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Ah–spring is nearly past in the desert, so spending time at higher elevations enjoying cooler nights and spring wildflowers in the mountains is in order. How about as an Arizona Elk img 20170520 145334 826Society (AES) volunteer? After a tough almost year and a half of suspended activities, AES is starting up our volunteer programs. We launched a very successful family overnight at Gilbert Riparian Preserve. AES offered fun activities for the kids including archery and fishing. The local Desert Rivers Audubon Society led a morning bird walk and nature discovery. The kids had a blast spotting frogs, butterflies, and birds–including a rather photogenic bird called a Least Bittern.

I am very excited about our volunteer weekend the first week in June. AES is teaming up with Arizona Deer Association to repair the fence between the US Forest and White Mountain Apache Reservation on the AES retired Burro Creek grazing allotment. We hope this fence repair will stop horses and cattle from wandering onto the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. That same weekend a small team of AES volunteers will complete a Water for Wildlife project in the White Mountains.

Here’s a little bit of AES history about the Burro Creek Allotment. AES worked with the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest and ranchers in 2005 to retire pastures from livestock grazing around Big Lake and at Burro Creek. Burro Creek is a prime site for elk to graze. Volunteers removed 40 miles of pasture fences in 2010. We have an obligation to maintain the allotment boundary fences and the priority this year is the fence on the reservation boundary.

This purchase of grazing leases was made possible through the generous donations by AES Habitat Partners involved/habitat-partner We are recruiting volunteers to haul water this summer. I was at Stoneman Lake and I would describe it as Stoneman Creek. With hardly any snowmelt, our water-hauling program will be critical for elk and other wildlife. We have purchased more trucks and water trailers and need folks to bring the water to the wildlife.

The AES Banquets are back! Banquets are scheduled for July 17 in Flagstaff and July 31 in Mesa at the convention center. Check the Arizona Elk Society website for ticket availability.

For those that have the good fortune of a 2021 elk tag be sure to attend the AES Elk Clinic on August 7. I always learn something new or I am reminded of a good tip or two at these clinics. For sure, spend time on the range and hone your shooting skills!

Yours in Conservation,
Tice Supplee