Public Help Sought To Guide Hunt Guidelines

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PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department is hosting a series of nine public meetings to solicit input on the proposed revisions under consideration for the hunt guidelines used for setting the 2010-11 and 2011-12 hunting season dates, structures, permit levels and more.

The proposed revisions under consideration for the hunt guidelines were developed based on agency and constituent input since 2007, when hunt guidelines were last revised.

Additionally, the department formally solicited and received more than 100 suggestions during the public comment period in May. Moreover, dozens of ideas, field notes, biological considerations, social aspects and more went into improving the hunt guidelines during a multitude of work sessions by a diverse representation of department employees.

“This draft revision of the hunt guidelines is the result of a collaborative and transparent effort between the department and its constituents,” said Game and Fish director Larry Voyles.

“We want to continue this relationship by encouraging sportsmen and sportswomen to find the time, in their already busy schedules, to attend a public meeting and share their thoughts and concerns. By doing so, together we can shape these guidelines to foster and perpetuate our hunting heritage for the next generation of hunters.”

The draft hunt guidelines will be posted Thursday, June 4 after 10 a.m. on the department’s Web site at www.azgfd.gov/huntguidelines on the right side of the page under the “what’s new” heading.

The public meetings are at the following locations, dates and times:

• Prescott, Thursday, June 11, 6 to 8 p.m. at the Yavapai County Board Chambers, 1015 Fair St., Prescott, 86305.

• Flagstaff, Monday, June 15, 6 to 8 p.m. at the Flagstaff Game and Fish regional office, 3500 S. Lake Mary Road, Flagstaff, 86001.

• Mesa, Tuesday, June 16 , 6 to 8 p.m. at the Mesa Game and Fish regional office, 7200 E. University Drive, Mesa, 85207.

• Payson, Wednesday, June 17, 6 to 8 p.m. at the Best Western Payson Inn, 801 N. Beeline Highway, 85541.

• Pinetop, Thursday, June 18, 6 to 8 p.m. at the Pinetop Game and Fish regional office, 2878 E. White Mountain Blvd., Pinetop, 85935.

• Tucson, Thursday, June 25, 6 to 8 p.m. at the Tucson Game and Fish regional office, 555 N. Greasewood Road, Tucson, 85745.

Each public meeting will consist of a brief presentation of the proposed draft guidelines, which in many cases offers of a number of available options for the public to comment on. Some examples include:

How do you feel about moving the early Kaibab deer hunt two weeks earlier?

Should a juniors-only muzzleloader hunt during the rut be offered?

What percentage of juniors-only hunts should be offered?

After the presentation, department staff will take questions, provide insight and reasoning, and record any public recommended changes to the draft presented.

For those who are unable to attend a public meeting, your comments and suggestions on the draft guidelines are still welcome and encouraged through June 30. Please e-mail them to azgamebranch@azgfd.gov or by U.S. mail to Hunt Guidelines, Arizona Game and Fish Department, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086.

The department will use these final public inputs to finalize the hunt guidelines under consideration, which will be presented to the commission for approval at its Sept. 11-12 meeting in Phoenix.

Commission meeting agendas are available online at www.azgfd.gov/commission under commission agenda.

Voyles added, “When reviewing the guidelines, understand, there are a plethora of variables and there is no perfect solution for the many varied desires of our hunting and non-hunting public, yet we want to balance those needs in such a way that we do not compromise the viability of our wildlife or the experience.

“It is an incredible challenge to balance constituent satisfaction, workload on law enforcement and wildlife managers, and allowing enough time for flight surveys, data collection, and other necessary biological wildlife management methodologies,” said Voyles.

Every two years, on odd numbered years, the department reviews and revises the existing hunt guidelines and recommends changes that address the current direction of the commission.

To learn more about the hunt guidelines process, visit www.azgfd.gov/huntguidelines.

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