This past June, the Arizona Chapter of Safari Club International auctioned off three special hunting tags provided by the state, with all funds raised passed back to the AZ Game & Fish Department (AGFD) for the betterment of each specific species. These tags included one Coues deer and one javelina tag, plus a special tag for wild turkey passed along from the Arizona chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. At this auction, the Coues whitetail tag sold to a gentleman from Alaska for $25,000 and the javelina tag sold to a gentleman from Florida for $950. The turkey tag sold to a local person for $5,600.
Every year the Arizona Game & Fish Department has an application process for three each Commissioners Tags for mule deer, Coues whitetail, black bear, bighorn sheep, bison, elk, pronghorn, javelina and mountain lion. The tags are good for a one year period and virtually anywhere in the state of Arizona. The only exception is the sheep tag, as the three tags are split between the three different sub-species that are found in the state. These tags are applied for by the various conservation groups in the state to be sold at their fundraisers or other venues, and the method must be spelled out (i.e., raffle, live auction, etc.) in the application letter. All funds for these tags go back to the AGFD for projects like research or water catchments. The Conservation group that sells the tag is also allowed to provide input as to the how the money will be spent by AGFD. These issues are discussed at monthly Arizona Habitat Partnership Committee Meetings (HPC).
Approximately 400 people attended the Chapter fundraiser, which has been held at Tucson’s Loews Ventana Canyon Resort for the past 6 years. The good news is that SCI’s application for the same tags were approved for the Chapter’s May 31, 2014 fundraiser, and the NWTF has agreed to let the chapter once again auction their tag as well.
The Arizona Chapter of SCI is very active in conservation, committing $5,000 for the next three years to aid in the various processes of transplanting pronghorn to supplement an existing herd in southern Arizona. The chapter has also pledged $5,000 for reintroducing desert bighorn sheep to the Catalina Mountains. The bighorns inexplicably disappeared from the Catalina Mountains within the past 20 years, and the Game and Fish Department has committed to bringing them back starting this fall.
More information on the AZ Chapter of SCI can be had by e-mailing chapter president Tod Molesworth at firstname.lastname@example.org, or from SCI’s headquarters office in Tucson, 520-620-1220.