Anti-Hunters Set Their Sights on the Arizona Game and Fish Departments Regulatory Process

Contact: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Rocky Mountain States Senior Coordinator

  • Arizona Game and Fish Commission is currently accepting comments on the Proposed Hunt Guidelines for the Fall 2023 through Spring 2028 Hunting Seasons.
  • The once approved by the Game and Fish Commission, the hunt guidelines provide the biological and social parameters that make up the “recipes” used by wildlife managers to formulate the annual hunt recommendations (season dates, permits allocated, etc.).
  • In an effort to reduce predator hunting in the state, the anti-hunting establishment is making every effort to bombard the Arizona Game and Fish Commission with unfounded requests to update their proposed hunt guidelines to include the ban of several methods of take related to black bear, mountain lion, and bobcat, in addition to more restrictive harvest thresholds.
  • It is crucial that sportsmen and women submit comments in support of the 2023-2028 Hunting Seasons Guidelines as proposed and support the use of science-based wildlife management.

Why it Matters: Lack of engagement from the outdoor sporting community will be the contributing factor in the success of anti-hunting interests attempting to limit sportsmen and women’s ability to sustainably harvest wildlife. It is crucial that the outdoor sporting community seize every opportunity to support science-based wildlife management and the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Without engagement from the outdoor sporting community, anti-sportsmen’s interest face minimal opposition and we will slowly see opportunities to engage in our time-honored traditions be reduced one by one.  

We are less than 1 month into 2022 and it has already become painfully obvious that the animal rights and anti-hunting establishment has its sights squarely on predator management in the western United States. The Humane Society of the United States, Center for Biological Diversity, and the Mountain Lion Foundation recently held a webinar where they asked their members to submit comments to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission calling for the end to several methods of take related to black bear, mountain lion, and bobcat, in addition to more restrictive harvest thresholds in the Proposed Hunt Guidelines for the Fall 2023-Spring 2028 Hunting Seasons. During the webinar, the speakers presented flagrant misinformation about the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s (AZGFD) bobcat, mountain lion, and bear management programs and asked members to make outlandish and unfounded requests including but not limited to:

  1. Banning the spring black bear hunt statewide
  2. Banning the use of hounds in the recreational pursuit of black bears
  3. Prohibiting recreational bobcat trapping on all public and private lands
  4. Significantly shortening the mountain lion hunting season
  5. Ending the mountain lion pursuit only season

The AZGFD is the foremost expert on managing Arizona’s fish and wildlife by utilizing the most reliable and accurate scientific methodologies to determine population estimates for all wildlife, including native carnivores. These data points are then incorporated into the proposed hunt guidelines which, if approved by the Game and Fish Commission, provide the biological and social parameters that make up the “recipes” used by wildlife managers to formulate the annual hunt recommendations (season dates, permits allocated, etc.). In essence, these anti-hunting groups are attempting to hijack the science-based 2023-2028 proposed hunt guidelines as recommended by the AZGFD and pressure the Game and Fish Commission into granting their unsubstantiated requests to limit or outright ban predator hunting in the state.

Keeping in line with the highly successful North American Model of Wildlife Conservation which calls for the best available science in the formulation of wildlife policy and regulation, the AZGFD is the foremost expert in managing the states wildlife. In support of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and science-based wildlife management, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation submitted a letter urging the Game and Fish Commission to approve the 2023-2028 Hunt Guidelines as proposed.

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission will be accepting comments related to the proposed hunt guidelines for the Fall 2023 through Spring 2028 hunting seasons until January 30, 2022, and interested individuals are encouraged to submit comments. 

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Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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