Small Game Season Opens This Friday

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Gather up your shotgun, rimfire rifle and ammunition. Then throw a fresh set of laces on your hunting boots because Arizona’s fall hunting season opens on Friday, Oct. 1.

This year’s season promises to provide the small game hunter with ample opportunity for action.

Here’s the rundown on seasons.

• Quail: Oct. 1 to Feb. 6, 2011 — Gambel’s, scaled and California (Mearns’ opens Nov. 26).

• Squirrel: Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 — Abert’s, Kaibab, fox, gray, and red (No open season on Mount Graham red squirrels).

• Rabbits and jackrabbits: July 1 to June 30, 2011 — Cottontail, black-tailed jackrabbit, and antelope jackrabbit (jackrabbits are legal under Commission Order 14 — Other Birds and Mammals).

• Waterfowl: Oct. 2 (juniors-only), and Oct. 8 (general) in the Mountain Zone, season structures vary and restrictions apply, consult the 2010-11 Arizona Waterfowl and Snipe Regulations. Arizona sees a variety of waterfowl species from the Pacific Flyway, including but not limited to mallard, teal, gadwall, widgeon, wood duck, ring-neck, canvasback, redhead, mergansers and geese.

• Blue grouse: Sept. 10 to Nov. 14 — Units 4A and 5A are closed areas.

• Chukar: Sept. 10 to Feb. 6, 2011 — Any chukar.

• Late dove: Nov. 19 to Jan. 2, 2011 — Mourning dove only, all-day hunts, statewide.

Hunters should be able to put a mixed harvest in their game bags with a little extra effort, some good shooting, and by scouting for those areas that received consistent rain. Try using Google Maps and www.rainlog.org for narrowing your search.

So where do you start, with so much to choose from?

If there is a youngster in your life, head out to the high-country on opening weekend for squirrel, duck and trout.

The juniors-only duck season opens before the general season, giving kids a chance at some resident ducks that have not been shot at. Also, for the kids, goose season is open simultaneously, offering a good chance to bag a Canada goose the same size as your youngster.

In mid-day, walk the tall ponderosa pines for squirrel.

General duck season opens on Oct. 8. Starting around Halloween, chase quail until your boots wear out.

For more information on hunting in Arizona, visit www.azgfd.gov/hunting.

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