The AZGFD is going to present their Hunt Guidelines proposal to the Commission in early December. The department has proposed three recommendations via webcast to the public on October 28th. The Commission will choose one of these recommendations to utilize in the management of OTC archery deer for the next 5 years.
The departments three recommendations for OTC archery deer management are:
- Maintain the status quo. Basically, keep doing it the same way we have been doing it. This will lead to the eventual closure of all OTC hunts once they exceed 20% harvest and a great loss of revenue.
- Utilize a harvest threshold system (best option by far)
- Move everything to a draw. (estimated loss of 1 million dollars in tag sales revenue)
I have included an additional breakdown of the potential for the threshold model below.
Continue to issue permits in the same manner we do now. Establish harvest objectives for each unit. These objectives will include an individual season objective along with an annual harvest objective. Utilizing a mandatory harvest reporting system similar to bears/lions requiring successful hunters to report their harvest via telephone, internet, or e-tag within 48 hours of harvest. Once the season harvest objective has been met in a unit close the season the following Wednesday at sundown. In addition to the harvest reporting also utilize mandatory reporting to collect harvest data from unsuccessful hunters. This option would allow the department to reopen the units that were closed during the 2021 hunt recommendations process.
- No loss of revenue
- Active management during season eliminating overharvest
- Ability to evaluate non-resident harvest vs. resident harvest
- No restriction to non-resident participation
- No restriction to non-resident tag sales
- Currently there is a perception that non-resident participation/harvest should be restricted in the OTC deer hunts. At this time there is no data to support this claim although it is a strong perception from many. In 2020 non-residents accounted for 10.5% of the total OTC tags purchased but we do not know what percentage of harvest occurred by non-residents vs residents.
- After utilizing this system for a few years, we would have data to show if non-resident participation/harvest needs to be regulated.
- Requires an article 3 rule change for mandatory reporting
I have been working with the commission and the department for the past six months. They really are considering the threshold model and I need your support along with anyone you know.
You can show support by simply sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The two things you need to mention in your email is what model you support and specifically mention that you support moving to mandatory reporting.
The department has fought the idea of mandatory reporting for years. To put things in perspective the departments hunter questionnaires from the 2020 OTC archery deer hunt showed 814 deer were killed yet their estimate for total OTC archery deer killed in 2020 was 3,654. This estimate was made with only 24% of hunters actually completing a hunter questionnaire. Additionally, I have included an attachment containing an evaluation completed by AZGFD on moving to mandatory reporting. When you read the report, you will see “All states indicated that mandatory reporting has worked well for them.” There are multiple contradictions to the negatives that the department continually brings up against moving to mandatory reporting.