Petition to legalize NIGHT HUNTING in Arizona

Jeff Mock

Active member
This is a petition I created a while ago. We currently have 521 signatures, but we still need more.

If you have signed this petition, thankyou.

If you have not, please click the link, read and sign if your so inclined. Thank you.

Jeff Mock

Arizona Night Hunting Petition
We really need to get this going. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grinning-smiley-003.gif

I remember when I was a kid growing up in the valley. We had to look out for deer as we drove down the road. Now we never see them while driving. I waisted a whole week last year hunting muleys in unit 22 and never seen a single buck or even heard a single shot. Where the heck are all the deer? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused1.gif

I felt absolutly ripped Off by AZ Game and Fish /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/angry-smiley-055.gif So I will boycot all draws on big game hunting in AZ. They will not get any more money out of me.... /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

If everyone would do the same this would send a good message and bring them to the table. Until then I will do what ever I can to kill every coyote I see during the legal hunting hours.
So I will boycot all draws on big game hunting in AZ.

That's a different course of action. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused1.gif Can you convince about 100,000 others to follow it? Maybe then I could draw a tag more often.

I hope the new Chairman will be a little more open to this idea than the last one. I find it hard to believe that night hunting is legal in Kalifornia, but not here??? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smiliesmack.gif

What other steps are being taken down there? Is the movement getting anywhere?


This is a petition I started quite some time ago. I received an email yesterday from a guy who frequents "another web site", and he emailed me to ask if I would mind if he put the petition up on his web site for their members to review and sign. I told him go ahead.

I then re-posted the petition here on our board, and checked the number of signatures on it. As of yesterday when I posted it here, it had about 521 signatures, and this morning it now has 576.

I have contacted Arizona Game and Fish, and even emailed them the petition with the signatures, and they have never responded to me.

I have had many fellow predator hunters here in Arizona go so far as to tell me that I'm wasting my time, but I don't agree.

So I guess the answer to your question is, No, there has been absolutely no involvement from anyone else on this issue. I started the petition, and while I have had many people sign it, noone has ever contacted me as to what else could be done. It is good to see that the petition has made it to other hunting web sites, and they are also getting their members to sign. I guess I need to call AZ game and fish, and start being a bit more proactive myself.

If anyone knows exactly WHO I need to cotact, then please, by all means, let me know.

Jeff, I had heard that although some of the Wildlife Managers and other Biologists supported the idea, the previous Chairman was dead set against it. He was convinced that guys like you and me couldn't be trusted in the field at night with a weapon and a light. Like I said, maybe the new Chairman will have a more open mind.

You might get some attention by following the "contact me" links on this page. web page

I'd be glad to help you in writing letters or making calls if need be.

I know they use aerial gunners in some of the antelope areas before the fawns drop. If they let us go at night and told us where the problem areas were, they might be able to save that money for something else.
Well, I just sent another letter, along with the link to the petition, to William H. McLean, the new chairman. I'll wait to see if I hear anything from him.

In the mean time, please feel free to call as many people in the Game and Fish department as you'd like.

We have to somehow, make this know to the entire hunting community, and not just a couple hundred folks.

Thanks again

I'm more than slightly interested in seeing this law changed. I think a petition is a good first step to getting it going. However, going to the AZG&F meetings and showing support for the change in the law, would go a long way towards getting it done. Persistence usually pays off. A dozen people there in support of something they believe in. Someone should organize a group to push this thru. I will do everything I can to help make it happen.
Anyone can sign this petition. By having non Arizona residents sign it, it also shows that people outside of our state do come here to hunt, and spend their hard earned dollars to get here, and while they are staying here. Hunting license's, hotels, food, supplies, gas, etc.

ALL are welcome to sign... /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
Holy Moly!! A DC sighting!! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif

I thought the monsters had eaten you. I'm sure liking your handiwork btw.

Now, back on topic.....
The petition, especially an internet petition, won't do a thing toward swaying anyone's mind. Just because people are interested in something doesn't mean anyone will change the law.

There actually has to be a push made by real people with real faces. Does your game department make the hunting regs or does the state legislature?

You'll need to gather strength in real numbers. Contact the trappers association in your state, deer hunters associations, etc, etc. Find out from them who their main contacts are and ask them to put in a good word for you. Then you are going to have to go to meetings. Meet with your department of enforcement for the game and fish department. Be ready to quash any excuses they have against it. They'll have a bunch of them.

Like Dan said, get a group together that is willing to WORK! Then, organize it and get to WORK.

It's not easy but we made the change in Minnesota a few years ago. It can happen.
This is the reply I just received from AZ Fish and Game:


Thank you for your email. Sorry that the HELP address didn't get through. As
you can see, I've send your message to both our Predator manager (Ron) and our
Rules Chief (Jennifer). I also send it to the "Rulemaking" website where it
will also be logged in.

We cannot consider an "on line petition" as such. We have a process through our
Rule Making staff. Basically they review each series of rules every five years.
Article III is under review currently. I am sure that both Ron and Jennifer
will respond to you with the details of how to request a Rule revision.

Jeff, so you will know, this issue has been presented to the Commission
periodically over the past several years and has not resulted in a rule change.
Although several other states allow predator hunting at night, generally Arizona
has not. There are a number of reasons for this, primarily hunter safety.
However, do not let this discourage you. If you submit a petition to us, we
will put it on an agenda and discuss it. You would have the right to appear and
testify at that time.

Bill McLean
Commission Chair
How much would you like to bet that if the data from states allowing night hunting are reviewed that there is ZERO appreciable impact on "hunter safety."

It would also be interesting to survey whether merely "several" other states or 'the majority' of other states allow night hunting. My guess is that it is closer to the later. I think one of our guys started an informal survey thread somewhat recently over in the Night Hunting Forum.

This sounds like a good project for the new forum, too, BTW.

Needless to say, I'll be happy to lend a hand here and do what I can on this thing, pard!

I'm always looking for another "project".. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

I guess it's time to start crackin the books...
Hunter safety my a_ _!I know that Gary @ Randalls Firearms in Glendale,the ex pres of pvci has been involved in some of these previous attempts to overturn this ruling from several discussions we've had.Mike B @ Apc has also been involved.It may take support from the groups to push this thing out in the open.How nice that they will notify you of your opportunity to appear and testify.That would be pushed under a rug so fast with one guy there.We need a crowd at that meeting. Let me know if I can help, I will pm you my private email.
I've received another letter from AZ Game and Fish:

Sent: Wed, 10 Sep 2008 5:25 pm
Subject: RE: Legalization of Night Hunting for Predatory Mammals


Thank you for your inquiry. More importantly, thank you for being a hunter and for your interest in predator management in Arizona. Jennifer will address the rules process as she is the expert. I was on a night hunting predator evaluation team around 2000 that analyzed the pros and cons of night hunting of predators with the aid of artificial light. Commissioner McLean was correct in stating that hunter safety was one of the primary reasons night hunting of predators is not legal in Arizona. We do offer night hunting of raccoons and snakes with a light source detached from a vehicle. I did a comparative analysis of all 50 states and a majority do not allow night hunting for safety reasons. I am sure you are aware of the western states that do and some of the Midwestern states that allow it. The states that did allow it stated that it is a constant source of night time law enforcement calls from the public. Some states require the hunter to obtain a permit for a specified area and to notify the agency’s dispatch prior to hunting. Some required the use of a shotgun shooting shot. Officer safety was very high on the list of concerns. Imagine if you were a game warden and you h ave gone from attempting to catch night time deer poachers to checking legal night time predator hunters. The approach by the officer will be the same, always from a safety view point. Arizona is fortunate and unique in that we have the largest number of carnivores than almost any other state (NM has more). At the time we reviewed night time hunting we were in the middle of, and still are, reintroduction programs for two endangered species-the Mexican gray wolf and the black-footed ferret, both a primarily nocturnal animal with an eye shine. Oh, and then there is the jaguar in the southeast part of our state. Finally, we looked at the biology of the predators that would be hunted for the purpose of reducing predators to benefit prey, such as fawning antelope. There is no science-based information that has shown that lawful hunters have effectively reduced a predator population through night hunting to a degree to have a positive impact on prey. A removal of 75% of the estimated population of a predator species is required to have a positive impact on large prey. In fact, coyotes actually increase their litter sizes in a response to moderate or heavy removal, and all during the antelope fawning season. The past team’s analysis finally looked at how permitted night hunting would increase additional hunter opportunity. As Arizona has a huge resource of foxes and coyotes that are not currently being hunted to a significant level (supply over demand) the past decision was to not20legalize it. I hope this gives you some idea of what will be considered by the Department upon receipt of your petition. Please feel free to call me and discuss this and any hunting topic you may want to as I am an avid predator hunter.

Ron Thompson
Big Game Habitat and Large Carnivore Specialist

And my reply to Ron Thompson:

Hello Ron,

Thank you for your response. I appreciate your getting back to me, and I'm sure you guys have your hands full with quite a bit of other tings beside answering emails.

I began this petition about 3 years ago. I started it to see if there would in fact be any interest on the issue. As it turns out, there was quite a bit of interest. I also belonged to the Phoenix Varmint Callers group in Phoenix, and as you probably well know being a predator hunter yourself, the subject of night hunting comes up quite often, especially around the camp fire with those guys from Texas. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Anyway, this petition, my own, resurfaced a couple of days ago, and has had about 100 more signatures added overnight. Well, this got me to thinking about the subject again.

Before I begin addressing some of your points, I would also like to tell you that I do have 9 years Law Enforcement experience. I was a Military Policeman in the Army, and while in the Army, I was assigned to the Military Police Company down in Fort Huachuca. Shortly after arriving, I was selected to be the Post Game Warden. I worked with the Post wildlife biologists, did game counts and enforced this states hunting and fighing regulations.

Now having been predator hunting for a few years, I can honestly say, predator hunters are some of the most responsible hunters I have ever encountered, and due to the very controversial nature of our sport, we really go the extra mile "leaving it like we found it". We are also extremely concerned with our game animal species as well. The reason's for attempting to have the law changed are as numerous as the people that want it changed. I do not believe that there is just one magic reason for the change, but many.

The reasons for leaving it the way it is, are, in my opinion, just one. This reason centers around the officer's safety in the field. I do not for one second discount this reason, as I also feel that it is a very valid concern. I can say; however, that in all honesty, the reason given with regards to the fear that "poaching" will occur simply do not hold water. That is like saying that a group of flies will draw a pile of garbage. We both know that poachers will poach WHENEVER poachers want to poach. Predator hunters utilize red lights and are stationary, not "jack lighting" with a Q-beam spotlight from a moving vehicle.

At the risk of sounding negative, I have been predator hunting in the State of Arizona, during daylight hours, for over 20 years, and I have never been approached by a game warden in all that time. About the only law enforcement I have seen is the occasional Border Patrolman. They are always very friendly, but I have never had my hunting license checked, or my lion tag checked. If this is not occurring during daylight hours, I certainly don't think it will start happening at night.

The eye shine of the gray wolf, or that of a jaguar or black footed ferret should also be of no concern. I know there are Jaguars in southern Arizona, remember, I was the game warden on Fort huachuca, and I also know that their locations are kept extremely quiet. Their numbers are so few, this shouldn't even enter into the equation. Wolf's are pretty much the same story, although their numbers are obviously more than than the Jaguars. Again, you know as many predator hunters as I do, and I think that we can both agree, that if a target is not 100% identified, then the shot doesn't get taken.

As far as a significant impact on the coyote population with regards to their predation on the Antelope, we both know that this is almost negligible. There are those predator hunters that would have you believe that they would be saving the state money in areas that require aerial gunning, but the real impact would actually be quite small.

I do believe; however, that the areas where deer and elk herds are declining, can be directly attributed to the coyote population, and in this area, we can make a small impact. I know, coyotes don't kill full grown deer and elk, but the lions certainly do. The lions eat what they can, and bury the rest. They stick around for a bit, but they wander off, patrolling their territories. When they return, they find that the local coyote population, we'll call them "Eatibus anythingus in sightubis", has all but devoured their kill. The lion must then kill another deer or elk, and they cycle continues. I have seen significant population drops occur in game herds for this very reason. The ONLY real check and balance system the coyotes have are in fact the wolves, who's numbers are presently so few, that it is no longer a balanced system.

I am all for new rules if this law is passed. I believe that if such a law were changed, you would HAVE to put laws into place to control it. South Eastern Arizona, for example, could be put off limits after the hours of darkness. You could also initially, allow night hunting in certain established hunting areas. Then over time, as everyone warms to the idea, broaden the legal area's.

I know if I were still a game warden in this day and age, I would most certainly want more responsible eye's and ear's in the field, only a cell phone call away to report any illegal activity they may come across.

I know I'm typing a book here, but at least give it a chance. Start small if necessary, but let's start. Heck, if California, the most Liberal place on the planet, is allowing it, then Arizona should at least give it real consideration. I know the idea has been brought up in the past, and the reason it was shot down was largely in part due to the last commissioner being so against it. We just want your agency to give this real consideration. We will follow all legal path's and requirements to get there I can assure you. We respect your agency, your field agents, and the laws they support.

I will be calling you if I haven't bored you to death with my writing here, but as you have probably already figured out, this is a subject that I, and many, many others are very passionate about.


Jeff Mock
Tucson Arizona