Hunters might see javelina permit levels decreased and turkey permits increased for the spring 2004 season.
Prolonged drought is taking its toll on javelina and the hunt permit levels recommended by Arizona Game and Fish Department biologists mirror that trend.
"Javelina herd numbers are down throughout their range due to the drought, and we are recommending an overall decrease in permit levels," explains Big Game Supervisor Brian Wakeling.
The department is recommending the commission reduce general javelina season permits by 600 this year, reduce archery season permits by 200 and reduce handgun, archery and muzzleloader season permits by 500. The department is also recommending a 25-permit reduction for the juniors-only season.
The picture is brighter for turkey hunting.
The department is recommending a 61-permit increase in spring turkey permits, with much of that coming in one unit. "Unit 3C did not have any spring permits this last season because of the Rodeo-Chediski fire. However, field surveys in Unit 3C have resulted in a recommended 50-permit hunt," Wakeling says.
This is the eighth year wildlife managers have used the turkey management scorecards to calculate permit levels and to determine whether a hunt unit should be recommended for a stratified season. During the spring turkey season, harvest has increased steadily from 631 to 660, to 671, to 760, to 950, and to 1,036, although it declined in 2002 to 806.