Getting outdoors is an important part of our American heritage and fosters a lifetime of awareness and appreciation for wildlife and the environment.
The Department and supporting organizations continually create outdoor programs for the beginner to seasoned sportsmen that teach families about traditional American pastimes.
These programs include hunting, fishing, shooting sports, wildlife viewing, boating, off-highway vehicle riding and wildlife conservation. Below is a listing of the many programs offered for your enjoyment, so Get Outside Arizona.
Wildlife Awareness/ Volunteer. Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center
Our function is to educate the public about wildlife native to Arizona through the use of animals that have been orphaned or injured. The center provides immediate triage for orphaned, sick or injured wildlife that will be provided ongoing care by a licensed rehabilitator. If you have time to give, we are looking for volunteers 18-years and older. If you enjoy teaching, animal husbandry, maintenance or office work, we have a spot for you.
Few places offer the diversity of landscapes, plants, and animals as found here in Arizona. In addition to game species, the Arizona Game and Fish Department also manages many non-game, threatened, and endangered species. There are also many wildlife species which benefit from the departments conservation and management practices of game species.
Game and Fish Volunteer Program
Our goal is to provide you with a congenial and cooperative atmosphere where you can build relationships with staff and other volunteers, and gain knowledge about Arizona wildlife and wildlife management. Volunteer activities include wildilfe care, facility maintenence, instructional and education, habitat projects, office work and others.
Whether you prefer lakes, streams, creeks or urban fishing, a year-long season and a wide variety of sport fish species provide Arizonans with plenty of great fishing opportunities.
Community Fishing Program
Arizona’s Community Fishing Program is recognized nationally as one of the best in the country. A partnership exists with local parks and recreation agencies to intensively stock and manage park lakes for fishing recreation and to provide convenient, affordable, accessible and fun fishing for anglers of all ages and abilities.
Whether you prefer lakes, streams, creeks or urban fishing, a year long season and a wide variety of sport fish species provide Arizonans with plenty of great fishing opportunities. Arizona is home to more than 85 species of fish.
Angling for crayfish is a great outdoor family activity with near guaranteed success. There are no bag limits on crayfish and the season is year-round. Crayfish are not native to Arizona. They negatively impact sport-fishing opportunities, native species, and aquatic ecosystems. Crayfish tail and claw meat are delicious and can be substituted in many seafood recipes.
Shooting sports and hunting are rated among the safest forms of recreation. Some 40 million people of all ages safely participate in these activities.
National Shooting Sports Foundation
Target shooting improves fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, mental discipline, personal responsibility, and character development.
Archery in the Schools
AIS is a physical education curriculum designed to teach international-style target archery in grades 4-12. The core content covers archery, history, safety, techniques, equipment, mental concentration, and self-improvement. In addition, the curriculum provides interesting and creative possibilities for integration with core content in social studies, mathematics, visual arts, history, and English/language arts.
Scholastic Clay Target Program
SCTP is a team-based youth development program that uses the shotgun sports to instill discipline, safety, teamwork, ethics, self-confidence and other life values. Team members can participate in any or all of three clay target disciplines: trap, skeet and sporting clays.
Shooting just for women — Annie Oakley Sure Shots
This program was created by women and is hosted by women. It is held in the evening on the second Thursday of every month. It’s free and it’s fun. You do not need to have a firearm to participate, nor do you need any knowledge of firearms. Join us and learn!
This is a free program created to introduce women to three shotgun shooting sports: sporting clays, trap, and skeet. It will be held in the evening on the first and third Thursday of every month. No prior experience is necessary. In order to participate in this program you must pre-register.
General Target Shooting
Rifle, pistol, shotgun, bow – you can find all your target shooting needs at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. Located on 1,650 acres in north Phoenix, the range is a Phoenix Point of Pride and one of the largest public-operated shooting facilities in the country.
Small Game Hunting
Arizona’s small game species include cottontail rabbits, tree squirrels, upland game birds (quail, chukar, grouse, and pheasant), and migratory game birds (ducks, geese, swan, sandhill cranes, coot, gallinule, common snipe, mourning and white-winged doves, and band-tailed pigeon). One or more of these species occur in virtually all vegetation types throughout Arizona, from the highest mountains to the lowest plains; forests, wetlands, deserts, farmlands, cities, and wilderness.
Big Game Hunting
Arizona is well known throughout the country and abroad for it’s quality big game hunting opportunities. There are ten big game animals species in this great state, all of them accessible through public land pursuit. Game species include antelope, black bear, buffalo, desert bighorn sheep, elk, javalina, turkey (Merriam’s and Gould’s), mountain lion, mule deer, and white-tailed (Coues’) deer.
The country where these species also runs the spectrum, from the dry rugged Kofa Mountains to the world renowned Kaibab Strip and all the country in between. Arizona offers every variety of hunting conditions.
Predator, Fur bearer Hunting
Predatory mammals are coyotes, bobcats, foxes, and skunks. Fur-bearing mammals are defined as muskrats, raccoons, otters, weasels, bobcats, beavers, badgers, and ringtails.
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission recognizes predation management to be a valuable and legitimate wildlife management practice. Unmanaged populations are susceptible to disease, over harvest of prey species, and habitat damage.
The “Draw” System for Hunt Permit-Tags
The big game draw is a lottery-style process for allocating the limited number of Arizona big game hunting permits and some other species to applicants. Currently the Draw is held three times a year, one in February another in June and then again in October. The department typically receives far more applications than there are available hunting permits based on wildlife populations and resources.
Where to Hunt
The most common question, “Where do I go?” is answered right here. The department has six regional offices to in order to manage the incredible diverse habitat and wildlife in Arizona. Each region provides an online resource on “where to start hunting” by species and some general ideas on how to pursue the game of interest.
Introduction to Hunting Camps
Hunting Camps introduce hunting basics to individuals who are interested in hunting but may not know where to start. These hands-on workshops teach the skills necessary to successfully pursue the variety of small game found in Arizona. Both adults and youths are invited to participate.
Maricopa County Parks
Things to do, park locator and maps can be found on the Maricopa County Parks website. Information about hiking trails, programs, water activities and sports activities are listed.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department offers three programs that teach hunter safety. An eight-to-12-hour introductory course is available in the classroom or online via the Internet. There is a 20-hour basic classroom course and an extended classroom combination course which includes an archery component. All courses require completion of a field day.
Sport Fishing Education
The Sport Fishing Educational Program is designed to help anyone become more proficient in basic fishing techniques. The Arizona Game and Fish Department supplies all educational materials, rods, reels, bait and instruction. All fishing programs are offered free of charge. Currently scheduled open to the public fishing programs can be found online.
Focus Wild Arizona
The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s award-winning environmental education program is available free to teachers and homeschoolers. This program promotes awareness and stewardship of the world around us, and uses the environment as a context for learning science, social studies, math, and language arts. The program includes complete lesson plans, books, posters, workshops and much more. Many of these resources are available for direct download.
This National Association of State Boating Law Administrators’ (NASBLA) approved and Arizona certified course includes instruction on general boating information, different boat types, knot tying, anchoring, waste and oil disposal, risk management, weather emergencies, registration requirements, boating laws and regulations, equipment requirements, navigation rules, aids to navigation (buoys), boating accidents, Operating Under the Influence (OUI), trailering, and more. Most insurance companies offer discounts on boat insurance for completing the class. Take the course online or in a classroom.
OHV: The ATV Rider Course
Developed by the ATV Safety Institute, the ATV RiderCourse provides hands-on training in the basic techniques for riding an all-terrain vehicle. The course also covers protective gear, local laws, finding places to ride, and environmental concerns. If you bought your ATV after Dec. 30, 1986, you may be eligible for free training. Those not eligible for the free training may take the course for a small fee. The ATV RiderCourse is available nationwide. To sign up call 800 887-2887.
For more details about these activities, go to www.azgfd.com/Recreation/GetOutside/