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4th Quar ter 2019

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. Steve Armstrong 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 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 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 Nick Celenza Joe & Marisa Cerreta Randy Cherington

Pete Cimellaro Richard Clark Steve Clark Gerad Claseman McAllen Coalson Bob Cockrill, Jr. Todd Coleman Francisco Contreras Barbara Cook James Cook Frank Cooper Russell Coover Robert Copeland Mike Coppock Richard Cowen Lonnie Crabtree William Crary Philip Cushman William Cullins Richard Currie Patrick Curry B. Todd Curtis Kay Davidson Don Davidson William Davis Bill Davis Jamie Davis Larry Day Kurt Davis Brian Delgado Jim DeVos Joe Divito Steven Dodds William Dorsey Ray Dresslar Patrick Dugan Thomas Duncan Paul Durbin* Nick Edwards Ron Eichelberger Sharon Eichelberger Brian Eilers Peter Ekholm Deborah Elliott Tim Evans Daron Evans Shane Faulkner Scott Fisher Jeffrey Fleetham Randy Foote David Forbes Mark France Tom Franklin Douglas Fritz Will Garrison Mark Giebelhaus

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John Girvin Walt Godbehere Richard Goettel Charles Gray Edna Gray H. Alan Hallman, DVM John Hamett Carl Hargis Nate Harrel Charles Ray Harrison Sean Hatch Steve Havertine Merritt Haynes Keith Heimes Dan Hellman R. Todd Henderson Mario Hernandez Michael Hernandez Terry Herndon Charles Herner Joe Herrero Ed Hightower Mike Hobel Paul Hodges III Kevin Hogue Jim Holleran Mel Holsinger Scott Horn Michael Horstman Timothy Hosford Bryan House Danny Howard Ron Huddleston Bruce Hudson Todd Ingersoll Don Irwin Wayne Jacobs Kyle Jenkins Brian Johnsen Gary Johnson James Johnson Earl Johnson Edward Johnson Richard Johnson Rick Johnson Adam Jones Jim Jones Mitchell Jones Scott Jones Bruce Judson Andrew Kap Sandra Kauffman Richard Kauffman, Sr. Jim Kavanaugh Bill Kelley Denise Kennedy

Chuck Kerr 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 Dylan Lechter Michael Lechter Jeffrey C. Lehrer Justin Leitner Skylar Lempinen Jorge Leon Steve Leone Ruben Lerma Scott Lewis Kevin Libsack Bob Litchfield Tim Littleton James Lynch, Jr. Bob Mallory John Marriott Eric Martin Don Martin Robert Martin Joseph Masseur Karl Matchinsky Gary Matchinsky Russ McDowell Steve McGaughey Angela McHaney Kelly McMillan James Mehen* William Meredith James Mingus Matt Minshall Richard Moraca James Mullins James Mullins Matt Mullins Robert Murry, DVM Ronald Nadzieja Gregory Naff Annette Naff Megan Naff Keith Newlon

Mark Nicholas Fletcher Nichols Logan Nichols Brandon Nichols Anthony Nichols Cookie Nicoson Walt Nicoson* Paige Nicoson Kathi Nixon Mark Nixon Nick Novak David Nygaard Donna Obert Douglas Obert, Sr.* James Oldham Bob Olds Raul M. Ortiz Martin Paez Sallie Page Pete Page Danny Palmer Duane Palmer Everett Palmer Chris Parish Marlin Parker Don Parks Jr. Dale Parrish Billy Patterson Shawn Patterson Art Pearce Mike Pellegatti Allen Perez Guy Phillips Paul Piker Jack Poggendorf Forrest Purdy* Jan Purdy Mark Raby* Steve Remige Jim Renkema Robin Renowden Armon Rheaume Keith Riefkohl Mel Risch* Travis Roberts Aaron Ruiz Roy Ruiz Todd Sabin 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 Mark Simon Terrence Simons Charlene Sipe Andrew Smigielski Michael Snyder Robert Spurny Connor Stainton Gregory Stainton Randy Stalcup Douglas Stancill Ray Steffen Jr Stan Stellwagen Mark Stephenson Arlen Stewart Shane Stewart James Stewart John Stuckey Vashti “Tice� Supplee Nick Swanson Al Swapp Debbie Swapp Bob Swisher James Symonds Dan Taylor Amos Terrell Jr. Todd Thelander Pete Thomas Nick Thompson Billy Thrash Donald Tirpak John Toner Corey Tunnell Lee Turner Bill VenRooy Rick Vincent, Sr. Carl Walker Kathleen Walp William Walp Peter Walters Don Walters, Jr. Bill Wasbotten Dale Watkins Paul Weaver Jerry Weiers Dee White

Larry White Kevin Widner 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


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

OFFICERS President - Tice Supplee Vice President - Greg Godbehere

ARIZONA ELK SOCIETY MISSION STATEMENT

Treasurer - Christopher K. Lutzel Secretary - Richard Moraca Executive Director - Steve Clark

The mission of the Arizona Elk Society is to benefit elk and other wildlife

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

by generating resources for habitat

Wayne Bouton

conservation and restoration,

Richard Moraca Andrew Kap Glen Jones Bob Swisher Steve Schaefer Pat Weise

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

PAST PRESIDENT

Past President - Rich Williams You may send a message for any officers, board members or committee chairs to

Visit us online at

www.arizonaelksociety.org www.facebook.com/arizonaelksociety

stevec@arizonaelksociety.org

Arizona Elk Society 3


PRESIDENTS’ MESSAGE

Greetings in 2020 Greetings and a quick introduction about me. I am a founding and life member of the Arizona Elk Society and I have been serving as Vice President for the past 4 years. I am stepping up to the role of President with enthusiasm. I submitted my elk and pronghorn hunt applications and now wait for my luck in the draw. Arizona Elk Society accomplished so much in 2019 that would not be possible without the commitment of our fantastic volunteers. We had another banner year for Hero’s Rising Outdoors and the Hunts for Hero’s program. Wild in the City and Wapiti Weekend are wildly popular with kids of all ages and we continue to improve on what they experience with great thanks to new partners EmpoweRanch, 3G Archery, Arizona Flycasters, and REI. Our junior elk and turkey hunting camps are making a difference for youth (and their parents) new to hunting. We directly helped elk and elk habitat with hours of volunteer time hauling water, restoring meadows and grasslands. Your board, in the spirit of our volunteer roots, is focused on our upcoming annual banquet March 28th.

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We have some transitions as we enter 2020. I wish to acknowledge the contributions of three couples that have given their time and hearts to AES. After starting and chairing our White Mountains Banquet Committee Jim and Chris Warren have resigned as Banquet Committee members and chair. My thanks and deepest gratitude for their years of volunteer service to AES in the White Mountains. Randy and Deb Roedl really helped AES launch our media strategy and amazingly successful raffle program, they are now moving on to new pursuits, thanks to you both for your time with AES. Bob Swisher is retiring from our board and as chair of the cooking committee. He and his wife Caren plan to continue as AES volunteers, I invite all members to join them! Until next time,

T ice Supplee President / Arizona Elk Society


I N

T H I S

I S S U E

6 -7

8-10

12

AES and Grazing Allotments by Ron Huddleston

Lifelong Dream Realized by Scott Lewis, SFC, U.S. Army Reserve

Hike to Hunt by Bob Swisher

13

14-15

16-17

Cooperative Project for Water Monitor Sensor Project by Jake McQueary

Houston Draw Riparian Drainage by Jake McQueary

Arizona Squirrel Society? by John Koleszar

18

19

20-21

My First Elk Hunt by Turner Berrett

Increase Cash Flow and Help Wildlife, Youth & Veterans by Ron Huddleston

Wild in the City Fall 2019 by Erica Swisher

24

25

26

Elk Workshop at Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area

State Employee Charitable Contribution AZGFD Clay Target Fun Shoot by Mel Faux

AES Founding Members

Arizona Elk Society 5


AES & GRAZING ALLOTMENTS by Ron Huddleston

The Arizona Elk Society has worked with the Forest Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department and the cattle industry to acquire various grazing allotments that have subsequently been set aside for natural resource conservation. These acquisitions contain important waterways/riparian habitat that, with protection from overutilization, will become important recovery areas for fish and wildlife that need intact habitat for their survival. All of these areas are unique habitat that provide needed resource components for a host of species that are in the area but not flourishing. These include many threatened and endangered species. After acquisition by AES, and through many of the habitat projects completed or planned, all species are offered a better home than they had under prior management plans.

“This work is critical for restoring

In total, over 100,000 acres have been acquired by Arizona Elk Society for natural resource conservation.

reliable, abundant water is

ecosystems, forage, wildlife habitat and storage of water. These important watersheds drain into creeks, rivers and lakes. With the help of AES clean,

restored back into the ecosystem with downstream benefits to municipalities.� Tom Runyon Hydrologist, USFS

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Photo by George Andrejko, Arizona Game & Fish Arizona Elk Society 7


A LIFELONG DREAM REALIZED by Scott Lewis, SFC, U.S. Army Reserve

It was mid-October 2018, when I received a call from Tom Wagner, coordinator for the Arizona Elk Society’s Heroes Rising Outdoors / Hunts for Heroes (H4H) program. They had just received a donated tag and Tom informed me that it was a once-in-alifetime tag for the Kaibab Plateau’s annual cow bison hunt and was mine if I wanted it. I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough! The fact that I was going to have the opportunity to go after America’s iconic animal was more than I could ever have dreamed. I entered the Hunts for Heroes program when my incredible wife, Lisa, contacted the Arizona Elk Society and asked if they had a hunt for a disabled veteran and sheriff’s deputy. I had spent 18 years in the U.S. Army Reserves and 25 years as a deputy sheriff. Between 2003 and 2012 I spent seven years on active duty and accumulated five combat deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Noble Eagle. While on active duty I sustained numerous injuries, including PTSD, from several incidents and traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a detonated VBIED. I left active duty and returned to my civilian job as a deputy sheriff in October 2012, not truly aware of the invisible effects of PTSD and the TBI injuries I’d sustained over the previous five years. Almost one year to the day of my return I was responding to an active shooter situation and was involved in a head-on accident at 80 mph. The injuries shattered my right hip, broke my neck, and I sustained a

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head injury that left me unconscious for 8 months. The cumulative result of the injuries left me feeling extremely isolated. I didn’t want to leave the house to do anything. I had nightmares nearly every night. I was essentially a prisoner in my own home. I spent my younger years growing up in the country, hunting at every opportunity. As I mentioned, it was after my accident in October 2013 that I found myself not wanting to get out on my own, much less back in the woods. I had no idea the therapeutic effect of being out in God’s magnificent creation could have. All that said, when Tom Wagner called me, I found myself feeling incredibly excited about getting out and doing what I’d loved my entire life. Although the fear of being out on my own again was still there, I looked forward to getting back in the outdoors. The time of the hunt couldn’t come fast enough! I spoke with Russ Jacoby, who runs a large guide service on the Kaibab Plateau, on several occasions. Russ has been involved in the harvest of hundreds of bison making him one of America’s foremost authorities on bison hunting. I did as much digital scouting as I possibly could and spent time at the gun range making sure I had the right handload recipe for my rifle. I had all my gear packed and ready, and on November 14, got into my truck and headed up to meet Russ. On that note, Russ, his wife, Laura, and their son, Jacob, proved to be invaluable assets on this hunt. Each of them is an integral part of their operation. They had all the bases covered


including boots-on-the-ground scouting and blind locations. They understood my situation and went to great measures to ensure that I would have the time of my life. They are simply amazing people who went above and beyond for me. I arrived at their camp at about 11:30 p.m. the night before the hunt. Laura had dinner saved for me. We all then sat down and planned out the following day. To say that I couldn’t sleep that night was an understatement – I was hunting the American bison! At 3:30 a.m. I awoke to Russ knocking on my door letting me know it was time to go. I sprang out of bed, loaded my gear into my truck, and followed them to the location where I’d spend the next few days hunting. It was a very brisk fall morning when at 5:30 a.m. I entered my blind overlooking an ice-covered watering hole. I got my gear situated and chambered a round of my 180gr Barnes TTSX handloads into my .300 Win Mag. I had been sitting at my location for about 3 hours when I sensed nature calling. Not having seen anything, I elected to walk a short distance from my blind to take care of business. Having eight inches of metal in my hip, moving was especially tough in the low 20s temperatures that morning. Wouldn’t you know it, right then I caught movement close by. Yes, there were two bison in front of me and me without my rifle! They looked a little nervous, so I let them settle down a bit. I then noticed they were watching something in front of them – here came 13 more bison and there I crouched, still without a rifle. I literally belly-crawled back to

my hunting blind! I’d spent a lot of time earlier on the phone with Russ learning bison anatomy – my bison tag required me to identify and shoot a female (cow), which on these larger animals is not as easy as it might seem. The location of bison vitals is somewhat different from elk and deer and shot placement is critical. At that very close range, I was surprised at how large (make that huge) bison really are! After a moment, I identified a full-maned cow, and as it walked a little way from the herd, I settled my rifle’s crosshairs where they should be. As I squeezed the trigger, the 70-yard shot connected. At the bullet’s impact the bison reacted immediately, favoring its left front leg. The entire herd, including my cow, headed for the Grand Canyon National Park not too far way. This got me worried – if the bison I had shot crossed into the national park, I’d have to contact a park ranger to come out and oversee the recovery. It was then my nerves hit me like a ton of bricks. I kept

HEROES

RISING

UTDOORS Arizona Elk Society 9


saying, “Lord, let that be a cow, let that be a cow!” After 30 minutes and not able to wait any longer, I approached the area where the bison had stood. I found one drop of blood about the size of a fingernail and then began to scan in the direction the bison had gone. While doing that I noticed a mound of brown hair some 40 yards away. My nerves kicked it up several more levels! The bison wasn’t moving and was lying on its side as I approached carefully. I kept repeating “Lord, let it be a cow.” When I was about 15 yards away, I saw the cow’s udder and breathed a HUGE sigh of relief! After confirming the bison was in fact dead, I sent a text to Russ on my satellite device. He and his son, Jacob, arrived about an hour later. I helped them rig a pulley system in a large ponderosa pine and we loaded the animal into my truck. After hanging the bison from a sturdy meat pole, we spent the next seven hours processing the animal. It took all that time for my nerves to calm down. I can’t begin to tell you how enormously therapeutic this hunt was for me! I realized for the first time in five years – yes, I can do it, I don’t have to be a prisoner in my own home. From that hunt until now, I’ve been able to get out hunting and enjoy nature. I’ve been able to benefit from the therapy afforded us by God in His creation.

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For all my brothers and sisters who are dealing with the lingering effects of deployments, PLEASE, take advantage of the Hunt for Heroes program! We return from our deployments different people than when we left, far too many of us with serious visible injuries. However, a far larger number of us have injuries that others cannot see. These injuries are every bit as real. What I’m here to tell you is that you can return to a normal life. H4H is an invaluable program that really works. Don’t let your injuries win, get back into nature and let it work its therapy! Go to the Arizona Elk Society website: www.arizonaelksociety.org/hunts-forheroes and click on “Hunter’s Application.” Tom and the H4H crew will take it from there. I spoke with Tom recently and he told me they have many tags each year that need to be assigned to disabled veterans. Hunts for Heroes will ensure you have an experience that you are capable of. The program will also give you the chance to reconnect with other veterans, such as myself, who will understand what you are going through. So please, once again, take advantage of Hunts for Heroes --- it is far more effective than the treatment I’ve received from the VA for my injuries. I’m confident it can do the same for you. You can do it!


CONGRATULATIONS

RICH! THANK YOU

GRAIG! At our last Wild in the City event, a raffle was held for the volunteers. The lucky winner was Graig Stephens! AES is lucky too – we have many volunteers like Graig who unselfishly give of their time and talents. Thank you Graig and all volunteers for all that you do!

This past August, AES past president, Richard Williams, was inducted into the Outdoor Hall of Fame by The Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation. Rich was honored for providing leadership which has led many groups to become involved in furthering the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and the hunter/angler recruitment and retention effort in Arizona. Learn more at: wildlifefortomorrow.org

Arizona Elk Society 11


HIKE to HUNT by Bob Swisher

After hiking to the crest of a low hill, we spotted the 3x3 whitetail buck standing alertly in an old aspen blowdown. Rays of sunlight were just starting to peek through the trees, but the temperature was still in the low twenties. We quietly crept down the back side and closed the distance as much as we dared. When we got to the edge of the blowdown, there was no more cover to conceal our approach. I ranged the deer at 67 yards and signaled to Keith. He slowly brought up his bow and came to full draw. After what seemed like an eternity, he let the arrow fly. THONK! His heavy aluminum arrow impaled a dead aspen branch that laid across the arrow flight path about twelve yards in front of the deer. But the buck didn’t go very far. Actually, it didn’t move at all because it was just one of twenty-one Rhinehart 3-D targets set up for the short course at the Hike to Hunt Archery Challenge. This event was held at the Flagstaff Nordic Center over November 1-3, 2019. There were three different courses available to shoot during the day

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with hiking distances ranging from 2-5 miles. All courses simulated hunting conditions through ponderosa pines and oaks, while the terrain varied from rocky hills to flats. Target distances varied from 25 yards to over 100 yards. Often shots required kneeling, shooting through the fork of a tree, or at elevated targets, which made this archery challenge a whole lot of fun! And as luck would have it, there were two arrow vendors near the check-in station in case someone ran low on arrows. There were several other vendors and sponsors on site, including the Arizona Elk Society/Heroes Rising Outdoors. The Flagstaff Nordic Center also allowed tent and trailer camping on-site. The staff from Hike to Hunt were very helpful and friendly, and it was obvious that they had put in a lot of time and effort into setting up every target to provide a realistic hunting simulation. They will be hosting two additional events in Arizona before returning to Flagstaff next Fall. For more info, please visit their website at www.hiketohunt.com.


Cooperative Project for WATER MONITOR SENSOR PROJECT by Jake McQueary

With experts predicting more drought conditions in the coming years, water for wildlife has become even more important. Water can be a limiting factor for many species, especially elk, which is why the Arizona Elk Society has hauled over 2 million gallons over the past few years through the Water for Wildlife program. In 2019, the lack of moisture left water catchments near empty until November, which kept the Water for Wildlife volunteer team unseasonably busy.

The Arizona Elk Society recently funded a project in cooperation with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Blue Ridge School District – University of Arizona 4-H FAB Lab, and Cellular One of Northeastern Arizona to design, build and implement wireless water catchment monitors. These monitors use sensors that utilize cellular connections, making real time data available to measure water levels within a water catchment.

This would allow for the Arizona Elk Society and AZGFD to determine which catchments need to be filled by the Water for Wildlife crew instead of having to visit the site in person to determine as to whether a catchment needs water. The use of wireless monitoring systems also allows for the utilization rate of the catchment to be determined, whether the catchment is holding water or not, rainfall estimates of the area, projected approximate refill date, and more. This critical information allows the Water for Wildlife crew to be much more efficient, and overall saves time and money for both the Arizona Elk Society and the Arizona Game and Fish Department. In addition, AES is better able to serve the wildlife by knowing when to bring water to the catchments that need it. The 12 sensors that were installed are new technology – adapting to challenges of using the sensors has been a common theme. Battery life, temperature, and moisture have been just a few of the unforeseen challenges that have been faced with the sensors. In addition, using advanced antennas in areas with poor cellular service has become a challenge, as elk, deer, and rodents enjoy chewing on them. Advancement with the catchment sensors have put this project on the forefront of water catchment technology, as similar products exist at a much higher price point. The Arizona Elk Society funded the project to not only benefit wildlife, but to also refine the technology, creating a more reliable, easier to install, and accurate sensor. Installation of these first 12 sensors are the first steps to more reliably deliver water to the wildlife that needs it. As more wireless catchment monitors are installed, the Arizona Elk Society and the Water for Wildlife crew will be able to help more elk and other wildlife in dry conditions. Arizona Elk Society 13


Houston Draw RIPARIAN DRAINAGE by Jake McQueary

A stream can almost be thought of as a living being; the stream lives, moves, thinks, and breathes on its own. A stream is an unmovable power that cannot be stopped - altered perhaps, but it will never be halted.

A stream is constantly moving in and out of it’s given floodplain, reacting to different precipitation events of varying magnitude and frequency, and of erosion. Streams can be altered in unfavorable ways based upon three main driving factors – precipitation magnitude, precipitation frequency, and erosion. Human alteration of any of these three factors can leave a stream to be unpredictable, and to behave in unfavorable ways. Seasonality brings relatively regular weather patterns from year to year, and other than a few major events that may occur on a somewhat regular basis, precipitation and erosion remains the same. With the influence of man upon most of the Earth, these patterns have begun to change. On a local level, land alteration and improper land practices increase erosion. Houston Draw, located within the Mogollon Rim district of the Coconino National Forest in Northern Arizona, is a small draw that contains a spring-fed perennial stream. The small valley is comprised of a series of narrow meadows that have been used in the past as corridors for cattle drives and fire breaks. Over the past century or so, due to improper grazing practices and other unknown reasons, erosion has started to occur within the meadows and draw. As was mentioned, the alteration of this stream from man-made practices has caused the stream to change, which has lowered the water table in the area. Because of this, meadows have begun to dry out in the area. Drying of meadows changes the entire meadow ecosystem, eventually to the point that the meadow is no longer present. Vegetation within meadows have dense rooting systems, reducing erosion from precipitation runoff and holding water within the meadow. With the lowering water table, this vegetation is transferring to plants with much less dense roots, increasing the amount of erosion. Like that of a snowball effect, as erosion occurs and causes the water table to drop, the rate at which erosion occurs increases steadily. In addition, as the meadow continues to dry, pine trees and other vegetation not suited for wet ground begin to invade into the area. As erosion and runoff increases, the rate at which water moves downhill escalates into the channel, causing the channel to incise. Incision is defined as a channel that 14 Tracker 4th Quarter 2019


no longer can reach its adjacent floodplain, or the deepening of stream channel. These incised channels continue to deepen, further lowering the water table and increasing the dryness of the meadows. With the water containing more force within the channel, erosive forces continue to increase until the meadow is completely dry, and incision is passed the point of being able to be fixed. These issues were recognized in Houston Draw in the 80’s, and wooden structures were installed in attempt to stop or slow down erosion and incision. Unfortunately, after about 40 years, the structures are no longer effective, and made erosion worse in some circumstances.

Severe erosive features, such as nick points, headcuts, and incision have all been discovered within the Houston Draw system. As pine trees encroach into the once meadowed area, they begin to intake large amounts of water. As the trees continue to intake water, the water table is decreased even more, to the point that the incised channel no longer has running water, and the springs that feed the stream are dry. This affects the public in Payson and other northern Gila County communities. The Houston Draw system eventually flows into East Clear Creek, which then flows into C.C. Cragin Reservoir (formerly Blue Ridge Reservoir). This reservoir is an important water storage system by SRP, and is eventually led to the homes of residents within northern Gila County.

Fortunately, however, there is hope. In 2018, the Arizona Elk Society partnered with the USFS, AZGFD, National Forest Foundation, and Natural Channel Design to investigate and produce treatment options for the Houston Draw drainage. In the Spring of 2019, the Arizona Elk Society began phase one of the process for treating Houston Draw. Machinery and hundreds of tons of rock was brought in to take care of large headcuts and to fix the wooden structures. In addition, AES volunteers built rock structures to begin taking care of erosion issues. Rock structures are used to decrease energy and stop erosion, as these forces cannot erode carefully placed rock in a short amount of time. The structures slow and hold water in some situations, resulting in the increase of the water table in the area. So, why should we care about the Houston Draw system? Houston draw supports many wildlife species, including habitat for elk, deer, and many other wildlife species. Using rock structures and treating the stream will stop or slow down erosive factors, lessen the amount of force the water carries, and raise the water table. Raising the water table will reestablish vegetation with more dense roots, allowing for these plants to hold water within the meadow again. This, combined with an increased water table, will allow for a restored and productive meadow that all wildlife will benefit from. Finally, there will be cleaner and more available water for SRP to allocate to the people of northern Gila County.

The Arizona Elk Society is excited to conquer this multi-year project.

If you are interested in volunteering to help at Houston Draw, then be sure to sign up as a volunteer on our website at arizonaelksociety.org/get-involved Arizona Elk Society 15


Arizona SQUIRREL SOCIETY? by John Koleszar

I struggled through knee-deep snow trying to get back to the Prius. I knew there would be days I missed the Tundra, and this was one of them. The skies were the dreary color of lead and threatened to dump more snow on the already blanketed forest floor. It was the day after the last of the elk hunts in unit 3C and I had promised “BB” that if we both made it through the hunts we would meet up at our old rendezvous spot. The temperature was hovering around 28 degrees and I was hoping that “BB” would show up at least a bit early. The forecast called for cold, followed by colder and then even more cold. I could hardly wait to be heading back to the valley as I felt hypothermia creeping into my old bones. “Well, well, well” boomed the distinctive guttural sounds of a raspy “BB”.“Look what’s dragging up the snow banks today”. As usual, “BB” had somehow managed to mystically appear and from my initial look, he was in one piece. “Hello “BB” , you appear to be a little run down, but I don’t see any obvious damage to your thick hide.”“BB” snickered and said “It’s pretty hard to get hurt up here these days, I’ve been running with a herd of horses and if you stay in the middle of them, no one can see you.” I looked to see if he was pulling my leg, but he appeared to be serious. “BB”, I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I think those antlers of yours might have been a clue that you weren’t a horse.” “BB” shook his massive head and barked out a laugh. “Damn boy aren’t you just so smart. Of course they could see my antlers dummy, but no one would dare to touch off a round with all those 16 Tracker 4th Quarter 2019

nags around me. That fine of $50,000 and prison time has most hunters scared to even look at those nags. I had an easy time during daylight hours just hanging with them.” I wanted to make a smart reply to him, but as frozen as I felt, nothing came to me. “Ok, how was the rut this fall? Did you uhm… hook up with any ladies?”“BB” gave me his patented evil eye and I could almost feel his anger building. “What rut? Didn’t you get out here with your pointy sticks this fall? It was so damn hot early on that no one wanted to move around. Then, by the time it should have been show time, there were hardly any ladies around to uhm… date.” “BB” pawed at the snow and then launched into one of his famous monologues. “I may have been gone for a spell, but I think that this whole forest is just all screwed up. I used to see photographers and hunters all over the place. Now they take pictures of those damn nags, and hunters can’t seem to figure out that doing cow calls won’t work.” He paused for a moment and then got back into it. “Have you ever been to a big dance and there were supposed to be a lot of good looking women there?” I smiled at “BB” and said “Yeah, a time or two I’ve been there and done that. Why do you ask”? “BB” shouted at me “What the hell boy! There were no damn cows out there this fall. I drove off over twenty bulls looking for cows this year and only found two cows that I could entice to hang with me. Everything that was supposed to happen didn’t. The whole damn forest seemed vacant…… except for of course those nags that everyone wants pictures of.”


I nodded my head and responded “Yeah “BB”, things aren’t like they used to be. There certainly didn’t seem to be a lot of elk anywhere south of the 260. I noticed that too.” “BB” seemed to be thinking about something and he quietly asked another question. “How many squirrels did you see this fall? How many turkeys did you see this fall? I think something is really wrong and I can’t figure it out. I know almost every water tank was bone dry by the end of summer, I really couldn’t find much water at all, and I know some of the other bulls had the same issue. Then the downpour of September 23rd hit and every tank was full again, but there were no cows around. It was weird and almost spooky.” I thought about it for a minute and I had to agree. “BB”, I said, you may be on to something here, I didn’t see but one squirrel the whole season that I was up here. I didn’t think about that much until just now. I wonder what happened to them? I usually have to be really still or they chatter up and down and it sometimes blows my cover.” “BB” started up again. “I know what happened. Those damn horses stomped them every time they tried to come in to get a drink of water. You know how horses guard the water holes until they run out. That’s what happened to them by god, they stomped them to death!” I just shook my head. “BB”, that’s silly I know horses will drive off other wildlife to guard water, that’s why we call them the bullies of water here in the west, but stomping them to death? I don’t think so.” “BB” was adamant, “OK mister smart guy, you tell me what happened to all the squirrels since I’ve been gone. If the horses didn’t stomp them, then where are they? Did you see all the acorns out there this year? We had a bumper crop of acorns and in case you didn’t know it, squirrels eat acorns.” I had no real answer for that one. I knew the crop of acorns this year had been exceptional and I had not seen any squirrels. “BB” went on. “I think it’s time to start one of those 501(C))3 groups for squirrels. We can call it the Arizona Squirrel Society. Our motto will be “You can bet you’re A.S.S. that we care for squirrels.” I must have had one of my goofy looks, because he started that damn braying laugh that he has. “Oh boy, that look on you is priceless. Think about it, you could start on of those projects for squirrels, water bottles up in big Ponderosa trees that have those little nozzles so squirrels can get a drink. You could get grants for building a water storage container for squirrels. The horses couldn’t get to them up in the trees and then the little squirrels would be saved.”

At that point my head hurt. “BB”, I think you spent a little too much time in space. That’s one of the weirdest ideas I have ever heard of.”“BB” however was persistent. “Boy, you check with the Arizona Game and Fish Department when you get back to the valley, I’ll bet that the squirrel population has taken a big hit this year. Those little guys are my friends and I miss them. I think the A.S.S. is a great idea. You could start a banquet for saving the squirrels. You could do videos on how they need to be an integral part of the forest ecology. We need them to balance the whole forest. Without them we have an imbalance in the natural order of forests.” I looked at “BB” and for once I didn’t know if he was pulling my leg or being serious. “Uh, well “BB”, I ‘ll tell you what. When I’ get back to the valley, I will call the department and find out about your friends the squirrels. If there is something to this, maybe we can start the A.S.S…… at the very least it will drive the Apache Sitgreaves forest personnel nutty (my pun)… imagine doing squirrel projects and asking for survey numbers on squirrels….. Perhaps a drone survey would work.” With a smirk on his big face, “BB” turned back towards the forest. “I’m headed over to the White Mountain Apache reservation now. They don’t have as many horses as you have here and it’s a lot quieter there. Come see me when the grass starts to come up and there’s no snow on the ground. I’ll meet you here and you’d better have the paperwork for the 501(c)3 complete.” Note: While some of this work is fiction, I did note this year that there was a notable shortage of squirrels. In conversations with the AZGFD small game branch, they indicated that the harsh winter and lack of water after the spring contributed to a severe drop in squirrel numbers. “BB” was correct…….. I hate it when he’s right. JK

Arizona Elk Society 17


My First

ELK

HUNT by Turner Berrett

I want to thank Greg Godbehere and the rest of the Board at the Arizona Elk Society for their knowledge and help iwth my first elk hunt at age 12. I had a fantastic experience with the youth hunt in 6A and 5BS with my brother Tanner, my dad and Greg as our guide. We hiked and called in some very large bulls while looking for the perfect cow elk.  After finding the perfect one, I took a 150 yard shot.  After finding a blood trail at dusk we decided to come back in the morning to retrieve my elk.  After searching and searching, Wayne and Richard from the AES Board came and assisted in finding the elk.  We found my elk laying in a bed of ferns.  We were shown how to dress my trophy by using the “guttless” method and then we carried out my rewards.  What a great experience for a first time hunting.  The special program they have for the youth hunt was awesome.  The dinner, raffle and instruction by the Arizona Game & Fish Department made this a successful hunt for me.  Thanks again Arizona Elk Society!

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INCREASE CASH FLOW AND HELP WILDLIFE, YOUTH & VETERANS by Ron Huddleston If you’re retired or nearing retirement and depend on your investments for income, do you worry about your cash flow? You probably do! The rates of return for many fixed-income investments – certificates of deposit, treasury bills, money-market funds – have been stuck at incredibly low rates for years, and prospects for improvement are uncertain at best. Consequently, many retired individuals who rely on these relatively safe investments have seen their incomes decrease.  Meanwhile, inflation remains a factor and living expenses continue to increase. If these trends affect you, we invite you to consider a charitable gift annuity with Arizona Elk Society.  The gift annuity rate (based on your age/s at the time you establish the annuity) will likely be higher than the rate of return you are now receiving on your fixedincome investments, although with a gift annuity you make an irrevocable transfer of your principal.  Here are sample rates for individuals and couples:

 One Person Age  Rate   65 4.7%   70 5.1%   75 5.8%   80 6.9%   85 8.0%    Two Person Age  Rate   65/65 4.2%   70/70 4.6%   75/75 5.0%   80/80 5.8%   85/85 6.9% 

An attractive gift annuity rate is not the only advantage. Other benefits include: • Fixed payments for as long as you live. • An immediate income tax charitable deduction. • In most instances, payments that are partially tax-free. • Capital gain tax reduction if the annuity is funded with appreciated stock. In addition to increasing your cash flow, a charitable gift annuity helps Arizona Elk Society provide vital programs that repair our environment, strengthen our elk herd, educate our children about the great outdoors and give peace and healing to our wounded warriors. At the end of your life (or, with a two-life annuity, the end of both lives), the remainder of the principal you have transferred will be used to create your legacy for the Arizona Elk Society.  We would be pleased to provide you with an illustration, based on your age/s, showing how a gift annuity could benefit you. Just give me a call or drop me an email.  There is no obligation.  This is a service to help you decide whether a gift annuity might be an appropriate way for you to do yourself a favor and support the Arizona Elk Society mission at the same time. Ron Huddleston 623-444-4147 or ron@arizonaelksociety.org Arizona Elk Society 19


by Erica Swisher AES’ Wild in the City event was held at the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Ben Avery Range on November 10, 2019. We had a great

2019

turnout with 88 kids registered along with 57 parents. The goal of this event is to introduce outdoor and wildlife skills to kids between the ages of 6-16 who may not be aware of all the possibilities that are available to us here in Arizona. And it is great to see our kids enjoying the outdoors without cell phones or video games!

Teaching tomorrow’s wildlife stewards today. 20 Tracker 4th Quarter 2019


This fun one-day event, which included a hamburger lunch, provided classes on: horsemanship, archery, rifle marksmanship, gold panning/metal detection, leathercrafts, animal identification, and the making of survival bracelets. Many thanks go out to our fantastic sponsors: Cabela’s, Sportsman’s, 3G Archery, Gold Prospectors of America, Phoenix Varmit Callers, Empower Ranch. We would also like to thank the army of volunteers that help us put on this event twice every year. And our next Wild in the City event in February is already sold out! Please keep an eye on our website for upcoming events, especially Wapiti Weekend in July! Arizona Elk Society 21


SECC POLARIS RANGER RAFFLE

WINNER: JOSH AVEY WITH AZGFD Thank you to:

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Arizona Elk Society 23


Elk Workshop AT SIPE WHITE MOUNTAIN WILDLIFE AREA Photo by: Jeffrey Lehrer

On Oct. 5, 2019, the Arizona Elk Society White Mountain Chapter and Arizona Game and Fish Department partnered to put on an elk natural history and viewing workshop at Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area. Workshop presentations took place most of the day followed by an early dinner served by AES. Maps were provided directing attendees to nearby areas with likely elk viewing opportunities. Vortex brought the optics for spotting the elk.

Workshop topics included: • Elk natural history • Elk management in Arizona • History of Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area • Elk calling

• How to choose the best optics for wildlife viewing or hunting • Wildlife Photography by AZGFD photographer George Andrejko • How to get started hunting

A big thank you to the AZGFD Pinetop Region, the AES volunteers AND to Vortex for providing binoculars for the raffle!

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STATE EMPLOYEE CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTION AZGFD

Clay Target Fun Shoot

Team Members of the Arizona Elk Society were able to take a day away from our conservation work and enjoy time with fellow supporters at the SECC Clay Target Fun Shoot. The Fun Shoot benefits charities like AES, as well as Wildlife for Tomorrow and Special Olympics. It was an honor and privilege to participate in this shoot. Team AES is grateful for all the participants, volunteers, SECC employees, as well as the AZGFD for hosting such a fun and successful event.

Arizona Elk Society 25


i

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 26 Tracker 4th Quarter 2019

* Deceased


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

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

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

David Baril Sponsor Partner

Bass Pro Shops Sponsor Partner

Tom & Janet Bowman Sponsor Partner

Cabela’s Sponsor Partner

Harry Carlson Imperial Partner

Pacific West Representatives Royal Partner

Stephen Clark Sponsor Partner Ron & Sharon Eichelberger Sponsor Partner

Walt and Cookie Nicoson Royal Partner Sharon & John Stuckey Imperial Partner

Sportsman’s Warehouse Sponsor Partner

Arizona Elk Society 27


7773 W. Golden Lane Peoria, Arizona 85345

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MARK YOUR CALENDAR State MAR Banquet 28

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Northern Arizona Peaks Chapter

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White Mountain Chapter

OTHER EVENTS:

WILD IN THE CITY– FEB. 22 ISE SHOW – MAR. 13-15

BANQUETS

AZGFD EXPO – MAR. 28-29 JR. TURKEY CAMP (UNIT 23) APRIL 16TH-19TH

See website for details on events & more at www.arizonaelksociety.org 28 Tracker 4th Quarter 2019

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