Meredith James Mingus Matt Minshall Richard Moraca James Mullins James Mullins Matt Mullins Robert Murry, DVM Ronald Nadzieja Gregory Naff Annette Naff Megan Naff Keith Newlon Mark Nicholas Anthony Nichols Brandon Nichols Fletcher Nichols Lance Nichols Logan Nichols Cookie Nicoson Walt Nicoson* Paige Nicoson John Nightengale Kathi Nixon Mark Nixon Nick Novak David Nygaard Donna Obert Douglas Obert, Sr.* James Oldham Bob Olds Raul M. Ortiz Martin Paez Sallie Page Pete Page Danny Palmer Duane Palmer Everett Palmer Chris Parish Marlin Parker Don Parks Jr. Dale Parrish Billy Patterson Shawn Patterson Art Pearce Mike Pellegatti Allen Perez Guy Phillips Paul Piker Jack Poggendorf Forrest Purdy* Jan Purdy Mark Raby* Kenneth Ramage Steve Remige
Jim Renkema Robin Renowden Armon Rheaume Keith Riefkohl Mel Risch* Preston Riveras Travis Roberts Aaron Ruiz Roy Ruiz Todd Sabin Mike Sanders Kevin Sargent Michelle Schaefer Steven Schaefer Mark Schepers Rick Schmidt Barry Schmitz Tom Schorr Scott Schuff DeAnne Schuff Nathaneal Schulz Kurt Schulz Shannon Schulz Terry Schupp Peter Schwan Michael Schwindenhammer Bill Shaffer Steven Shaffer Howard Shaffer William Shaffer, Jr Lonzo Shields Mark Simon Terrence Simons Charlene Sipe Andrew Smigielski Michael Snyder Robert Spurny Connor Stainton Gregory Stainton Randy Stalcup Douglas Stancill Ray Steffen Jr Stan Stellwagen Mark Stephenson Arlen Stewart Shane Stewart James Stewart John Stuckey Vashti “Tice” Supplee Nick Swanson Al Swapp Debbie Swapp Bob Swisher James Symonds Tim Talbott
Dan Taylor Amos Terrell Jr. Todd Thelander Pete Thomas Nick Thompson Billy Thrash Donald Tirpak Bill Tocci Linda Tocci John Toner Corey Tunnell Lee Turner Sandra Turner Bill VenRooy Rick Vincent, Sr. John Wagner Carl Walker Kathleen Walp William Walp Peter Walters Don Walters, Jr. Caryn Walsh Thomas Walton Bill Wasbotten Dale Watkins David Watts Rick Watts Paul Weaver Jerry Weiers Dee White Larry White Kevin Widner Chris G. Williams Richard Williams Scott Wilt Matt Windle Glenn Wooden Cory Worischeck Mark Worischeck Joseph Worischeck Robert Younger Richard Youngker Chuck Youngker Dave Zibbon Scott Ziebarth Craig Zimmerman
Shop Amazon Smile & Support Arizona Elk Society! As COVID-19 forces us to do our shopping online, please remember you can provide a free donation in support of Arizona Elk Society when you shop at smile.amazon.com.
It takes just three easy steps. 1. Go to smile.amazon.com If you already have an Amazon account, sign in. You will receive a prompt to select your charity. 2. Search for “Arizona Elk Society”. 3. Confirm your selection. That’s it. Every time you shop at smile.amazon.com you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as amazon.com, with the added benefit that Amazon will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to the Arizona Elk Society. Don’t forget to tell you friends and family too!
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As we rolled out two Arizona Elk Society banquets in 3 weeks, I hummed the song with the lyrics “Welcome back, welcome back!” It was so wonderful to see friends and new folks who came to the banquet in Flagstaff and the banquet in Mesa. Two fun-filled nights! I think we were all itching for a carefree night out with friends and family. My special thanks to ALL the volunteers and the AES staff that made these two banquets run smooth as silk. If any of you have wondered if AES did the smart thing buying a building, my answer is YES! We were able to efficiently organize and package all the pieces that make a banquet a success. Not to sit on our laurels, we will begin planning for next year very soon, and hope to have the White Mountains banquet back up and running. Arizona Elk Society’s Heroes Rising Outdoors received an awesome gift that will be the foundation of a board-approved fund for this program. Hunts are already being lined up for our veterans. If by chance you have an Arizona big game tag you will not be using, consider donating it to AES Hunts for Heroes. The rains came! What an amazing monsoon season, the likes of which are almost too much! I have reports from Arizona elk country that the water tanks are filled and it is green everywhere, including on recent fire scars. A bit of a tip–pay attention to those recently burned areas. Elk and deer find a lot of good “eats” in those places. AES will be hosting a youth elk camp again this year in Unit 6A and we are planning a Wild in the City day in November. Check in at our web site for details. I do encourage you to volunteer for the many programs AES sponsors. You can easily sign up without commitment to let us know what interests
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you. Anything from helping at our warehouse, helping at a habitat project, becoming a certified sawyer, assisting at a banquet or youth event. You will have the opportunity to give back to conservation and meet many like-minded folks along the way. For those of you who have a big game fall hunt–keep your powder dry! For those who do not, consider being a volunteer at one of our many Hunts for Heroes camps. What makes Arizona Elk Society such an awesome organization is YOU. Without our volunteers, most if not all of what we do would not be possible.
Yours in Conservation, Tice Supplee
T H I S
I S S U E
Brothers in Arms by Luther Morgan, Army Specialist (Vietnam)
Hunting & Conserving by Chet Van Roekel
Big Lake “BB” by John Koleszar
We Needed Rain and Nature Repeated Itself by Steve Clark
Thank You Arizona Sportsmen For Wildlife by Steve Clark
Volunteer Spotlight: Michelle Schaefer by Jamie Lyons
Habitat Partners of Arizona
AES Founding Members
To learn about volunteer opportunites with Arizona Elk Society, scan the QR code using your smartphone camera.
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OFFICERS President - Tice Supplee Vice President - Greg Godbehere Treasurer - Christopher K. Lutzel Secretary - Richard Moraca Executive Director - Steve Clark
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Wayne Bouton Randy Burton Joe Di Vito Ron Huddleston Andrew Kap
OUR MISSION STATEMENT The mission of the Arizona Elk Society is to benefit elk and other wildlife by generating resources for habitat conservation and restoration, and to preserve our hunting heritage for present and future generations.
Glen Jones Steve Schaefer
The Arizona Elk Society is a non-profit 501(c)(3) wildlife organization.
Rich Williams You may send a message for any officers, board members or committee chairs to firstname.lastname@example.org
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BROTHERS IN ARMS by Luther Morgan, Army Specialist (Vietnam)
Prior to 2020, my experiences with hunting had been very minimal since my younger years growing up in Prescott, Arizona. It has been something, though, that truly never left me. I can recall stories that family members and close friends shared with me over the years of their adventures in the outdoors. Stories full of excitement, trials and tribulations, and the camaraderie of fellow hunters. As I’d listen, the excitement from their experiences enveloped me. How I longed for experiences like those of my own! Not knowing where to begin with the daunting process of getting started, which meant applying for hunts to acquire my own big game tags, I reached out to a good friend of mine who is well-versed in the entire process. After further discussion, he informed me about a local organization, Arizona Elk Society, and its Heroes Rising Outdoors program that specializes in taking wounded warriors on hunting trips. It turned out that, as an Army veteran who had been injured while serving in Vietnam, I could enroll in the program and have the opportunity to make my own memories in the field. With my application to the program completed, I waited anxiously for what the future might bring.
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My jaw dropped when I received a call from Tom Wagner, HRO program coordinator, who informed me of an unbelievable opportunity that had become available. Mark Montanez is an Arizona resident who had been applying for desert bighorn sheep for several decades and had accumulated maximum bonus points. The summer of 2020 saw Mark receive both good and bad news. He finally drew his longanticipated sheep tag but had also injured his shoulder to the extent he would have to forego hunting sheep that year. Rather than turning his sheep tag back in to the Arizona Game & Fish Department, he decided he wanted to see an Arizona disabled vet get the chance of a lifetime. He contacted Heroes Rising Outdoors and soon after that the tag donation process was completed. I will never forget Tom’s phone call telling me of my good fortune! After fielding Tom’s phone call, I immediately called my brother Roger, also an Army veteran who had piloted Huey helicopters in Vietnam. When I told him the news, he could not believe it either. He exclaimed that he would be in camp even before
I got around to inviting him! My anticipation to get into the field to look for desert sheep grew every day and it seemed the number of sheep camp volunteers continued to grow as opening day approached. After what seemed like an eternity, the day before sheep season was to open finally arrived! I found myself that evening sitting around a blazing campfire with a sizeable group of family members and friends. The Richardson family–Grandpa George, Corky and Russ, Deano and Christian, and even little George, would lead the expedition. Dick Tone would be shouldering the responsibilities of camp cook. Gil Montanez, the tag donor’s brother, represented his brother on the hunt. Many others had also arrived to lend their eyes glassing the mountains for sheep. We talked back and forth while looking at photos taken of rams on earlier scouting trips, sizing up which ones we should consider going after. After much discussion, we came up with a game plan. The excitement thinking of the morning to come kept me awake most of that night. Even so, the eagerness anticipating the once-in-a-lifetime experience had me spry and ready to roll well before sunrise.
Opening morning found us taking in an amazing sunrise as we sat on our glassing knob. The dawn grew into daylight and we eventually glassed up a band of rams down low on the foothills of the mountains to our east. Mixed among the rams was the ram we were after. Wanting to make the most of the opportunity, we waited a while to get a grasp of the situation–what the group of sheep might do and which direction they might go. The rams continued to side-hill around the mountain, neither gaining nor losing elevation in the process. Now was the time to make a move. The spot the rams were in made for a perfect stalk for Roger to be by my side throughout the entire way. Continued exposure to Agent Orange while in Vietnam makes it difficult for Roger to navigate difficult terrain, so if he was going to be by my side on any stalk, this would be the one. After maneuvering through a series of desert washes, we found ourselves on the edge of the mesa where we had last seen the rams. Knowing we were in close proximity, we slowly crept forward, scanning each new piece of ground as it unfolded. Suddenly a ram scurried across the hillside at our 9 o’clock position.
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He finally stood still, staring us down from 200 yards away. As he stood there the rest of the band followed, ending up standing in line behind the lead ram. With our target ram identified, I got myself in position, placed my rifle’s crosshairs on the chosen ram’s vitals, and squeezed the trigger. As the gunshot went off, the ram hit the ground and cheering erupted! Walking up to the ram I could not put into words the feeling I had. Being able to experience that moment with my brother by my side was something I’ll remember forever. Reminiscing about the hunt, my emotions continued to flow from memories of the opportunity Roger and I shared on that mountain. Countless stories told and memories shared on the hunt–and over the decades together as brothers–will never be forgotten. This adventure was indeed extra special for both of us –Roger’s health has been declining significantly recently due to advanced lung disease. Roger had been a warrant officer piloting Huey helicopters in Vietnam. He’d been exposed repeatedly to Agent Orange during his continual close support of troops on the ground. I knew that he’d be wounded by gunfire several times, but never knew he’d been awarded a Bronze Star until several decades after the fact. We share a brotherhood beyond just being siblings. 10 Tracker 2nd Quarter 2021
Roger has also submitted his application to Heroes Rising Outdoors. An opportunity arose for the two of us to go javelina hunting together in early 2021 via donated tags, but that hunt had to be cancelled due to his poor health. We’re hoping an opportunity presents itself with HRO so we can get out one more time together hunting deer in southern Arizona this fall. I still cannot believe the number of people who showed up in the middle of the desert to assist in making a special hunt happen for this veteran from another generation. Specifically, this would not have happened without the desert sheep tag donated by Mark Montanez and for Heroes Rising Outdoors bringing everything and the many volunteers together. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Heroes Rising Outdoors’ motto is “Healing through Hunting.” While hunting is a special part of the program, it is getting into the quiet of the outdoors itself and away from the city that helps calm the storms inside us. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a young veteran, or a grizzled Vietnam vet like Roger and me, I’m convinced you’ll be a better person for your participation with HRO. While we all may have lost close connection with those who had our back overseas, thanks to the Arizona Elk Society we can link up with a new brotherhood here in Arizona. I encourage you to take that step! Background photos: Bob Wick, BLM
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$30 Off Your First Visit! Arizona Elk Society 11
HUNTING STATE 48 CONSERVATION ESSAY CONTEST An essay contest was held with the intention of getting youth interested in hunting and wildlife conservation in Arizona. The following story is the third in the series of first place winners.
HUNTING & CONSERVING by Chet Van Roekel, 1st place winner, 13-14 year olds The fun of the hunt and the feelings that go through your body as you experience the ups and downs during hunts are hard to explain. There are plenty of others out there that have experienced those same feelings. There is something about hunting, even when you’re not seeing anything, that’s just so calm and peaceful. It gives us time to get away from the stress of life and just get lost in your thoughts. Looking at the looming pine trees, the bright green hills, and the saguaro cacti reminds me how small and insignificant we are in this huge world. However, these joys and feelings aren’t meant to be kept secret, we must spread the joy of being on that big hunt that you’ve always dreamed of, the pride of filling that first tag, and just getting out into the great unknown and seeing how far you can go. Also, it’s our responsibility to protect and conserve the wilderness and the animals and plants within the outdoors. If you have ever been hunting you know that there are many different thoughts that go through your mind throughout the ups and downs. The excitement of seeing an animal and getting on the stalk, the disappointment when you can’t relocate the herd, the boredom of not seeing anything for days, the hopefulness of shooting something, the disappointment of finding out your scope had been tweaked as you were hiking, and sometimes the pride of a successful hunt. For me, those feelings are changing constantly and so rapidly that I never know what to expect, it keeps me on my toes, it’s just the fun of the hunt. Next,
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filling a tag makes you feel great and it fills your freezer, but the harvest of an animal isn’t what makes the hunt a success. The main things that are needed to have a good hunt is learning new information that will help you in future hunts, making memories, and ultimately having fun and enjoying the opportunity to get out and explore the great outdoors. Don’t you just love sitting on the top of a mountain, looking all around you and seeing as far as your eyes will allow? It sparks the little kid in you that makes you want to run as far and fast as you can and never stop. This feeling is another part of what makes hunting so enjoyable, it reminds me that there is no limit to what I can explore. That there is always something you haven’t seen and that there is so much land untouched by man. Just the thought of knowing how much is out there and that you could never possibly see all of it can make you a little disappointed, but it humbles you to know that you are such a small person compared to the wilderness. It also humbles you just to know that we aren’t really at the top of the food chain out in the wild, hunting shows this idea perfectly. When you’re hunting, you can see that animals are usually faster, stronger, sometimes smarter, and they always seem to have better senses than we do. Also, mother nature can and will throw everything she’s got at you (hail, snow, rain, fog, etc.) and when you experience it first-hand it makes you feel so helpless. It can also teach you how to persevere
and never give up, just to keep on going. We all love hunting and all the joy and suspense that comes with it. It wasn’t supposed to be kept secret, we must pass down our tradition of hunting to our children, and them to their children, and so on. We must ensure that our tradition doesn’t cease to exist, we must spread the joy and tell our children stories and get them involved in the nature like our fathers and grandfathers did. My grandpa used to tell me stories of his hunting trips as a kid and it always sounded like he had a great time. He was so passionate about it and would’ve loved to have taken me on a few hunts when I was old enough. However, in 2016 he was diagnosed with brain cancer that the doctors couldn’t cure and in 2017 he unfortunately passed away. His legacy didn’t pass along with him. It stuck with my family and me and we are still
holding it close to our hearts. I feel that way because he spread the idea of hunting with me, it’s now part of my duty to share it with others. A great way to spread the idea of hunting is hunting camps. When I started hunting, we went to a few mentored camps and met some great guys that helped us out by taking us out and giving us tips and pointers along the way. It made the experience thrilling and we should all be able to experience things like hunting together. I haven’t been hunting for very long, but so far, I’ve learned that hunting can really bring people close to each other and it’s where friendships and a brotherhood can begin. Lastly, without the actual outdoors hunting and fishing wouldn’t exist, which is why it’s so important to conserve and protect it. First, as hunters we can’t sit back and let
Don’t you just love sitting on the top of a mountain, looking all around you and seeing as far as your eyes will allow? It makes you feel insignificant and it gives you a desire to explore it all.
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the land be taken away or destroyed. It’s part of our job to ensure that the land and the animals in it are taken care of. This also means making sure that there is enough food, water, and shelter. Ecosystems and animal populations can be greatly affected when there is a drought. If the population of an animal gets too high, it may start overrunning other species of animals too. So, we must adjust for the circumstances and make changes as they’re needed. A way we can help animals in a drought is by adding tanks that can hold snow melt for later use or easily be refilled as an extra source of water. Many times, animal populations can get out of hand and damage property and eat crops. If they’re predators, then they can dwindle their prey’s numbers down to almost nothing. In this type of circumstance hunting is the most ethical and effective way of bringing an animal’s numbers back down to a healthy number. For example, if the elk population in a certain unit
rises and they start eating all the vegetation and the plant starts to disappear, Game & Fish could hand out more tags for that unit or open a second season so that they can take more than usual so that they don’t completely eliminate the plants. All in all, as humans and hunters it is our responsibility to keep animal populations in check and make sure that everything is balanced and getting what it needs to survive. Hunting has forever changed my life in numerous ways. First, it’s just the simple life in the outdoors, the thrill of the hunt, and the ups and downs. Next, is how the earth can make you feel so small and insignificant compared to its vast landscape and beauty. Then, sharing hunting with others and passing it down through the generations. Lastly, it’s important to conserve the great outdoors and the organisms that live within it so it can be enjoyed well beyond our own lifetime.
Organizations • Arizona Game and Fish Department • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation • Arizona Elk Society
• Hunts for Heroes | AES Hunting Project for Disabled Veterans • Mule Deer Foundation – Ensuring the conservation of mule deer, black-tailed deer & their habitat
EVENT CALENDAR OCTOBER 7-10 Unit 6A Junior Elk Camp, St. Joseph Youth Camp, Morman Lake NOVEMBER 13 Wild in the City, Ben Avery Shooting Range, Phoenix
More information at arizonaelksociety.org 14 Tracker 2nd Quarter 2021
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BIG LAKE BB
by John Koleszar
Big Bull (BB) with his infinite information flow, somehow discovered that the Arizona Elk Society (AES) was holding a work project at Big Lake. The text that came through to me was fairly innocuous. “Meet me at Crescent Lake at midnight!” Of course I was surprised he knew I was coming AND that the work project was at being held at Big Lake.
At the stroke of 11:30 pm, I roused myself from a slumber and drove over to Crescent Lake. I was chuckling to myself as I drove over–I was not sure BB would recognize the vehicle I was driving since my Prius had been reduced to rubble just a few weeks back. I toured around Crescent Lake for about 15 minutes and then decided to park at the most remote portion of the lake. I climbed out of the Rav4 and walked several yards toward the lake. I heard BB rather than saw him as he came across the grassy meadow toward me asking, “What the hell are you driving now old man? Where is that famous little Prius?” I just laughed at his questions. “BB” I said, “you just have to keep up with the news buddy. The Prius served me well, but met an untimely demise. This is the new mountain beast and yeah, it’s a little bigger than the
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old one and yeah, it’s a hybrid.” BB looked at the Rav4 and chuckled, “Think you can fit a big bull in this one?” I faked a wounded look at BB and said, “Of course it will–maybe even two bulls.” Now it was his turn to laugh, “You are dreaming old man. I see that there are a bunch of campers and all kinds of people from AES here. Is it true? Are you really gonna round up horses?” I started my own chuckle, “No BB. AES is here with a ton of volunteers to make sure the fences between the White Mountain Apache tribal lands and the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest are without any downed areas. We are taking teams and walking the whole fence line just to make sure that the fence is intact. That way no more horses can come over from tribal lands.”
BB had a look of concern on his big mug, “Well, if the fences are up, how are you gonna get the horses back where they came from?” It was my turn to get smug, “BB once all the fences are secure, United States Forest Service (USFS) will authorize a round up of the horses on this side of the fence, and then take them to auction.” To say that BB had a contented look is an understatement, “Well old man, I can’t thank you enough for doing all this for me and my fellow elk. You are now my hero.” I thought about it for a brief second and decided it was time to come clean. “BB I didn’t do a darn thing. If you want to thank anyone, thank the Center for Biological Diversity and Robin Silver–they are the ones who took USFS to court and reached a settlement that included every horse on this east end of the forest being removed. And while you’re at it, thank the AES, they’re the ones who provided all the food and effort to ramrod this whole fence event.” It was BB’s turn to turn philosophical. “So, let me get this straight. The Center for Biological Diversity helped get rid of the horses by suing USFS? I thought you guys were bitter enemies on most items. So now you guys are working together to get rid of horses so we get to come back again and have food and water where we were when we were driven off by those crazy horses?” I held up my hand and said, “Whoa BB, the Center filed suit on behalf of the Mexican Jumping Meadow Mouse. Their habitat is in the bottom of all of these drainages and the horses were destroying their habitat. Since these mice are on the endangered species list, USFS knew that if they went to court they would loose. So, the agreement was reached to remove the horses, but step one is to make sure the fences are in good repair, so more can’t keep coming over. Step two is for USFS to authorize the removal of the horses and that should be happening by the end of June.
Just keep your your head down and things will work out.” BB is seldom at a loss for words, and I could almost her the gears turning in his big head. “So, are there any endangered species over in 3C and 4B?” I laughed at the suggestion. “BB,” I said, “we have looked at every angle to try and find way to control the horses in those units, but politics will play more of a role there. With the Heber Wild Horse Territory, they have a right to be there–just not in the numbers they are at now. You can rest assured that there will be more efforts to get rid of some of those horses.” BB then shifted gears on me. “Are you the guy that saved that little calf yesterday that was napping on the road? I heard that one of the mommas was going crazy about her little girl and that someone stopped by the roadside and coaxed the calf up the hillside to where momma was.” I must have been blushing as I stammered out a reply. “Well, I did stop by a little calf that was resting on the roadside. She couldn’t have been more than a couple of days old and I was able to get her to move up the embankment without having to put my hands on her. I mewed a few times and then told her to go up on top. She seemed to understand that safety was up there and probably momma, so she got up on top, although it took a little bit of effort. Those long legs weren’t too coordinated yet and she kind of staggered up there.” BB smiled and said, “Too many people think that mommas have abandoned their little ones and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Most times the little ones are just too slow to get to cover quick enough and then someone finds them and starts handling them.You done good old man. Glad it was you that got there and not someone who wasn’t familiar with wildlife.”
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We strolled around the lake a bit and BB asks me a tough question. “So, you’re gonna remove a bunch of horses and hopefully that will last for a while. Who is gonna keep an eye on these fences? Every winter a bunch of trees some down on the fences and then those darn horses come over. What happens each spring going forward? Who is in charge of keeping up with the fences?” I gathered my thoughts and said “Well, BB, it really is in the hands of the Apache Sitgreaves national forest, but I think that there will be a lot of eyes on this going forward, since there are so many parties that have a vested interest in keeping horses out. You may hear some screams from the horse advocates, but thank goodness the politicians will not have any input on this issue here. Endangered species trumps everything out there, and the courts would see it the same way, so I think this will be the first step in getting horses out of areas where they should not be.” As we came down to the corner of the lake, he started chuckling. I was curious about what was so funny, so I asked him. “Ok BB, what’s with the laughter?” BB looked
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up at the moon and said, “90 days brother! In 90 days the big show starts all over again. The rut will be starting, I’ll get to gather up a harem, beat down some young bulls with big ideas and well….. you know what I’m talking about. Those are the best of days… and nights!” I grinned at BB, “Yep, those are the times we think about all year long. The sounds of bulls screaming, frantic fights, cows being herded around and of course we, the hunters trying to get some meat for the table.” BB grimaced and said “Well, you had the first part right, but I could do without a bunch of your kind out there with pointy sticks trying to bring me down. i have to admit though, I seldom see anyone where I bed down each day. It’s probably because I don’t fall for the big beautiful cows. I go for the smart ones. i may loose my mind once in a while during the rut, but a smart lead cow is worth her weight in gold. Those young fancy young cows don’t know hunters from fenceposts, but an older mature cow….. well, let’s just say I prefer my ladies smart!” I was intrigued by his thoughts and surprised by his wisdom. “Well BB, I admire your logic and it has led to your long and peaceful life. I of course will be helping one of my sons on his archery hunt in 4B. Let’s make sure you hug 4A or 3C boundaries during the hunts and we can hook up one night during the hunt.” BB nodded his big head and said “Sounds like a great plan old man. Here’s to the best of times coming up. To hell with horses and politicians and rules and whatever; see you during the rut!”
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WE NEEDED RAIN & NATURE REPEATED ITSELF! by Steve Clark
In the 2nd quarter of most years, we see snow still melting, rain, water flowing, and a nice green up. This year shaped up like the last–very little snow runoff and nonexistent rain. This combination meant the AES Water for Arizona’s Wildlife haulers were hard at work hauling hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to remote water catchments in Region I all around Flagstaff. AES has the best volunteers in Arizona and we thank them for their dedication to elk and other wildlife last quarter and always.
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It would have been great to get a break from mother nature! Speaking of breaks we were lucky to have eliminated much of the breakage on the trailers from last year. We hope that we never repeat a year like last where we could not keep our trailers on the road due to broken springs and flat tires. Well, here we were hauling water daily and no end in sight. Fortunately, we found a new-to-us Ford F350 and put the new 2500 gallon water truck on the road and capacity was
up. The volunteers worked together and used the new water truck to fill trucks closer to the catchments; that meant more water and less miles driving on the rough roads all the way back to town to refill. This donation from Tom Donaldson Equipment and Maverick Equipment made a huge difference in how much water we could haul. Thank you Tom and Rick. We received new style trailers from Dykstra Machinery in Casa Grande. These Mac water trailers hold 1000 gallons and the haulers love them. They tow nice, track behind the truck tires so they are easier to tow and are low profile so they are safer. The only thing we can’t fix is the roughness of the roads; it is terribly rough on many of the roads in Units 7W and 9. Thank you to all the new volunteers that helped haul water and have worked on the old water catchments getting many of these dilapidated catchments back online. During the dry spell we also had time to dig silt out of the dirt tanks in many of the elk units as we looked forward to a good monsoon where we could capture more rain water in the deeper dirt tanks.
Arizona Elk Society 21
THANK YOU ARIZONA SPORTSMEN FOR WILDLIFE CONSERVATION! by Steve Clark Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation (AZSFWC) distributes funds from the purchase of the conservation license plate to organizations that work for wildlife habitat. Earlier this year, AZSFWC provided AES with a partial grant to purchase a second water trailer from Dykstra Machinery for hauling water to wildlife drinkers!
AZSFWC also provided a grant to AES, ADA and AAF to help pay for half of another trailer that all of the organizations donated to Region I of the Arizona Game and Fish Department in Pinetop. Get your conservation license plate and start helping wildlife in Arizona. The cost is $25 with $17 of each plate going back to AZSFWC to be used for a grant program for wildlife conservation and youth education. GET YOUR PLATE TODAY at servicearizona.com
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“Your Arizona Elk Society Realtor!”
Fine Homes & Estates, CDPE, ASP
MB $1,000.00 Donated to “HEROES RISING OUTDOORS” Program Michelle Borrelli has Partnered up with Arizona Elk Society.... If you are passionate about assisting our Veterans, as I am, take a minute to visit this web site michelleborrellirealtor.com to learn how YOU can support our Veterans. This important program is specifically designed to benefit our Veterans, the Arizona Elk Society members base and their families. All you have to do is tell me” I want to assist a Veteran” or simply send a message. Together WE will make a difference! For each successful transaction greater than *$250,000, whether buying or selling, on residential or commercial, Michelle Borrelli will donate $1,000.00 of her personal proceeds to “Heroes Rising Outdoors” This program affords the opportunity for a veteran to experience nature through AZ Elk Society’s outdoor camps, taking part in Ecotherapy! Contact Michelle today 623.521.6096 Let’s give our Veterans the support they deserve! By the way... I am never too busy to assist good people in their new home journey and I appreciate your referrals.
Your Family Real Estate Company. We make you feel at home. WWW.TOMAPARTNERS.COM • CENTURY 21 TOMA PARTNERS • 8325 W Happy Valley Rd Suite 120 Peoria Az 85383
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Arizona Elk Society 23
MICHELLE SCHAEFER by Jamie Lyons
“Michelle has always been a rock you can depend on for Sawyer projects. Whether living or working in Bagdad or Morenci, Michelle and Steve always seemed to figure out a way to attend our projects over the years. It’s always a pleasure to see a positive and smiling person at the end of a project day.” - Richard Moraca, Volunteer Sawyer, and Board Secretary registered nurse for 30 years and started finding passion for volunteer projects and efforts that benefit wildlife.
Photo credit: On-Site Photography
Some of our most passionate volunteers fell in love with wildlife conservation in their adult years. They did not grow up hunting, fishing, and spending a lot of time in the outdoors. In this edition of Volunteer Spotlight, we introduce you to Michelle Schaefer, a volunteer for the Arizona Elk Society (AES), who joined AES 12 years ago to put her time and energy into conservation and became one of the most dedicated and positive influences in the AES Sawyer Program. Michelle grew up in Pennsylvania and moved to Arizona with her mother and sister when she was 15. Growing up, she recalls going camping a few times, but always had a longing to get outdoors more. Later in life, Michelle met her husband Steve, who introduced her to hunting and more outdoor activities. At the time, Michelle had been a 24 Tracker 2nd Quarter 2021
In 2008, the Schaefer’s were looking for a way to participate in a hands-on project to benefit wildlife. While giving monetarily to conservation organizations, they were beginning to feel like they needed to do something more. Michelle found AES on the internet and was very excited to see several habitat projects in need of volunteers to get the job done. Michelle and Steve immediately signed for their first AES volunteer effort, a fence removal project, and had a blast. They decided to keep volunteering for AES as they loved the hard work, impact, and comradery with like-minded individuals. Five years later, Michelle learned AES was interested in developing a sawyer program and she was intrigued. She explains, “My previous experience with a saw? I think I touched one once. But the idea of being able to help improve wildlife habitat in this way excited me.” That excitement led her to becoming one of the first certified Sawyers. “Together, with our different abilities, we get the job done. I am proud of what I have contributed and am proud of all my fellow sawyers for all the work they do.”
“Michelle is one of the original Sawyer team members. She is one of the most improved and technical team members we have. She always has an upbeat attitude and is willing to help anyone on our AES projects. Michelle is one of the team members that I always look forward to seeing.” – Greg Godbehere, Volunteer Sawyer, and Board Vice President
Michelle enjoys backpacking in the mountains, road and mountain biking, hunting, gardening, spending time with her family and loved ones, and of course volunteering. She explains, “I fiercely believe in the stewardship of our beautiful lands and the wildlife living there. Giving money towards this goal is important but giving my time and energy really means so much to me. I would not have it any other way.” Today, the AES Sawyer Program consists of dozens of passionate AES volunteers, certified by the US Forest Service, to remove encroaching trees and improve wildlife habitat in the State of Arizona. Michelle is one of those volunteers, who found her love for wildlife conservation in her adult years. She gives us hope that we can find more volunteers just like her to get the job done, with a smile, positively impacting wildlife and preserving our hunting heritage for future generations.
AES is fortunate to have passionate volunteers from diverse backgrounds. Their tenacity, and commitment to AES pushes the organization to help more youth and veterans, and increase elk viability. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for AES, please visit arizonaelksociety.org. Arizona Elk Society 25
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.
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.
HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP: Become a Habitat Partner with your tax deductible donation starting at $2500 ($1000 for 17 and under).
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
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.
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.
FOR MORE INFO AND TO DONATE: You can find more details and the donation form at www.arizonaelksociety.org.
David Baril Sponsor Partner
Bass Pro Shops Sponsor Partner
Tom & Janet Bowman Sponsor Partner
Cabela’s Sponsor Partner
Harry Carlson Imperial Partner
Walt and Cookie Nicoson Royal Partner
Stephen Clark Sponsor Partner
Sallie Page Pete Page Sponsor Partner
Ron & Sharon Eichelberger Sponsor Partner
Sharon & John Stuckey Imperial Partner
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Pacific West Representatives Royal Partner Sportsman’s Warehouse Sponsor Partner
ARIZONA ELK SOCIETY FOUNDING MEMBERS Founding Associate Members Douglas Sr & Donna Obert Founding Life Members Ken Alexander+ John & Patti Anderson 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 Dee White Larry White+ Mark Worischeck Joseph Worischeck Chuck Youngker Founding Sustaining Members Everett & Joyce Nicoson Founding Couple Members Bridgid & Ron 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 Anderson* Jim Andrysiak Denny Ashbaugh Ron Barclay Cal Bauer John F Bauermeister Robert Baughman Manny Bercovich Dr Tom Boggess, III Tom Brown Tom Carroll Steve Cheuvront Carolyn Colangelo Mike Cupell Jack Daggett Kyle Daggett+ Bob Davies Gary A Davis Nathan Day John W Decker* Chris Denham Neal E Dial Craig Dunlap Jennifer Evans Bobby Fite Chris Flanders Lorenzo A Flores Roger Gibson Courtney Gilstrap
Floyd Green Jon Hanna Douglas Hartzler Art Hathaway Dean Hofman David J Hofman Norma E Hook* Russ Hunter David Hussey Rick Johnson Mike Jones Doug Jones Todd Julian Charlie Kelly Charles A Kerns John Krause Joseph M Lane+ Robby Long Aaron Lowry* Rick MacDonald Joe Makaus* Daniel Martin Michael L Mason Mike McCormick Donald Meakin James O Meeks Jason Mercier Jim Mercier Tracey Miner Ken Moss Ronald J Nadzieja Mike N Oliver Craig Pearson Kenneth B Piggott Bethena Pugh Carlos Quihuis Mark Raby* Robert L Read* Neal Reidhead* Kyle Sanford Craig Sanford Tony Seddon Arnold Shelton Dennis Shipp Tom Sisco Bruce Sitko M Scott South Carl Staley Randy Stout Kenneth K Stringer John W Stuckey Dave Swayzee*
Troy Tartaglio Gary TeBeest Todd Thelander Charles B Thompson Stan Thompson Thom Tokash Brian Van Kilsdonk Rick Vaughn Kathy L Vincent Rick Vincent II Don R Walker Douglas Watson Vince Watts Todd Weber Donald D Weber Jr Tom Wooden Douglas Woodward* Founding Junior Members Tyler Getzwiller Kevin H Knight Daniel Raby Nathan Raby James Rawls Sheena Smith Blake Tartaglio Alexandra Tartaglio Alexis Tartaglio Travis Thatcher Clayton Thatcher Nathan Thatcher Wayne Thatcher Taylor Thatcher Alexandra Vincent Emma C Vincent Justin M Vincent
Prior to March 17, 2002, AES Founding Memberships were available. These individuals and couples came forth to show their support for the AES in it’s early stages of development. During the formation of the AES, administrative funds were needed to pay for organizational costs that led up to the first fundraising banquet on March 16, 2002. Founding Members paid a premium membership fee to help make the first year a success. For their support and dedication, the following Founding Members will receive permanent recognition by the AES.
+ Membership upgraded
* Deceased Arizona Elk Society 27
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