Walk On The Wild Side At Wildlife Festival

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There's no need to forage in the forest looking for fauna, when native animals, birds, and reptiles can be seen up close and personal at the Sixth Annual Payson Wildlife Fair and Fishing Fest Saturday, May 13 at Green Valley Park.


A number of exhibits, displays and activities will follow this year's theme, "Take a walk on the wild side."


The event, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine, is free and open to the public.


Representatives from Ducks Unlimited, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Arizona Wildlife Federation, Arizona State Parks and many other agencies will be on hand to show people how to build bird nest boxes and bat roost boxes, and how to fly-cast and fish for trout.


Fishing enthusiasts will be able to see an assortment of antique and unique fishing lures, reels, and other fishing paraphernalia.


People 14 years and older will be able to fish without a state or urban fishing license from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the event. Fly rods and reels will be available, and fishing instructors will be on hand to teach people how to cast.


In connection with the fair, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Zane Grey Chapter of Trout Unlimited will give free trout lure and fly-fishing clinics from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, May 12 and from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, May 13. Class sizes are limited to 20 people, and pre-registration is required for the Friday class.


Saturday's wildlife fair is sponsored by the Mogollon Sporting Association in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department and Payson Parks and Recreation Department.


To register for the Friday evening fishing clinic, call the Payson Parks and Recreation Department at 474-5242, extension 7. For more information on the Wildlife Fair and Fishing Fest, call the Payson Ranger District at 474-7900.

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