The Arizona Game and Fish Department Commission held a meeting at Payson’s Quality Inn on Friday, Dec. 4.

Three of the five commissioners, including Payson’s James Goughnour, attended in person, while two others took part via conference call.

“The Department and Commission worked overtime to ensure all state, local and CDC COVID-19 distancing requirements were met during all phases of the meeting,” Goughnour said.

Although area residents weren’t able to attend the meeting in person as they normally would, they were able to participate.

“The Department received a special thank you from the Commission for their efforts to execute the meeting and a special comment was made for the exceptional electronic communications of the meeting so the public could access the meeting and speak directly to the Commission via video links or telephone on several topics,” Goughnour said.

Goughnour said Chairman Kurt Davis noted the importance of visiting in person (even at a distance) rural communities around the state.”

The Commissioners dealt with several issues.

A presentation about researching the idea of eventually transitioning to incorporating electronic tags was discussed. The idea is for successful hunters one day to have the option of notifying the Game and Fish Department via electronic devices rather than attaching a paper tag to big game.

It was a request to “open” the process.

“So this may be a couple of years away from implementing, but it is an exciting improvement and supports many customer requests,” Goughnour said.

The Commissioners heard a request to research the possibility of banning the use of game trail cameras for the “take of wildlife.” The request begins the process of soliciting public input and working with the state to change this rule.

Many view the use of trail cameras as violating the “fair chase” aspect of hunting. The Commission directed the Department to begin the process of changing the rule with a planned implementation date, if approved, of January 2022.

The Commission also recognized the Mogollon Sporting Association for its community work in Rim Country.

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