From my friend Doug Burt, AZGFD PIO

It’s never too hot to dream about hunting

The temperatures have hit 100 degrees and summer is finally here. While temperatures like these might have some folks running indoors for the air-conditioning,personally I’m glad the heat is on.

After 20-plus years in Arizona, I’ve learned to appreciate the dry summer heat and all the great outdoor activities it brings. The skies are blue nearly every day, and trips to the lake or to the mid desert offer great treks along trickling creek bottoms.

Another thing the heat of June marks is the fall draw deadline on Tuesday, June 9, and the dreaming begins about going hunting after that elusive whitetail or monster mule deer. And, let’s not forget the promise of Arizona’s extensive small game season for dove, quail, rabbits, squirrel and waterfowl – I can see the covey rise now.

Right now, the two-year hunt guidelines are being revised, and the department wants to hear your thoughts. The guidelines are used to formulate the hunt recommendations, which translate to the hunting seasons that you participate in. The focus for the revision is for standardization, simplification, and to increase hunter participation. Comments can be sent by e-mail or mail through the end of May, and a series of public meetings will follow in June.

There is still an open invitation to sportsmen’s groups, rod and gun clubs and conservation organizations to join the department’s Hunter Heritage Workgroup meeting June 20 at Vincent Ranch on the Mogollon Rim east of Payson. The department received a financial grant from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) to start a sportsmen’s group based mentor and hunter recruitment game camp program, and this should be a key topic of discussion. For details, contact Craig McMullen at [email protected]

Now is a great time to start taking note of wildlife activities when you’re out at the lake or doing some desert exploring. I’ve been seeing a lot of dove activity and it looks like we should have another great dove opener in September. The quail are still calling and the babies are starting to show up – let’s keep our quail fingers crossed that they survive this drying trend and make it to the opener in October. If you want to keep your shooting and hunting skills sharp, rabbit season runs year round, and despite the old tale, healthy rabbits harvested in the summer are fine to eat. Hunting the washes in mid-desert elevations can prove to be very productive at first light.

Until next time – enjoy the heat, happy hunting and be safe.

Doug Burt is the department’s public information officer for hunting and shooting sports. He’s also involved in the Hunter Heritage Workgroup, which is focused on increasing public awareness, acceptance and participation in hunting. He has been an avid small game, upland and waterfowl hunter since moving to Arizona in 1986, from Michigan.