I apologize for any cross postings but..... Allowing night hunting is a horrible idea. The Game and Fish Commission needs to know your thoughts on this issue. I can not imagine anything more reckless than allowing people to go into the night and shoot wildlife. I can not imagine anything more disruptive to nesting birds than allow hunters to shoot at night. From a safety prospective, about the only good thing they are suggesting is that only shotguns may be allowed. This brings to mind some gruesome images. What kind of sicko would even want to hunt small furbearers at close range, at night, with a shotgun and spot light? Do we want these people out at night? And what would one do with what was left over from a small furbearer after been shot at close range with a shot gun? Picture your favorite riparian birding area with shot gunners with spotlights. I would hope that any owls would have sense enough to stay away. ARIZONA'S PREDATORS UNDER ATTACK AGAIN -- COMMISSION CONSIDERING NIGHT HUNTING PROPOSAL Letters and e-mails urgently needed to oppose night-hunting of predators. It's no secret that the current AZ Game and Fish Commissioners and some Department officials believe the only good predator is a dead predator. Despite the overwhelming public opposition to body count contest hunts and an annual estimated predator/furbearer body count of nearly 56,500 in 1999, the Commission is now considering a new proposal that would allow hunters to kill predators and furbearers at night. The species potentially affected include coyotes, bobcats, foxes, skunks, muskrats, beavers, otters, weasels, badgers, and ringtail cats. At present, only raccoons can be hunted at night in Arizona. IF NIGHT HUNTING IS ULTIMATELY APPROVED, PREDATORS, LIKE COYOTES, COULD BE KILLED 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK, 365 DAYS A YEAR! PLEASE HELP STOP THIS PROPOSAL BEFORE IT GOES ANY FURTHER. CALLS, LETTERS, FAXES, AND E-MAILS OPPOSING THE PREDATOR/FURBEARER NIGHT HUNTING PROPOSAL ARE URGENTLY NEEDED. THE COMMISSION IS SCHEDULED TO VOTE ON THIS PROPOSAL AT ITS MEETING IN YUMA TOMORROW, FEBRUARY 22ND. WHILE THIS IS NOT THE FINAL VOTE, NOW IS THE BEST TIME TO DEMAND THAT THE COMMISSION STOP ITS WAR ON PREDATORS. PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR LETTER TO: Mr. Michael M. Golightly, Chairman, Arizona Game and Fish Commission, 2221 W. Greenway Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85023-4399. Telephone (contact Director Duane Shroufe): (602) 942-3000; Telefax: (602) 789-3299; E-mail: ljarrett@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx IDEALLY, PLEASE SEND MAKE YOUR CALL OR SEND/FAX/E-MAIL YOUR LETTER BEFORE FEBRUARY 22ND. EVEN IF YOU CAN'T MAKE THAT DEADLINE, IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT EVERYONE WHO CARES ABOUT ARIZONA'S PREDATORS MAKE THEIR OPINIONS ON THIS PROPOSAL KNOWN ASAP. When preparing your letter, you may want to make the following points: * Neither the Department nor the Commission have any idea as to impacts of this proposal on targeted wildlife. The Department has no valid estimates of predator/furbearer populations, numbers killed annually, or the impact of such killing on the species. Without knowing the impact of the existing predator/furbearer hunts, increasing the body count by allowing night hunting is biologically reckless. Since many predators/furbearers are most active at night, they may be more susceptible to killing at night. * There is no evidence that killing predators -- whether done by day or night -- provides any short or long-term benefits to ungulate fawn survival unless focused on a limited area and if the majority of the predators are killed. Even then, whatever benefit occurs is only short-term as predators, particularly coyotes, quickly replenish their numbers. The impact is significant on any animal killed and their dependent young who ultimately die because of starvation, exposure, accidents, or predation. * Allowing the spotlighting and killing predators/furbearers at night facilitates the illegal spotlighting and killing of deer, elk, pronghorn, and other "game" species by providing hunters with an excuse to be in the field at night, with a light, and a weapon, thereby complicating law enforcement efforts. Night hunting also increases threats to the safety of law enforcement officers since it is more difficult to see hunters at night and since some people may be more inclined to drink at night. Several western states have reported these problems with night hunting. * Night hunting will increase threats to public safety and incidents of illegal trespass onto private land. The safety of anyone who may live, camp, or recreate in areas open to night hunting would be at risk since darkness makes it difficult for hunters to know what their bullets may hit. Other western states have reported problems with illegal trespass by night hunters including hunting without permission on private land and artificial lights and hunting dogs disturbing residents and domestic animals (including livestock). * Night hunting may result in the killing of non-target species including ungulates, imperiled species, domestic dogs and cats, and livestock. Several western states have reported problems with night hunters killing non-target species, particularly domestic livestock. * Predators and furbearers play critical roles in healthy ecosystems. Thank you for immediately responding to this urgent request. Please ask your friends, relatives, colleagues, and associates to do the same. SAMPLE LETTER Mr. Michael Golightly, Chairman Arizona Game and Fish Commission 2221 W. Greenway Road Phoenix, AZ 85023-4399 Dear Chairman Golightly: I am writing to express my strong opposition to the proposal currently under consideration by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission to allow the night hunting of predators/furbearers in Arizona. Considering the overwhelming public opposition to body count contest hunts and increasing public concern for the welfare of all wildlife, including predators, nationally and in Arizona, I am stunned that the Arizona Game and Fish Department and Commission would even contemplate allowing night hunting of predators/furbearers. The proposal to permit night hunting must be terminated immediately to prevent any further waste of Department time and money pursuing such a ill-conceived idea. Neither the Department nor the Commission, for example, have any idea of the potential impact of night hunting on predator or furbearer populations. At present, the Department has no accurate estimate of predator/furbearer populations, the numbers killed annually, or the impact of such killing on the species. Without such information, adding to the carcass count by permitting night hunting, is biologically reckless. Since many predators/furbearers are most active at night, they may be more susceptible to killing at night compared to the day, thereby increasing impacts to these populations. I understand that the original intent of this proposal was to provide additional predator hunting opportunities prior to the birthing season of more popular "game" species like pronghorn, bighorn, deer, and elk in order to reduce predation on newborn animals. As the Department is well aware and as it conceded during the body count contest hunt issue, there is no evidence that such hunting will have any short or long-term impact on the predator populations (though the impact would be severe on individual animals and any dependent young) unless highly concentrated and a significant number of predators are killed. Even then, the impacts are only short-lived and may not all be positive. Indeed, coyotes breed earlier, have larger litters, and more pups survive when exploited compared to unexploited populations completely defeating the purpose of coyote killing. Night hunting will also increase threats to public safety. In darkness, even with an artificial light, it is impossible for a hunter to know exactly what his/her bullets may hit. Thus, the safety of anyone who may live, camp, or recreate in areas open to night hunting would be compromised. Illegal trespass of hunters and/or their dogs onto private property will also likely be a problem if night hunting is allowed. Allowing hunters to use artificial lights to locate and shoot predators and furbearers at night provides a perfect cover for hunters engaged in the illegal spotlighting and killing of deer, elk, pronghorn, or other wildlife. Unless caught in the act of illegally spotlighting and killing a deer, for example, a hunter could always claim that he or she was night hunting predators to avoid being arrested. Hunters may also be more likely to kill non-target species, including domestic dogs, cats, and livestock at night since, even with an artificial light, it will be more difficult to identify an animal at night. Furthermore, the safety of game wardens will be compromised if they have to monitor night hunting activities as it will be more difficult to see hunters and more hunters may be intoxicated at night. The night hunting proposal is yet another example of the Commission's anti-predator bias and its failure to recognize the importance of a full complement of predators/furbearers in a healthy ecosystem. As a resident, a taxpayer, and someone who cares deeply about all of Arizona's wildlife, I ask you to reject the proposal to develop a rule to permit night hunting of predators/furbearers in Arizona. Sincerely, Sandy Bahr AL Anderson P.O. Box 1657 3918 Gray Hawk Lane Sierra Vista, AZ 85636 (520) 458-0542 (520)458-0605 fax You are subscribed to AZ-LEADER. To post to this mailing list, simply send email to az-leader@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx To unsubscribe, send email to az-leader-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with 'unsubscribe' in the Subject field.