Big game hunters are about to see a big change to the timing of the draw for two of the most popular hunting seasons in Arizona. This will be the first year that the Arizona Game and Fish Department holds a winter draw, or lottery, for elk and antelope tags.
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission conducted a special meeting to set the application schedule for the new winter draw. The idea of the switch is to let hunters know early enough whether they have been drawn for these two popular big game animals, prior to their applying for fall deer, turkey, javelina, bear and buffalo hunts during the traditional application process in the spring.
The commission will set the permit numbers for the elk and antelope hunting seasons during its meeting on Dec. 9 in Phoenix. The department will begin accepting applications through the online process or via manual applications for elk and antelope as soon as the regulations are posted on the department’s Web site at www.azgfd.gov. That posting should occur by the end of December. The printed regulations should be available at hunting license dealers by Jan. 12. The application deadline for elk and antelope is Feb. 13.
The grace period for the winter draw will end at 5 p.m. on Jan. 19. During the grace period, if a paper hunt-permit tag application that is manually submitted contains an error, the department will make three attempts within a 24-hour period to notify the applicant by telephone, if the applicant provides a phone number.
BIRD HUNT PLACES ONLINE
For bird hunters, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has launched www.wingshootingusa.org, a free online directory of places to hunt. The site links to more than 1,000 daily-fee preserves, another modern solution for busy hunters seeking an easy way to stay in the game.
John Rhomer, co-owner of Arizona Flyfishing in Tempe, and Mitch Vitkovich, local tournament bass angler, will speak on flyfishing for bass at the Arizona Flycasters Club meeting at 7 p.m., Dec. 14, at the Sunnyslope Community Center, 802 E. Vogel St., in Phoenix. The public is invited at no charge. For more information, call (602) 992-1434 or visit www.azflycasters.org....
Arizona Game and Fish Commission Chairman Joe Melton will provide a cage (live) trapping presentation at the Arizona Predator Callers meeting at 7 p.m., Dec. 14, at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 9 at 1450 E. Main St. in Mesa. Non-member admission is $5 and includes refreshments and door prizes; students under 18 are free. For more information, call Mike Burris at (480) 654-1411.
FISHING HOT SPOTS
Urban lakes: All the urban lakes have been stocked with trout. There were around 11,600 trout stocked ranging from 10 to 12 inches. The fish were stocked at rates of 50-100 fish per lake surface acre, so fishing should be good. Try Berkley Power Bait, nightcrawlers, red worms or crickets. Other simple baits such as bread, corn or cheese can work as well. The lakes were also stocked with 5- to 9-inch sunfish. The hybrid bluegill can be caught quite readily on meal worms, red worms or pieces of nightcrawlers. The key is to fish with light line in the 2- to 6-pound-test range, small hooks sizes 12-16 and minimal weights.
P.O. Box 859
Mesa, AZ 85211