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The quarterly magazine of the Arizona Elk Society (AES) with articles involving Arizona Elk and the AES's efforts at conservation of the hunting heritage for future generations.


Page 1: Tracker Fourth Quarter 2011

4 t h Q u a r t e r 2 0 11

join us for a

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Arizona Elk Society 3

A r i z o n A e l k s o c i e t y

l i f e m e m b e r s o f Ken Alexander • Michael Anderson • John Anton • Ernest Apodaca, Jr. • Pete Baldwin • James Ballard • Leo Balthazor •

David Baril • Ron Batz • Randy Beck • F.K. Benbow • David Bennett • Keith Berger • Janet Bowman • Tom Bowman •

Dan Bradford • Tish Bradford • Richard Briskin • Stephen Brown, MD • Kurt Buckwald • Mike Burr • Esther Cadzow •

John Cadzow • Harry Carlson • Lupe Carlson • Kenneth Carney • Steve Casterton • Joe & Marisa Cerreta • Randy

Cherington • Pete Cimellaro • Steve Clark • Bob Cockrill, Jr. • Todd Coleman • Frank Cooper • Russell Coover •

Lonnie Crabtree • William Cullins • Richard Currie • Patrick Curry • Don Davidson • Kay Davidson • Bill Davis • William

Davis • Larry Day • Jim deVos • Steven Dodds • Ron Eichelberger • Sharon Eichelberger • Peter Ekholm • Daron Evans •

Tim Evans • David Forbes • Tom Franklin • Douglas Fritz • Will Garrison • Walt Godbehere • Richard Goettel • Carl Hargis

• Dan Hellman • R. Todd Henderson • Terry Herndon • Ed Hightower • Paul Hodges III • Mel Holsinger • Scott Horn

• Michael Horstman • Timothy Hosford • Bryan House • Wayne Jacobs • Brian Johnsen • Earl Johnson • Edward

Johnson • Gary Johnson • James Johnson • Richard Johnson • Jim Jones** • Mitchell Jones • Bruce Judson • Sandra

Kauffman • Richard Kauffman, Sr. • Jim Kavanaugh • Bill Kelley • Denise Kennedy • Chuck Kerr • Bill Kiefer • Brian Kimball •

David Kinman • Peter Klocki • John Koleszar • Charles Koons • Joseph Krejci • Otto Kuczynski • James Lara • Michael Lechter

• Jorge Leon • Ruben Lerma • Tim Littleton • Deanne Long • James Lynch, Jr. • Bob Mallory • Don Martin • Gary Matchinsky •

Karl Matchinsky • Russ McDowell • Steve McGaughey • Angela McHaney • Kelly McMillan • William Meredith •

James Mingus • Matt Minshall • James Mullins • James Mullins • Matt Mullins • Robert Murry DVM • Gregory

Naff • Mark Nicholas • Anthony Nichols • Brandon Nichols • Fletcher Nichols • Logan Nichols • Cookie Nicoson •

Paige Nicoson • Walt Nicoson** • Kathi Nixon • Mark Nixon • David Nygaard • Donna Obert • Douglas Obert, Sr. •

Bob Olds • Martin Paez • Pete Page • Sallie Page • Duane Palmer • Marlin Parker • Don Parks Jr. • Shawn Patterson

• Art Pearce • Paul Piker • Forrest Purdy • Jan Purdy • Jim Renkema • Keith Riefkohl • Mel Risch • Travis Roberts •

Mike Sanders • Rick Schmidt • Tom Schorr • Scott Schuff • Terry Schupp • Bill Shaffer • Howard Shaffer • Steven

Shaffer • William Shaffer, Jr. • Lonzo Shields • Terrence Simons • Charlene Sipe • Robert Spurny • Connor Stainton •

Gregory Stainton • Randy Stalcup • Douglas Stancill • Mark Stephenson • James Stewart • Shane Stewart • Vashti

“Tice” Supplee • Al Swapp • Debbie Swapp • Dan Taylor • Pete Thomas • John Toner • Corey Tunnell • Bill VenRooy

• Rick Vincent, Sr. • Don Walters, Jr. • Bill Wasbotten • Dale Watkins • Jerry Weiers • Dee White • Larry White • Richard

Williams • Matt Windle • Cory Worischeck • Joseph Worischeck • Mark Worischeck • Chuck Youngker • Scott Ziebarth

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4 The Tracker - 4thQuarter 2011

The 2012 Banquet season is here and the Arizona Elk Society is working hard to make our 2012 Banquet better than ever. Please mark your calendars for March 24, 2012 and buy your tickets!

The elk application deadline is scheduled for Tuesday Feb. 14, at 7pm. Get your apps in and good luck in the draw.

Issues that the Arizona Elk Society is working on include, Mexican Grey Wolf reintroduction, Aspen/Elk issues in Northern and Eastern Arizona, Four Forest Restoration Initiative, horse and burro issues and many more. Add these to our normal habitat projects all over the state and we are very busy. Because these issues and others affect the numbers of elk, there is good reason for sportsmen to have representation on these issues. Please let other sportsmen know about the Arizona Elk Society and what we are doing for wildlife in the state.

In this issue of the Tracker are a couple of articles written by Jim deVos – one about the wolf program and the other regarding our collaborative work project in northern Arizona. Jim is the Arizona Elk Society Director of Conservation Affairs. As a retired AZGFD biologist, Jim brings science and biology expertise to the AES raising our level of professionalism as we are involved in issues relating to the elk herds in Arizona.

In the coming months after the annual banquet, the AES work project season will begin. As always, the

more volunteers we have at our projects the more work we can get done. Youth camps are another volunteer opportunity and we have a bunch of Youth Hunter Camps and Youth Educational Outdoors and Conservation camps scheduled. Please check out the website for upcoming opportunities to volunteer with the Arizona Elk Society and sign up. Or you can sign up for the email newsletter and AES Facebook page to have the information come to you and to keep informed.

The last couple of weeks have been very interesting –legislation was run here in Arizona and the sportsmen of the state spoke up in droves. If you are a member and we have your email address, you should have received a letter about the issue from the Arizona Elk Society Board of Directors. All AES members and potential members need to know that the AES is made up of regular guys and girls that have a great interest in the wildlife management of the state. We are not afraid to let you know about issues that affect sportsmen and wildlife of this state. I have heard from many of our members about the issue and want to thank all the people that took time to write us, we appreciate your trust and support. Please take the time to promote the AES to new members and renew your membership. There is a new membership as well as a renewing member contest (pg. 28) going on right now and it is a good chance to win some rifles. More information is online at

Thank you for all your support!

presidents’ messAge by Steve Clark

executive boArd

President ...........................................Steve Clark

Vice President ..................................Carl Hargis

Treasurer................................. Cookie Nicoson

Secretary ......................................... Liala Wood

Past President ..............Sharon Eichelberger

You may send a message for any officers, board members or committee chairs to

[email protected]

boArd of directorsTom Schorr

Jim Mullins

Bill Walp

Matt Mullins

Greg Naff

Steve McGaughy

Gary Maschner

Mike Norburg

Rick Schmidt

Ken Alexander

committee chAirsBanquet ........................... Sharon Eichelberger

& Cookie Nicoson

Grant Writer ................................Lin Maschner

Membership.........................................Dee Long

Projects ............................................... Carl Hargis

Newsletter ............................ Maria DelVecchio

Website ..........................................Leo Balthazor

Wapiti Weekend.........................Shelly Hargis

Scholarship ..............................Wendy Norburg

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Arizona Elk Society 5

President’s Message by Steve Clark............................................................... 4

In the Crosshairs: Will They Get the Newsflash? by John Koleszar.....................7

Slate Lakes Habitat Project by Jim deVos ................................................. 8-10

In Memorium .......................................................................................... 10

Where Wolves? by Jim deVos ..................................................................... 11

My Dad’s Elk Hunt & Me by Hunter Mullins ............................................. 12-13

BB’s Column: BB’s Holiday Gift List by John Koleszar ............................... 14-15

Banquet Buck Bonanza by Rick Johnson....................................................... 16-18

AES 2012 Banquet ................................................................................... 19

Not Drawn - No Tag - No Problem by Patrick Weise ................................. 20-24

Jared Brown’s First Elk by Ross and Jared Brown ........................................... 25

September Elk Hunting on the Peaks by Trevor Hartigan ............................. 26

Habitat Partners of Arizona ..................................................................... 29

Upcoming Events.........................................................................................32

in this issue

Aes mission stAtement

The Arizona Elk Society is a

non-profit 501(c)(3) wildlife

organization. Our mission is to

raise funds to benefit elk and

other wildlife through habitat

conservation and restoration

and to preserve our hunting

heritage for present and

future generations.

Aes Website

2012 Banquet information page 19

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expose your product to thousands of outdoor

enthusiasts and hunters. place your ad in

For ad sizes and pricing, go to

and click on “Links/Forms”. Or contact [email protected].

The Tracker is a quarterly publication for the members of the Arizona Elk Society. Letters, comments, news items, articles, pictures and stories are welcome and will be considered for publication. You

may mail or email any such items. Materials mailed for publication will not be returned to the sender unless accompanied by a

self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Arizona Elk Society, P.O. Box 190, Peoria, AZ, 85380 [email protected], 602-885-0835

Page 7: Tracker Fourth Quarter 2011

I recently read in the Arizona Republic an editorial piece where the Republic urged as many people as possible to come to the Commission meeting where Mexican gray wolves would be discussed. They stated that people were in favor of more wolves, that the public wanted to see more of them and that everyone should come

and speak up in support of more wolves on the ground. I attended that meeting and listened to many viewpoints as well as the statements of Dr. Ben Tuggle, of the United States Fish & Wildlife Services. The statements of Dr. Tuggle did little to make any conservationist feel warm and fuzzy and the commissioners, to their credit, were very pointed in their questions and critiques of past policy and current operations. The ultimate decision that the commission made was to support the current program of 100 wolves in the “Blue” and to express that any future wolf re-introduction would require a lot of the necessary input from all parties.

The following week, the Republic again chastised the commission for not wholeheartedly supporting more wolves on the ground, and I felt that there must be something that we as sportsmen could do to talk to the Republic. I had fired off some comments that they chose not to publish and instead they gave a lot of press space to those who felt that the commission was wrong. Frustrated with their apparent lack of what I will call the conservationist side of the issue, I called the Republic and after a few tries was able to arrange a meeting with the editorial staff regarding our views on the Mexican gray wolf.

The meeting was attended by several sportsmen and Jim Devos acting in a capacity as adviser and representing the Arizona Elk Society as the lead point person in attempting to sway the opinion of the Republic. The folks who were there for the Republic were generally fairly easy to talk to and listened and asked fairly good questions. The only person who did not seem to be enthused about our attempts was Kathleen Ingley, an editorial writer, who was either having a difficult day, or simply has her mind made up and was not concerned with what we had to say. We had an audience for almost an hour and a half and during that time we tried to

show through facts, statistics and logic that having more wolves on the ground would be dangerous to wildlife, not in the best interests of wildlife and that the USFWS was becoming an agency that deals in secrecy and a closed-door attitude. It also was an opportune time to break the news to the Republic that the White Mountain Apache Tribe had taken a recent vote regarding the presence of wolves on their lands and the vote had turned out badly for the wolves. The White Mountain Apache Tribe had voted to end their partnership with the USFWS and have given instructions to them to remove all the wolves from the reservation.

We were asked a number of questions and we pointed out the flawed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that had made some gross errors in 1996. We feel that there is a need for more input, a new EIS and a careful review of what should happen. Factually, the Mexican gray wolf’s historic range is 90% contained in Mexico. Trying to recover a species in lands that were marginal at best for their survival then and worse now makes absolutely no sense. Above all however, the attitude of the USFWS is one that can no longer be tolerated. They treat state agencies and other former partners as the proverbial red-headed step child…or worse. It is no surprise that one team member after another has fallen by the wayside. The New Mexico Department of Wildlife and their governor have said “no thank you”. The White Mountain Apache have said “get them off our land”. The San Carlos Apache have probably done the best job by refusing to let the wolves on their land and been paid to have a contact person who would advise the USFWS if any wolves did stray onto their lands. (they have been paid at least $40,000 per year for that individual to do the work.)

Will the Republic change their position? They probably will not. To make a u-turn in the press is not perceived as something that is desirable to do. My hope is that they cease calling for more wolves and perhaps question why the USFWS is operating under a decree that places all information in a secret environment. We all know that the enviro-litigants want to have hunting removed from the landscape. If that meeting did anything, I hope it was to open their eyes to the truth. We shall see.

Arizona Elk Society 7

by John Koleszar

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This project really began almost two decades ago when Rick Miller, who was the Habitat Specialist in Flagstaff and Billy Cordasco, President of Babbitt Ranches began a small habitat restoration project northwest of Flagstaff. Twenty years later, nearly 150 volunteers from the Arizona Elk Society descended on some meadows that were being rapidly taken over by these trees. At the end of the project in 2010, well over a 100 acres had been restored to their more natural condition. Although, the AES was the lead organization in this project, members of several other conservation organizations participated, as did the Forest Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department. There were a lot of new friendships made and acres restored as limbs from thousands of invading trees hit the ground.

Why Slate Lakes and what was the importance of this project? First, lets look at some of the changes that have occurred on lands throughout northern Arizona over the last century. Some trees like pinyon and juniper are aggressive colonizers that were for the most part kept in check by naturally occurring fires that were sparked by lightning during summer monsoon storms. As thousands of livestock found the grasslands of the area, much of the grass cover, which provided fuel for fires, was removed making it more difficult for fires to keep trees at bay in the grasslands. This was in an era of unregulated grazing and fortunately, modern approaches to grazing are more

compatible with the objective of restoring grasslands as ecological units and wintering wildlife.

Another important factor in the decline of grassland function was the notion that all fires in the wildlands were harmful to natural resources and every effort was expended to fight these fires. We now know that in the right place and at the right time, nothing is more beneficial to maintaining habitat than fires, but it took a long time to come to this understanding. The loss of natural fires in grasslands has dramatically changed the landscape by allowing trees to establish in these ecologically sensitive habitats.

slAte lAkes hAbitAt projectby Jim deVos

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Now, lets take a quick look at why grasslands are important. First, there are many species that have evolved in this vegetative community and as it is altered, these species quickly begin to be pushed out of the habitat. Several years ago, the AZGFD did a research project to look at the impacts to grassland-obligate bird species as tree invasion in grasslands occurs. The researchers found that many of the species that used this habitat in northern Arizona were forced from the area as only a few trees became established. From a big game standpoint, as pinyon, juniper, and ponderosa pine become established in grassland meadows, the area also

becomes less usable as elk, deer, and pronghorn search for forage

in winter.

In a recent publication on mule deer, conifer invasion of grasslands was identified as a key factor that resource managers needed to pay attention to in mule deer habitat. The problem is that as these trees invade, they shade areas that otherwise would grow grasses and shrubs for wildlife to eat in winter. Further, these trees act as water thieves, taking up precious water from rainfalls through their root systems and causing less water to be available for food sources for wildlife. All the way around, these trees reduce habitat function in habitat that is crucial for wintering wildlife. The magnitude of the problem is staggering. Throughout the West, the Mule Deer Working Group estimate that several million acres of grasslands have lost the ability to meet the needs of deer, elk, and pronghorn due to woody invasion.

Back to Slate Lakes for a moment. Not only did a legion of AES volunteers work on grassland restoration in 2010, but also we returned to another major meadow complex in 2011 and lopped off tens of thousands of small, invading trees that in time would have completely overrun the meadow we worked in.

There is a bigger picture than only invading conifers around Slate Lake. At one time, there was a large complex of grasslands that provided not only winter forage for wildlife but they also provided movement corridors that allowed wildlife easy movement from the San Francisco Peaks to the lower elevation areas like Slate Lakes and other areas to the west of the lakes. The invasion of some meadows in the area has been so great as to eliminate segments of this movement corridor. With the placement of Highway 180 across this area, movement by wildlife was even further compromised.

The vision that Billy and Rick had so long ago was to reopen these meadows and allow places for wildlife to forage in winter and to facilitate movements across the highway. The Arizona Elk Society and the hundreds of

Arizona Elk Society 9

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10 The Tracker - 4th Quarter 2011

Renew YOUR MeMBeRSHIP OnlIne!See details on PAGE 28 of this issue.

in memoriumHarry Hussey

Wayne Brown

Joel Ortiz

people who have volunteered on these projects have played a crucial role in helping to meet this vision.

We have done a lot, but there is more to do. The AES and the Forest Service are working on a volunteer project for May 19-20, 2012 on another grassland to the west of Slate Lakes. This will be a new venture for the AES as this will be the first project where we will work with managers from the Kaibab National Forest. On this project, the goal will be to remove invading trees from the grasslands and make a buffet available to the wildlife that need to meet their energy demands in harsh winters. Our work has a double benefit too. The thousands of hours we work in the field on these projects create an economic benefit to the AZGFD. We track our hours and travel costs and these contributions are used

by the Department to meet the need for matching federal funds from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service for wildlife conservation in Arizona.

When you think about it, these projects have helped create wintering habitat for wildlife, helped restore movement corridors, and generated matching funds for wildlife conservation. Talk about a win-win for wildlife! Mark your calendar now and keep the weekend of May 19-20 open to help with the next grassland restoration project. As an aside, one of the field staff from the Forest Service recently saw a herd of about 400 elk in the area where we will be working so it is likely to spot some of the benefactors of your hard work.

Hope to see you there.

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Arizona Elk Society 11

Pardon the play on words but the issue of where to release Mexican gray wolves is a key question that is being debated as the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service moves forward with the development of a Recovery Plan for this wolf subspecies. The Science Working Group is trying to determine what number of populations and how many wolves are required to ensure the survival of this component of the wildlife community in the American Southwest. The document has not been released yet for public review and comment, but from what we at the AES have heard, it is very likely that the proposed recovery criteria will support having three separate populations of wolves and will expand the area where wolves are released to include much of Arizona, southern Utah and Colorado, and much of western New Mexico.

What role the Country of Mexico will play in the Mexican wolf recovery is yet to be determined, but the recent draft document that was made available at an Arizona Game and Fish Commission meeting recently, seemed to suggest a small role for Mexico in U. S. recovery efforts despite the fact that the majority of the historical habitat occurs in Mexico.

The draft recovery criteria suggest the need for a population of around 250 wolves in each of these three populations, a number that is sure to have an affect on deer and elk populations.

Although the AES and other wildlife

conservation organizations were denied a seat at the recovery planning table, the Arizona Wildlife Federation is there and has been helpful in sharing information and keeping the other WCOs as informed as the Fish and Wildlife Service will allow them to. That said, though, there is very little information flow on this important issue.

Working on behalf of the AES membership, we have been carefully tracking the progress on wolf recovery. We worked hard with the AWF, AZFWC, and the ADA to provide a clear and concise message to the Science Team and the Fish and Wildlife Service that we were concerned with the single focus of their planning to the exclusion of other possible recovery strategies. We also raised the issue of the importance of Mexico in any reasonable recovery effort. Another aspect of our comments dealt with the question of whether elk and deer populations in Arizona are productive enough to support this target level of wolves without substantial damage to wildlife resources. Simply, the comments

provided were extensive and hopefully will be carefully considered as the Service and the Recovery Team continue development of the Recovery Plan.

Steve Clark also spoke to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission in December relative to the concerns that our organization has with the approach being taken on not only recovery planning but on the current reintroduction program as well. The Commission meeting was lively to say the least and many arguments were made on both sides of the issue. At the end of the day, the Commission supported the Department’s participation in the reintroduction program but wanted several planning projects completed before any further introductions were made into Arizona.

As we have seen for the last at least 20 years, wolf reintroduction in Arizona is both complex and controversial. It appears as if we are at a critical juncture and change is afoot. The leadership of the AES is monitoring the recovery planning process as closely as possible and providing input at every place we can.

To keep you apprised of what is occurring in wolf recovery planning and the current reintroduction program, we will be providing periodic updates as new information becomes available. We will depend on you to keep abreast of this information and be ready to engage and provide your input when we need your help.

Where Wolves?

by Jim deVos

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My dad drew a late archery tag for bull elk. When he asked me to go with him I was excited! We packed our stuff and headed out to camp. When we got to camp we unpacked and settled down. For the afternoon we talked about the upcoming hunt with our friend Glenn and my Great Uncle Gary and ate lunch. After lunch I got to explore around camp. There were a few patches of snow and a two-track road. There wasn’t enough snow to make a snowman, but I did make a few snowballs to throw at Dad and Uncle Gary.

Later we went driving around looking for elk and to check a waterhole. We saw eight cows and two spikes. We got back to camp, got ready for the next morning and ate dinner. On opening morning we got up really early and headed out to the water hole we planned sitting at. Someone was already sitting at the water hole. So we parked a mile back and got out of the truck and went hiking for three miles. The only excitement of the morning was that we thought we heard a branch

break. After finding nothing we went back to camp and made new plans for the evening hunt. Our friend Jeff had told us about a water hole with the only fresh sign anybody had seen.

We packed up and headed out. At the tank we found a great spot for the ground blind and waited for elk. For the several hours I read my book and played my Nintendo DS. Nothing came in but we did get to listen to an owl before leaving the waterhole. We packed up our stuff and went back to camp for the night. Early the next morning we headed back to our ground blind at the waterhole and waited for the sun to come up. While we were waiting for the sun to come up, we could actually see the water turn to ice in the waterhole. All morning we ranged different spots around the waterhole and memorized how far they were. We saw nothing all day long. Fifteen minutes before dark we were packing up and my dad looked up and saw a bull elk staring at us from a hundred yards away. It took

my dAd’s elk hunt & me by Hunter Mullins, age 9

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Arizona Elk Society 13

5-10 minutes for the elk to reach the waterhole. He started drinking from the hoof prints in the mud near the water. My dad picked up his bow, knocked a good luck arrow, and got the bow ready. The bull never took his eyes off of us.

His antlers were blocking his shoulder when he was drinking. When he was done drinking, he walked straight away. My dad pulled back his bow and started whistling at the elk. When he was 60 yards away he turned broadside and my dad let go and shot him right behind the shoulder. Me and my dad started hugging and high fiving each other. After waiting a while we headed back to the truck. We were waiting for my Papa and Uncle Gary to come help us look for the elk. While we were waiting for them to come, my dad pulled out a blanket and we laid down and made shapes out of the stars.

When they came we grabbed flashlights and started looking for blood. When we found some blood we started following it and marking each last spot. We followed it to a fence and found the elk laying fifteen yards past the fence. The elk ran 75 yards from where my dad shot it. We crawled under the fence and took lots of pictures of me, my dad, and the 6x6 bull elk.

I had lots and lots of fun on this trip. And I also learned a couple things. I learned about tree rubs, fresh sign, remembering to stay quiet, and how to follow a blood trail. I will never forget the first time I went elk hunting with my Dad!!

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While most folks were out doing their holiday shopping and partying through the end of the year, I had the dubious

distinction of being summoned by my old friend “BB”. He had shown a great deal of creativity this time by sending a text message and signing off as “Santa’s big

helper”. Braving some less than desirable weather, I pushed the Tundra through some slick roads and icy conditions to meet with the big guy. The last meeting had been in Forest Lakes, and this time he had roamed all the way to the southern limits of Pinetop, just before the White Mountain Apache lands begin. Meeting at 3:00 in the morning is not a great time for me and I had to consume vast quantities of Circle K special blend coffee to stay awake. I finally arrived at the appointed spot and climbed out of the truck.

“BB” somehow appeared at the edge of my vision in the moonlight. “Greetings old man” he growled. “Have you been a good boy this year?” At 3:00 in the morning I was not in a mood to play his game so I shot back at him “Cut the crap “BB”, I’m tired, cranky and sleep deprived. What the heck was so urgent that we had to meet before the holidays?” “BB” took a long look at me and started doing that darn chuckle of his. “Testy, testy, testy aren’t we. You better behave or I will not pass on good reports to Santa. And I have an “in” this year with the big guy.” By now I could tell that something was up, so in order to get the darn thing going I said” OK “BB” what is your “in” that you are talking about?” With a flourish, “BB” tugged on a satchel that he had draped across his withers. In the satchel was a sparkling new Tinepad. “Just look at this baby” he said “I can do all sorts of really cool stuff on it and best yet, all I have to do

is be near a WIFI spot to get on line”. I did some calculations

and figured we were less than a mile from the Arizona Game & Fish Department

Pinetop office. “Let me get this straight “BB”, you are basically using the department’s internet availability to do whatever you are doing”. “BB” got an indignant look and said “Hey, they’ve been using elk for all these years I figure it’s just a little payback”. I pondered that for a moment and could not deny that the department basically came about through hunting tags and licenses. His logic was unassailable. “Ok, what is all this nonsense about you having an “in” with the big guy?” “BB” got that sly look

of his and started with what was obviously a pre-arranged speech. “Using the latest technology of the Tinepad, I was able to do some thorough research that dates back over three hundred years. Did you know that reindeer and elk are distant cousins? We have a historic background that dates back to really pre-historic times and aside from a few genetic alterations here and there we are basically reindeer that have adapted over time to our current genetic state. So, I did a genealogy study and low and behold I am a direct descendant of reindeer. I was able to hook up with some of my long lost cousins and believe it or not ……. I am a cousin of Rudolph.”

I was not sure whether it was too much coffee or I was hearing things. I looked at “BB” and said “Wait a

minute. Are you trying to tell me that you know someone who works for Santa Claus?” “BB”

calmly looked me straight in the eye and said “Yep, me and Rudolph are way cool friends now. He even signs off on his e-mails to me with a “BFF” notation. After we explored the genealogy report, we

came to the conclusion that he and I are truly cousins, 75 times removed mind you, but cousins none the less. So, I

have been appointed as Santa’s helper here in Arizona. It’s a really prestigious position and I am not taking it lightly. So, I have a “master list” that I will be presenting to Santa when he flies through here on Christmas Eve. Do you want to take a look at the list?” There are times in my relationship with “BB” where I have learned to just go with the flow. So I simply nodded my befuddled head and said “Sure, let’s take a look at your list.”

Using my flashlight, I began unraveling a lengthy document. Not surprisingly, “BB” had put his name first and listed to the right are his wishes from Santa.

bb’s column: “bb’s” holidAy gift list!

by John Koleszar

Page 15: Tracker Fourth Quarter 2011

I looked over at “BB” and started laughing. “OK “BB”, that’s a list I could go along with as well. I certainly hope that the year treats you well and that we have many more encounters like this. Could we just do them at a more reasonable hour?” “BB” snorted and said “Hijacking the department’s WIFI takes unusual hours. We will hook up again in the early spring. I just wanted to give you the heads up on my sudden new found importance. SO…. What’s on your list? I do have some pull now so let’s sit down and go over what you want for the coming year.”

I will not bore the readers with my own personal wish list, but since I am so closely associated with “BB” and since “BB” is closely associated with Rudolph and since Rudolph is very closely associated with Santa Claus, I will be taking wish lists for NEXT year. This year is already covered and by the time you read this, the gifts will all be delivered. But from now on…. You’ve got a friend in Low Places… Happy Holidays to all and a great new year for everybody!..JK

Arizona Elk Society 15

bb’s column: “bb’s” holidAy gift list! 1) Fewer elk tags for at

least the next 3 years2) Alfalfa plots in several remote locations3) A horse round-up that removes over 300 horses from the Apache Sitgreaves4) Common sense to Dr. Tuggle and his merry band of wolf-loving scientists.5) 40 cows that think I am Mondo bull6) 7 X 7 antlers for this coming year

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little did i know how lucky i was at the 2011 Arizona elk society banquet when i raised my hand and the auctioneer said “sold”. i had won a blacktail deer hunt on kodiak island with renowned master guide, mike horstman, who donates a hunt to the Arizona elk society each year. it was so exciting to think this would be my first trip to Alaska, and i had no idea of the adventure that lie ahead... Having never been to Alaska, I spent the next seven months planning and preparing for the trip. I’m sure Mike got tired of my numerous questions and e-mails, but he was patient with me and answered all my questions. We finally agreed on a late November hunt. I was surprised and pleased to learn that two Arizona Elk Society members contacted Mike and booked their hunt in appreciation for his

b A n q u e t

b u c k b o n A n z A !

by Rick Johnson

Page 17: Tracker Fourth Quarter 2011

donation to the banquet. As it turned out, Dean and David Hofmann from New River, lived only a few minutes from my north Phoenix home. It was nice to know I would meet two new Arizona friends in Kodiak.

Arriving on a cold November night in Anchorage, I had five hours until my connecting flight to Kodiak which was just enough time to visit all the blacktail bucks displayed in the airport. I dreamed that night of just hopefully seeing something close to them in my crosshairs. The snow was falling as we took off for Kodiak the next morning. Upon arrival, I was greeted with a major snowstorm in Kodiak which grounded all chances of flying out to Mike’s camp the next day. The storm kept me in Kodiak for two days. The good news was that I met Mike’s young guide, Ben, who would be joining us in camp. Ben would soon become one of my favorite hunting guides of all time! Finally, Monday morning brought clear skies and we all boarded the float plane for a quick 30 minute ride to Mike’s camp. What a beautiful sight from the beaver aircraft as we flew over Kodiak Island. We saw deer and brown bear below us on our short flight. I had already learned that Alaska was in control! We were leaving behind power lines, electricity, and everything we take for granted. As I looked from the airplane over the beautiful landscape of Alaska, I gained a new appreciation for the saying, “Alaska, the last frontier.”

Landing on the beach, we were met by Michael and his dog Cabot. As we made the short hike to camp, I was completely overwhelmed by the beauty of the snow-covered mountains, the bald eagles flying above us, and the spouting whales surfacing in the bay. There was beauty everywhere! Mike and Ben would soon have us settled in our new home on the hillside by the bay. Finally it was time

to hunt.

We began our hunt by splitting up into two groups. David and Dean went with Mike to the beach where we had seen hundreds of deer on our flight in. I would learn later that they were feeding on kelp that washed up on the beach as they prepared for the long Kodiak winter.

Ben and I took to the snow covered hills. Our plan was to glass and stalk. Everywhere we went we saw deer. The hunt provided two tags so I was hoping to get a nice meat buck and a nice antler buck to hopefully mount. I had no idea what was in store for me that first day out.

We had walked and glassed for several hours. When I got tired of looking at deer, I would watch the whales spout in the bay below us. It was getting late and we had just cleared a knob and stopped to glass. Immediately Ben spotted what he described as a “shooter”. I Dropped in the snow and got a good solid rest on my pack with my 300 Winchester which

Arizona Elk Society 17

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18 The Tracker - 4th Quarter 2011

I had won at the very first Arizona Elk Society banquet. The range was 380 yards. We had no way to close the distance with only open snow between us. I dialed my Huskama scope to 375 and placed the crosshairs squarely on his shoulder. I held steady and pulled the trigger. Ben said “I think you got him”. However, he disappeared down over the other side of the knob. It felt good. I was hopeful. Ben hurried across the open snow-covered field at a young man’s brisk pace while I made my way at a steady 60+ old man’s pace. When I arrived, Ben did not look happy. I suddenly got that terrible “I missed” feeling. There was no blood and tracks everywhere. We had seen it was a big 4 x4 which is great for a blacktail. After a thorough search, we decided it was a clean miss.

It was then that the unbelievable happened. Ben spotted another big buck. With no hesitation he said, “get ready, it is a shooter”. He was walking below us At 330 yards. I adjusted the scope and got a great rest. I placed the crosshairs right on his shoulder and squeezed off the shot. He was down and Ben went ahead to check him out. I crossed the snow covered flats at my slower pace. This time I was greeted by a Ben with a huge grin. When I saw what he was grinning about, I grabbed him and hugged him and began a series of war hoops! He calmed me down quickly when he reminded me I might wake up the brownies!

I immediately anointed my young guide “ Booner Ben” . Still smiling, Ben wasted no time and handed me his 375 and told me to stand guard while he packed the meat and horns. I was amazed how fast he worked! We were on our way to the beach and home in a matter of minutes. We were now racing time. The Alaskan days were short and darkness was not our friend. Alaska was again in control.

We reached the beach after dark and Ben’s fears were confirmed. The tide had come in and covered the beach

and blocked our land route home. But Mike had prepared for this and left a canoe for stranded hunters. We soon fashioned some oars from alders and began our canoe trip home in the same bay where I had watched whales spout that very afternoon. What an adventure!

As we came around the last point, we could see the light from a head lantern on shore. It was Mike and his faithful dog, Cabot, waiting for us on the beach. Dean and David had their deer back at camp. Mike took one look at my deer and said that I had found the “Holy Grail”! It was a memorable trip back to camp with these two Alaskan outdoorsmen.

That night we celebrated with a great dinner and a few special toasts to an amazing first day ! It was a fantastic celebration with my new Arizona and Alaskan friends. It was also a short night. We would be up early with still three more tags to fill. After a hot breakfast, we were all looking forward to another successful day in the field and we were not to be disappointed. Mike led David down to the beach. I followed. The plan was to get a big buck for David and I would shoot second. I had already set my sites on a nice meat buck. Alaska would not disappoint us.......We saw deer everywhere!

Mike spotted a big buck. The deer was near some alders walking slowly away. David with the encouragement of Mike got a solid rest and took a great buck.

As we were taking pictures, we saw Ben coming down the hill and we heard him yelling, “Rick, don’t shoot!” Then I heard the words, “I found your buck and he is big!” . Ben and Dean had been hunting the hillside and found my first buck. I had made a good shot. We just had not found him. What a hunt!

Dean also took a huge buck and that night we celebrated with a fabulous turkey dinner and several more toasts to our great success!

It was on the plane ride back to Phoenix that it really hit me. I had taken two trophy blacktails in just a matter of minutes. I felt like doing a “Tebow”in the aisle for all my great fortune of not only winning that banquet hunt but also meeting my new Alaskan and Arizona friends. In addition, I learned that once you hunt Alaska in all her beauty, you know that you will return!

A big thanks to the Arizona elk society and kodiak guide service!

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Arizona Elk Society 19

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20 The Tracker - 4th Quarter 2011

Not DrawN-No tag-

No Problem-

I’m lying in a hammock strung between two coconut trees, at this secluded island resort. Through the white sand my waitress walks over barefoot, bringing me a drink. It’s another red smoothie, with one of those little paper umbrellas and a slice of pineapple hanging on the rim. The service here is great; you don’t even have to ask for anything. The sky is blue and the breeze—cool, it ruffles the hair on my arms. Over at the cabana, the radio plays oldies. Jimmy Buffett is on singing ‘Margaritaville’ while I’m staring at the ocean waves. They unroll like a white carpet onto the beach, and then disappear into the sand with frothy white bubbles. I’m so relaxed, swaying back and forth, not a care in the world. Then I hear this terrible sound. I try to ignore it but it won’t go away. I sit up and everything goes black, I can’t see,

the air is freezing, then I recognize the sound. No, no! I don’t want to get up. It’s my alarm clock going off. I reach over slapping the top of it quiet. I now realize I am not on a tropical island, but at elk camp. It is 3:45 am, time to get up and go hunt.

I stretch and yawn, contemplating how wonderful it would be to just sleep in. I could lie here lazily, then meander over to the cook tent and perk up not one, but two pots of coffee. I could sit in the lounge chair outside my tent and watch the sun fire-ball up, giving definition to the yellow daisies in the meadow before me—nothing could be grander, except maybe the island. But that is not the case. The hunter in me, the elkaholic that is in-grained into my DNA, forces the lantern to be lit, helps slide on my pants, and starts up my truck. I suck down some coffee and leave quickly.

story and photos by Patrick Weise

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I arrive at a mountain base and ready my gear. I’ve climbed up this mountain about eight times since opening day. The elk act natural, un-pressured, because no other hunters climb up here. Many of the other hunters hang around the stock tanks; drive around on their quads checking the waters edge for tracks, so I stay clear. I either see or hear bugling bulls every time I reach the top. I walk slowly when it’s quiet-- run when they bugle. Every day the bulls take me in a different direction as they may spend three hours after dawn, walking and eating in the morning before they reach their bedding area. I follow in-tow, trying to get that perfect shot of a large antlered bull without him knowing I’m right here. In the evening, the reverse, they sometimes bugle all the way to the point of where they climb down the mountain and into the flats to feed and drink for the evening.

It is this morning that throws me off, when I hear the bugles still out in the flats, as I’m putting on my pack, getting ready to climb. “Do that again and I’m gonna come after your

butt,” I say to no one. Again, the bugles cut through the night air, penetrating beyond what the eyes can see. With my pack secure, I hang my own bugle over my shoulder and head out into the night air alone, following the sound.

I walk fast, too fast to be hunting, but I must get close. Like an obsession, nothing else holds space in my mind but the elk. The bugles keep moving away. No matter how fast I walk, the sound never gets any louder. I stop and pull out a cow call. I blow into it the sweetest love sounds I can make. The bull screams back a reply, a demanding, pleading bugle for me to follow him, and I do.

Elk can walk slowly, as slow as a turtle, but they can walk fast as well. Faster than human legs can travel, and I am no different. After an hour I stop. I feel defeated. It is now that I realize that the wind is blowing at my back. Blowing my scent towards him and blowing my chances away. I stop and cow call again, and to my left, and into the wind, another bull replies. I begin to walk fast in the new direction.

My ears take me to him. Through the sea of juniper trees on the flat landscape, his bugles are like a life-line I hold on to. I slow when the sound becomes loud. A tree in front of me moves like a dancing island girl. Its skirt swaying in the wind, mopping the ground, cutting gouges into the earth. Through its branches, I see antlers bobbing and weaving around, my 5’ 9” silhouette crouches down to rock level. Crab-crawling my way to the edge of the tree, his massive body is revealed, a shooter—a 6x6 bull elk.

He eats with the appetite of a starved sailor. Tugging and pulling grass from the grasp of Mother Natures’ rooted hand. His neck muscles strong and powerful hold up the weight of antlers. I watch as his teeth grip the grass, front legs secured like a fulcrum, neck muscles surging upward,

“Arizona Elk Society 21

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unleashing the grass, I hear the tearing rip—tongue pushing it back.

The sun is not yet up, and the cold of morning invigorates the rush that flows through my veins. Inside of me I can feel the pulse of hunter’s blood. I could have shot him right then, sent an arrow through both lungs, watched him run 70 yards before expiring, but I didn’t. A perfect broadside shot with all his attention on feeding. Feeling secure with his five cow elk milling around him, on-guard. He eats and meanders until a distant cry, another bugle, contains his thoughts--controls his actions—I watch his head move up in a stare. He listens and breathes, then invokes a reply. From up inside, from the bellows of his stomach and lungs, muscles squeeze tight, air pushes out fast. His chin is pointed up, making his esophagus straight to produce the sound. Every creature for a mile can hear, but I can feel. The reverberation infiltrates all my tissue like a vibrating tuning fork held close to your face. From 20 yards away his breath is creamy-thick steam, white and floating away, off to no place special. And like the sound that just was, it too becomes invisible, dissipating into the vast expanse of the landscape. But I saw it, and I heard it, for I am the only one watching.

I admit, after ten minutes of just watching him eat and bugle twice, I have become mesmerized. Bull elk are beautiful animals. And when an animal like this gets 15 yards from you, something magical happens. For a while I thought about not shooting him, but that soon blew away like his steam. I pull my weapon out, adjust my sights, and take careful aim. Then I shot him, from up close. That’s the way I like it. So close that you can just about smell the stench from their under-belly. The adrenalin rush rules. Makes me feel like I could rule the world, and for that one shutter-click moment, I did. Did I forget to mention my weapon of choice? It is my trusty black Canon camera. No zoom needed.

You weren’t drawn? Me neither. Didn’t stop me though. What do you mean I can’t go elk hunting this year? Lottery! Just the word sounds nasty. I don’t like the odds, and I sure don’t like the rules. It’s a game I don’t want to play. The rebel in me says, find a solution, a way around, to beat the odds and play by your own rules—so I did. The heck with lottery’s and paper tags with serial numbers. Go hunt anyway–I do. I’ve been doing it for years now. It doesn’t matter if I get drawn or not, I’m at elk camp hunting every year. Heck, I shot five bulls this year alone. A 330 branch antlered pip-squeak to a 377 screaming deaf leopard. Shot

‘em all good as dead I did, with my camera.

The first year I wasn’t drawn for archery elk, I got mad. Mad at the lottery system, mad at Game & Fish, God, and mad at myself for being mad. But I went out into the forest during the rut anyway. Took the week off work, packed my truck and tried to recreate last year’s excitement. I had a great time. Not having to carry a bow in my hand, I packed a small camera and kept my eyes scanning the forest. Often I found my eyes looking everywhere. Soon I found lots of fresh track, droppings, wallows, and bedding areas of flattened grass, impressions in the earth. This led to finding a lot of Indian pottery and arrowheads as well as old rock wall structures. Next I found that my love for the elk had switched gears. Now I was uncovering all kinds of nature that I had never seen before. Excitement kept pushing my limits and with the addition of GPS, I could stay out even later and come back to camp in complete darkness.

Back home my enthusiasm was contagious. I told my stories, learned how to use sign language to show how big the antlers are on bull elk, and showed-off my pictures. This made my boys curious and they soon came with me on the next trip.

22 The Tracker - 4th Quarter 2011

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Now, not being drawn is somehow acceptable.

I look forward to it when I don’t pull a tag. It is better to be in the woods every year, still learning where the elk are and how they act when pressured by hunters, than to stay home whining about the terrible odds of not being drawn. No tag? No problem. Need encouragement? Want to increase your odds of packing home meat next fall, or just get close to elk? Try these simple steps:

Pick a Unit that holds elk and one you like. Make it your home unit. Learn everything you can about that unit. Where do the elk rut? Which tanks hold water year round? From what roads does the majority of hunting pressure come from? Where was the last burn? Where is it really thick and secluded? Where are the best vantage points to glass from? If you get drawn for a different unit, you can still use the experience learned in your home unit on unfamiliar ground.

Learn all you can about Elk. I have purchased more books about elk than I know what to do with, all have great information. But I have learned more about elk hunting by

being in the woods than any good book could ever explain. Making mistakes has always been one of my best teachers. Elk hunting is hard work. Book knowledge will only take you so far. Experience in the woods is king when it comes to hands on hunting.

Food—Space—Water—Shelter. We learned these four simple things in Hunters Education, but sometimes forget them. Go back to the basics and forgo all the new gadgets. Elk are survivalists, first and foremost. Before they socialize they must eat, drink and be safe. This is where your off-season scouting comes into play

Get into Shape. I wish bulls would just walk right into camp; they sometimes do, but don’t count on it. Endurance is key. Some bulls are mountain climbers. With a full pack and weapon, being in shape and able to hike miles in a single day, will not only kill any boredom, but will definately increase your odds of seeing more elk.

Know the Wind. Keeping the wind in your face is the golden rule, but learning scent control on yourself can make or break a mountain top set-up when the air currents start to swirl. During

archery season, I shower in the woods every day with a scent killing soap, and only wear hunting clothes during actual hunting hours.

Here’s your Sign. Jeff Foxworthy may have made this quote famous, but if you want to find elk, you must be able to locate fresh tracks, droppings, rubs, wallows, and even bedding areas. Knowing how the elk traverse from the security of bedding areas—to feeding areas—to water and back, will pay big dividends. This will help you plot a good road map to ambush them. No matter what style of hunting you do, knowing where to find fresh sign will pay off come opening day.

It’s called Respect. This last season, I was set up on a bugling 6x6 and his cows. While filming him at 75 yards, another hunter came sneaking in with a guide and two caller’s in-tow. I have never seen anyone call so much in all my life. The elk were walking away from them, still they blew and walked foreword. I backed out of there. I ran around the mountain in the direction the bull might travel, hoping to get a second chance at photographing him. Again, the same hunter came walking right into my set-up. I waved and walked out of there since he was carrying a bow and I was not. Remember to never bust up someone else’s hunt for your enjoyment if you are not hunting. There are always other opportunities.

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With some of these questions answered, during the hunt you will have resources to use. When not drawn, you can watch behavior and patterns of elk, get a great picture, or at least pack home a great story. More than once, while in the field, I have had the opportunity to help other hunter’s look for downed game and carry out meat. For me, it’s almost just as much fun to share in another hunter’s excitement, as it is to witness your own. If you get the chance to help out another hunter–do it. You’ll have a friend for life. When it does come time for you to hunt, you’ll be well prepared.

24 The Tracker - 4th Quarter 2011

An Arizona native, Patrick

Weise has been living and

breathing elk since his

first arrowed bull of

September, 2000. He sleeps

in the Phoenix metro

area, but his home lichens

somewhere north, between

the dry desert floor, and a

pine tree canopy.

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get involved with Arizona elk society!AES members take a hands-on approach with our field projects important to wildlife and habitat. Please con-sider joining us for one or more projects each year. We work with many other great organizations in our effort to involve our youth – tomorrow’s wildlife and habitat stewards. You will find yourself working side-by-side with people who have big hearts and little fear of getting dirty...for the sake of wildlife.

go to today!

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This is the story of my first Elk harvest. Our whole family went to Heber/Overgaard for my Elk hunt. We are lucky to have a cabin in 3C as it is much easier to get up at 4 am when inside vs. outside in a cold tent! On opening day, my Dad drove to the perfect spot. We drove our quads to a secret location and got in position. We knew there were Elk in the area as we could hear them bugling. My Mom and sister were in position at a lookout point about a mile away. We called that area ‘The Command Center’. After the sun came up, we saw Elk. We were so excited and I was nervous. My dad had me using a backup gun as the 7mm with a muzzle break, which I was supposed to use, was having a scope problem. I had never shot the new gun, a 30.06, and was a little nervous that it would kick really hard. The Elk were only 80 yards away. I shot, but I was shaking so bad, I missed. I shot twice more... I missed. How could I miss? My dad called it buck fever. The good part of this event is that the gun did not kick as bad as I thought, so now I will be ready if were to see those Elk again. We hunted Saturday and Sunday. Each time, we saw Elk,

mostly bulls. My Dad decided I should miss school on Monday as the Elk were plentiful. My Mom and sister went back to Phoenix for work and school. Dad and I went back to our favorite, secret spot and guess what...we heard those Elk again. We followed the noise. We saw them 50 yards away. I got ready, got the gun on the shooting stick and took a shot. I hit it!!! My Dad saw it flinch and go down. My first Elk. We waited for a while. We started to look for blood. Other hunters joined in to find her. We could not find her. We decided to go back to the point where it was shot and do a big circle. The Elk was there. She had done a circle and come back to exact spot where she was initially hit. We took care of the animal, got it to a processor in Payson and went home to Phoenix. As I was in bed that night, I looked up to a poster I have. It is the Arizona Big Game Wildlife - 10 to Treasure poster. I hopped out of bed and circled the Elk. I had gotten a Javelina in February so I now have 8 to go. I wonder which Big Game animal will be next?

Jared C. Brown, age 11

jAred broWn’s first elk by Ross and Jared Brown

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Fall is closing in, cool nights, warm days, elk bugles trailing down the valleys beckoning the eager hunter. With two successful archery cow elk hunts in the past two years, a rifle hunt north of Flagstaff seemed promising. Hiking in the wilderness with a choice of only straight up or back down added to the challenge of this year’s late beginning of the rut. Driving in with darkness around, my dad and I set camp late that night with the cool silent whisper of the evening’s grace bringing question to the next day’s events.

Opening morning an hour before first light, the crunch of rock and the rustle of fern leaf announced the beginning of my first depridation hunt in unit 7. Making our way higher with each step, the presence of elk were heard but not seen. The elevation and grade made the way difficult and catching our breath was paramount to an accurate shot. Nearing the top of the meadow, the elk seemed to be everywhere. Only the bulls would present a shot as the cows were headed for deeper cover to rest for the day. We made attempts to follow, to no avail. Rock and dead trees mixed with moss and mud for a concoction of chaos that

the elk were all too comfortable with.

Plans for returning that evening were made, and 3:00 p.m. found us settling into a modest ground blind nestled in the crux of deadfall aspen and fern. Overlooking the town of Flagstaff and the mountain range north and south of Sedona kept us in awe as we awaited the return of the herd. As night approached, the bugles returned and the elk eeked into the edges of the meadow feeding as they came. I peaked over the edge of our blind to see the best way to position myself and not spook the cows. Nestling into the log, pivoting my rifle from cow to calf awaiting the shot, a bull pushed into the picture. As he pushed the cow to the side, my heart still racing, I pushed all thought from my mind, knowing it was time. As the bubbles clear from a waterfall, the apex on my scope seemed to illuminate it’s presence behind her shoulder as my fingers tightened for my shot. No sound, no recoil, as I recall, but she was running and down within 60 yards. A sudden rush of realization that I had downed my 3rd elk, first rifle kill, and the shakes and excitement overwhelmed me.

september elk hunting on the peAks by Trevor Hartigan

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Arizona Elk Society 27

The work now began with the sun gone for the day and the stars beginning to show over the Flagstaff lights. So many folks going about their business in town, as my dad and I began the long process of cleaning our family’s food for the year. He often teases me, that if it weren’t for me, we would starve to death. Since I have been hunting, my tags have filled our dinner plates and beef has become a meat of the past. This hunt was another special year spent with my dad under lantern moonlight. Packing out my elk, I felt proud with the weight of the boned out meat on my back. There is something right about meeting the challenge and doing it all on my own. No guide, no vehicle, nothing but my gun, backpack and dad to share my time with. That is what hunting is about. Oh, the food’s not too bad either.

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28 The Tracker - 4th Quarter 2011

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Arizona Elk Society 29

Walt and Cookie Nicoson Royal Partner

Stephen Clark Sponsor Partner

Ron and Sharon Eichelberger Sponsor Partner

Bass Pro Shops Sponsor Partner

Arizona ELk Society Habitat Partners

Cabela’s Sponsor Partner

Sharon and John Stuckey Royal Partner

Sportsman’s Warehouse Sponsor Partner

Tom & Janet BowmanSponsor Partner

Harry Carlson Imperial Partner

Pacific West Representatives Supporting Partner

With the rapid loss of open space to development, wildlife habitat is being reduced at a rate of 7 square miles per day. Arizona’s elk herds are loosing traditional migration corridors, calving grounds, forage meadows and other important habitat. The new “Habitat Partners of Arizona” program is designed to help protect that land. The main focus of this program will be to preserve land and prevent the rapid decline of Arizona’s elk habitat.

HERE’S HOW YOU CAN HELP: Become a Habitat Partner with your tax deductible donation starting at $2500 ($1000 for 17 and under).

Payment Plan Available: $500 minimum commitment per year. You will be recognized for a donation level once your payments reach that level for each level you attain.

All program participants that reach the $2500 level and above ($1000 for youth) will be recognized in literature and on the AES website and will receive a plaque at each level.

If you are interested in donating property or a conservation easement, the AES will work with you to designate the appropriate level based on the value of the donation.

DONATION LEVELS:Legacy Partner $500,000Habitat Guardian $250,000Monarch Partner $50,000Imperial Partner $25,000Royal Partner $10,000Supporting Partner $5,000Sponsor Partner $2,500Spike Partner (17 & under) $1,000


You can find more details and the donation form at

Habitat Partners of Arizona

Page 30: Tracker Fourth Quarter 2011

Founding Associate MembersDouglas Sr & Donna Obert

Founding Life MembersKen Alexander+

Michael J Anderson Ernest Apodaca, Jr+

David Baril+ Randy BeckKeith Berger

Esther CadzowJohn CadzowHarry Carlson

Randy A Cherington+ Pete Cimellaro

Steve Clark Todd A Coleman

Richard CurrieDon DavidsonKay Davidson

Larry DaySharon Eichelberger

Ron EichelbergerPeter EkholmDaron Evans

Will & Fran Garrison*Ed Hightower

Michael Horstman+James JohnsonEarl C Johnson

Edward E Johnson Richard Johnson+

Mitchell JonesSandra G Kauffman

Richard E Kauffman, SrBill Kelley

Peter S Klocki+John Koleszar+

James LaraTim Littleton

James Lynch Jr+Don Martin

Russ McDowellWilliam D Meredith

Anthony NicholsCookie NicosonWalt Nicoson*

Mark NixonDonna Obert

Douglas Obert, Sr*Shawn Patterson

Jan PurdyForrest Purdy Mark Raby+Mel Risch+

Rick Schmidt+Tom Schorr

Gregory StaintonDouglas Stancill

Vashti “Tice” Supplee+Dan TaylorJohn Toner

Corey TunnellRick Vincent, Sr Don Walters, Jr

Dee White Larry White+

Mark WorischeckJoseph Worischeck

Chuck Youngker

Founding Sustaining Members Everett & Joyce Nicoson

Founding Couple MembersBridgid & Ron Anderson John & Patty AndersonDenny* & Paula Bailey

Robert F & Shirley J BanksJohn & Taina Beaty

Robin & Billie BechtelBrad & Shelley Borden

Philip* & Jamie Brogdon+ Mark & Shanna BrooksShawn & Lisa Carnahan

Kim & Lynn Carter, SrDanny R Cline & Pat Thompson

Tim & Patti GarvinW Hays & Suzanne Gilstrap

Don & Gwen Grady Steve & Bobi Hahn

Igor & Christy IvanoffDaniel & Danny Johnson

Glen & Tracey JonesRichard & Wendy Kauffman

Bill & Mary KeeblerMark & Lynda KesslerMel & Diane Kincaid

Richard & Christine KrantzDick & Nancy Krause

Eric & Wendy KruegerRon & Lisa Lopez+

Gary & Lin Maschner Shane & Tiffany May

Kevin & Donna McBeeRoger & Micaela Mellen

Denny & Pat MossRobert & Diana Noel

Richard Oberson & Bonnie McAuley* William & Vera Rezzonico

Clarence Rodriquez MDRichard & Anna Schmidt

David Scott & Rosemarie NelsonBruce & Lisa Snider

Macey & Becky StarlingEd & Ace Stevens

Tim & Ellena Tanner Craig & Susan ThatcherTom & Kristel Thatcher

Marvin & Margo Thompson+Jim & Shellie Walker+

Keith & Lois Zimmerman

Founding General MembersKendall Adair

Gary R AndersonJim Andrysiak

Denny AshbaughRon Barclay

Cal BauerJohn F BauermeisterRobert BaughmanManny Bercovich

Dr Tom Boggess, III Tom BrownTom Carroll

Steve CheuvrontCarolyn Colangelo

Mike CupellJack Daggett

Kyle Daggett+Bob Davies

Gary A DavisNathan Day

John W Decker*Chris Denham

Neal E DialCraig Dunlap

Jennifer EvansBobby Fite

Chris FlandersLorenzo A Flores

Roger GibsonCourtney Gilstrap

Floyd Green Jon Hanna

Douglas HartzlerArt HathawayDean Hofman

David J HofmanNorma E Hook*

Russ HunterDavid Hussey Rick JohnsonMike JonesDoug JonesTodd Julian

Charlie KellyCharles A Kerns

John Krause Joseph M Lane

Robby LongAaron Lowry

Rick MacDonaldJoe Makaus

Daniel MartinMichael L MasonMike McCormickDonald Meakin

James O MeeksJason Mercier

Jim MercierTracey Miner

Ken MossRonald J Nadzieja

Mike N OliverCraig Pearson

Kenneth B Piggott Bethena PughCarlos QuihuisRobert L Read

Neal Reidhead*Kyle SanfordCraig SanfordTony Seddon

Arnold SheltonDennis Shipp

Tom SiscoBruce Sitko

M Scott SouthCarl Staley

Randy StoutKenneth K Stringer

John W Stuckey Dave Swayzee* Troy TartaglioGary TeBeest

Todd ThelanderCharles B Thompson

Stan ThompsonThom Tokash

Brian Van KilsdonkRick Vaughn

Kathy L VincentRick Vincent II Don R Walker

Douglas WatsonVince WattsTodd Weber

Donald D Weber Jr Tom Wooden

Douglas Woodward

Founding Junior MembersTyler GetzwillerKevin H Knight

Daniel RabyNathan RabyJames Rawls

Sheena SmithBlake Tartaglio

Alexandra TartaglioAlexis TartaglioTravis Thatcher

Clayton Thatcher Nathan ThatcherWayne ThatcherTaylor Thatcher

Alexandra Vincent Emma C Vincent Justin M Vincent

Prior to March 17, 2002, AES Founding Memberships were available. These individuals and couples came forth to show their support for the AES in it’s early stages of development. During the formation

of the AES, administrative funds were needed to pay for organizational costs that led up to the first fundraising banquet on March 16, 2002. Founding Members paid a premium membership fee to help make the first year a success. For their support and dedication, the following Founding Members will

receive permanent recognition by the AES.

+ Membership upgraded * Deceased

ArizonA elk society founding members

30 The Tracker - 4th Quarter 2011

Page 31: Tracker Fourth Quarter 2011
Page 32: Tracker Fourth Quarter 2011

P.O.Box 190 Peoria, AZ 85380



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Permit No. 5572

internAtionAl sportsmAn’s

expoFEBRUARY 23-26


11th AnnuAl Aes

bAnquetMARCH 24


o’hAco rAnch WAter tAnk

reseAlAPRIL 14-15


unit 7W slAte lAkes

projectMAY 19-20


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