The Arizona Game and Fish Department is currently engaged in comprehensive aerial surveys across Southeastern Arizona until January 23. These surveys are primarily conducted utilizing helicopters, with the possibility of including fixed-wing aircraft as well.
Purpose of Aerial Surveys
These aerial surveys form a routine part of the Game and Fish Department’s management strategy for big game populations throughout Arizona’s Game Management Units (GMUs). Wildlife managers rely on these flights to gather precise data, enabling them to accurately determine annual hunt permit numbers. This crucial information ensures the preservation and well-being of various big game populations.
Raul Vega, the Regional Supervisor of Game and Fish in Tucson, emphasized the department’s effort to minimize conflicts with ongoing hunts during these surveys. However, there might be overlaps with ongoing open hunts. It’s important to note that pursuing wildlife using aircraft during established hunting seasons, except for official game management purposes, is against the law.
Reporting Wildlife Pursuit by Aircraft
Any observation of aircraft engaging in such activities should be reported immediately to the Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-352-0700. This proactive measure helps in enforcing wildlife protection regulations and maintaining the integrity of the hunting seasons.
Scheduled Flights in Different Areas
The aerial surveys’ schedule includes helicopter flights lasting up to five hours in various outlying areas across specific dates in January:
- Jan. 2-3: Picacho Mountains and Avra Valley, Game Management Unit (GMU) 37A
- Jan. 4-5: Santa Catalina and Rincon mountains, GMU 33
- Jan. 6-7: Altar Valley and the Baboquivari Mountains, GMU 36C
- Jan. 8-9: Sierrita and Los Guijas mountains, GMU 36A
- Jan. 10-11: Whetstone and Empire mountains, GMU 34B
- Jan. 13-14: Huachuca Mountains and Canelo Hills, GMU 35A
- Jan. 16-17: Galiuro and Mule mountains, GMU 30B
- Jan. 18-19: Chiricahua Mountains, GMU 29
- Jan. 20: Huachuca Mountains and Canelo Hills, GMU 35A
These organized flights aim to collect comprehensive data on the deer and javelina populations in these specific regions, contributing to informed management decisions by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
- Arizona Game and Fish Department
- Regulations on Wildlife Pursuit during Hunting Seasons