TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – This is the time of year Arizona’s small game and waterfowl hunters have been waiting for.
In addition to the start of the tree squirrel and band-tailed pigeon seasons on Friday, hunters can chase sooty (blue) grouse through November 8 and chukar through February 7, 2021. The season for the cottontail rabbit runs through June 30, 2021 and the start of the season for Gambel’s and scaled quail is October 16.
Johnathan O’Dell, a small game biologist with the Arizona Department of Fish and Game, and an avid squirrel hunter, expects even better hunting this season than in 2019.
“The second straight year of wet winters, and not all snow in the highlands, means acorns and pine cones should be plentiful this fall and provide excellent resources for Abert’s squirrels,” O’Dell said. “Both Arizona gray squirrel and Mexican fox populations should also be improving due to recent wet winter conditions. Squirrel hunting should definitely be better this year.”
For more information on Arizona small game, check out the AZGFD Small Game Forecast at azgfd.com/hunting/species/smallgame/forecast/.
Meanwhile, the general waterfowl and snipe seasons in the “Mountain Zone” (Game Management Units 1-5, 7, 9, 11M, 12A, and portions of Units 6 and 8 within Coconino County) begin on October 2, 2020, and valid until January 10, 2021.
AZGFD recently completed a fall waterfowl census in Units 5B, 6A, and 8. While the area received good rainfall in the winter and spring months, the monsoon was disappointing and well below normal for most of the year. from the Flagstaff area.
Wetlands like Marshall Lake, Prime, and Vail are mostly dry and duck-free. Many shore tanks are also dry throughout the area, but there are still decent numbers of waterfowl in some of the larger waters.
Most of the waterfowl were found in Mormon Lake, JD Dam, and Long Lake. Mallards were the most common species observed and Canada Geese were the second most common species. In general, most wetlands ranged from poor to fair in terms of numbers of waterfowl and available water. The one exception was Long Lake in Unit 5B-South, which had excellent bird numbers. Canadian geese were observed in Mormon, Scholz, and Marshall lakes.
The general waterfowl and snipe seasons in the “Wilderness Zone” (Game Management Units 10 and 12B through 46B, and those portions of Units 6 and 8 within Yavapai County) begin October 23, 2020 and end on January 31, 2021.
The following (excluding scaup) are legal wild animals in both highland and desert areas: ducks, including mergansers, coots, and common moorhens (gallinules); white geese (snow, blue and Ross); and dusky geese (Canada, crowing, brantin, and white-fronted).
Scaup can be harvested in the mountainous zone from October 17, 2020 to January 10, 2021, and in the desert zone from November 7, 2020 to January 31, 2021.
All waterfowl hunters over the age of 18 must possess a valid Arizona hunting license and a state migratory bird stamp, as well as a federal migratory bird stamp. All waterfowl hunters over the age of 16 must also possess a federal migratory bird stamp.
Do you need a license? Visit www.azgfd.gov/license/. Keep in mind that a combined hunting and fishing license is only $20 more (for in-state residents) than the price of an individual hunting or fishing license. As a reminder, a combined hunting and fishing license for youth (ages 10-17) is only $5 and includes the privileges associated with the state migratory bird stamp.
AZGFD has posted the 2020-2021 Arizona Waterfowl and Godwit Regulations at azgfd.com/Hunting/Regulations/. For more information on hunting waterfowl, visit azgfd.com/hunting/species/waterfowl/.
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