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Hunter access...my thoughts!

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I have been looking into the "rancher/hunter" issue that has again rissin to the forefront. What I understand is this is coming from a few ranches in the northern part of the state. Although I don't know the specifics of why this is happening, I have some words of wisdom for both sides.

First for the ranchers; as a hunter whose parents taught hunter safety classes for years I was taught to talk with the rancher and utilize the exchange cards printed by G&F. I have experienced ranchers who wouldn't give me the time of day despite what I had to say or offer. On several occasions all I was doing was advising of issues I found while scouting/hunting like damaged water lines or tanks. Most hunters live the hunter lifestyle which encompasses the conservation mindset that acknowledges the role ranchers play in the survival of all wildlife. Most hunters are respectful of the land and infrastructure built to ensure that survival.

Second to the hunters; as a 48 year old hunter who was taught to respect the ranchers as they are the stewards of the land. I have seen hunters whose contempt for the rancher or even the wildlife and the land has pushed me to the point of confrontations with said hunters, camping on water, leaving gates open, trash everywhere and yes even shooting signs and other ranch equipment. Personally I don't call those people hunters as their lack of respect is the reason most ranchers close land/access for all hunters.

RESPECT or the lack of is the root of this issue! The way I see it each hunter needs to approach the ranchers in the area they wish to hunt. Each rancher needs to sit down with the hunter. BOTH sides needs to show respect to the other and maybe just maybe you both have more in common than you think. The hunter needs to offer his/her help with cleanup, fencing, water lines. heck just reporting issues you find will go a long way with the rancher, show him as a hunter you care about the land and the animals on it. My family has cut wood for a rancher who allowed us to clear deadfall and hunt on his land. I have even offered some of the bounty from a successful hunt. Bottom line is the hunter should "show" the rancher your respect and the rancher should "listen" and "allow" the hunter the opportunity show the respect.

I don't believe we need new laws to get what both sides is looking for!

RESPECT for each other and the roles each plays in the conservation of our wildlife is the KEY to solving this issue!!!


This is the AZG&F rule as it is written now!

Posting and Access to State Land
A. For the purpose of this Section:
“Corrals,” “feed lots,” or “holding pens” mean completely
fenced areas used to contain livestock for purposes
other than grazing.
“Existing road” means any maintained or unmaintained
road, way, highway, trail, or path that has been used
for motorized vehicular travel, and clearly shows or
has a history of established vehicle use, and is not currently
closed by the Commission.
“State lands” means all land owned or held in trust by the
state that is managed by the State Land Department
and lands that are owned or managed by the Game
and Fish Commission.
B. In addition to the prohibition against posting proscribed
under A.R.S. § 17-304, a person shall not lock a gate, construct
a fence, place an obstacle, or otherwise commit an
act that denies legally available access to or use of any
existing road upon state lands by persons lawfully taking
or retrieving wildlife or conducting any activities that are
within the scope of and take place while lawfully hunting
or fishing.
1. A person in violation of this Section shall take immediate
corrective action to remove any lock, fence, or
other obstacle unlawfully preventing access to state
2. If immediate corrective action is not taken, a representative
of the Department may remove any unlawful
posting and remove any lock, fence, or other obstacle
that unlawfully prevents access to state lands.
3. In addition, the Department may take appropriate
legal action to recover expenses incurred in the
removal of any unlawful posting or obstacle that prevented
access to state land.
C. The provisions of this Section do not allow any person to
trespass upon private land to gain access to any state land.
D. A person may post state lands as closed to hunting, fishing,
or trapping without further action by the Commission
when the state land is within one-quarter mile of any:
1. Occupied residence, cabin, lodge, or other building; or
2. Corrals, feed lots, or holding pens containing concentrations
of livestock other than for grazing purposes.
E. The Commission may grant permission to lock, tear down,
or remove a gate or close a road or trail that provides
legally available access to state lands for persons lawfully
taking wildlife or conducting any activities that are within
the scope of and take place while lawfully hunting or fishing
if access to such lands is provided by a reasonable
alternate route.
1. Under R12-4-610, the Director may grant a permit to a
state land lessee to temporarily lock a gate or close an
existing road that provides access to state lands if the
taking of wildlife will cause unreasonable interference
during a critical livestock or commercial operation.
This permit shall not exceed 30 days.
2. Applications for permits for more than 30 days shall
be submitted to the Commission for approval.
3. If a permit is issued to temporarily close a road or
gate, a copy of the permit shall be posted at the point
of the closure during the period of the closure.
F. A person may post state lands other than those referenced
under subsection (D) as closed to hunting, fishing, or trapping,
provided the person has obtained a permit from the
Commission authorizing the closure. A person possessing
a permit authorizing the closure of state lands shall post
signs in compliance with A.R.S. 17-304(C). The Commission
may permit the closure of state land when it is necessary:
1. Because the taking of wildlife constitutes an unusual
hazard to permitted users;
2. To prevent unreasonable destruction of plant life or
habitat; or
3. For proper resource conservation, use, or protection,
including but not limited to high fire danger, excessive
interference with mineral development, developed
agricultural land, or timber or livestock operations.
G. A person shall submit an application for posting state land
to prohibit hunting, fishing, or trapping under subsection
(F), or to close an existing road under subsection (E), as
required under R12-4-610. If an application to close state
land to hunting, fishing, or trapping is made by a person
other than the state land lessee, the Department shall provide
notice to the lessee and the State Land Commissioner
before the Commission considers the application. The
state land lessee or the State Land Commissioner shall file
any objections with the Department, in writing, within 30
days after receipt of notice, after which the matter shall be
submitted to the Commission for determination.
H. A person may use a vehicle on or off a road to pick up
lawfully taken big game animals.
I. The closing of state land to hunting, fishing, or trapping
shall not restrict any other permitted use of the land.
J. State trust land may be posted with signs that read “State
Land No Trespassing,” but such posting shall not prohibit
access to such land by any person lawfully taking
or retrieving wildlife or conducting any activities that are
within the scope of and take place while lawfully hunting
or fishing.
K. When hunting, fishing, or trapping on state land, a license
holder shall not:
1. Break or remove any lock or cut any fence to gain
access to state land;
2. Open and not immediately close a gate;
3. Intentionally or wantonly destroy, deface, injure,
remove, or disturb any building, sign, equipment,
marker, or other property;
4. Harvest or remove any vegetative or mineral
resources or object of archaeological, historic, or scientific
5. Appropriate, mutilate, deface, or destroy any natural
feature, object of natural beauty, antiquity, or other
public or private property;
6. Dig, remove, or destroy any tree or shrub;
7. Gather or collect renewable or non-renewable
resources for the purpose of sale or barter unless specifically
permitted or authorized by law; or
8. Frighten or chase domestic livestock or wildlife, or
endanger the lives or safety of others when using a
motorized vehicle or other means; or
9. Operate a motor vehicle off road or on any road
closed to the public by the Commission or landowner,
except to retrieve a lawfully taken big game animal.

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It's not so much the reading as it is needing a lawyer to intrepret everything, just like all laws........bottom line for me after reading through it is there is a good chance you are breaking some sort of law depending on what side of the fence you are on :)


This one ......scientific interest.........4. Harvest or remove any vegetative or mineral
resources or object of archaeological, historic, or scientific

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