Arizona Big Game Super Raffle Deadline Extended

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PHOENIX – You still have a chance to win one of the nation’s most prestigious hunts — the Arizona Big Game Super Raffle deadline for 2009 has been extended to July 12.

Here’s your chance to win one of Arizona’s 10 top hunts, while also contributing to wildlife conservation.

It’s a win-win for everyone. But Super Raffle mail orders must be received by July 12 and online orders will be accepted at the Arizona Big Game Super Raffle Web site until 10 p.m., July 12.

The big game tags available in the raffle are for 365 days of hunting almost anywhere in the state during the 2009-2010 hunting season, and ticket prices range from $5 to $25. Raffle tickets are offered for the following species:

• Elk

• Desert Bighorn Sheep

• Buffalo

• Antelope

• Turkey (Merriam’s or Goulds)

• Coues Whitetail

• Mule Deer

• Javelina

• Black Bear

• Mountain Lion

You can also get tickets for the incredible “Swarovski Optics Package” valued at more than $5,000. The money raised from the optics package is used to defray the costs of the raffle itself. All the money raised from the hunt raffle tickets goes directly to wildlife management efforts.

Arizona offers some of the best trophy opportunities in North America for each of these species. A quick review of both the Boone & Crockett and Pope & Young record books will confirm this. (Click for B&C and P&Y Web sites).

If you are after a truly huge mule deer, elk, antelope, Coues deer, desert bighorn sheep, or buffalo, then Arizona is where you need to be.

The only huntable population of Gould’s turkeys in the United States exists in southern Arizona and can be hunted with the raffled turkey tag.

Remember, hunters are the original conservationists and have financed most of the wildlife conservation efforts in the United States for the past century.

This raffle is just another creative way to raise money for these remarkable conservation efforts. It’s a proud and successful heritage.

Arizona participates in Operation Dry Water national patrol effort

In the midst of record lake levels in Arizona, state agencies are joining forces in an intensified effort to remind boaters to act responsibly while recreating on the water this summer.

Operation Dry Water is a national campaign that was created to detect and remove impaired boaters from waters across the nation.

It is organized by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the U.S. Coast Guard and will focus on enforcing Operating/Boating Under the Influence (OUI or BUI) laws in 43 states June 26-28, 2009.

In Arizona, as part of this national effort, law enforcement officials from the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, Lake Havasu City Police Department, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct an interagency sobriety checkpoint on the Colorado River system.

One of the most visited bodies of water west of the Mississippi, checkpoints occur regularly along the Colorado River. Statistics show a significant number of boating deaths are alcohol related, and these checkpoints remove dangerous boaters from the water by enforcing the .08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC).

The primary purpose of the operation is to detect boat operators who are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and to provide boating safety education and outreach to all boaters contacted as part of this effort.

“Operation Dry Water is a national coalition of watercraft enforcement agencies banding together to provide enforcement and public interaction that will expand awareness about OUI and its consequences,” said Kevin Bergersen, Arizona’s boating law administrator.

“The penalties of watercraft operation and/or driving a vehicle while impaired are almost the same in the state of Arizona.”

OUI and Driving Under the Influence (DUI) penalties became almost identical under a new law last January. “I don’t think the public is fully aware that operating a vessel at or above the legal limit is against the law,” Bergersen said.

“People who would never drink and drive a car quite often think nothing of choosing to drink and operate a boat. We need to change that mind-set.”

Penalties for OUI include large fines and jail time. In 2008, there were 316 OUI arrests in Arizona.

Since 1998, 41 percent of all Arizona fatalities (42 out of 103) have involved alcohol. Heat, wind, noise, vibration and motion — “stressors” common to the boating environment — intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs, and some medications. They impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.

Operation Dry Water at a national level is meant to promote awareness about local alcohol and boating laws. Bergersen advised that it is preferential to promote awareness and responsibility rather than arrest violators.

“However, the reality is, for your safety and the safety of others, if you choose to drink and then operate a boat at or above the legal .08 limit, you will go to jail,” he said.

To find out more about Operation Dry Water and Operating or Boating Under the Influence in Arizona, visit www.azgfd.gov, www.nasbla.org or www.uscgboating.org.

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