Arizona Hunting Ban
A bowhunter trespass incident on private property on January 8 on the outskirts of Cave Creek was the catalyst for residents in that area to successfully seek closing the area to hunting.

After lengthy testimony by residents in that area who cited a litany of hunting-homeowner conflicts over the years, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission on April 12, voted to prohibit hunting in Unit 42M in the following area: the private lands north of the town of Cave Creek in Sections 10, 11, 12, 14 and 15 of Township 6 North, Range 3 East. In general, this closure affects the private lands surrounding Fleming Springs, Sierra Vista and Cottonwood Canyon roads.

The Commission also directed the Game and Fish Department to seek legislation to modify Title 17 (the wildlife laws) to make it illegal to discharge a bow and arrow while hunting within a quarter mile of an occupied structure, without the occupant's permission. In essence, that would simply add "bow and arrow" to the current Title 17 restriction on the discharge of firearms within a quarter-mile of an occupied structure while hunting. Currently, the law (17-309) reads that unless otherwise prescribed by Title 17, it is unlawful for a person to "discharge a firearm while taking wildlife within one-fourth mile of an occupied farmhouse or other residence, cabin, lodge or building without permission of the owner or resident."

The Commission felt that the quarter-mile prohibition would provide wildlife officers another tool to use for minimizing conflicts, especially in urban-wild land fringe areas.

The January conflict between the hunter and a homeowner led to the Game and Fish Department conducting a public meeting in Cave Creek to gather public issues, concerns and other input. The issue was brought before the Game and Fish Commission at its meeting in Phoenix on April 12 for resolution.

During the discussion before the Commission, sportsmen raised concerns that instituting a hunting ban near Cave Creek would lead to bans in other areas as well. The Commission emphasized that it is not setting a precedent but will address each situation on a case-by-case basis.

Representatives from major sportsmen's organizations pointed out that the vast majority of hunters are ethical and are considerate of private property rights and people's homes, but as with any large group, there are always a handful of insensitive and unethical individuals who can ruin it for everyone.

| WH Home | Contact Western | WH Archive |

Copyright © 2002 J & D Outdoor Communications. All rights reserved.