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ARIZONA ELK SOCIETY 4th Quar ter 2020


H2O Tank Repair



Michael Anderson

AES LIFE MEMBERS Mike Abramovich Dan Adler Christopher Agnone Hector Albarran Ken Alexander John Anderson Michael Anderson Patti Anderson John Anton Ernest Apodaca, Jr. Steve Armstrong Tony Baca Pete Baldwin James Ballard Leo Balthazor Lee Banning David Baril Kenneth Barnes Philip Barrett Ron Batz Randy Beck F.K. Benbow Tony Benites David Bennett Joseph Berardi Danny Berg Keith Berger Robert Besst Bruce Bettis John Bingham Jason Bluhm Tom Bobo Jr. Tom Bowman Janet Bowman Tish Bradford Dan Bradford Richard Briskin Stephen Brown, MD Gary Bryans Jr Jeffrey Buchanan Kurt Buckwald Robert Bueche Mike Burr Carlton Buscemi Michael Bush Esther Cadzow John Cadzow* Daniel Capote Cindi Carlson Lupe Carlson Harry Carlson Kenneth Carney Brandon Carr Terry Carson Chris Casper Steve Casterton

Marcus Castro Nick Celenza Joe & Marisa Cerreta Randy Cherington Pete Cimellaro Richard Clark Steve Clark Gerad Claseman McAllen Coalson Bob Cockrill, Jr. Donna Marie Coleman Todd Coleman Francisco Contreras Barbara Cook James Cook Frank Cooper Russell Coover Robert Copeland Mike Coppock Richard Cowen Lonnie Crabtree William Crary Philip Cushman William Cullins Richard Currie Patrick Curry B. Todd Curtis Kay Davidson Don Davidson William Davis Bill Davis Jamie Davis Larry Day Kurt Davis Brian Delgado Jim DeVos Mike Dirilo Joe Divito Steven Dodds William Dorsey Ray Dresslar Patrick Dugan Thomas Duncan Paul Durbin* Nick Edwards Ron Eichelberger Sharon Eichelberger Brian Eilers Peter Ekholm Deborah Elliott Nathan Evans Tim Evans Daron Evans Shane Faulkner Scott Fisher Jeffrey Fleetham

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Randy Foote David Forbes Mark France Tom Franklin Douglas Fritz Will Garrison Mark Giebelhaus John Girvin Walt Godbehere Richard Goettel Joshua Grantham Charles Gray Edna Gray H. Alan Hallman, DVM John Hamett Carl Hargis Nate Harrel Charles Ray Harrison Sean Hatch Steve Havertine Merritt Haynes Keith Heimes Dan Hellman R. Todd Henderson Mario Hernandez Michael Hernandez Terry Herndon Charles Herner Joe Herrero Ed Hightower Mike Hobel Paul Hodges III Kevin Hogue Jim Holleran Mel Holsinger Scott Horn Michael Horstman Timothy Hosford Bryan House Danny Howard Ron Huddleston Bruce Hudson John Hull Todd Ingersoll Don Irwin Wayne Jacobs Kyle Jenkins Brian Johnsen Gary Johnson James C. Johnson James Johnson Earl Johnson Edward Johnson Richard Johnson Rick Johnson Adam Jones

Jim Jones Mitchell Jones Scott Jones Bruce Judson Andrew Kap Sandra Kauffman Richard Kauffman, Sr. Jim Kavanaugh Sandra Kearney Bill Kelley Denise Kennedy Chuck Kerr Roger Kesterson Bill Kiefer Brian Kimball Steve King David Kinman Donald Kinney Peter Klocki Peter Knadler John Koleszar Charles Koons Brian Koziol Joseph Krejci Otto Kuczynski Joseph LaJeunesse Joseph M. Lane James Lara Kevin Lawhor Randy Lay Dylan Lechter Michael Lechter Jeffrey C. Lehrer Justin Leitner Skylar Lempinen Jorge Leon Steve Leone Ruben Lerma Scott Lewis Kevin Libsack Bob Litchfield Tim Littleton Ryan Lloyd James Lynch, Jr. Bob Mallory John Marriott Eric Martin Don Martin Robert Martin Joseph Masseur Karl Matchinsky Gary Matchinsky Russ McDowell Steve McGaughey Angela McHaney Kelly McMillan

James Mehen* William Meredith James Mingus Matt Minshall Richard Moraca James Mullins James Mullins Matt Mullins Robert Murry, DVM Ronald Nadzieja Gregory Naff Annette Naff Megan Naff Keith Newlon Mark Nicholas Anthony Nichols Brandon Nichols Fletcher Nichols Lance Nichols Logan Nichols Cookie Nicoson Walt Nicoson* Paige Nicoson John Nightengale Kathi Nixon Mark Nixon Nick Novak David Nygaard Donna Obert Douglas Obert, Sr.* James Oldham Bob Olds Raul M. Ortiz Martin Paez Sallie Page Pete Page Danny Palmer Duane Palmer Everett Palmer Chris Parish Marlin Parker Don Parks Jr. Dale Parrish Billy Patterson Shawn Patterson Art Pearce Mike Pellegatti Allen Perez Guy Phillips Paul Piker Jack Poggendorf Forrest Purdy* Jan Purdy Mark Raby* Kenneth Ramage Steve Remige

Jim Renkema Robin Renowden Armon Rheaume Keith Riefkohl Mel Risch* Preston Riveras Travis Roberts Aaron Ruiz Roy Ruiz Todd Sabin Mike Sanders Kevin Sargent Michelle Schaefer Steven Schaefer Mark Schepers Rick Schmidt Barry Schmitz Tom Schorr Scott Schuff DeAnne Schuff Nathaneal Schulz Kurt Schulz Shannon Schulz Terry Schupp Peter Schwan Michael Schwindenhammer Bill Shaffer Steven Shaffer Howard Shaffer William Shaffer, Jr Lonzo Shields Mark Simon Terrence Simons Charlene Sipe Andrew Smigielski Michael Snyder Robert Spurny Connor Stainton Gregory Stainton Randy Stalcup Douglas Stancill Ray Steffen Jr Stan Stellwagen Mark Stephenson Arlen Stewart Shane Stewart James Stewart John Stuckey Vashti “Tice” Supplee Nick Swanson Al Swapp Debbie Swapp Bob Swisher James Symonds Tim Talbott

Dan Taylor Amos Terrell Jr. Todd Thelander Pete Thomas Nick Thompson Billy Thrash Donald Tirpak Bill Tocci Linda Tocci John Toner Corey Tunnell Lee Turner Sandra Turner Bill VenRooy Rick Vincent, Sr. John Wagner Carl Walker Kathleen Walp William Walp Peter Walters Don Walters, Jr. Caryn Walsh Thomas Walton Bill Wasbotten Dale Watkins David Watts Rick Watts Paul Weaver Jerry Weiers Dee White Larry White Kevin Widner Chris G. Williams Richard Williams Scott Wilt Matt Windle Glenn Wooden Cory Worischeck Mark Worischeck Joseph Worischeck Robert Younger Richard Youngker Chuck Youngker Dave Zibbon Scott Ziebarth Craig Zimmerman

* deceased

Shop Amazon Smile & Support Arizona Elk Society! As COVID-19 forces us to do our shopping online, please remember you can provide a free donation in support of Arizona Elk Society when you shop at smile.amazon.com.

It takes just three easy steps. 1. Go to smile.amazon.com If you already have an Amazon account, sign in. You will receive a prompt to select your charity. 2. Search for “Arizona Elk Society”. 3. Confirm your selection. That’s it. Every time you shop at smile.amazon.com you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as amazon.com, with the added benefit that Amazon will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to the Arizona Elk Society. Don’t forget to tell you friends and family too!

Scan to make AES your Amazon partner!

Arizona Elk Society 3


Snow, at long last, has come to Arizona’s high country. I hope we get more before winter’s end and that all of you submitting elk hunting applications got them in on time. Now the “big wait” begins as we hope for success in the draw. The happy ray of hope is COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are falling in Arizona. Arizona Elk Society is waiting to hear from various venues about AES banquet events we are planning for this summer. Do stay on alert for online auction opportunities similar to last year. I, like all of you, look toward days when we can all gather and share our love of the outdoors and elk over a hearty meal and drinks with friends.

with the White Mountain Apache Tribe. Repair of the fences will prevent cattle and horses from trespassing onto the allotment and elsewhere on the national forest. We expect to start this project in May/June of this year. You can sign up for the AES e-newsletter to stay informed by clicking the tab on the left side of the home page at arizonaelksociety. org.

Yours in Conser vation, T ice Supplee

I am so very thankful to all who have supported AES this past year with your donations and your time as volunteers. The water hauling teams completely wowed the Arizona Game and Fish Department. More than 50 volunteers from AES and other organizations delivered over 1.3 MILLION GALLONS OF WAT ER for wildlife in northern Arizona. AES delivered 848,000 gallons in Flagstaff Region 2 alone! Way to go team! Dedicated volunteers participated in smaller project opportunities, including the upgrade of two AZGFD catchments in Unit 4B and some sawyer projects. We most unfortunately had to keep volunteer projects to a minimum this past year. Do stay tuned and be sure to complete the AES volunteer form at www.arizonaelksociety.org/get-involved if you have not done so already. We are planning and hoping to have a few water catchment and a fence repair/ construction project in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest on the Burro Creek Allotment that AES retired from livestock grazing so that the grass is allocated 100% to wildlife. We are responsible for the boundary fences, particularly the one shared

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For more information on volunteering opportunites, scan the QR code using your smartphone’s camera.







Best Hunting Trip Ever by Nate Dabney, SSG, US Army, Retired

H2O Tank Repair by Roger Rohrbach

14 -19



Project Update by Scott Boyle

Volunteer Spotlight by Jamie Lyons

BB’s 30-30 by John Koleszar

Hunting State 48 Conservation Essay Contest by Madison Presmyk

2 May and d 231 elk 88 in 2020 Mexico. lded while ological itted them es to es and ality; under 10 e fitted all r tags in eleased at and Figure 2 Elk calf caught during the 2020 calving season. The calf was fitted ugh first with both an expandable GPS collar and a VHF ear tag to allow for both ays through tracking of daily movements and detection of a mortality event. ays through a week 2019 season. During the 2020 calving season, we fitted each calf with a F ear tags and GPS collars. The GPS collars were programmed with a 2-hour llow for fast recovery of mortalities. In cases where the collar was slipped, ags via ground and aerial telemetry.


AES Founding Members

ng and Cause-specific mortality

ugust 2020, there were 87 non-capture related mortalities of adult females. predation were the primary sources of mortality for adult females (Table 1). included malnutrition (n = 8), mountain lion predation (n = 23), wolf ar predation (n = 1), road kill (n = 5), hunter harvest (n = 30) and unknown (n = 5). We were unable to attribute a known cause for 5 additional

of 15 August 2020, there were 120 confirmed mortalities of the 231 calves alf mortalities were associated with malnutrition (n = 3), predation by ountain lions (n = 12), bears (n = 7), wolves (n = 6), and bobcats (n = 3); one . There were also 39 mortalities due to predators that we were unable to r species and 30 mortalities for which we were unable to attribute to a known dition of the carcass (Table 2).


Upcoming Events

of 15 August 2020, 101 of the 188 calves captured in 2020 had died. Calf ociated with malnutrition (n = 23), coyote predation (n = 24), mountain lion bear predation (n = 13), wolf predation (n = 18), and bobcat predation (n = 1). known predation mortality and 3 for which we were unable to attribute to a the condition of the carcass (Table 3). The addition of GPS collars in 2020

The cover photo

is by Mike Pellegatti, with Wild Vision. Thank you for

sharing your wonderful

elk photos with us Mike!

Arizona Elk Society 5

OFFICERS President - Tice Supplee Vice President - Greg Godbehere Treasurer - Christopher K. Lutzel Secretary - Richard Moraca Executive Director - Steve Clark

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Wayne Bouton Randy Burton Joe Di Vito Ron Huddleston Andrew Kap

OUR MISSION STATEMENT The mission of the Arizona Elk Society is to benefit elk and other wildlife by generating resources for habitat conservation and restoration, and to preserve our hunting heritage for present and future generations.

Glen Jones Steve Schaefer

The Arizona Elk Society is a non-profit 501(c)(3) wildlife organization.


Rich Williams You may send a message for any officers, board members or committee chairs to stevec@arizonaelksociety.org

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Visit us online at

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

Celeeating 30 Years of Serving You!

Join us in the celebration!

Visit us at communitytirepros.com/30th-anniversary

$30 Off Your First Visit!

Arizona Elk Society 7

HUNTING STATE 48 CONSERVATION ESSAY CONTEST An essay contest was held with the intention of getting youth interested in hunting and the conservation of wildlife in Arizona.The following story is the first in the series of first place winners’

by Madison Presmyk, 1st place winner, 13-15 year olds Many people adorn their houses with family photos, paintings, or even mirrors. However, if you’ve ever visited the home of a hunter, you know our decorating preferences are often very different. Mementos of our adventures, close to home or across the globe, often fill the walls. Someone who is not a hunter themself may wonder why we choose the life we do. For me and many members of the community, to hunt is to explore, to make memories, to conserve, and to feel like you’re making an impact. Hunting is important to me because it means I’m doing my part to leave a healthy world for future generations. Regulating the population of wildlife is crucial to maintaining a balanced ecosystem. Thanks to hardworking wildlife authorities, we have population estimates that determine the number of tags to distribute. This calculated balance is what ensures every individual of every species has the resources they need to thrive and reproduce. My belief, and likely many others’, is that population monitoring means preventing a surplus of underfed, sick animals in favor of a thriving, sustainable population of fewer members. Additionally, harvesting your own meat means you know exactly what you’re feeding to you and your family, and you can better appreciate it because you know the effort that went into getting it. Giving up the stresses and demands of daily life in favor of a weekend trip to the wilderness is one of my favorite things about hunting. Those who have had the opportunity know that while a lack of cell service can be intimidating, it’s ultimately liberating. Whether you are successful in tagging out or not is incomparable in importance to the memories you will treasure forever. One of my favorite hunting experiences was when it was just me and my dad on my deer hunt. In the

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tricky terrain of southern Arizona, we struggled over hills and slipped down valleys. Our legs stung with cacti needles and the sun beat down on us as we clung to the thin shade of mesquite trees. But though the scouting, hiking, and tracking were mentally and physically demanding, the reward was worth every second of struggle. The feeling of getting back in the truck, looking back out over the hills we just trekked, and being able to say we were triumphant is truly like no other. Whether you escape on your own or with your family and friends, in the arid desert or the snowy forest, hunting is an experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Many people, especially within the hunting community, feel the “call of the wild” and are motivated to do all they can to help the environment and all the creatures that live in it. There is something for every interest or ability level. Teaching a hunter’s ed class, guiding others on their hunts, or volunteering with organizations that work towards something you’re passionate about are just a few ways to act to conserve wildlife. The simplest and arguably most effective way to protect the natural world and to keep the tradition of hunting alive is to practice it yourself. Teach through example, whether it’s to your kids, friends, or family, how to be a responsible and informed hunter. Remind yourself and those around you why you hunt. Use the powerful tools of social media to spread your beliefs and adventures in a positive and respectful way. Hunting is not only a way to keep the natural world healthy and thriving; it’s also a way to recharge, connect with your companions, and learn what you are truly capable of.

Organizations • AZGFD • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation: Home • Arizona Elk Society • Hunts for Heroes | AES Hunting Project for Disabled Veterans • Mule Deer Foundation – Ensuring the conservation of mule deer, black-tailed deer & their habitat

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by Nate Dabney, SSG, US Army, Retired

I got involved with Arizona Elk Society’s Heroes Rising Outdoors (HRO) / Hunt for Heroes program several years ago when a friend of mine, a fellow veteran, told me about an organization that got disabled veterans away from the city and into the outdoors. To me, the fact that it included hunting was HUGE! My name is Nate Dabney. I’m a former Army Flight Paramedic with the 82nd Airborne, deploying to Afghanistan in 2009-2010. During one of the many serious situations we were involved in, I was carrying an injured soldier and ended up disabled myself, crushing my spine from top to bottom. Years later I felt very blessed to be able to still walk without too many problems. As a father of three boys and a lifelong hunter, I longed to being able to provide meat for the table

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as well as be a good example to my sons. But carrying anything other than a firearm pretty much left me hunting small game. I needed help. That’s where Heroes Rising Outdoors stepped in. My freezer was looking a bit empty as November 2020 approached. I was surprised when I got a last-minute call from Tom Wagner, lead coordinator for Heroes Rising Outdoors. “Hey, Nate, are you available for a bull elk hunt?” In disbelief I told Tom, “Are you kidding? You bet!” I had been out with HRO previously and had a great time with the volunteers that assisted me. Those experiences, though, would pale compared to the Great Bull Hunt of 2020! As opening day drew closer, I was able to convince my

neighbor, Scott Williams, to join me on my hunt. Scott’s a great friend and has years of hunting experience. It made my day when he said he could make it. My hunt was scheduled to start the day after Thanksgiving. We headed up to a cabin in Forest Lakes, Arizona where our hunt camp would be based. Upon arrival we met with the volunteers who would be assisting on the hunt --- our head guide Thomas Keller, his good friend volunteer guide Jason Woelfel, and AES Life Member (and veteran HRO hunter) Don Irwin, who with his wife, Min, graciously cooked for us and were available to assist with the recovery of any harvested elk. In my opinion, they made the trip epic and were a joy to be around! We ate like kings! For the first few days, Thomas steered us into areas where we found cow elk and a few young spike bulls that we passed on. After the 2nd day of hiking/hunting, we were beginning to get a little worn out (the air was quite a bit thinner than down in the Phoenix valley!). Thomas decided it was time for a change and the next day we moved to a huge canyon that came off the White Mountain Apache Reservation. It was a beautiful morning but without doubt the coldest of the week, topping off at 22 degrees with a wind chill of about 10! We didn’t see much of anything. After two hours of glassing and a lot of shivering, we decided to head back to the trucks to thaw

out our frozen bodies. As we began to drive out of the area, my neighbor Scott yelled out, “Bull!” Things immediately got a bit crazy as we all scrambled out into the cold air! I was able to get off a couple of quick shots, but the bulls were young and moving very fast. Clean misses! My guide, Thomas, had us move down the road to circle downwind to try and cut the elk off before they moved down into the canyon. 20 minutes later found us following along the canyon edge. With the wind in our faces, Thomas and I moved forward with the others trailing behind us. As we cleared a small bluff, I was able to see the sun glinting off a beautiful set of elk antlers! I began a tactical creep to get into position. Thomas had stationed himself off my left shoulder and suddenly began signaling for me to look to my left. At the same time the guys behind me were making a huge ruckus telling me to shoot! I had no idea what they were excited about – it sure wasn’t the bull I had my eyes on. At the last second, literally, I saw what all the hollering was about. Standing seemingly next to me was a massive bull elk!! The realization hit the elk at the same time, and with wide eyes the bull pivoted his massive body and started running through the trees. Fortunately, my tactical training hadn’t diminished. I was able to find the bull in my scope’s crosshairs and pulled the trigger! The brush and saplings were very thick as Thomas and I slowly moved forward into the dense woods, listening for any sound of the bull. The rest of our group trailed behind looking for sign. I wasn’t sure if I had made a successful shot. After about 5 minutes of slow tracking, the woods opened up to a small clearing. The smell of elk was strong in the air. Then there he was, standing less than 10 yards from me! As he saw me and began to turn away, I was able to swing my rifle up and land two quick shots behind the bull’s shoulder. My hunt was over! A beautiful 6x bull elk would be going home with me. The whole experience was so surreal that it took me a few minutes to realize the immensity of what had just happened. Not only did I get my elk, but the bull was

Arizona Elk Society 11

MASSIVE! Pictures were taken and then the guys started the task of field dressing my elk. Don and his wife were backsavers as they drove their UTV close to us to assist with the recovery of my bull. After we dropped the meat off at the processor, the adrenaline finally started to subside. Back at the cabin, we finally warmed up, relaxing and laughing as we all relived the Great Hunt. I must thank Todd and Lori Brecto for the use of their awesome cabin in Forest Lakes – elk hunting couldn’t get any more comfortable! Key takeaways: I never would have been able to accomplish even one part of my hunt on my own. Every aspect of this great experience outdoors I owe to the selfless efforts of the volunteers of the Arizona Elk Society! Their servant hearts were 100% the true blessing of this hunt. Not only did I fill my freezer with meat, but my heart as well with many wonderful memories made with new friends! Heroes Rising Outdoors has provided me an escape from the monotony of everyday life, pulled me into the outdoors, and helped me push my limits. This has enabled me to build some valuable relationships with other veterans and AES volunteers – friendships I enjoy today and will into the future. Being able to come home revived and refreshed, I now have new stories to tell my sons as I raise them to be hunters. I would highly encourage any disabled veterans out there who might be interested in these type opportunities to check out Arizona Elk Society’s Heroes Rising Outdoors program – see what they can do to help enrich your life.

Todd & Lori,


My wife and I were the “cooking/hospitality crew” on this past week’s elk hunt in 3C. We very much enjoyed meeting you folks the day you stopped by the cabin and we shared some game jerky and stories out front. I wanted to let you know the hunt turned out to be quite a success. You’ll see in the pictures the beautiful bull elk the one veteran (orange skull cap) was fortunate enough to harvest. The second veteran was able to get on a smaller bull and get some shots off but wasn’t able to harvest. Both veterans were combat veterans from Iraq & Afghanistan. This experience was quite meaningful to them and provided a wonderful environment to heal from their experiences.  Your donation of the use of your cabin was quite generous and significant in setting the stage to make this the perfect experience all the way around for them. Thank you so much for your generosity and kindness in making this all possible. Every Fall AES receives hunt tag donations in your area. Hopefully, we can collaborate again in the future and be a blessing to more of our fine veterans through this program. Best regards, Don & Min Irwin

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H2O TANK REPAIR by Roger Rohrbach A water catchment near Mesa del Caballo was in need of repair so Joe Sayer and I went out to handle the task. Joe had acquired a recycled metal trough which would replace the rusted one.  The big holding tank is supplied from an asphalt apron and from poly that connects a pocket of water in a spring/wash. The water is held back with a short cement wall that had been deteriorating. While there, we discovered that because the cement wall had been breaking down, the water level was no longer the correct elevation to allow it to run down the poly pipe to the holding tank.   Repairing the section of poly that was cracked and broken, we then moved the entrance hole in the tank a foot lower. The water from the wash/spring can now flow into the holding tank. What a good sight seeing the water flow! 

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THE FOLLOWING IS AN UPDATE to the AES-supported research to show how elk are affected by Mexican gray wolves in regards to movement, habitat selection and population dynamics in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area. Project update: Elk Demography, Movements and Habitat Selection in the Mexican Wolf Recovery Area (1 October 2018 to 15 August 2020) Scott Boyle1, James W. Cain III2, Cara Thompson3, and Zack Farley3 1

Department of Biology, New Mexico State University


U.S. Geological Survey, New Mexico Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology, New Mexico State University


Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology, New Mexico State University

Captures Adults – From January to March 2019 & 2020, we used a combination of corral/clover trapping, ground darting, and helicopter net gunning to capture 674 adult female elk in New Mexico and Arizona; captured elk ranged from 2 to 16 years of age. We stratified captures by relative Mexican wolf density based on the distribution and home range overlap of Mexican wolves; home ranges were estimated from GPS telemetry collars fitted on Mexican wolves by the USFWS. Elk captured via corral/clover traps and ground darting were chemically immobilized. We recorded morphological measurements and collected blood and tooth samples. Blood samples were used to determine pregnancy and disease status. Vestigial canines were used to estimate ages of elk via cementum annuli. For animals captured via corral or clover traps, we estimated rump fat using a portable ultrasound. We fitted all adult elk with ear tags and a GPSIridium telemetry collar set to record locations at 2-hr intervals (ATS, model G5-2D, Isanti, MN). Animals captured via helicopter net gunning were physically restrained with hobbles, blindfolded and capture crews followed the same handling protocol with the exception of rump fat estimation via ultrasound.

Figure 1 Personnel from New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and New Mexico State University process adult female elk captured in a corral trap on the Montosa Ranch, New Mexico 14 Tracker 4th Quarter 2020

Calves – Between 22 May and 27 June, we captured 231 elk calves in 2019 and 188 in 2020 in Arizona and New Mexico. Calves were blindfolded while we recorded morphological measurements and fitted them with telemetry devices to estimate survival rates and cause-specific mortality; processing was kept under 10 minutes. In 2019, we fitted all calves with VHF ear tags in 2019. Calves were released at the point of capture and Figure 2 Elk calf caught during the 2020 calving season. The calf was fitted monitored daily through first with both an expandable GPS collar and a VHF ear tag to allow for both ~45 days, every 2 days through tracking of daily movements and detection of a mortality event. ~75 days, every 4 days through ~105 days and once a week thereafter during the 2019 season. During the 2020 calving season, we fitted each calf with a combination of VHF ear tags and GPS collars. The GPS collars were programmed with a 2-hour mortality sensor to allow for fast recovery of mortalities. In cases where the collar was slipped, we monitor the ear tags via ground and aerial telemetry. Survival Monitoring and Cause-specific mortality Adults – As of 15 August 2020, there were 87 non-capture related mortalities of adult females. Hunter harvest and predation were the primary sources of mortality for adult females (Table 1). Sources of mortality included malnutrition (n = 8), mountain lion predation (n = 23), wolf predation (n = 8), bear predation (n = 1), road kill (n = 5), hunter harvest (n = 30) and unknown predation mortality (n = 5). We were unable to attribute a known cause for 5 additional mortalities. Calves (2019) – As of 15 August 2020, there were 120 confirmed mortalities of the 231 calves captured in 2019. Calf mortalities were associated with malnutrition (n = 3), predation by coyotes (n = 18), mountain lions (n = 12), bears (n = 7), wolves (n = 6), and bobcats (n = 3); one calf was hit by a car. There were also 39 mortalities due to predators that we were unable to assign to a particular species and 30 mortalities for which we were unable to attribute to a known cause due to the condition of the carcass (Table 2). Calves (2020) – As of 15 August 2020, 101 of the 188 calves captured in 2020 had died. Calf mortalities were associated with malnutrition (n = 23), coyote predation (n = 24), mountain lion predation (n = 14), bear predation (n = 13), wolf predation (n = 18), and bobcat predation (n = 1). There was also 1 unknown predation mortality and 3 for which we were unable to attribute to a known cause due to the condition of the carcass (Table 3). The addition of GPS collars in 2020

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have allowed for faster recovery of mortalities and has reduced calf mortalities classified as unknown cause (i.e., unknown predation and unknown) from over 50% from in 2019 to as little as 3% this year. Wolf Predation Site Clusters In August 2019, we began investigating GPS clusters (i.e., >1 GPS point formed within 100 m of another point recorded <24 hours apart) formed by Mexican wolves fitted with GPS collars in the Elk Horn (AZ), Hoodoo (AZ), Prime Canyon (AZ), Iron Creek (NM), Frieborn (NM), Mangas (NM), and Pitch Fork (NM) packs. The goals of the cluster investigations are to estimate Mexican wolf kill rates and prey composition. To avoid missing smaller prey items (e.g., elk and deer neonates), we are also visiting a random sample of 10% of single GPS points.

Figure 3 An adult female elk carcass that was located at a wolf cluster.

To date, we have visited 772 GPS clusters and 409 single GPS points associated with the Mexican wolf collar data. Prey remains were found at 4-6% (n = 22) of the single points, and 2426% (n = 200) of the GPS clusters. Prey species present at these sites include elk neonates (28% of clusters with prey remains), juvenile and adult elk (59%), neonate, juvenile, and adult deer (8%), and adult pronghorn (0.5%). Approximately 20% of the juvenile and adult elk were classified as scavenged rather than predation; these carcasses were located primarily during the elk hunting season (Table 4 & 5). New Mexico – The New Mexico packs we have been following include Iron Creek, Frieborn, Mangas packs, and Pitchfork. To date, we have visited 441 GPS clusters. Prey remains were found at 18-21% (n = 87) of the GPS clusters. Prey species present at these sites include elk neonates (19% of clusters with prey remains), juvenile and adult elk (71%), juvenile and adult deer (8%), and pronghorn (1.1%). Approximately 18% of the juvenile and adult elk were classified as scavenged during the elk hunting season. Arizona – The Arizona packs we have been following include Elk Horn, Hoodoo, and Prime Canyon. To date, we have visited 331 GPS clusters. Prey remains were found at 32-35% (n = 111) of the GPS clusters. Prey species present at these sites include elk neonates (35% of clusters with prey remains), juvenile and adult elk (51%), and neonate, juvenile, and adult deer (8%). Approximately 13% of the juvenile and adult elk were classified as scavenged during the elk hunting season.

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Upcoming Starting mid-August, we began conducting vegetation sampling to estimate both biomass and nutritional quality of forage on the landscape. This sampling will continue until the end of August 2020 and then resume next year (July-August 2021). We will also begin clover trapping and ground darting for adults starting in December of 2020 and continue to March 2021. Helicopter captures for adults will also occur in February to March of 2021.

Figure 4 Clover trap placed at the Sipe Wildlife Area in Springerville, Arizona. This type of clover trap was used throughout the study area from January to April 2020 to assist in adult capture.

“With the addition of the GPS collars, the number of predation unknown and unknown mortalities have dropped from over 50% of the total calf mortality in 2019 (used only VHF ear tags) to being less than 5% of the total mortalities in 2020. We greatly appreciate the contribution Arizona Elk Society made towards the collars.”

–Scott Boyle, Graduate Research Assistant Department of Fish, Wildlife & Conservation Ecology New Mexico State University Arizona Elk Society 17

Table 1. Cause-specific mortality for adult female elk in the Mexican wolf recovery area, New Mexico and Arizona, February 2019 to August 2020. Cause of Mortality Malnutrition Coyote Mountain lion Bear Wolf Hunter harvest Roadkill Predation unknown species Unknown mortality Capture-related Other Total Mortalities Malfunctioning Dropped Total Captures

Total Study Area 8 0 23 1 8 30 5 5 5 8 2 95 233 1 674

New Mexico 5 0 19 1 3 11 1 4 5 7 0 56 125 1 361

Arizona 3 0 4 0 5 19 4 1 0 1 2 39 108 0 313

Table 2. Cause-specific mortality for elk calves captured in 2019 in the Mexican wolf recovery area, New Mexico and Arizona, May 2019 to August 2020. Cause of Mortality Malnutrition Coyote Mountain lion Bear Wolf Bobcat Hunter harvest Roadkill Predation unknown species Unknown mortality Capture-related Other Total Mortalities Dropped Total Captures

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Total Study Area 3 18 12 7 6 3 1 1 39 30 0 0 120 64 231

New Mexico 3 10 10 5 3 1 0 1 28 28 0 0 89 41 162

Arizona 0 8 2 2 3 2 1 0 11 2 0 0 31 23 69

Table 3. Cause-specific mortality for elk calves captured in 2020 in the Mexican wolf recovery area, New Mexico and Arizona, May 2020 to August 2020. Cause of Mortality Malnutrition Coyote Mountain lion Bear Wolf Bobcat Hunter harvest Roadkill Predation unknown species Unknown mortality Capture-related Other Total Mortalities Total Captures

Total Study Area 23 24 14 13 18 1 0 0 1 3 0 4 101 188

New Mexico 20 11 8 11 8 1 0 0 1 2 0 1 63 115

Arizona 3 13 6 2 10 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 38 73

Table 4. Prey species found at wolf clusters classified as wolf kills, New Mexico and Arizona, August 2019 to August 2020. Prey species Elk adult Elk juvenile Elk neonate Deer adult Deer juvenile Deer neonate Pronghorn Turkey Unknown Total kills located Total clusters visited

Total 55 18 50 6 1 1 1 1 3 136 772

New Mexico 26 10 14 2 1 0 1 0 1 55 441

Arizona 29 8 36 4 0 1 0 1 2 81 331

Table 5. Prey remains found at wolf clusters classified as scavenging, New Mexico and Arizona, August 2019 to August 2020. Prey species Elk adult Elk juvenile Elk neonate Elk unknown age Deer juvenile Deer unknown age Total scavenged

Total 23 1 1 2 1 1 29

New Mexico 13 0 0 1 1 0 15

Arizona 10 1 1 1 0 1 14

Arizona Elk Society 19



There are so many reasons our Water for Wildlife volunteers pour their heart and soul into providing water, a detrimental source of survival, to our Arizona Elk and other wildlife. In this edition of Volunteer Spotlight, we are recognizing Michael Anderson for doing just that. Michael explains, “I’m not sure who gets credit for coining the phrase, ‘Doing what I love and loving what I do’, but that fits me to a tee. I have always enjoyed traveling through our diverse and beautiful Arizona outdoors. By volunteering with the Arizona Elk Society (AES), I have that opportunity while at the same time accomplishing good things for our wildlife and landscape. There is a lot of satisfaction when at the end of the day I can look back and see real results. Be it water in a drinker that was once dry, a repaired catchment that can once again can catch moisture or looking out on a field once crowded with moisture robbing trees and now beginning the process of returning grass and water absorption to the cycle.” Michael Anderson started volunteering for AES in 2012, when his friend Roger Hailey asked if he would help rehab a concrete catchment in GMU 7E. That is when his passion for volunteering for AES began. Since 2012, Michael has volunteered in a variety of ways to improve wildlife habitat. He volunteered on the Grass Land Restoration Project, Slate Lakes Project, and helped at the Long Valley Restoration project. In 2016, he volunteered with Dan Bradford and worked on 72 water catchments. On a recent project, he helped rebuild 2 catchments which brought 2 water sources back online after high winds destroyed the old aprons. In 2020, Mr. Anderson delivered over 100,000 gallons of water for wildlife. “This past year was by far the worst conditions I have seen on the landscape and water availability, and I hauled with other volunteers an unprecedented volume of water to nearly every catchment we could get to. All in all, I have visited 400+ catchments with water or a wrench and I’m looking forward to

“Mike is a great friend and advocate for wildlife.

continuing that as long as I’m able”, he explained.

He is eager to answer the call when AES or any

Michael Anderson was born in Flagstaff and has lived his

other organization needs help and service.”

entire life in the shadow of the San Francisco Peaks. He was fortunate enough to have loving parents and siblings who loved the outdoors which led to hunting, fishing, and 20 Tracker 4th Quarter 2020

–Roger Hailey, AES Water for Wildlife Volunteer

“Volunteers are “like a box of chocolates” with different skill sets and interest levels in the work. Mr. Anderson is an extremely rare combination of ability, interest, knowledge, and availability. When the needs are great, I have watched him work harder and get more accomplished as a volunteer than most folk do as paid staff. You can argue about whether Mike is “one in a million”, but I can assure you that a lengthy search thru a vast multitude will be required to find anyone willing and able to do as much as he does for wildlife.”

–Dan Bradford, AES Water for Wildlife.

camping. He lived out on Lake Mary Road, so the forest around his home was his childhood playground. “I have been fortunate enough to travel all over our great country, my wife Ann and I set a goal of seeing every Major League Baseball team play at their home field and we accomplished that. However, my heart always skipped a beat when those peaks came into view and they still do, to this day, whenever I’m away.” When asked to share a message to our readers, Michael stated, “I have one thing to say to our members. If you get the chance to volunteer on a project, even if it’s only for a day, do it. The rewards and memories are all worth the minimal effort.”

The Arizona Elk Society is fortunate to have passionate and diverse volunteers. Our volunteers’ passions, tenacity, and commitment to the Arizona Elk Society pushes the organization to help more youth, veterans, and increase elk viability. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for the Arizona Elk Society, please visit the website at www.arizonaelksociety.org or scan the QR code at left using your smartphone camera.

Arizona Elk Society 21

BB’S 30-30 by John Koleszar

The text came to my phone just prior to the holiday season. BB wanted to meet and he specified the time and place. I was curious why he wanted to meet in Heber of all places but hey, when BB calls, I listen. On December 27th, I arrived in Heber and much to my surprise, the weather was warm. The clouds were white and puffy and if I hadn’t known better I would have thought it was springtime. As I went down my favorite back road behind the Wild Women bar and restaurant I contemplated how brief BB’s text had been. Down in the Valley all we could concentrate on was COVID, elections and issues with work. Arriving in the vast green Mogollon Rim country put everything into perspective. Up on the Rim, weather, weather and weather are always the topics. The dust from behind the Prius made me aware that there was no snow on the ground–the temperatures were hovering around 50 degrees and I only needed a light jacket. As I passed a few dirt tanks, it became crystal-clear that the area around Heber was bone dry. As I rounded a turn in the road, I saw BB munching on some little grass shoots that were still available. He raised his head and nodded for me to join him behind a small group of trees. I walked on over and smiled at my old friend. “BB, you look great” I said. “You made it through another hunting season without any damage to your beautiful hide.” Normally BB would have a smart remark, but he seemed unhappy. Finally he started talking. “Old man, I have something to say and I don’t want you to interrupt me–okay?” I nodded and said, “Go for it BB, what’s on your mind?” 22 Tracker 4th Quarter 2020

BB pulled out papers that were hidden behind some bushes. “I’ve been having some really bad flashbacks to that time when I was gone. Each night I have bad visions about weird things and I can’t get them out of my head.” I frowned at the thought of BB having flashbacks to when he had been abducted, but we had never really talked about it. He was obviously deeply concerned and wanted to get some stuff off his massive chest. I simply nodded and encouraged him to keep going. “I have alternating visions in dreams about 30 years ago and then 30 years into the future. The dreams from 30 years ago are pretty cool. Back then I can see myself in this forest around Heber. There were big thick pine trees and almost no roads or these darn OHV trails through the forest. During the winter and early summer almost no one came into the forest except some of the rangers from the Forest Service or some of the wildlife managers from the Arizona Game & Fish Department. I can see the old cabin at Bear Springs, the lookout at Deer Springs and–there was just no noise or people or anything. I can see my fellow elk, doing what we always do. I realized that there were no such things like trail cameras, quads, horses, and drones. Cell phones and GPS were only used by the government. It was just a beautiful damn place to live.” I nodded my head and said, “I too remember those days BB. I was a young man and had just discovered this area. Back then if you wanted to see any wildlife you had to walk into some rough country or ride a horse out into remote areas. There were no trails from quads since they hadn’t been invented yet. The horses came over here in 2002, some 8 years after the Forest Service and Arizona Game & Fish Department

declared there were no horses left from the original Heber wild horse territory.” BB nodded his big head and smiled, “Yep, those are the stories I heard from my great grandfather, old grandpa 7x7.” BB became very somber. “I have the visions of the future too old man–and it scares me to no end. I see what we will be like in the future. This technology stuff that everyone seems to like so much is damn near everywhere. There are these things that hover in the air all the time. We can’t see them but they are there.” I interrupted him, “Are you talking about drones BB?” BB seemed to think about it for a moment and said, “Well, they must have improved them a whole bunch with some new technology, because every single elk left in Arizona is constantly followed by these things. When a baby elk is born, they send a little dart into the newborn’s body and they then begin to track it for the rest of their lives. Evidently the cost of these drones is really cheap, because they monitor all the elk left in Arizona from the time they are born.” I shook my head and said “BB, do you really see this stuff in the future? I mean what happens to hunting?” BB sadly smiled and said, “Well old man, there are some changes that were made in the future. The Arizona Game and Fish Department no longer exists. It is now called the Arizona Department of Natural Resources and they have a board of people made up of mostly city folks who seldom venture out into the woods. In the year

2032, the state of Arizona has enough elected officials who are tired of hunters and fishermen having their way with wildlife and wildlife decisions. Since Arizona is a state dominated by changing demographics, the ideas of hunting and fishing have been looked down upon by those who do not hunt or fish. Democracy rules in this country, and that means that the majority of people who think one way will dictate the laws that are made, right? Arizona has become in the future what California is today. The influx of people from neighboring states with more “civilized” attitudes has changed the way the majority sees things. Cattle ranching is frowned upon and vegan crops are starting to dominate all the water supplies that are left.” I was deeply concerned about what BB was saying and had to interrupt him, “BB, are these visions, bad dreams or what?” BB stared at me for a while and sadly shook his head. “Nope, these things are what I saw when I was abducted. I was somehow taken into the future. I saw what I thought was a hunting season, but it was really weird. People don’t hunt like they do now. When someone is drawn for an elk hunt–oh by the way, there are only 6,000 tags offered each year, and only the oldest and least likely to breed are culled.” At that point I stopped him, “What do you mean only 6,000 tags BB?” “Again” he said to me, “just

Arizona Elk Society 23

listen and then we talk okay?” With all kinds of anxiety building in me I said, “Go ahead.” BB looked down at his papers and began reading. “In 2050, each “hunter” is allocated his particular animal to hunt. With all the new gizmos they have by then the hunter is given the exact coordinates of where his particular elk is currently located. Following what is known as “compassionate dispatch”, he or she must utilize the weapon of choice to dispatch the animal. The only variance in “hunting” is whether or not they are listed as a “primitive” hunter or a “modern hunter”. Primitive hunting allows for the individuals to go into the forests, knowing the exact GPS coordinates and use a weapon. The modern hunter never has to leave their home, since the Arizona Department of Natural Resources allows for the drones to be armed during the compassionate dispatch. With the use of artificial intelligence, the modern side can actually witness the hunt through special goggles, command the firing sequence for the dispatch shot, and then have meat processor droids handle the harvesting. Within 48 hours, the packaged meat is delivered to the individuals’ door, all wrapped and freeze dried. The primitive hunters have two extra days to fill their tags since they are actually venturing into the woods. Stealth approaches using battery-operated backpacks with engines prevent the animal from hearing the hunters’ approach. Using technology that started with Tesla automobiles, the backpacks provide elevation and forward movement for extremely silent approaches. The added bonus is that physical exertion is limited to strapping on the backpack. For those over 45 years of age and physically listed as obese, the backpacks are mandatory. With the new technology, each hunter has been studying his particular elk for over 90 days, so he

24 Tracker 4th Quarter 2020

knows exactly what his animal looks like AND he has the biochemistry read out on this thing attached to his weapon so there will be no firing at any animal other than the one matching his tag.” I was feeling like I was in some sort of bad movie by this time. “BB” I said, “are you sure this isn’t just a bad dream?” BB stared at me and said, “No old man, I know what the future is because I know what I saw. Human devices that you can’t even think about are part of everyday life in the future. If I had told you 30 years ago about what is happening now would you have believed me?” I thought about the past, and how 30 years had brought about changes that we could not have seen coming. With the technological changes that are being brought to market every day, I had an inkling that perhaps BB had seen the future. I looked into BB’s eyes and said, “Well BB, the only good news about what you told me is that neither one of us will be alive then. At some point between now and then we will both pass on. Tomorrow is guaranteed to no man–and in 30 years of technological “advancements”, I know that I don’t want to be here to see what you have.” BB looked into the sky and said, “In the time I have left I choose to live as well as I can. Watching these people with all their gadgets just makes it easier for me to know that one-on-one in a fair hunt–I would still be here. They lack the skills and commitment to time that is necessary to be in my world and succeed.” I looked at BB and simply could not respond to him. I was part of the world that was closing off the past. When are the tools all that is necessary? When do tools outweigh skill? I don’t have the answers–and the future scares the hell out of me. What will another 30 years of “advances” in technology bring?

Arizona Elk Society 25


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 2020

* Deceased

Arizona Elk Society 27

7773 W. Golden Lane Peoria, Arizona 85345


Volunteer & bring water to wildlife!


Volunteer at arizonaelksociety.org 28 Tracker 4th Quarter 2020

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