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Don Martin

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  1. I think there were about 17 people who attended tonight's meeting in Kingman, not counting all the G&F folks. Thought it was a good meeting, Dept. people explained the concepts in detail. Here are my OPINIONS about some of the items that were addressed tonight. These are just my opinions; so don't hammer me and call me names, etc. Keep it civil. We all have opinions and I'll respect yours even if I don't agree with you. I personally like the $5 juniors license concept, but think that juniors elk and deer tags ought to be the same, $25. And I like that youth will be defined as from 10-17 years old, and I'm OK that licenses are required for kids ages 10 and up as long as they are just $5. Remember these will be combo licenses, good for hunting and fishing. That's a deal. That is the price of one movie compared to a year in the outdoors. I think I like the idea that a license is good for 365 days from when you buy it. Don't care for the "premium" deer and elk proposals, but IF the majority of AZ sportsmen support them, I think that the units that are managed as "alternative management units" for deer, and not all units north of the ditch, should have the premium designation. I was surprised to hear the NR that attended the meeting tonight say that he wouldn't mind paying $700 for a Premium deer tag! I suspect that he doesn't realize that just because the price is raised to $500, that is NOT going to improve his odds. Sure some may drop out, but for those seeking a deer tag north of the ditch, G&F won't have any trouble having lots and lots of applicants who will gladly fork over $500 for a Strip tag. Now when those same NR guys get that early Kaibab tag, and according to G&F, 80% of the bucks taken on that hunt are 1,2, or three years old, hardly seems worthy a Premium designation does it? On the same token, do you as an Arizona resident think that a 2 X 2, or small 3 X 3 is worth $100 for a tag? Nah, you can get those in Unit 16A...ok you used too. Don't care for the elk "premium" designation either. But again IF the majority of AZ sportsmen are for it, look at the four units that have alternative management designations now, make Unit 1, 23, 9 and 10 as your Premium units. While folks back east probably think ALL Arizona elk units are "Premium" it is way out of line to designate 25% of ALL of Arizona's tags as "Premium". Here is another item that was of interest to me. I got to wonder how the NR sportsman will feel about paying $160 for their NR hunting license ($151.25 now) which will also come with all those added fishing perks?? The Dept. said these new increases could raise about $3.5 million, which they say they is about what they are short on balancing their budget. There have been no raises in tags/licenses since 2007. For sportsmen that are fortunate to be still working, I suspect these increases won't stop them from staying in the "game". But G&F needs to also consider those folks who are on fixed incomes and are living close to the belt as it is, especially when Obama Care kicks in (sorry just couldn't resist) as if these "conceptual increases" become reality, it could be a problem. Oh, my feeling on the premium thing is that I think everyone, regardless of their age/and/or economic status, should have a shot at applying for a "trophy" tag. Game in AZ is held in the public trust, not just for those that are fortunate enough to have enough money where a $100 or $200 is not a big deal. But what about the 24 year old working man, with a wife and two small kids, a house payment, truck payment all all that goes with it. Wildlife belongs to him as much as it belongs to the CEO of a company. Don't price him out of the "game" just because of his economic status. One item brought up was that these concepts virtually address every aspect of hunting/fishing. No stone is left unturned. From the application fee to tags and licenses, all of these things are the subject of possible changes. Again the Dept. has had no increases of tags/licenses since 2007 so maybe some kind of increase is justified. Truly nice that the Dept. and Commission are seeking input from you, their constituency before they come out with a final decision. Rather than wait and complain later on, get involved in this process and let them know how you feel. Whatever happens will start on January 1, 2014. The time is now to offer input. Don Martin Arizona Wildlife Outfitters
  2. Don Martin

    Redemption Turkey

    Nice story and that is a GREAT gobbler! That is what I call a heavy beard! Bet he is 3 years or older. When you fool one like that, you have really done something. Don Martin Arizona Wildlife Outfitters
  3. Don Martin

    Navajo Army Depot for Elk, Question?

    I have hunted there a few times. First time was when I gave my early muzzlelaoder any elk tag to a young man through the Hunt Of A Lifetime Organization. I guided that hunt and it was almost a complete BUST! Have had a ML antlerless tag there and did OK. Hunted turkeys there twice...saw and worked birds, never got one though. After my lady friend and I drew tags this year (she got tag 1 for any rifle) I got tag one for the antlerless hunt at the same tag. I went and booked an NR archery elk hunter in Unit 18A whose hunt is longer than most. We can't scout until September 23rd. Not sure how we are going to do this, but I hope to be out there on the 23rd to scout. Total of 18 tags issued for that Sept. 30- to Oct. 6 hunt. Think there are 5 civilian and 13 military. Oh, the military can't go into the buffer are UNLESS they use bow only--no firearms allowed at all. I need to hook up one of the early archery elk hunters as their hunt will be right before ours. Big Dawg, when is yours? Don Martin
  4. Don Martin

    Early rifle bull( pix added)

    That is a great bull! Congrats! Those little 3rds, we got the same thing on a nice bull in Unit 10. Wonder if these two were related? Don Martin Arizona Wildlife Outfitters
  5. Don Martin

    San Carlos (second season) Success!

    Well this was an exciting year for a group of us on the second season of the 2013 San Carlos turkey hunt. Our group consisted on Eric Hawkinberry, Kensen Lee, Mike Hulsey and myself. Trip started off rough, when Mike who a chief pilot for a millionaire, and flies out of Las Vegas, got his vacation to the San Carlos CANCELED the day before the hunt by his boss! Then Kensen, who is the operations manager for a huge air conditioning supply place in Vegas was only able to hunt 2 1/2 days. But for Eric and I, we were committed to stay there as long as needed to get a bird. And thankfully, we had the full season to hunt. As the way it was going we might need it! The day before the hunt started we had a fantastic scouting day. We saw 13 longbeards, 26 jakes and 10 hens. We also saw a black bear right at dark. But on opening day things really changed. Birds were gobbling on the roost, but once down on the ground and with the hens, they shut up and wouldn't leave them for anything! That was a pattern we would find for many days. The hunt started Saturday morning and Kensen and I hunted together while Eric, who is a very experienced turkey hunter, went out on his own. We all found birds, but again once the gobblers were on the ground they were NOT leaving the hens. Eric had found a roost tree and on Sunday evening he was waiting for the big gobbler and his four hens to come back to roost. His shotgun was laying on the ground by his feet when he heard a noise behind him. Sure enough here comes the group just 10 FEET from him walking towards the roost tree! Eric couldn't move for fear of being seen, and they walked 60 yards to the tree and flew up! Early Monday morning-- Kensen's last day to hunt- he went with Eric to wait for the roosted bird to fly down but as often happens, the gobbler and his hens flew off in a different direction than they thought they would. And to add insult to injury, they weren't able to work him after he landed. That morning they said they heard 6 different gobblers! I worked another roosted bird but when he went went down, he wouldn't answer either. With time running out Kensen was ready for a "drive by bird" as we headed the 15 miles back to camp but we couldn't even find one of those. In the end, for Kensen, we just couldn't make it happen for him. But as soon as Kensen left on Monday afternoon, we got into more birds.. Eric and I were driving to our evening hunting spot when Eric spotted a group of birds, including two gobblers, just off the road. We were less than 40 yards from them, well within range, but Eric and I didn't want to do a "drive by" so we let them and their hens walk off. We commenced to work birds that evening but once again couldn't close the deal. I had an interesting experience the next day. In the predawn darkness I set up close to a pair of roosted birds and four hens. Of course when they flew down off they went, well out of range. I waited for about an hour, then went to the top of the mountain where I thought they gone. About 8 a.m. I actually hear a bird gobbling-- the first one I had heard on the ground in FOUR days, so in I went. I manged to get within 36 yards of them. I never made one call, as from prior experience I knew they would just take off. As I poked over the edge of a mesa there stood the two gobblers, side by side! When I raised the 10 ga shotgun, all I could see were TWO red heads! I couldn't shoot as I would have smoked 'em both! I waited, they stepped behind a tree and off they went, side-by-side! I could only watch as they ran off with me being unable to take a shot. Tuesday afternoon Eric and I decided that trying to calls the birds in just wasn't going to work. We needed another plan. I suggested that we try and interdict the group of two gobblers and five hens we has seen almost every evening walking towards a roost site. So with that thought in mind, we set up my pop up blind, set out decoys, and waited. Didn't take long for turkeys to show up. But they were hens; singles and in pairs that walked by towards a nearby water. Then about 5 p.m. Eric sees the two gobblers walking towards a nearby meadow near the water. All we could do was video tape them as they were well over a 100 yards away; in the open, and no way to get close to them. I told Eric we would have but one chance to get the birds so it had to be perfect. After they walked up the canyon to roost, Eric suggested we move the blind to the area where they had fed but I said no, we had seen them three times before where we we at, so let's not move. OOPS! Next morning the gobblers and their hens flew down and went right back to the spot they had been the evening before! They actually fed to within 75 yards of us, and we had hens and even four Coues whitetails feed within 10 yards of the blind, but not close enough to slay the mighty birds. We sat in the blind from 0500 till 10:30. Eric at that point said he was taking charge and said we were moving the blind. After lunch we went back, moved our set up of the blind and decoys, and were waiting by 1 p.m. for the afternoon/evening action. Turned out to be a good move. Within 20 minutes a single hen walked by at 40 yards. Then two hours later a pair of hens we nicknamed "The old ladies" came by. It wasn't till about 5 p.m. that Eric saw the pair of longbeards headed our way. They came by Eric at 25 yards, but I had no shot so we waited--and I videotaped the gobblers who were now joined by the rest of there hens. Not one time did they gobble or go into strut! They were all just there together! Finally at 6 p.m. the gobblers saw two of Eric's decoys that they were interested in. The decoys were a gobbler actually covering a hen on the ground, and these two boys wanted to get a closer look. That was a bad career move! When both were at 35 yards, and with the video camera recording the turkeys every move, I quietly said, "1-2-3" and we fired. Eric's bird who we had named "Broken Tail" as he had one tail feather broke, went over immediately, flopped and lay still. My bird went down, got up and actually started to fly off! A second shot with the trusty Remington SP-10 at 50 yards loaded with 2 1/4 ounces of copper plated #4 lead shot anchored him! I was using the last of my old Federal Premium shells with that load combination that I think isn't even made anymore. (If you got some of these shells you want to sell let me know!) Anyway all of this action was on video, so that made it special for us. No, it wasn't the classic call 'em and take 'em situation, but you have to adapt to the situation you are given if you want to eat turkey and not crow! Broken Tail had an 8 1/2 inch beard, while mine had a 7 1/2 inch beard. Both were two year old birds. After the "Grip N Grin" photos were taken, we went back to camp, and Eric field dressed and hung up the birds with a small cotton rope next to the wall tent. We wanted to take more photos in the bright sun the next day. Early the next morning before sunrise Eric got up and went outside to water a tree. I heard him say, "Hey you messing with me?" I say, "No what's up?" "My turkey is gone," he replies. I think he is messing with me so I get out of the sleeping bag, get dressed and go outside. Sure enough, his gobbler that was hanging less than 6 feet from my head in the wall tent was GONE! Only a small pile of feathers was on the ground under where the bird had been hanging. We start looking and I see no drag marks. I surmised there was only one critter up there than can grab and take a 18 lb gobbler out of a tree and walk off with it! BEAR! We start looking at feathers on the ground and 250 yards from camp up on the side of a hill we find what is left of Eric's gobbler. Yep,a bear had grabbed it, ran off with it and ate everything but one leg. (Oh the beard was still there too!) Now that turkey had a tag and a small rope on the leg that was GONE! Sucker ate it! Hope he got indigestion! We also found a pile of smoking hot fresh scat just 20 feet from the carcass! Anyway so ended our 2013 San Carlos adventure. My lady cooked up my bird in a crock pot and he is delicious! Can't wait till 2014, when we are going back. Eric has a first season tag and Kensen and I have a second season permit. Oh we talked to a total of 13 hunters up there, including us, and we were the only two that we know of that got birds! Not an easy hunt for sure! Don Martin
  6. Don Martin

    Another one of us gone

    The man who was the victim is a well known sportsman , who I knew and respected. His name is Brian Pinney. He was a member of many conservation groups that I also was associated with, and Brian was always one of the first to step up and offer support projects for youth. He will be missed for sure. RIP Brian--you were truly one of the "Good Guys" in Arizona conservation! Don Martin
  7. Don Martin

    Navajo Army Depot for Elk, Question?

    I've hunted on Camp Navajo a number of times. Have had some good luck and some bad luck.. This year my lady friend drew tag 1 (out of three) for a civilian any elk rifle hunt that starts on Sept. 30. I also drew; I got tag 1 (out of two) for the rifle antlerless elk hunt at the same time as hers. There are a total of 18 tags there for that time, counting civilian and military. Yes, there are issues that you have to deal with there, and you have to be prepared to deal with them. Then you just go hunt! The biggest issue I see is that civilians can only hunt the buffer areas, you can't go into the limited areas where there are absolutely ton of elk! I think military guys with bows can go into the limited area, but absolutely no firearms allowed there. Success there can be good- or it can be bad. Those freakin elk know that there is a literal sanctuary in the limited area, and at the crack of dawn (sometimes earlier) off they go! I've been there and watched and heard them jump the fence within a half hour of shooting light. I need to meet up with anthonyrmatthews and discuss with him some of the finer points of the depot, especially if he has an early bow tag there! You can only scout a week before your hunt starts, and I'll be there for the week preceding our hunts. So may be able to help IF he has that hunt. I've taken several elk and a chased turkeys there a couple of times, so I kinda know the area, which is a huge help. Right now I hope that little freakin crackerjack in North Korea or that nut job in Iran doesn't start some crap, cause the military mission is the base's first priority, and in reality, they don't worry about that you've invested 10 or more years for an elk tag there (which my lady friend has!). I drew with three points. Anyway, that's what I can tell you. Don Martin Arizona Wildlife Outfitters
  8. Don Martin

    WTB Remington 600 660 Rifle

    I've got a 600 (vent rib gone) in 6mm with two stocks, the original wood and a fiberglass stock. What is it worth to you? Don Martin
  9. Jim: I'll let you know if we get another project going. Don Martin
  10. Don Martin

    NAVY SEALS and others: Want to trade..

    Got to be someone in AZ who wants this limited edition Sig! All I'm getting are offers from Kansas east! Don Martin
  11. Amanda: Thanks again for the donation. We had 13 folks show up including the rancher and his wife. They are great folks! Had four AZ G&F officers there with chain saws who really made it happen! We got doe with clearing over 3 miles of road by 4:30 p.m. Had a great dinner that evening at the ranch headquarters due to the generosity of the Mule deer Foundation and you! We had elk, deer (which was taken on the ranch) and oryx cheeseburgers with all the fixins! Thanks again, I'll send you an email with some photos and other details! Din Martin
  12. Amanda: We had a total of 13 folks at the project, including the rancher and his wife. Had four G&F folks there! They were awesome with the chain saws! Project done at 4:30 p.m., had a great dinner of elk, deer and oryx cheeseburgers courtesy of the Mule Deer Foundation and you! I'll email you about the details... Thanks for the wonderful donation! Don Martin
  13. Don Martin


    Great bird! Glad you are one of those guys who share the hunting heritage with your kids! Don Martin AWO
  14. Don Martin

    Bird Down

    Dang Mark, sure wished you had taken me up on my offer..oh well, you got a nice bird, and had a fun time with the wife, who made it all happen with the purchase of that tag! Good deal. Headed to San Carlos on Wednesday to doing a little work before the season opens on Saturday. I've got double digit bonus points for turkey so hope it won't be long before I get to go back down there. Like I said, Unit 35A was THE place to go! Don Martin
  15. Don Martin

    San Carlos success! Updated with full mount pictures.

    Oops! I left out those birds all had over 10 inch beards! My bird had the thinnest beard of em all, those guys had beard like paint brushes! Don Martin