Tracker 3rd Quarter 2022

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3rd Quar ter 2022


YOUTH Outdoor Educational Programs for Youth 12-13

WATER FOR WILDLIFE Rim Catchment Project


Photo by Mike Pellagati, WildVisions, Inc.

AES LIFE MEMBERS Mike Abramovich Dan Adler Christopher Agnone Hector Albarran Ken Alexander John Anderson Michael Anderson Michael J. Anderson Patti Anderson Clair Andrew John Anton Ernest Apodaca, Jr. Steve Armstrong Keith Azlin 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 Jeff Blalock Jason Bluhm Tom Bobo Jr. Eagle Bowers Victoria Bowers Tom Bowman Janet Bowman Tish Bradford Dan Bradford Roger Briggs 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 Rod Crandell 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 Bryan Delgado Anthony DeSiderio Jim DeVos Mike Dirilo Joe Divito Steven Dodds William Dorsey Gregory Doryl 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 Steven Harness Nate Harrel Charles Ray Harrison Sean Hatch Steve Havertine Merritt Haynes Richard Heckman 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 Lauren Johnson Lawrence Johnson Pete 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 Lawhorn Randy Lay Dylan Lechter Michael Lechter Jeffrey C. Lehrer Justin Leitner Skylar Lempinen Jorge Leon Mike Leon Steve Leone Ruben Lerma Scott Lewis Kevin Libsack Bob Litchfield Tim Littleton Ryan Lloyd Megan Lobst Karen Longo Jamie Lyons James Lynch, Jr. Bob Mallory John Marriott Eric Martin David Martin Don Martin Robert Martin Joseph Masseur Karl Matchinsky Gary Matchinsky Russ McDowell Steve McGaughey Brian McGrew Angela McHaney

Kelly McMillan James Mehen* William Meredith James Mingus Matt Minshall Daniel Moore Richard Moraca James H. Mullins James K. 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 Edward Nolte 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 Bryan Pedersen Mike Pellegatti Allen Perez Guy Phillips Paul Piker Jack Poggendorf Forrest Purdy* Jan Purdy Ray Ouellette Mark Raby* Kenneth Ramage Kenneth Rankin

Gary Reber Steve Remige Jim Renkema Robin Renowden Armon Rheaume Keith Riefkohl Mel Risch* Preston Riveras Travis Roberts Richard Roller 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 Cindy Shaffer Steven Shaffer Howard Shaffer William Shaffer, Jr Lonzo Shields Mark Simon Terrence Simons Charlene Sipe Andrew Smigielski Michael Snyder Thomas Spalding Randy Sparaco 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 Kevin Thompson Nick Thompson Billy Thrash Donald Tirpak Bill Tocci Linda Tocci John Toner Richard Trepeta Gregory Trivette 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

* deceased

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

It takes just three easy steps. 1. Go to 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 you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, 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!

Scan to make AES your Amazon partner!

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PRESIDENTS’ MESSAGE High winds and October rains made autumn a less colorful event in northern Arizona. Elk and deer are exploring the burn scars from the past spring and summer as green sprouts grow from the charred surfaces. The rains are providing a break for our hard working, water-hauling volunteers. I am hopeful this string of winter storms lasts and we see a nice snowpack this winter. For those who hike into the backcountry away from the roads near the burned landscape, there are animals to be seen. My hunting tag is later in November in southeast Arizona—whitetail deer this season. I am heading north to help a friend with their elk hunt; my hunting will be squirrel for evening snacks. This issue of Tracker has a great article about the Arizona Elk Society’s (AES) newest partnership with Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation. AES will be delivering the youth programs at Mesquite Wildlife Oasis near Tonopah in the far west valley. Our “Wild in the City” youth event at Gilbert Riparian Preserve sold out quickly, so we are very excited to have a new outdoor location in the valley for youth.

Photo by Mike Pellagati, WildVisions, Inc.

Our Youth Elk Camp in October was a huge success. It is so nice to once again be connecting with young hunters and our future conservationists. We are looking forward to the AES youth programs being back to full capacity this coming year.

Eagle Scout Troop 325, of the Lost Dutchman District, for their help gathering volunteers and removing fence in Houston Draw.

Your AES board and staff have been working hard to plan the next set of events. Our Phoenix banquet will be here before you know it! We now have our volunteer portal up to full strength and welcome one and all to help with the banquets, the youth camps, Hunts for Heroes, and conservation projects. We had over 40 volunteers help at the Houston Draw and Long Valley Meadow projects. A special thanks to

My warmest regards and best wishes for the holiday seasons,

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Join our email list to receive our newsletter and information on the latest news and volunteer opportunities.

Tice Supplee

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

Visit us online at

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Calling All Volunteers by Becky Bouquot


Becoming an Outdoors Woman by Carrie Bartling (Army veteran)




The Beginnings of BB by John Koleszar

AES and Arizona Game & Fish Department Rim Catchment Project by Wayne Bouton

Houston Draw Habitat Project by Logan Fosenburg




Upcoming Events

What’s Up With Water For Arizona’s Wildlife? by Steve Clark

AES Habitat Partners

Hard-Earned Bull by Jon Marriott, USN (retired)

Annual Elk Clinic 2022 by Steve Clark

AES and Wildlife for Tomorrow Partner on Outdoor Educational Programs for Youth by Becky Bouquot

4th Annual Northern Arizona Peaks Chapter AES Banquet by Steve Clark

31 AES Founding Members

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HARD-EARNED BULL by Jon Marriott, USN (retired) —Seebees “Can Do”

I enlisted in the Army in 1981, right out of high school. It was my life’s dream. I followed the path of Infantry, Airborne, and Ranger. I spent 11 years in and loved every minute of it! Over that decade, I went on many military operations, and was seriously injured during one of them. I was subsequently removed from jump status. That didn’t sit well with me—I felt robbed and decided to leave the Army. Looking back, I’ve often regretted that decision. A while after I made my split from the Army, I ran into a friend who was in the Navy Seabees. That meeting reignited my passion for military life, and I re-enlisted in the Seabees. I was happy to be back in uniform! 2003 found me in Iraq. I ended up being injured again, this time a career ender. So, after 11 years in the Seabees, I was facing a permanent retirement from the military. In spite of that and throughout everything, I’ve loved all my years in the military—I wouldn’t change a thing. After Iraq, I wasn’t interested in hunting. It was my wife and 8 Tracker 3rd Quarter 2022

some friends who encouraged me to get into the outdoors, so I made those first steps. I enjoyed it okay, but something was missing. It was at a regional hunting/outdoors expo that I ran into a booth that the Arizona Elk Society (AES) had set up. I learned about their new veteran outreach program, Hunts for Heroes (now Heroes Rising Outdoors). I gave them my contact information but didn’t think much more about it. That following summer I was surprised to receive a call from AES asking me if I’d like to go elk hunting. I was shocked! Later that fall I was successful on a cow elk hunt. It was awesome! The experience made a positive impact on my life. I started volunteering with AES and began donating CNCcreated wall hangings from my company, Marriott’s Metal Art. I enjoyed giving back to the program after how I felt following my time spent in the outdoors. I was genuinely surprised during the summer of 2002 when I answered a call from HRO program coordinator Tom

Wagner. We had talked for several minutes when he got around to why he had called —he wanted to know if I was available to go elk hunting. An elk tag had been donated by a woman who had been injured and wasn’t going to be able to go on the hunt. I jumped at the opportunity! The tag being offered me by Heroes Rising Outdoors was a very special one—an elk tag in Unit 10. Arizona Game & Fish Department distributes a limited number of early rifle bull tags each year, rotating them between various game management units known to hold established numbers of mature elk. These tags are coveted by elk hunters because they allow the tag holder to be afield closer to active elk rutting periods. There’s no time more exciting to be in the woods than when bull elk are bugling loud and long! I was very fortunate to have High Point Outfitters (HPO) agree to donate their time and expertise and guide me on my hunt. Co-owners Kevin Call and John Adams have spent a considerable amount of time through the years getting to know Unit 10‘s antelope and elk herds. With other paying clients lined up for the time my hunt would take place, they matched me up with one of their excellent young guides, Keaton Bingham. Keaton had been instrumental in successfully guiding both John and an HPO client to two 400-class bulls during the archery season that immediately preceded my hunt.

Approximately 2/3 of Unit 10 is comprised of the Boquillas Ranch hunting access to which is granted via special permits. It just makes sense to hunt the “Big Bo” if one has a Unit 10 tag in hand. It truly is one of the most soughtafter places to hunt antelope and elk—not only in Arizona, but throughout North America! Tom Wagner and I arrived at elk camp mid-afternoon the day before my hunt was to begin. Introductions were made all around and we spent the rest of the day sharing past life experiences. A good evening meal was followed by more time talking beneath a skyful of stars, the sheer number which made you aware of how almighty God truly is! Day 1 Wake-up call was 3:45 AM. Keaton, Tom, and I grabbed some snacks and headed out. Keaton drove out to a dirt stock tank he knew about. He parked his 4x4 and we started hiking north. We must have pushed a bull and his cows when we neared the tank in the dark. Keaton glassed up the bull’s antlers a quarter mile ahead of us in the junipers. Luck wasn’t with us though—they moved out quickly leaving us far behind.

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“The benefits of partnering with Heroes Rising Outdoors go far beyond the privilege of receiving donated big game tags. We each joined the military to serve our country. I volunteer with HRO to serve our veterans. It is very gratifying to help a vet on a hunt, introducing them to one of America’s greatest traditions.”

We then met up with HPO co-owner Kevin and his hunter. They had glassed up a bull but had decided not to go after it. Keaton and I decided to take a closer look. The hike was on. Keaton called a few times without much response. As it was, we were pretty sure the elk was a satellite (immature) bull. We then headed to a different spot but came up empty handed. 11 miles today.

that overlooked a lot of country. It was just getting light when a mature sounding bugle drifted to us from about a half-mile below us. None of us could locate the bull though. Tom spotted a couple bulls moseying along through the junipers, but they weren’t what we were after. Then I spotted a lone bull all by himself—another younger bull. All this happened within the first few minutes.

Day 2

After about 10 more minutes, the vocal bull finally showed himself. Tom asked Keaton, “He looks pretty good, don’t you think?” Keaton sent me down off the point to get a head start. A game plan was agreed on very quickly! Tom would keep eyes on the bull while Keaton and I would make a stalk on the bull.

Early wake up again, snacks grabbed, and off we went! We headed out to the same location as the night before but couldn’t find a bull in range. We’d returned to camp for lunch and had just taken our boots off when a text came through to “Get over here, we’ve spotted a shooter bull!” So off we hustled back to where we were first thing on Day 1. We finally relocated the bull they had spotted. There was a problem though—he was on the move and covering ground quickly! Keaton and I finally spotted him with his cows a full mile away. We decided to move closer, but the wind shifted during our trek and the elk winded us. They took off at a run and never stopped. I was bummed out—he was nice! 8 miles today. Day 3 Day 3 started the same as days 1 and 2. Keaton had another area for glassing we hadn’t been to yet. We drove for a while, then parked the truck and hiked out to a spot 10 Tracker 3rd Quarter 2022

Keaton literally came running down to me. I thought, “Oh, crap, here comes some more Keaton Cardio!” We made our way quickly to get to within 1,000 yards of the bull. He was grazing and walking slowly away from us up a ridge. We needed to get a little closer. At 880 yards, I said “Let’s do it!” I settled into a prone position with Keaton’s custom 7mm SAUM and squeezed off one shot. Tom was watching all this from his vantage point. He first thought I had missed since there was no visible reaction from the bull. But about 7 seconds later the bull shifted his feet, then tipped over backwards without taking a step. What an adrenaline rush! When I joined the Arizona Elk Society, I already was a member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. A friend

suggested I join AES as 100% of funds raised by AES for elk and habitat stays in Arizona. It is a fantastic program! I encourage you to join AES if you hunt in Arizona—you will be helping make a positive impact on elk throughout the state. I’m not just a member, I also donate my time as a volunteer. One of the facets of AES dearest to my heart is its veteran outreach program, Heroes Rising Outdoors. Honestly, HRO is the best organization I’ve gotten involved with! The AES board of directors is solidly committed to Arizona’s veterans. HRO focuses specifically on Arizona’s disabled veterans, with a mission of building a brotherhood of veterans who have a love of the outdoors and the wildlife in it. Heroes Rising Outdoors has done nothing but enrich my life. I’ve been humbled by all the volunteers who donate their time so freely. I’m not just a veteran participant—­

I’ve volunteered on many outings and events as well. I’ve helped vets hunting in the field and have put my culinary skills to work cooking for elk camps. The benefits of partnering with HRO go far beyond the privilege of receiving donated big game tags. We each joined the military to serve our country. I volunteer with Heroes Rising Outdoors to serve our veterans. It is very gratifying to help a vet on a hunt, introducing them to one of America’s greatest traditions. When I came home from my final deployment, I was really stressed out from the war. On top of that, I was faced with having to deal with leaving military service for good. Being out in the woods started a healing process inside me. If you are a veteran dealing with disabilities and issues reintegrating back into civilian life, I encourage you to contact Heroes Rising Outdoors at It may just be that positive thing you’ve been looking for!

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by Becky Bouquot

From now through the beginning of April Arizona Elk Society (AES) is partnering with Wildlife for Tomorrow (WFT) to provide 30 educational wildlife and outdoor conservation workshops at Mesquite Wildlife Oasis for school-aged children. WFT is the official 501(c)(3) partner of the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD). The collaboration between AES and WFT at Mesquite Wildlife Oasis will increase the educational program’s resources, expand public awareness, and attract new expertise and networks. Children attending the workshops learn about wildlife, their habitats, and gain an appreciation for the outdoors and its animals. AES is excited about this partnership and the opportunity to collaborate with WFT. Mesquite Wildlife Oasis is an outdoor classroom located in Tonopah, Arizona. This wildlife and habitat trail system includes two onsite ponds and is home to a great diversity of wildlife—from frogs to dragonflies to jackrabbits to quail. This site is an “oasis” because water is a natural attractant for local wildlife! In the early 2000’s Sempra Renewables partnered with WFT to maintain and

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operate the habitat for use by local students, schools, and communities. Today, the property is owned and operated by Consolidated Edison. Consolidated Edison understands the importance of educational programs like the ones provided by Mesquite Wildlife Oasis and has continued to support this program and maintain this beautiful habitat. The educational program started in the spring of 2008 and reaches thousands of students, educators, and chaperones each school year. Field trips to the Mesquite Wildlife Oasis Habitat are rewarding, educational and fun. The curriculum is all about nature and wildlife! The educational lessons and outdoor experiences are designed specifically for the outdoor classroom habitat and are tied to Arizona State Standards. Field trips to Mesquite Wildlife Oasis provide hands-on learning experiences that connect classroom lessons to the natural world. Lessons have been developed primarily for students in grades 2nd through 8th. However, all age groups are invited to the Oasis during scheduled visits of 25 of more in attendance.

The following lessons are currently offered at Mesquite Wildlife Oasis and can be modified to accommodate all ages and skill levels: •


Desert Survival


Nature Walk & Habitat Investigation

Aquatic Insects & Water Quality

Owl Pellet Dissection

Rocks, Minerals and Erosion

Predator & Prey

The Incredible Journey (Water Cycle)

Nature Art

Field trips to Mesquite Wildlife Oasis are FREE! Programs run from the end of October to the beginning of April and must be reserved online. Reservations are on a first come, first serve basis and the dates fill up fast. For more information about this program, please visit:

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NORTHERN ARIZONA PEAKS CHAPTER AES BANQUET by Steve Clark July 16, 2022 was the 4th Annual Northern Arizona Peaks Chapter Banquet of the Arizona Elk Society in Flagstaff at Little America. The banquet was another sellout and the crowd came ready to have a party and raise funds for Arizona Elk Society’s many programs. All the monies raised is used in northern Arizona for elk and other wildlife. Our game room was a rowdy place to be and all reports indicated attendees had lots of fun. The live and silent

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auction offered a variety of interesting, creative, and practical items. Watch the Arizona Elk Society Facebook and Instagram social feeds and check the website to get your tickets to the 5th Annual Banquet July 15, 2023. This AES banquet is a great time to get together with friends, fellow outdoorsmen, and wildlife lovers and raise money for Arizona’s elk and wildlife. See you next summer!

Thank you to all the volunteers—we couldn’t do these banquets without you! We appreciate all our donors, sponsors, attendees, and corporate tables for your support of the Arizona Elk Society!

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ANNUAL ELK CLINIC 2022 by Steve Clark

Every year the Arizona Elk Society puts on a day long seminar to teach new and old hunters the ins and outs of hunting elk in Arizona. Headlined by Dan Adler, owner of Diamond Outfitters here in Arizona, the seminar goes through many aspects of hunting and scouting that will make you a better hunter. Sections include glassing, meat care, taxidermy care, scouting tips, both bow and firearm season information and early season, rut and late season techniques to make you successful. There is always time during the day and during the presentations to ask questions.

JOIN THE CREW! Arizona Elk Society puts on a variety of youth and veteran events, and habitat projects that need the support of a kitchen crew. If you enjoy cooking, serving, or keeping a clean camp, please volunteer at today!

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This year we had over 350 participants for a great day of learning to hunt elk in Arizona. Lots of vendors in the vendor area for information on gear, taxidermy, maps and meat care were on hand to answer any questions you had. Arizona Game and Fish Wildlife Managers were on hand to help give you good intel on elk movements in the different Game Management Units. Thank you to all the attendees, volunteers, vendors and speakers for making our Annual Elk Clinics and rousing success.


Arizona Elk Society (AES) is one of the largest wildlife conservation organizations in Arizona because of the dedication and hard work of VOLUNTEERS. AES volunteers not only provide the extra workforce necessary to address the health of public lands, but they also serve as the most powerful advocates for conserving Arizona’s wildlife habitat, wetlands and riparian areas! Through AES volunteers can make a transformational impact on Arizona’s wildlife resources. AES volunteers walk away with a sense of accomplishment knowing they made a difference. There is an opportunity for everyone at AES, whether it involves mentoring our youth, working at a banquet, providing administrative support in office, or pulling old fence line. Volunteers are the heartbeat of the organization and the reason why we can accomplish so much. For more information please visit,

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BECOMING AN OUTDOORS WOMAN by Carrie Bartling (Army veteran) I want to sincerely thank Heroes Rising Outdoors and the Arizona Elk Society! As a disabled Army veteran, I was sponsored to attend a Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) workshop the weekend of January 21-23, 2022. I have to say I have lived in Arizona for many years and had never heard of this organization. They introduce women to a variety of outdoor skills—rappelling, hunting, archery, native plant identification, cooking, camping, photography, and many more activities. I spent three days with this awesome group. On my first day at camp, I registered and then attacked lunch (by the way, the food they provided was AMAZING!). My first class was sausage making. We made four different sausages using chicken, turkey, and elk as the primary ingredients. The recipes they had for us were excellent. We prepared the sausage from start to finish—grinding up all the meat, adding the seasoning, and then mixing it. Once everything was mixed, we fried up some of each blend and then, of course, tasted them. They were all 18 Tracker 3rd Quarter 2022

delicious! On the evening of the first day, we all sat down to another great meal. Following that, we were able to choose from many different small groups. They had a discussion group, one for making survival bracelets, and many more. It really was a great first day at camp. Day two at camp started at 6:30 AM with a morning hike. It was so lovely to be up and walking around the forest, hearing and seeing all the animals. I had an excellent breakfast with the group and went to my rappelling class. The rappelling course was fun! They walked you through the process step-by-step and were very understanding (several of the ladies were a bit apprehensive). The first time going down for everyone, the instructors set up tandem rappels to make sure everyone was completely comfortable with the process before then sending each of us down on our own. It was so much fun after you got over your nervousness!

It was great to see everyone encouraging each other as we all succeeded with the task at hand. Afterwards, we then learned how to tie knots, which was a valuable thing to add to our skillset. We moved on to lunch and then to our next class. The afternoon class was on Animals in Arizona. The lady that was instructing was very knowledgeable about Arizona wildlife and it was very interesting learning about all the animals. We went over quite a few different animals, where they live, and each animal’s tracks. We then picked up leaves, flowers, sticks, and different things to make designs for a shirt. We put the different things on our shirts and sprayed them with a 50/50 bleach mixture—they all came out really neat! After Saturday evening’s dinner, we had an auction/raffle. The auction/raffle was a fun event—you could buy raffle tickets for items that everyone brought, plus there was an auction where everyone bid on outdoor items. We each had our final class Sunday morning. Mine was photography. The instructor explained the different tools for taking photos, including cameras and cell phones. She

was able to show us various methods with each so that we could take better photos. We then went out and took photos, discussing them afterwards. It was a lot of fun trying the new techniques she had showed us—I learned a lot! Overall, the event was very, very enjoyable! I hope to be able to attend again in the future. I would highly recommend this to all women interested in the outdoors, no matter how knowledgeable you may already be. I’ve been in the outdoors all my life yet still learned so much from the weekend. The icing on the cake was we all got to interact with other women while out in the outdoors—what a special weekend! Visit for information.

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09/21/2005 The winds were blowing at a good clip, probably in the 30 mph range and I was more than a little concerned about trees snapping in half or worse. The RodeoChediski fire just three years earlier had turned massive ponderosa pine trees into giant black statues silhouetted against a by John Koleszar brilliant blue sky. The silent black sentries were bound to snap or start a cascade of dead trees crashing to earth. My objective was to continue my archery bull elk There are many instances when people ask me about the hunt and stay clear of any toppling dead “beginnings” of “BB”. To the best of my ability, this is the ponderosas. I had been waiting for any distant bugles hoping they would come to rewrite of that moment when I finally met my best friend water in my little spot. The one-acre pond from the wildlife world. had drawn turkeys, elk and deer based on the footprints I had seen. Every so often I could hear a loud popping that sounded like gunshots as the wind did indeed start bringing the dead ponderosas crashing loudly to earth. As dusk slowly started to settle I decided to begin working my way out of the small canyon.The half-mile uphill walk was not easy as downed timber from the fire was a constant problem. Stepping up and over blackened trees was arduous and dirty. My camouflage outfit began to look more black than camouflage, but I figured I fit right in. I was surprised at how long it took—it was almost nightfall before I hit the logging road that would lead to my truck.


I looked back into the bottom of the draw and marveled at how destructive fire could be. Some spots had greenery coming back and some spots were incinerated so badly that it might never recover. As I turned back towards the logging road in almost pitch black, I heard a voice calling to me. “Hey boy, wanna chat a bit?” I whirled around and saw—no one. I tried picking out a figure behind any trees and saw nothing. I heard a deep chuckle that damn near scared me half to death. The chuckle then turned into a deep resonating bugle. I have to admit that right then I was just a little over the edge. A bugle that close? And someone asking to “chat”? What the hell was going on? “Come on boy, do you want to chat or not?” I whirled around again as the question seemed to be coming from a different spot and I had heard no footsteps. Finally I was able to stammer out a response, “Sure, but who are you and why pull that great bugle on me so close?” The answer was one I never thought I would hear in a million lifetimes. “Well, why don’t you just call me “BB”? If you can’t figure that out it means Big Bull. I’m kind of a big deal around here so the moniker seems to fit. I’m also the only bull that can claim to be biggest in the unit.” I answered back after a moments hesitation, “Okay, reality check here. You claim to be a bull elk?” The snort that came from less than 30 yards away 20 Tracker 3rd Quarter 2022

confirmed my worst fears. “Damn straight boy! This is your lucky day. You are talking to BB, king of the unit.” I shook my head and wondered what the hell was going on. Had a tree toppled and knocked me off my rocker? Had I fallen and awoken in a dream state? Was I dreaming? I found my voice and responded, “Okay, we can “chat” as you call it, but why me and why now?” BB responded with a low gravely voice. “Times are changing boy, lots of things going to hell in a hand basket. I need to get humans to understand our issues and I know that you like to write stories.” At that point I was shocked beyond belief. A talking bull elk? How did he know I wrote stories? How did he find me? I stammered out a reply, “Okay, but how about later tonight? Say around 3:00 AM at the Bugle Inn restaurant in Forest Lakes?” BB chuckled again and said, “Not quite sure about me huh? Fine, I’ll meet you there at 3:00 sharp, but I have to leave by 4:00 to tend to my ladies. You know it’s the rut, and I do need to pay attention to my girls.” At this point I was hoping that this would all turn out to be a bad dream, but I kept nodding in agreement and then suddenly all was silent. The winds had died down, there was no noise and there were no more bugles. A shiver ran down my back as I trotted back to my truck as fast as I could go. Reaching the truck, feeling the engine start, and turning on the lights made me feel almost normal again. I got back to camp, playing over and over again the weird encounter. As the minutes passed, I became more certain that it was simply a prank that was being played on me— but I could not figure out the who or the why. I made a small dinner over a propane cooking unit and headed to bed. I was fairly tired from the previous mornings’ hunt when I had chased a small group of elk for a couple of miles and the afternoon/evening fiasco with BB was slowly drifting from my thoughts. I was about to fall asleep when I turned my alarm to 2:30 AM. To this day I am not sure why I did it, but the small chance of a talking bull must have been part of the logic.

quickly made my way to Forest Lakes. As I approached the restaurant I noticed that all the lights were off and no vehicles were in the parking lot. Feeling a little sheepish and waiting for someone to yell “Surprise!”, I parked the truck and walked to the front door. To my utter surprise, the front door was open. I walked in and was immediately hit with the smell. The pungent odor of a bull in rut in an enclosed space was like a bad barnyard after a spring rainfall. While I consider it to be an aroma that I like, there are many more folks who cannot stand it. BB was there in the dark and he shuffled his hooves on the floor and commenced to talking, “So, you had to find out if I was real didn’t you? Well boy, here I am in all my glory.” I looked through the darkness and suddenly a small light was clicked on. In front of me was a massive bull elk. He was muddy and matted, with his coat soaked from the belly up to his throat. I stared in fascination at his massive antlers. Each side was a testament to great genetics and habitat that was rich with nutrients. BB snorted and said, “Hey, why not take picture boy? It’ll last longer.” He had me on that one but I was finally getting mentally adjusted to a talking bull elk. “Okay BB, um, exactly why are we meeting and what do you have to say?” BB stared at me and finally spoke, “I want world peace, alfalfa in every pasture, and cows to be in estrus all year long.” “Really?” I asked. BB sighed and mumbled, “Lord help me, he can’t be that dumb.” I felt the embarrassed flush building in my face. Then BB started in with his thoughts. “Have you paid any attention to what is happening up here? When I was a little spike my momma told me about a time

I awoke to the alarm and stared into the top of my tent. Was I really going to do this? Logic took over and I figured it if was a prank then it would all play out at the Bugle Inn. I quickly dressed and stepped out of my tent. In the distance I could hear several vocal bulls screaming out challenges. The woods seemed to be otherwise completely silent. I smiled at the thought of how much each passing year brought me more comfort hearing a new generation of bulls trying to breed and fighting over a new cow in estrus. The cycle that elk pass through has been going on for more years than I would ever know. The one constant in the high country be it feast or famine, fires or rain, the elk were going to go through the annual rut and it was worth all the efforts just to be in the woods at this time. My tent was only a few miles from the Bugle Inn and I Arizona Elk Society 21

a smaller footprint and it’s a lot lighter than a truck. But, I see a lot of folks that aren’t hunters who love to create new trails. Their logic is that these are public lands and they can use them as they see fit.” BB shook his massive head and said, “So they can use the forest any way that they want, but no one asks wildlife what they want or need, and if their pleasure kills wildlife habitat too bad?” when there were no little machines that went off roads and made new roads. There were a lot fewer people; they were afraid to go very far into the woods and now we have some damn new competition for food that we never had before.” I raised my eyes up to his and asked “Who is the new competition BB? And yes I know, those new machines are running everywhere.” BB rolled his big eyes and muttered, “Have you been over to Bear Springs lately? Have you seen any strange animals up there?” It was my turn to talk and the lightbulb had gone on. “Yeah BB now that you mention it I have seen a few horses up in that area. Do you really view them as competition?” BB patiently walked me through his analysis. “All the fences are down along the whole reservation boundary right? The Forest Service can’t repair the fences for probably five or six years because they fall all the time, particularly during the winter right? You humans can’t even camp in a lot of places because of the danger from falling trees right? Well guess what dummy—I see more and more horses coming over to the forest every night! They like the fresh food that has been planted in some of the creek bottoms and they sure don’t have anyone hunting them. Do the math; the future ain’t very rosy for elk or deer.” I pondered for a moment his fears and finally spoke up, “You may be right BB, but I think that the Forest Service will do something about a horse invasion. People won’t stand for having horses in the forest. People think of the forest as a haven for elk, deer, antelope, squirrels and turkeys. I think you may be off base with that, but at least it’s something to keep an eye on. The little machines that you’re talking about are called quads and a lot of folks think they are fun to drive around on.” BB thought for a moment and responded, “Why is it fun to run up and down roads, create a ton of dust and hoot and holler all day?” I laughed at BB’s analysis of quads. “I know that when I’m retrieving a big game animal from the woods, a quad makes a ton of sense to use. It leaves 22 Tracker 3rd Quarter 2022

I knew then and there that BB and I had a lot in common. We both felt that human’s use of forests was a bit selfish and that in our minds wildlife should come first. I looked at my watch and was amazed to note that it was almost 4:00 AM. BB also saw me looking and said, “Yeah boy, time to go. I feel a need to kick some rag horns butt today and maybe steal a few cows from some of the younger guys. This is shining time for me—maybe you can help keep it that way in the future with your words.” I stared at BB as he strutted through the door and let off a massive scream into the darkness. A challenge from across the way met his. BB turned and looked at me and I swear he winked. “Gonna be a fun few weeks boy. I see you have those pointy sticks that some guys use to get an elk. Don’t even think about trying for me. We have way too much work to do.” I nodded my agreement and went to turn off the lights. As I turned them off a thought struck me—how did he turn them on? I ran out the door to ask him, but of course he was nowhere to be seen. I had a lot to think about and a lot to write. But who would believe me?

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Arizona Elk Society 23

AES AND ARIZONA GAME & FISH DEPARTMENT RIM CATCHMENT PROJECT by Wayne Bouton What started out as a side x side ride turned into an Arizona Game & Fish Department (AZGFD), Arizona Elk Society (AES), and neighborhood water catchment renovation project. While riding we came across a game water catchment. We observed that the catchment had deteriorated over the years. Later, it was estimated that to be constructed in the 1950’s (no exact date). The catchment was overgrown, both primary and secondary fence sections were down, and the panels were damaged. Despite being damaged, the drinker still had water. The vehicle tracks confirmed someone was hauling water. I reached out to the AZGFD and after talking with Bob Birkeland, Charles Austin and Justin Espino, I met Justin at the catchment. Justin was aware of AES catchment projects. After a brief review of the site issues, we estimated that 40-60 manhours would make the catchment

functional until the requested renovation (US Forest Service) could be completed. A list of needed materials was made: tools, tee posts, barbed and non-barbed wire, wood staves and several hand tools. The materials, were all delivered within 48 hours. I think Justin was tired of hauling water that, was being consumed by cattle, feral horses and wildlife as fast as he could deliver it. The team was ready and excited to get started. Then came the “fire restrictions”, developing the work team, winter setting in, and the rains (yes!) turning the site into a muddy mess. The number of estimated man hours turned into months of delays. Then in May and June 2022, we were able to complete the project.

The pictures that follow provide a timeline of the project phases:

Clear all the brush and 2-4 inch oak trees from inside and outside the catchment areas.

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Remove the barbed wire from the top and bottom strands, replacing it with non-barbed wire.

Re-stretch (to recommended spacings) all four strands on the perimeter and the five strands that enclose the steel catchment surface.

Replace or install elk crossing guards as requested (AZGFD).

Install 6-10 tee posts and replace wire and wood vertical staves with new 2x2 wood staves.

Remove/replace the catchment gutter and filler line to collect runoff.

Recent rains tested the repairs and the catchment performed as designed 50 years ago.

Thank you to the volunteers on this project who were AES members and volunteers from the Bison Ridge Community.

This catchment is located in AZGFD unit 3C, the Show Low/Pinetop area. Although relatively small, this renovated catchment will be a great source of water for the wildlife. I commend the game unit managers throughout the state who go that extra distance to provide water for the wildlife in their units. Conservation groups like the Arizona Elk Society are ready and willing to assist when asked. Justin has stated that he has several projects of this type and AES will be there to help out.

Arizona Elk Society 25


The weekend of August 5th-7th AES and 25 volunteers conducted a successful habitat restoration project in Houston Draw. The volunteers worked hard, constructing 32 rock structures to help prevent erosion and to promote healthy water distribution throughout the meadow. We look forward to future phases of this project and watching as the meadow heals over time. Please be on the lookout for volunteer opportunities in Houston Draw—it is a beautiful place to spend a weekend. Thank you to all of our volunteers at AES—with your help, we are able to accomplish so much more!

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Arizona Elk Society 27

EVENT CALENDAR FEBRUARY Wild in the City, February 4, 2023 at Ben Avery Shooting Facility – Phoenix, Arizona APRIL Mesa Banquet, April 1, 2023 at Mesa Convention Center – Mesa, Arizona

Visit for more information.

Celeeating 30 Years of Serving You!

Join us in the celebration!

Visit us at 28 Tracker 3rd Quarter 2022

$30 Off Your First Visit!

WHAT’S UP WITH WATER FOR ARIZONA’S WILDLIFE? by Steve Clark It’s been raining and most of the wildlife water catchments and dirt tanks are now full. The AES Water for Arizona’s Wildlife team has switched over to doing maintenance work on the catchments and in some cases rebuilding old non-functioning waters so more water is available for elk and other wildlife. Check out the work that is being done and sign up as a volunteer on our website at Follow AES Water for Arizona’s Wildlife Facebook page for opportunities to help out. Thank you to all the volunteers that keep the water flowing and catchments up and running!

Arizona Elk Society 29

HABITAT PARTNERS OF ARIZONA With the rapid loss of open space to development, wildlife habitat is being reduced at a rate of 7 square miles per day. Arizona’s elk herds are loosing traditional migration corridors, calving grounds, forage meadows and other important habitat. The new “Habitat Partners of Arizona” program is designed to help protect that land. The main focus of this program will be to preserve land and prevent the rapid decline of Arizona’s elk habitat.

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

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 31

7773 W. Golden Lane Peoria, Arizona 85345


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