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4 th Quar ter 2017

Photo by George Andrejko, Arizona Game & Fish Department

A E S L I F E M E M B E R S Mike Abramovich Dan Adler Christopher Agnone Hector Albarran Ken Alexander John Anderson Michael Anderson Patti Anderson John Anton Ernest Apodaca, Jr. Pete Baldwin James Ballard Leo Balthazor Lee Banning David Baril Philip Barrett Ron Batz Randy Beck F.K. Benbow David Bennett Joseph Berardi Danny Berg Keith Berger John Bingham Jason Bluhm Tom Bobo Jr. Tom Bowman Janet Bowman Tish Bradford Dan Bradford Richard Briskin Stephen Brown, MD Gary Bryans Jr Kurt Buckwald Mike Burr Esther Cadzow John Cadzow* Daniel Capote Cindi Carlson Lupe Carlson Harry Carlson Kenneth Carney Brandon Carr Steve Casterton Nick Celenza Joe & Marisa Cerreta Randy Cherington Pete Cimellaro Richard Clark Steve Clark Bob Cockrill, Jr. Todd Coleman Barbara Cook James Cook Frank Cooper Russell Coover Robert Copeland Mike Coppock 2 Tracker 4th Quarter 2017

Lonnie Crabtree 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 Joe Divito Steven Dodds William Dorsey Ray Dresslar Paul Durbin Nick Edwards Ron Eichelberger Sharon Eichelberger Brian Eilers Peter Ekholm Deborah Elliott Tim Evans Daron Evans Shane Faulkner Scott Fisher Jeffrey Fleetham David Forbes Tom Franklin Douglas Fritz Will Garrison Mark Giebelhaus Walt Godbehere Richard Goettel Edna Gray H. Alan Hallman, DVM Carl Hargis Sean Hatch Steve Havertine Keith Heimes Dan Hellman R. Todd Henderson Michael Hernandez Terry Herndon Charles Herner Joe Herrero Ed Hightower Mike Hobel Paul Hodges III Jim Holleran Mel Holsinger Scott Horn Michael Horstman Timothy Hosford

Bryan House Danny Howard Ron Huddleston Bruce Hudson Todd Ingersoll Wayne Jacobs Brian Johnsen Gary Johnson James Johnson Earl Johnson Edward Johnson Richard Johnson Rick Johnson Adam Jones Jim Jones Mitchell Jones Bruce Judson Andrew Kap Sandra Kauffman Richard Kauffman, Sr. Jim Kavanaugh Bill Kelley Denise Kennedy Chuck Kerr Bill Kiefer Brian Kimball David Kinman Peter Klocki John Koleszar Charles Koons Joseph Krejci Otto Kuczynski Joseph Lane James Lara Kevin Lawhorn Dylan Lechter Michael Lechter Jeffrey C Lehrer Justin Leitner Jorge Leon Steve Leone Ruben Lerma Tim Littleton James Lynch, Jr. Bob Mallory John Marriott 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 James Mullins James Mullins Matt Mullins Robert Murry, DVM Ronald Nadzieja Gregory Naff Annette Naff Megan Naff Keith Newlon Mark Nicholas Fletcher Nichols Logan Nichols Brandon Nichols Anthony Nichols Cookie Nicoson Walt Nicoson* Paige Nicoson Kathi Nixon Mark Nixon David Nygaard Donna Obert Douglas Obert, Sr.* Bob Olds Martin Paez Sallie Page Pete Page Duane Palmer Everett Palmer Marlin Parker Don Parks Jr. Dale Parrish Shawn Patterson Art Pearce Allen Perez Guy Phillips Paul Piker Forrest Purdy Jan Purdy Mark Raby* Jim Renkema Armon Rheaume Keith Riefkohl Mel Risch Travis Roberts Roy Ruiz Mike Sanders Michael Anderson Michelle Schaefer Steven Schaefer Rick Schmidt Barry Schmitz Tom Schorr Scott Schuff DeAnne Schuff Nathaneal Schulz Kurt Schulz Shannon Schulz

Terry Schupp Peter Schwan Bill Shaffer Steven Shaffer Howard Shaffer William Shaffer, Jr Lonzo Shields Terrence Simons Charlene Sipe Andrew Smigielski Michael Snyder Robert Spurny Connor Stainton Gregory Stainton Randy Stalcup Douglas Stancill Stan Stellwagen Mark Stephenson Shane Stewart James Stewart Vashti “Tice” Supplee Nick Swanson Al Swapp Debbie Swapp Bob Swisher Dan Taylor Amos Terrell Jr. Todd Thelander Pete Thomas Nick Thompson Billy Thrash John Toner Corey Tunnell Lee Turner Bill VenRooy Rick Vincent, Sr. Kathleen Walp William Walp Peter Walters Don Walters, Jr. Bill Wasbotten Dale Watkins Jerry Weiers Dee White Larry White Kevin Widner Richard Williams Matt Windle Glenn Wooden Cory Worischeck Mark Worischeck Joseph Worischeck Robert Younger Richard Youngker Chuck Youngker Scott Ziebarth Craig Zimmerman

* deceased



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CABELAS.COM/GLENDALE Arizona Elk Society 3

The cover photo is by


George Andrejko, a photographer with the Arizona Game & Fish Depar tment. Thank you George for your amazing wildlife images!

The mission of the Arizona Elk Society is to benefit elk and other wildlife by generating resources for habitat conservation and restoration,

OFFICERS President - Rich Williams Vice President - Tice Supplee Treasurer - Christopher K. Lutzel

and to preserve our hunting heritage for present and future generations. The Arizona Elk Society is a non-profit 501(c)(3) wildlife organization.

Secretary - Peter Schwan Executive Director - Steve Clark

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Richard Moraca Greg Godbehere Glen Jones Bob Swisher Steve Schaefer Pat Weise Dennis Falls Jimmy Mehen Jim Warren

You may send a message for any officers, board members or committee chairs to 4 Tracker 4th Quarter 2017

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This and That in the AES: I was asked if all the time and money being spent on youth recruitment was making a difference – the implication being that those resources might be better spent elsewhere. Recently, there has been a trend toward increased license sales as measured by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Can we attribute the efforts toward hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) as the cause? As much as we would like to say yes, it would be hard to take the credit. During the period the increase was seen, the AZGFD also incorporated changes toward license simplification and reduced fees for youth. It would be hard to pinpoint any one cause for this increase. The upward trend would also need to continue for a longer period with increased numbers, before we could say we are headed in the positive direction. Then why spend the resources? Why not use the money for something else? We spend the resources to preserve hunting and angling for future generations. The purchase of licenses, permit tags, firearms, ammunition and fishing equipment all go to fund Game and Fish departments across the Nation. The Arizona Game and Fish Department receives no funding from the State. Although they are responsible for the management of all wildlife in Arizona the AZGFD receives their funding primarily from hunters and anglers. The future of the present-day Game and Fish system in Arizona depends on reversing the trend of decreasing numbers of hunters and anglers. Most of our volunteers would tell us that the future of funding is not the primary reason they work in the R3 efforts. We would tell you that hunting, and angling has had positive effects on our life and helped form who we are today. It is our love for hunting and angling that we want to pass on. We cannot preserve our heritage if we do not share our passion for hunting, angling and the outdoors. The Arizona Elk Society is dedicated to the

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preservation of our hunting heritage and will continue to spend resources for our many youth education programs.

---------------------------------------The Humane Society of the United States is in town and they want to take wildlife management away from the Arizona Game and Fish Department and put it in the hands of the voters. They are gathering signatures for a ballot measure that would ban hunting of “wild cats” in Arizona. Two of these cats, Ocelots and Jaguars, are already federally protected. The Canadian Lynx is not found in Arizona. The Mountain Lion and Bobcat are not endangered and have healthy, sustainable populations. This initiative is a charade for the real mission of the HSUS, the desire to stop all forms of hunting. They are working under the banner of “Arizonans for Wildlife”. Management of all wildlife should remain with the Arizona Game and Fish department where management is based on science and not emotion. How can you help? Stay informed and help us inform others regarding this measure and the true mission of the HSUS. We do not need others from outside Arizona trying to dictate wildlife management using the ballot box. Decline to sign and help us spread the word to others to decline to sign. If you want to learn more about the unethical behavior of the HSUS, visit HumaneWatch.Org. Share what you learn with others. Stay informed and arm yourself with the facts. We must be vocal, and we must be engaged with the rest of the voters if we are to defeat this measure. Many of our conservation partners have banded together to form a new nonprofit called “Conserve and Protect Arizona”, the purpose of which is to defend our heritage and preserve our wildlife management system. You can visit the new website at The Arizona Elk Society website will also track this effort to defeat the

HSUS and Arizonans for Wildlife. As I review the success stories of the Arizona Elk Society this year, there is one common element in each of the stories. That single, common element is our army of incredible volunteers. Our army is diverse in talent, hardworking and dedicated to the mission of the AES The many programs of the Society offer our volunteers a wide variety of activities from which they may choose to participate. Please visit the AES web site to stay abreast of all the opportunities to work with our amazing AES volunteers. Lastly, I want to thank our Executive Director Steve Clark for his dedication and leadership throughout the year. Steve lives and breathes the Arizona Elk Society. His tireless dedication ensures that all our events run smoothly, and our projects are all a success. Steve



AES Sawyers continue their work East of Payson Page 8-9

serves on a long list of committees and boards and is the voice of the AES and its mission in Arizona. Creating partnerships for success is one of Steve’s strengths as is evidenced by our multi partner projects that have been completed throughout elk country. Steve was inducted into the Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame this year and it was a well-deserved honor. Thank you for all you do Steve.

Working for Arizona Wildlife, Rich Williams President / Arizona Elk Society


Learn How to Hunt with the Arizona Elk Society Page 12

Stories from Heroes Rising Outdoors Page 14-23

AES Life Members................................................................... 2

Heroes Rising Outdoors: Hunts for Heroes........................14-23

President’s Message by Rich Williams...................................... 6

Chapter Happenings........................................................24-27

Sawyers at Work by Andrew Kap..........................................8-9

Collaborative Working Group Explores Management Options for the Heber Wild Horse by Tice Supplee........28-29

AES Adds 2 New Experiences to Wild in the City by Ken Turer .10 Juniors Spring Turkey Hunting Camp Info ............................. 11 Learn How to Hunt................................................................ 12

AES Founding Members........................................................ 30 Habitat Partners of Arizona................................................... 31 17th Annual Banquet Save the Date..................................... 32 Arizona Elk Society 7



This was our last cutting event of the year and 7 Sawyers joined the effort. It began with a light steady chilled breeze in the morning hours with the temperature near 26*. As the AES Saw trailer came into view and parked near the work site, eager and cold Sawyers emerged from within the warm and cozy confines of their vehicles.Overheard a few comments of wow, didn’t expect it to be this cold or breezy, but as a dedicated team, we began unloading the trailer and prepping the equipment for use. Sawyers began to don their protective gear, an extra jacket and a beanie, began squeezing themselves and all the needed equipment through a tight Z-shaped entrance that doesn’t allow game to enter.  From the rear, it looked like a lineup of locomotive engines with steam coming from them like heavy breathing. A quick walk into the grove, the Sawyer Team systematically struck themselves into a working line and began felling the unwanted conifer trees. The team wore extra layers to fend off the biting breeze and cold temperatures and after cutting

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by Andrew Kap

Arizona Elk Society’s (AES) Sawyer Team continued to work the expansive Aspen Enclosure east of Payson on 11/18/2017.

for a short while, the layers were shed and the buzz of saws could be heard. A pleasant lunch was ready which the Team enjoyed while remaining bundled as the breeze and temps were still cold. As lunch concluded, the Sawyers finished up working and prepping their saws and equipment for the second half of the day. Eagerly, we all passed through the gates a little more full than before and squeezed our way through.  The field of view was impactful as we were able to see our progress. Maybe good timing, but as we neared the end of the work day, saws ran dry and our oil and gas reserves were depleted.  Those that still had a few drops of fuel left, completed the trees closing out our day. As we started the morning we donned our warm layers on the march out of the enclosure. At the trailer we completed our headcount and began breaking down the equipment and loaded the trailer.  The temperature began to fall as we all climbed into the warm confines of our chariots and we departed the work site.

Arizona Elk Society 9

Wild in the City’s Newest Course: Kayaking A much welcomed course with a wonderful partner!

Kids Introduced to Horsemanship The Arizona Elk Society has added “Introduction to Horsemanship” to the Wild in the City youth program. Here’s what the new course will include: ✭ Safety expectations ✭ Horse behavior: Verbal vs. Nonverbal communication; Prey vs. Predator behavior & anatomy; Wild vs. Domestic horses; Herd dynamics; Advantages of being a skilled horseperson ✭ Interactive Horse Activities ✭ How to safely: - Approach a horse - Walk around the hindquarters to get to the other side of the horse - Lead a horse - Tie a quick-release knot - Groom/brush a horse - Feed a horse a treat  ✭ Selfies with a horse

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Get set to get wet and have a blast! Whether your child has never picked up a paddle, or is already a paddling veteran, there’s something for everyone at Wild in the City. Paddling is a great way for youth to develop self-confidence and independence, awareness and love of nature, as well as a sense of accomplishment that comes from meeting new challenges. Our newest kids program, Kayaking, has developed from our longstanding partnership with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The Department’s Representative is as excited about working with young people and seeing them out on the water as he is about being in the middle of the water in his own kayak. Josh Hoffman, Boat Safety Education Coordinator for the Department, has earned a reputation for combining fun with skill development. Who are the kids kayaking programs for? EVERYONE!

Or at least everyone – between the ages of ten (10) and sixteen (16), fired up on the idea of kayaking. Josh and his staff work with mentoring veteran paddlers, new paddlers to the program and everyone in between. Some of the veteran coaches have been in a kayak for the majority of their adult life, having started out just like our WIC participants learning for the first time as a rookie at an event similar to what the Arizona Elk Society offers several times per year. Providing kayaks, paddles and all of the safety equipment needed as well as direct classroom instruction for all of our paddlers. Josh, says the focus of the program is to combine fun and learning.  Our goal is to create responsible paddlers that have the skill, as well as a better know-how of safety, decision making and team work, which is one of the reasons our two group work so well together!

Learn how to hunt turkey in Arizona at

MARVIN ROBBINS MEMORIAL JUNIORS SPRING TURKEY HUNTING CAMP April 19-22, 2018 at Colcord Ridge Campground In northeastern Unit 23 - South of Hwy 260 on the road to Young, AZ



Talk to AG&FDwildlife managers and experienced turkey hunters about where to hunt in Units 3C, 4A, 4Band 23. Units 23and 3Care draw permit units Hunt units 4Aand 4Bwith an over the counter juniors tag. Turkey Hunting and Calling 101 seminars Friday and Saturday. Very cool calls and giveaways to youth hunters, while supplies last. Free lunch and dinner Fri. and Sat., lunch Sun., snacks and drinks. Daily activities for family members. Raffle prizes & gifts sponsored by Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse, AESand local NWTFchapters. Camp funding is from the AZSportsmen for Wildlife Conservation (AZSFWC), made possible through sales of the wildlife license plates. Youth participants must be accompanied by parent or guardian at all times. You’re welcome to camp with us!

Juniors-only hunts are open to properly licensed youth ages 10 through the calendar year of their 17th birthday. Participants must have a hunting license and the proper tag for the unit they hunt. Over the counter tags are available at any AG&FDoffice or AG&FDlicense dealer. Youth ages 10-13must have passed a hunter education course. Legal weapon is shotgun, shooting shot.

camp co.sponsors

National Wild Turkey Federation • Arizona Elk Society Sportsman’s Warehouse • AG&FD• Cabela’s • Bass Pro Shops Phoenix Varmint Callers • Valley Longbeards/NWTFAZ To offer a quality experience we have openings for 75hunters. Contact Rich Williams at for info.

REGISTER at Arizona Elk Society 11



ARIZONA ELK SOCIETY Elk Seminars Youth Camps Conservation Veteran Hunts Do you want to learn...



Watch for our current list of Event dates and Resources online at:

Pro Staff

DAN ADLER Diamond Outfitters KEVIN CALL High Point Outfitters STEVE CHAPPELL Chappell Guide Service

In Partnership With:



Annual AES ELK Hunting Clinic

Our Annual AES Elk Hunting Clinic is the largest one-day comprehensive training in the southwest, on hunting elk taught by our Pro Staff Dan Adler from Diamond Outfitters. Dan is on the Outdoor Channel and is ‘best in the west’ when it comes to teaching you how to hunt elk. Young or old... if you are a new or beginning elk hunter or even a seasoned hunter, this is the event for you.

Mentored Junior Elk Hunt Camp and Youth Outdoor Skills Camps

Our Mentored Junior Elk Hunt Camp is held in October and is a great place for young hunters to learn about hunting elk, safety as well as let our mentors take the kids out with their guardians to give the first hand lessons to help them be successful and instill ethics. We also have several other Youth Camps throughout the year, including Wapiti Weekend and Wild in the City.

Annual AES Banquet

Our Annual Arizona Elk Society Banquet has become the largest must-attend fund-raising and networking event in Arizona. Rub shoulders with the Who’s Who in hunting while helping the AES to raise funds for conservation, habitat and riparian restoration, youth camps and our veteran hunts. Great prizes, raffles (over 200 guns), and auction featuring the famed AZGFD Speical Elk and Special Buffalo Tags, and the Hualapai Reservation Special Elk Permit.

AES Learn To Hunt Seminar Series The Arizona Elk Society is partnering with several statewide conservation partners, including Christian Hunters of America Junior Javelina Camp, National Wild Turkey Federation Youth Turkey Camp and Phoenix Varmint Callers, to host a series of seminars, and mentored hunts for youth, new, and seasoned hunters. These hunts include Javelina, Turkey, Predator and Elk.

Volunteer with Arizona Elk Society

From wildlife conservation, to habitat and riparian restoration, to hauling thousands of gallons of water out to remote areas in Arizona for elk and wildlife, there is no better place to get involved and make a difference. You’ll get the experience in Arizona’s back country, learn more about Arizona’s elk and meet some of the top hunters and guides in the state, in the process. Volunteer today!

AES Hunts for Heroes

(Program for Disabled Veteran Hunters)

With only 2 year under our belt with this new program for disable veterans we have seen huge success in helping them find new purpose in their lives and ‘learn to hunt’ with the Arizona Elk Society. In 2017 alone, we supported and provided hunting experiences for more than 100 veteran hunts.





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HUNTS HEROES VETERAN NICK SWANSON First Time Hunting and Harvested His First Elk


The Di Vito Consulting Group is proud to support the Arizona Elk Society. Thank you to all the dedicated members who actively participate in conserving our resources, restoring wildlife habitat and helping our veterans heal. We are honored to be one of you! The Di Vito Consulting Group Joseph A. Di Vito, Jr., AIF®, CFP®, CIMA®, CRPS® Senior Vice President – Financial Advisor

David Di Vito, CFP® Financial Advisor

The Di Vito Consulting Group

2398 E. Camelback Road, Suite 700 | Phoenix, AZ 85016 Phone: (602) 381-5302 | Toll free: (866) 974-6959 Fax: (602) 381-5336 © 2017 RBC Wealth Management, a division of RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Member NYSE/FINRA/SIPC.

17-PH-639_Elk Society Ad_8.5x11.indd 1

3/21/17 12:50 PM

Arizona Elk Society 13


It was Friday morning, September 22, 2017, and I had elk on my mind. I sent a text to Tom Wagner with Arizona Elk Society’s Hunts for Heroes (a program that takes disabled Arizona veterans hunting), asking if he needed any volunteers for elk camp this year. He replied “Call me now!” I called him and it turned out he had just received a donated archery elk tag for northern Arizona. He asked me if, instead of volunteering, I wanted to go elk hunting myself. I said “Absolutely!” I immediately spoke with my manager at work and explained this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and something I had been yearning to do since I was a kid. He gave me the days off I needed and the next morning I was on my way to my very first elk camp! When I arrived at elk camp I was given a warm welcome by Hunts for Heroes veteran Nick Swanson and his family and Steve Clark of the Arizona Elk Society. We ate breakfast and then got right to work setting me up with a spot to hunt that evening. We went to a nearby water hole and built a blind for the evening hunt. That evening while sitting in the blind I heard my first elk bugle off to my right. Hearing that scream echo through the woods sent a shiver down my spine and I had the biggest grin on my face --- I could only imagine how crazy I looked! A few minutes went by and another bugle came roaring through the woods and this time it was closer. The next thing you know as the sun dropped behind the trees, a cow and bull come running into the opening and straight

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down into the water hole. I was so excited I ranged the bull at 58 yards, drew, and let my first arrow fly! I watched as the arrow landed right underneath the bull, getting stuck in the mud on the opposite side of the water hole. The elk went nuts running around in the water and then darting off into the woods. I thought the hunt was over --- there was my shot and I blew it! When I got back to camp that night, the rest of the group was there and I reluctantly explained to everyone what happened. As archers they explained to me that everyone misses and if someone says they haven’t, they don’t really bow hunt. Having all the positivity and encouragement from the camp really lifted my spirits and I was back in the right mindset to get out there the next day and get it done. After a few phone calls made by Tom and Steve, it appeared I was going to have more help coming my way! The next morning, volunteer guide Justin arrived in elk camp. We shook hands and saddled up. As we drove to our spot for the morning hunt, he explained to me that the area we were going to hunt was practically his backyard. After about a 20-minute drive we got to our spot, hopped out of the truck and listened in the cold dark morning to the wind ripping through the pines. We then heard the morning’s first bugle! To my bewilderment Justin took off like a flash up the side of the mountain – I had no choice but to follow him. We worked our way up the mountain and suddenly Justin stopped in his tracks. He called out in the now gray morning with one of his many elk calls dangling around his neck. After doing a very convincing bull elk bugle we got a loud response from just a few hundred yards up the mountain. He turned around to get my attention and pointed

towards a big cedar at the top of an opening and told me to go stand up there and get ready. “Set your pin to 20 yards and get ready, he’s coming in hot!” The next thing you know I heard this elk breathing on the other side of the tree but I couldn’t see him because it was so thick. He bugled a few more times before he walked off. Justin and I regrouped and retreated down the hill. We tried again a few more times that morning but most of the bulls were moving on up higher on the mountain to bed and we couldn’t get them to come down to us. That first morning’s hunt with Justin bugling and calling is something I’ll never forget! From that point on I started referring to him as the “Elk Whisperer.” After lunch and a short nap, I was back in the ground blind sitting the water for the evening hunt. After sitting in silence for about an hour I heard the first bugle of the evening … then a second … then a third, all coming from opposite directions. The bugle to my right sounded closest so that’s where I had my attention focused. After a few minutes with no sound I started to scan the area back to my left and, BAM, there was a bull standing right at the edge of the water! My first thought was that I had to seal the deal now. The bull stepped down into the water and I ranged him at 64 yards. I didn’t want to shoot that far so I waited for him, but set my sight pin to 64 yards just in case. Suddenly the bull got up and walked out of the water on the same side I was sitting. Without thinking to range him again I drew

Arizona Elk Society 15

my bow and let loose. I watched my arrow sail right over his back! I cringed as the bull stormed off back through the pines. This was the lowest point of the hunt for me. Two bulls, two days in a row, two misses. I was crushed. I went to where the bull was standing and ranged back to the blind --- it was 55 yards. I thought he walked straight out of the water but he actually walked closer to me. I learned an important lesson that day, range twice and shoot once! Back at camp that night I told the story and everyone just said to keep my head up, it happens, and to hang in there. Monday morning started off rough. The wind changed directions and threw our hunt off, but with Justin’s expertise we were onto a herd in no time. That morning we couldn’t get the bulls to leave the cows and the herd was moving fast. Right when we were about to take off chasing the herd I noticed my rangefinder was gone. Justin insisted we look for it before we chased the herd, since it was an essential tool (and an expensive one at that). We followed our tracks back the way we came and luckily Justin spotted it within a few minutes lying in some tall grass. At this point I felt cursed, as if the odds were working against us … I couldn’t catch a break! We chased that herd the rest of the morning but never got an opportunity to close the deal. Monday evening found me headed back to the water hole, hoping to get another shot at a bull. Within minutes of sitting down a young spike came trotting in, but suddenly stopped, smelled the air, and took off running the way he came in. I thought it was strange since the wind wasn’t blowing from me towards the bull. I started looking around the watering hole and, to my dismay, I spotted another hunter on the other side of the watering hole sitting in an ill-placed tree stand. I packed up my stuff and headed out. As I was leaving I came upon a lone cow elk and immediately contacted Justin. Right then a huge bugle ripped out of the woods to the north of me. Justin joined me and we proceeded to go running through the woods chasing the bugle.

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We caught up with a good-sized herd, but the wind was blowing in the wrong direction as they were on the other side of a low area on the opposite ridge. We ended up going way around the herd and got in front of them just as the sun was starting to set. Justin started calling and within minutes brought two spikes running in right on top of us. The spikes ended up just 28 yards away staring right at me. I stood still as a statue. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a huge herd bull crashing through the pines to my right, bugling his head off! He stopped at 100 yards, apparently didn’t like what he saw, and disappeared into the trees leaving the spikes alone. As it goes, I never did draw on those spikes. I think I had an opportunity to but I just didn’t do it. It honestly never crossed my mind, especially after seeing big bulls every day. I knew I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to shoot a spike, even if I only had one more day to hunt. Tuesday morning started off just as the others had --- cold, dark, and windy. We tried two spots we had been to previously but couldn’t get a bugle anywhere. The elk just were not talking. We ended up going back to a spot we were at the day before where we saw some huge bulls chasing cows around. We figured we could get positioned to intercept them before they bedded for the day. We went running and gunning through the cedars calling and responding to multiple bugles. Eventually we got to a somewhat-open area when we heard a bugle right in front of us. A bull was coming in hot! We were ready, waiting for the bull to come crash into our opening but he never did. For a few seconds we were super bummed thinking our opportunity had eluded us once again. Suddenly off to the left, just on the other side of a patch of trees, we heard an aggressive ear-piercing bugle. Justin made a few estrus calls and the next thing you know the trees were crashing and cracking everywhere. It was like the ground was shaking --- this bull was coming right for us!

passed down to generations to come. My four days in the elk woods were such an emotional roller coaster, full of ups and downs, topped with the exhilaration at my hunt’s end. I can honestly say that, other than receiving my Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, and asking Megan to marry me, this was the best moment of my life!

Seconds later I saw antlers floating through the branches and Justin whispered fiercely “Set your pin to 25 and draw, dude!” I drew back and picked my shooting lane. I told myself once he gets right there I’ll release. No sooner had the thought crossed my mind when my arrow went flying straight and true, smashing the bull through both lungs at 20 yards. The bull had gone about 10 yards when Justin’s cow call stopped him in his tracks, where he then crashed bringing a cedar tree down with him. After what seemed like an eternity of silence and making sure the bull was down for good, we started high-fiving and celebrating. To be honest, as soon as that bull hit the dirt I had tears of happiness rolling down my face. The emotions I was feeling were like nothing I had ever experienced before in my life. Walking up on my first bull elk is a moment that will be burned into my mind forever and the story that comes along with this hunt will be

The Hunts for Heroes Program showed me that even outside of the military there are brotherhoods and fellowship in the civilian world that are just as fulfilling as when you are in. I found something on this elk hunt I thought I would never find again. The Hunts for Heroes program gives veterans with service connected disabilities an amazing opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves. For vets, that is the most important thing in the world. Once you transition from Active Service into the civilian world it feels like you lose your identity. When I was active, I was Sergeant Barkstrom, I had stripes, I was a leader, someone that others looked up to. When I left active duty I felt like I was just another face in the crowd. Through Hunts for Heroes I once again felt like I was more than just another guy. I felt like I mattered and all the volunteers and coordinators that made this experience possible are absolutely wonderful and selfless people. The program gave me back my identity that I thought I had lost forever. I cannot express how much gratitude I have for this program and the people involved, who showed me that I do matter and I do have an identity. Healing through Hunting is not only a phrase --- it’s a new way of life. Thank you, Hunts for Heroes, you changed my life. BIG BULL DOWN!

Semper Fidelis, Sergeant Jacob A. Barkstrom (USMC, VET)

Arizona Elk Society 17

Finally back at home base. Thanks to all who made the party. We broke in the new Residence Inn grill and patio with a few hours of fun, food family and some great hunting and program discussion.Thank you Tom and Rae and Mike for what you all do to make many disabled veterans’ dreams and hunting passions come to reality. With your dedication to this vital program it thrives and continues to grow. Thank you so much for doing huge things for this program. My guide Lester and James, what more can I say? This was an extremely challenging outing and hunt. Tim watched my six out there. I didn’t fall or vertigo out. By taking our time and pushing forward we got there as a team like battle buddys. As you both put glass to those hills. We got a morning of excitement and success – I’m still living the dream and brotherhood out there in God’s country – our blessed USA. The mentoring and time to set up was priceless to our success. A+ for sure .Thank you Clint and Seth for the over watch and Elk traffic control and retrieval and field processing. That was a difficult task you guys, up high and coming to aid in a huge undertaking. Driving in and getting that monster out was an amazing day. We ate good too.Lastly I must thank God and my wife. Without Sally this process to getting me through years of therapy with appointments week after week – I could not have achieved this day with my brothers. Thanks for your dedicated, tireless support. And thank you God for allowing me this magnificent oppurtunity.

David Zibbon U.S. Air Force, Master Sergeant

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• Specializing in trophy hunts for bull elk, Coues whitetail deer, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, mountain lion, black bear, big horn sheep, antelope and javelina. • Veteran owned & family run business hunting and guiding on over 13,000,000 acres of private and public land. • All hunters welcome, regardless of experience.


Article reprinted by permission from Epic Outdoors Magazine.

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Northern Arizona Peaks Chapter

White Mountain Chapter


by Jim Warren

On Sunday, October 1, 2017, the White Mountain Chapter supported an annual event sponsored by the Arizona chapter of Project Healing Waters (http:// The event is held on the first day of October each year at the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Silver Creek Fish Hatchery as that is the date the hatchery limits fishing to artificial flies and lures only and it is strictly a catch and release period until March 31st of the following year. Disabled veterans (both retired and active duty) are invited to test their skills at the upper portion of the hatchery which is normally accessible only through a lengthy hike on the 840 acre site. This year, law enforcement personnel were also included to honor the memory of Darrin Reed of the Show Low Police Department who was killed last November 8 while on a drug-related call. 24 Tracker 4th Quarter 2017

Large trout were pulled from Silver Creek throughout the day (which began at 5:30 AM). Some veterans were in wheelchairs, others walked along the banks to try their luck. When a “big one” was on the line, others dashed over with long-handled nets to gather the trophy in. After as suitable photo or two with the lucky angler, the fish were gently re-introduced to the waters to fight again another day. The White Mountain Chapter provided support for the food and beverages for lunch and hosted a table to introduce the participants to the Elk Society’s “Hunts for Heroes” program. Numerous veterans filled out applications to see if they would qualify for a future hunting opportunity.

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ELK VIEWING WORKSHOP The Arizona Elk Society in partnership with the Arizona Game & Fish Department hosted an elk workshop for some 50 participants at the Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Center on Saturday, October 7th, 2017. Following a welcome by program coordinator Diane Tilton, Information and Education specialist for Region #1, presentations included information by wildlife biologist Dave Cagle as to how the Department manages the estimated 35,000 elk in Arizona. Other presenters were George Andrejko, the official wildlife photographer for the Department on how capture those great photos he gets, Paul Greer who discussed the Mexican Grey Wolf reintroduction program and Steve Clark, Executive Director of AES who demonstrated both cow elk calls as well as the mating bull bugle.

White Mountain Chapter

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Following the presentations, the guests were treated to an early dinner by AES then they broke into several groups to either hike from the Sipe facility or were driven by several volunteers to attempt to locate elk prior to sunset in the nearby mountains. According to the participants, both cows and bulls were spotted – some in fairly close proximity.


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JUNE 30,2018 SHOW LOW, ARIZONA Arizona Elk Society 27




HEBER WILD HORSE TERRITORY by Tice Supplee Arizona State University’s (ASU) School of Sustainability has convened a 15-member collaborative working group to provide input into and recommendations to the Forest Service for the development of a Heber Wild Horse Territory (HWHT) management plan.

The HWHT consists of approximately 19,700 acres located in the Black Canyon area of the Black Mesa Ranger District on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNFs). It was created in 1974 to comply with a mandate of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 to establish territories for the use and protection of wild horses. Members of the working group represent diverse interests such as wild horse advocacy, wildlife advocacy and management, livestock producers, public lands management, range science, veterinary medicine and equine recreation, rescue and training. The USDA Forest Service and two state-level cooperating agencies, Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Arizona Department of Agriculture, are participating actively as observers to the working group. It is anticipated that the group’s recommendations will be used in the development of the ASNFs Heber Wild Horse Territory Management Plan. To date, the working group has met five times. The first meeting centered on grounding the members in background issues pertaining to the HWHT and presenting

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Heber Wild Horse Territory

the wide range of perspectives on horse management. The second meeting consisted of a field tour of the territory, associated livestock pastures and local wildlife game management units. The third meeting focused on communications, adaptive management principles and the Forest Service’s initial assessment and parameters for developing recommendations for the plan. At the last two meetings, work began on identifying core issues and developing recommendations that will inform components of the management plan. As the collaboration moves forwards, ASU will provide regular updates on the working group’s deliberations. As input and recommendations develop for the Territory Management Plan, ASU and the working group will provide ways for the public to engage. For more information and updates, please visit the Heber Horse Collaborative website at https:// or the ASNFs website at Note: Arizona Elk Society is represented on this collaborative group by Vice President Tice Supplee Arizona Elk Society 29


AES 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 30 Tracker 4th Quarter 2017

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

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

+ Membership upgraded

* Deceased

James O Meeks Jason Mercier Jim Mercier Tracey Miner Ken Moss Ronald J Nadzieja Mike N Oliver Craig Pearson Kenneth B Piggott Bethena Pugh Carlos Quihuis 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


With the rapid loss of open space to development, wildlife habitat is being reduced at a rate of 7 square miles per day. Arizona’s elk herds are loosing traditional migration corridors, calving grounds, forage meadows and other important habitat. The new “Habitat Partners of Arizona” program is designed to help protect that land. The main focus of this program will be to preserve land and prevent the rapid decline of Arizona’s elk habitat. HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP: Become a Habitat Partner with your tax deductible donation starting at $2500 ($1000 for 17 and under). Payment Plan Available: $500 minimum commitment per year. You will be recognized for a donation level once your payments reach that level for each level you attain.

Harry Carlson

Imperial Partner

All program participants that reach the $2500 level and above ($1000 for youth) will be recognized in literature and on the AES website and will receive a plaque at each level. If you are interested in donating property or a conservation easement, the AES will work with you to designate the appropriate level based on the value of the donation. DONATION LEVELS: Legacy Partner $500,000 Habitat Guardian $250,000 Monarch Partner $50,000 Imperial Partner $25,000 Royal Partner $10,000 Supporting Partner $5,000 Sponsor Partner $2,500 Spike Partner (17 & under) $1,000

Arizona Elk Society Habitat Partners

Stephen Clark

Sponsor Partner

Ron & Sharon Eichelberger Sponsor Partner

Bass Pro Shops Sponsor Partner

FOR MORE INFO AND TO DONATE: You can find more details and the donation form at www.arizonaelksociety. org.


Sponsor Partner

Sharon & John Stuckey Pacific West Representatives Royal Partner

Walt and Cookie Nicoson Royal Partner

Royal Partner

Sportsman’s Warehouse Sponsor Partner

Tom & Janet Bowman Sponsor Partner

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7558 W. Thunderbird Rd., Ste. 1-465, Peoria, AZ 85381



Tracker Fourth Quarter 2017  

The quarterly magazine of the Arizona Elk Society (AES) with articles involving Arizona Elk.

Tracker Fourth Quarter 2017  

The quarterly magazine of the Arizona Elk Society (AES) with articles involving Arizona Elk.