Hopefully if you are an Arizonan that hunts, you are following the HB2072 debacle. It really is starting to get nasty, with the grassroots focus being turned onto groups like the Az Deer Association that has not yet announced a clear stance on the efforts of those backing HB2072. The masses are forming a “You are with us or against us” mindset – just peruse these threads over at CouesWhitetail.com: HB2072 Threads. The Arizona Wildlife Federation has issued a clear and well-written position opposing HB2072: Arizona Wildlife Federation

I have said it before. If this notion had flared up and died, I might have written it off as a well-meaning but ill-advised attempt by the folks at AZSFW.That being said, the bill popped up out of nowhere, presented to legislators in relative secrecy. After the first go-around, we were told it was dead. Then, it popped up again as the shakers and movers in AZSFW tried to lobby the Governor’s Office with some minor concessions and clarifications. To me, this is clearly against the wishes of most AZ hunters and most of the critter groups. Further, it seems to confirm what many people feared when AZSFW first appeared on the scene several years ago; it was a group patterned after the Utah group founded by Don Peay and its ultimate goal was to procure landowner and/or auction tags for the well-to-do, under the guise of “helping the wildlife”. The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if AZSFW has been “sleeping” all of this time, doing some good legislative work, and ultimately – waiting for the opportune moment to start their real plan. I am anxious to be convinced otherwise.

Long story short, I oppose HB2072 in its current form, and any similar form that may arise in the future. Here is the e-mail I sent off to my legislators the other day (no reply yet):

Good afternoon. I am an Arizona Hunter, freelance outdoor writer and I also manage a couple of outdoor websites. I live in Queen Creek. I want you to know how vehemently I oppose HB2072.

The various groups in Arizona such as the RMEF, Arizona Elk Society, Arizona Deer Association do an admirable job educating the public, fostering hunter recruitment and retention and finally – habitat improvement. They have already been granted auction tags along with the Big Game Super Raffle.

AZSFW and AZSFWC in no way speak for me in encouraging the proliferation of more auction tags, landowner tags, or a special/qualified group to manage a new outdoor expo.

This bill represents the special interests of a few select outfitters, landowners and especially – wealthy individuals wanting more tags than the rest of us can get drawn for. If these individuals really cared about Arizona wildlife, they would be donating the money without condition or expectation of winning tags through an auction. Arizona wildlife species belong to all of us, and shouldn’t be bartered, sold or traded like copper, cotton or other commodities.

Arizona Game and Fish opposes this bill, as does the Commission and the vast majority of sportsmen I have talked to about this issue. I would ask that you do what you can to keep this bill from progressing any further.

Marshall MacFarlane
Queen Creek, AZ
Desert Rat Outdoors
The Dry-Rubbed Rat

Final note: The supposed “reasons” for this bill are for the most part, legitimate. The conservation groups, and AZGFD need more resources to wage the battles they are waging. We need to donate time, money and effort to the “cause”. This includes education; recruitment and retention; habitat preservation and improvement; smart management of our big game species. As long as there is a need for these battles, there will be groups trying to leverage their own agendas, while meeting “the needs”. We can all step up and do more.