Healthier, Wetter National Forest Is Helping Wildlife


Watching those thunderheads build in the latter half of May and the late spring rains that followed were certainly a welcomed sight. Most locations under the Rim received a total of 2 inches of moisture, while the area on top of the Mogollon had over 4 inches in the rain bucket.

With the lack of late winter and early spring storms, the moisture certainly will help the vegetation, wildlife, and even the flow of water in the local streams. All of these areas combined create a healthier Tonto National Forest for summer camping and fishing, as well as big game hunting in the fall.

The new growth vegetation that will sprout is a main food supply for deer and elk that inhabit the area. This new food source enriches these animals with an abundant supply of minerals and vitamins essential in antler growth.  

This late spring rain could aid in phenomenal antler growth which will determine trophy size racks in the fall.

Most mature bull elk, by early June, have already grown significant main beams and tines, but often times the length of each point is directly impacted by the nutrients consumed in their food supply.

Wet winters and springs correlate to more trophy sized racks adorning the local herds of elk, likewise for the whitetail and mule deer populations.

Antler growth for these two deer species is a bit later, so the benefit of these recent rains could have a greater impact on the number of big bucks being spotted this fall. This is definitely good news to the rifle and archery hunters in Arizona.

The old cliché “Arizona Grows Where Water Flows” is true for the cities and yes, even the wildlife which lives in the woods and deserts of the outdoors. Whether it is the summer monsoon, winter snows, or a surprise week of May thunderstorms, they are always a welcome sight for a sun-scorched Arizona.

This weekend enjoy a walk in the Tonto National Forest, God’s creation.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.