Hunters will want to get copies of this year's hunting regulations. They are available online and via hunting license dealers. There are lots of changes this year to the big game hunt seasons, in large part to assist efforts to retain and recruit hunters.
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission on April 22 set the commission orders for deer, elk, pronghorn, turkey, javelina, bighorn sheep, buffalo, bear, and mountain lion, along with the small game hunting seasons, predator/fur-bearer seasons, and trapping seasons.
The newly adopted hunt regulations are available online at the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Web site at azgfd.gov. The printed regulations should be available at license dealers throughout the state by mid-May. The fall hunt application deadline is 7 p.m. June 13.
Hunters can again apply online for the big game hunts this year at azgfd.gov.
Here is a quick summary of changes this year:
- There are fall javelina big game hunt permit tags available this year.
- Bonus points and loyalty points now also apply to javelina, turkey and bear.
- A 10-percent nonresident cap now applies to bighorn sheep, buffalo, all antlered deer, bull elk, javelina, antelope and turkey. There is no longer a 15-percent bighorn sheep set-aside of hunt permit tags for nonresidents.
- The $5 application fee per applicant will no longer be refunded on rejected applications.
- Applicants must be 10 years old by deadline day (June 13) to apply for bonus points. However, if applying for a hunt, applicants must be 10 years old by the beginning date of any hunt they select.
- Hunters are required to physically check in for bear and mountain lion kills.
- Archery deer hunters are still required to report their harvest -- compliance for this requirement last year was low.
- Metro unit numbers and boundaries have changed. Units 4A and 5A also changed.
Other proposed changes, such as having an earlier draw for elk and pronghorn antelope, will be implemented next year.
In January and February, the Arizona Game and Fish Department conducted 11 public meetings throughout the state that were attended by approximately 600 people.