A Great Pool for Hunters
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission on April 12, approved a new concept in Arizona — creating hunter pools for elk, javelina, buffalo and black bear.

These hunter pools could be used for population management hunts in the state when department biologists determine it is necessary to harvest animals when conditions warrant. In other words, those in the hunter pool would be the on-call hunters.

For instance, continued drought could result in elk impacting habitat in some areas. "In that case, we could use hunters as surgical instruments when necessary to help habitat health, while at the same time providing additional hunt opportunities," says Game Branch Chief, Tice Supplee.

As an example, the Game and Fish Commission adopted basic hunt structures for population management hunts in units 3C and 3B for sometime between August 1 this year and January 31, 2004.The hunt structures are in place just in case a population management hunt becomes necessary in that area.

Here is how those hunter pools would work:

• When a population management hunt is necessary, hunters will be selected from the pool.

• The application cost is $5. There is a new application form strictly for this process.

• You may apply any time during the year. The hunter pool list will be purged annually on April 30. You must designate the species of animal (elk, bear, javelina and/or buffalo) and weapon type when applying.

• You may designate more than one species and weapon type on the application form. If you do, your name will be included in the hunter pool for each species and weapon type you designate.

• A hunting license number is not required when applying for the hunter pool. However, if you are selected, you must have a valid hunting license when purchasing your non-permit tag.

• If a limited population hunt is set and your application is randomly selected, the department will attempt to contact you three times by telephone within a 24-hour period. If you cannot be contacted, your application will be returned to the hunter pool for inclusion in future population management hunts if they become necessary.

• If you are randomly selected and offered a restricted non-permit tag for a population management hunt, you may decline to participate, and your application will be returned to the hunter pool for future consideration.

• You are still eligible to be in a hunter pool even if you are drawn for that species during the regular big game drawing process. However, if you are selected from the hunter pool, elect to go afield, and harvest an animal, the annual bag limit applies. In other words, you can only harvest one animal and your drawn hunt-permit tag would no longer be legal to use. Conversely, if you do not harvest an animal, you may still use the hunt-permit tag from the regular drawing process.

• If you elect to participate in the population management hunt, you likely will be asked to go afield and hunt withina few days of being contacted.

• If you agree to participate in a population management hunt but fail to purchase your tag within the timeframe designated when you are contacted, you will not be eligible for further population management hunts that year.

• Restricted non-permit tags for population management hunts may be purchased at all Arizona Game and Fish Department regional offices and the main Phoenix office only.

• You will neither gain nor lose bonus points when you apply for, or participate in, a population management hunt.

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