• February 28, 2019 1:02 PM | Kara Jensen (Administrator)

    We enjoyed wonderful weather had a great day this past Tuesday from 12-3 at the State Capitol lawn with our AWF partner affiliates. Ken/Terry and myself staffed the AAF Booth. Wild Game was served by both the Back Country Hunters and AWF Linda Dightmon.

    It ended up lightly attended due to packed House and Senate day calendars but those members who came out learned a lot about our states Critter/Conservation groups. This photo features House Member and Public Lands Holiday Bill sponsor and House Lands & Agriculture Chair Tim Dunn. The AWF plans to make this an annual event. 

    The AWF sponsored AZ Public Lands Day Bill is HB-2271. It  left the House Chamber with a resounding 60-0 approval a short time back. Public Lands day will be a focus for both celebrating our Az resource but also a "Projects Day" to encourage volunteer-ism on that day something we and all critter groups are quite familiar with. The Bill is up for scheduling in the Senate and hearings will be held in the next few weeks. I'll keep you updated on it's progress and will again be testifying in support of the Bill on behalf of the AAF.

    We hope to see more sportsmen show up next year!

    Yours in Conservation,


  • January 30, 2019 4:41 PM | Kara Jensen (Administrator)

    Translocation to boost, add genetic diversity to southern Arizona populations   

    PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. — The fastest land animal in North America can make it seem so effortless, reaching a top speed of 55 mph, then being able to coast at 30 mph for miles. When they get their wheels rolling, there isn’t a predator that can keep up with them, let alone catch them.

    There is one thing, however, that an estimated 100 pronghorn that have roamed the Glassford Hill area near Prescott Valley cannot outrun — development.  

    On Jan. 24, the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), in partnership with the Arizona Antelope Foundation (AAF) and local private landowners, reduced the size of the iconic herd by capturing 45 of the fleet-footed animals and transporting them to various release sites in southeast Arizona.

    See a short video about the project.

    “Our mission at Game and Fish is to conserve and protect all of Arizona’s wildlife,” said Erin Butler, terrestrial wildlife program manager for the department’s regional office in Kingman. “With a four-lane, divided highway to the north, an encroaching subdivision to the east, another housing community under construction to the west, and more development to the south, this particular herd needs our help.

    “As development in this area continues, and their habitat dwindles, these pronghorn will find it increasingly difficult to survive. Our goal is that translocating them will boost and add genetic diversity to existing populations in the southeast portion of the state.”

    The one-day operation was conducted on private property south of Highway 89A. A helicopter was used to round up and funnel the pronghorn into a holding area, where wildlife biologists, veterinarians, and others evaluated the health of each pronghorn, attached an ear tag for identification and fitted them with GPS tracking collars.

    The pronghorn then were transported almost 300 miles south to release sites near Bonita, Altar Valley and San Bernardino Valley, where they will bolster a small population numbering about 100. Extensive habitat improvement work has been done in these areas over the past 10 years in partnership with the Arizona Antelope Foundation and the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), both of which provided funding and volunteers. These improvements included clearing 22,000 acres of mesquite, modifying 35 miles of fencing to facilitate easier pronghorn movement, and the placement of 15 water troughs.

    As for the remaining pronghorn near Glassford Hill, AZGFD expects the lower-elevation grassland habitat to be completely developed within the next five to 10 years, resulting in a decrease in the population through natural attrition. 

    Costs incurred for the operation were paid for through wildlife restoration funds (which are generated by sportsmen who support conservation through their purchase of hunting, fishing and other outdoor equipment), as well as support and volunteers from AAF and NRCS.  

  • October 01, 2018 11:27 AM | Kara Jensen (Administrator)

    By Glen Dickens, VP/Grants/Projects Mgr.

    Another successful AAF fence modification/removal project was completed by 23 volunteers in Southeastern Arizona on September 28 and  29, 2018 in the northeast end of game management unit 32 near Bonita. 

    We modified 3 miles of existing boundary fence  north and south of the High Creek Road.  We removed the bottom barbed wire strand and replaced with smooth, along with installing replacement stays along the fence line.  Fridays work day was spent removing mesquite that had grown up along the fenceline.  During the project weekend, multiple sightings of rutting pronghorn occurred by most everyone traveling to the camp site on USFS land at the western end of the High Creek Road.

    This effort is in direct proximity to ongoing mesquite removal for the Bonita Grasslands NRCS/G&F restoration project with a goal of improving an additional 10,000 acres in the next 4 years.  Over the past 8 years, the areas adjacent to and within this project have been grubbed and new waters and boundary fence installed.  These projects will help ensure that resident pronghorn and mule deer can safely utilize open grassland corridors without interference due to fence line obstructions.  It assisted in accomplishing a key portion of the overall Bonita Plains pronghorn travel corridor improvement project.

    This project effort benefits the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant in that all labor hours, materials and mileage from this project were used to match the AAF’s $430K 8-year grant for our “Southeastern Arizona Grasslands Pronghorn Initiative”. The grant has a goal of improving up to 100,000 acres of “Pronghorn habitat connectivity”. This goal was met in April of 2018 at Elgin and we are continuing to add to that total through the end of the grant period in calendar 19.

    Dinners was served on Friday and Saturday nights with the sides was provided by Mary and Bill Keebler and they hosted Saturday and Sunday morning breakfasts as well,

    Thanks Mary and Bill!

    Thanks, go out to several  folks that contributed to this successful project:

     -Representing the AAF Board:  Ken Meadors, Gary Boyer, Al Sue, Ken Meadors, Joe-bill Pickrell and yours truly.

    -Other AAF members and volunteers:   Betty Dickens,  John Millican, Mary and Bill Keebler, Dale Maas, Ron Day, Dave Cruce, Jason Angell, Cameron Becker, Jeff Gillon, Clyde Morris Joelle Buffa, Dave Laird, Darrel Wood, Rene Dube, Warren Adams, Bill McClendon, Jeff Hannum and Steve Tritz.    

    Thanks, everyone for your efforts!

    Photos by Betty Dickens

  • April 16, 2018 11:50 AM | Kara Jensen (Administrator)

    Southeast Sonoita Plains Pasture Fence Projects

    By Glen Dickens, VP/Grants/ Projects Coordinator

    Another successful AAF project was completed by 39 volunteers and Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) personnel in southeastern Arizona on April 13-15, 2018. On Friday we modified and repaired a quarter mile section of fence that is an entrance into a newly identified 320 acre “Fawning Pasture” as well as modified a 500-foot section of fence on the south end of the Upper Elgin Road allowing access to a 2,400-acre pasture. We removed the bottom strand of barbed wire, replacing it with a single strand of smooth wire at a height of 18 inches and replaced all fence stays and posts as needed. Within just 2 weeks of the fence modification 17 pronghorn were observed in the 2,400-acre pasture and in early June a fawn and mother were observed in this newly accessible pasture. Success!

    On Saturday we modified 2 fences both approximately .75 miles in length that bordered a horse pasture to the northeast of the 2,400-acre pasture. This permits pronghorn to pass through the horse pasture to the south as well as gives them access to a permanent water that they could not utilize previously. This modification improved pronghorn access to another 3,000 acres of habitat. Fence modifications were similar to those listed previously.

    The really good news! All 4 of these fence modifications have been caused by the increased herd in this area (now 120 animals minimum, up from 17 in 2012) utilizing and pioneering suitable habitat areas previously unoccupied by Pronghorn. This project is likely a final “Capstone” effort and will complete free pronghorn access in the southeastern portion of the Santa Cruz Plains pronghorn corridor improvement project. Everyone who worked on both days enjoyed multiple sightings of the resident pronghorn.

    All fence materials for this project were purchased with National Fish and Wildlife Grant funds and this effort benefits the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant in that all labor hours, materials and mileage from this project will be used to match the AAF’s $430K 7-year grant for our “Southeastern Arizona Grasslands Pronghorn Initiative”. The grant has a goal of improving up to 100,000 acres of “Pronghorn habitat connectivity”. This project put us over that magic mark!!

    Camp was located at the Rose Tree Ranch Corrals. Thanks, as always goes to Bill Brake and Al Wilcox for again agreeing to host our camp site. Dinners were served on Friday and Saturday nights provided by Mary and Bill Keebler and they hosted Saturday and Sunday morning breakfasts as well, thanks Mary and Bill!

    Thanks go out to several groups of folks that contributed to this successful project;

    -Representing the AAF Board: Al Sue, Ken Meadors, Kara Jensen, Terry Schupp Connie Taylor, Gary Boyer, and yours truly.

    -Other AAF members and volunteers: John Millican, Joe-Bill Pickrell, Dave Laird, Richard Roller, Colin Hurkett, William Gray, Tyler Mayberry, Dave Cruce, Bill/Mary Keebler, Betty Dickens, Warren Adams, Ray Blanchard, Jay/Connie Leadabrand, Rene Dube, Sherry Kapaldo, Ray Emmerich, AE Montiel, Bill McClendon, David Breeden, Johnny Johnson, Jason Angell, Darrel Wood, and Robert Velasco.

    -University of Arizona Wildlife Club; Ben Morrison

    -AZ Land and Water Trust; Cameron Becker

    -Game & Fish personnel: Brad Fulk, Rana Tucker, Troy Christensen, Jered Ellingson and Brittney Olsen

    Thanks, everyone for your efforts!

  • February 06, 2018 4:36 AM | Kara Jensen (Administrator)

    Yes, it’s true. I’ve been on the AAF Board now for 8 years and this is our 1st recorded “Fence Building Project” during my ten- ure. The good news we had 35 volunteers that made the long drive to Ajo and another 9 miles northeast of there to the desig- nated desert camp-site. The project work date was another 1st being held in the middle of the winter on January 27, 2018.

    So why this location and why build a new one-acre live- stock/burro proof fence around a seasonally filled livestock tank? Presently when full it attracts feral cattle and horses from nearby reservation lands onto the eastern edge of the Son- oran Pronghorn habitat as well as resident burros. This fence construction project will permit access to the water by all wild- life but prevent access by trespass feral livestock and burros.

    This project was identified by the Bureau of Land Management as very high priority need and the BLM not only provided all the materials but set all five corner posts in concrete the week prior to our work date. Thanks Mike Daehler, District BLM Wildlife Biologist!

    How does this improve the habitat for Pronghorn? This effort is located on the eastern boundary of histor- ic endangered Sonoran Pronghorn

    habitat. The BLM has a long-term plan of removing up to 54 miles of un

    -needed livestock fence in this zone as to make it more attractive to Son- oran Pronghorn. This was the first of at least two projects and likely more we will be doing in this zone. Next January 2019 we will begin removing fence but more centrally south of Stanfield and Interstate 8 east of Gila Bend.

    The fence was constructed of metal posts just 10 feet apart and was the usual wildlife standard fence with a 42-inch top and an 18-inch smooth bottom wire. It was solidly supported by dozens of stone tie downs where appropriate. In addition to the fence construction all the old wire on the ground from the previous fence was

    removed and rolled up. Time will tell if it has the desired effect of reducing livestock use in this area of Sonoran Pronghorn habitat.


    Getting to the work site some 9 miles from camp was another challenge or as some drivers stated, “a real Adventure.” We carpooled and caravanned in high clearance 4WD vehicles only and it took over an hour to progress the 9 miles of which 3 miles was in severe climbing and rock rolling conditions. But no flat tires oc- curred, and we finished the entire project with no injuries by 3:30.

    Dinners were served on Friday and Saturday nights with the sides provided by Mary and Bill Keebler andthey hosted Saturday and Sunday morning breakfasts as well. Thanks Mary and Bill!

    Thanks also go out to several groups of folks who contributed to this successful project:

    -Representing the AAF Board: Al Sue, Connie Taylor, Gary Boyer, Joe-Bill Pickrell, Ken Meadors and yours truly.

    -Representing the Mule Deer Foundation:  Sherry Kapaldo

    -US Air Force: Jake Vincent, Humberto Morales and Curtis Brown

    -ASU: Barbara Faultner

    -Other AAF members and volunteers: Betty Dickens, Mary and Bill Keebler, Marsha Sue, Paul Pavlich, Jamie and Deana Watkins, Dave Laird, Johnny Johnson, Rita and Rob Rutledge, Ray Blanchard, Keith and Diane Azlin, Darrel Wood, Ken and Kathy Cook, Larry Thowe, Dino Cerchie, Tyler Mayberry and Charles and Mark Wilmer

    -Game & Fish personnel: Troy Christensen

    -BLM: Mike Daehler

  • January 01, 2018 5:33 AM | Kara Jensen (Administrator)

    Our two-grant funded half-time contract personnel, John Millican with 34 years’ pronghorn experience in SE AZ as our on the ground “Field Manager” and Rana Tucker with 10 years GIS experience as our GIS Specialist continued their hard work. The AAF conducted 2 volunteer fence removal/modification projects one on HW 83 South in conjunction with the Arizona Department of Transportation on the southwestern portion of the Sonoita Plains 3.2 miles as well as 3.0 in the West pasture, and one north of the High Creek county roadway near Bonita Arizona on 3.5 miles. 

    We conducted multiple and extensive landowner and agency contacts/education and project definition through our Field Manager and Grant Managers efforts.  We continued to build our extensive geo-data base with key layers in pronghorn occupied habitats in SE AZ making 3rd year progress on the Bonita/Allen Flat/San Bernardino herd zones. As of 2015 we have completed 100% of the GIS work for the Las Cienegas grasslands and Sonoita Plains complex. Coyote control was utilized for the 2nd year in the Allen Flat and Bonita areas northwest of Wilcox. For the 5th year in a row we conducted a fawn “saturation survey” on the greater Sonoita Plains with reduced fawn numbers noted due to winter drought we counted a minimum of 243 animals. No grant caused acres of grassland habitat were restored in this reporting period. 

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