Squirrel, waterfowl seasons open Friday, Oct. 1
Photo Credit: Courtesy of AZGF
by Arizona Game & Fish Department
PHOENIX — This is the time of year that Arizona’s small game and waterfowl hunters have been waiting for.
In addition to the start of tree squirrel and band-tailed pigeon seasons Friday, Oct. 1, hunters can pursue dusky (blue) grouse through Nov. 7 and chukar until Feb. 6, 2022. The season for cottontail rabbit runs through June 30, 2022, and the start of the season for Gambel’s and scaled quail is just around the corner (Oct. 15).
For more information, hunters should check out the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s (AZGFD) small game forecast at www.azgfd.com/hunting/species/smallgame/forecast. Also visit www.azgfd.com/Hunting/Species/.
Meanwhile, the general waterfowl and snipe seasons in the “Mountain Zone” (Game Management Units 1-5, 7, 9, 11M, 12A, and those portions of Units 6 and 8 within Coconino County) begin Friday, Oct. 1, and run through Jan. 9, 2022.
The department’s regional office in Flagstaff recently completed its fall waterfowl survey in Units 5B, 6A and 8, which are part of the Mountain Zone. While the Flagstaff area received poor precipitation in the winter and spring months, the monsoon provided above-average to near-record amounts of rainfall. Still, traditional wetlands like Mormon, Marshall, Prime and Vail lakes that depend on winter moisture are dry and without ducks.
Many dirt tanks throughout Units 5B, 6A/B and 7 are filled from summer storms, however. These tanks are where hunters should concentrate their efforts. In addition to tanks in Unit 8, Sunflower Flat caught summer rains and has good waterfowl numbers.
The majority of waterfowl observed during the recent survey were mallards, teal, wigeons and Canada geese.
The general waterfowl and snipe seasons in the “Desert Zone” (Game Management Units 10 and 12B through 46B, and those portions of Units 6 and 8 within Yavapai County) begin Saturday, Oct. 23, and run through Jan. 31, 2022.
The following (excluding scaup) are legal wildlife in both Mountain and Desert zones: ducks, including mergansers, coots and common moorhens (gallinules); white geese (snow, blue and Ross’); and dark geese (Canada, cackling, Brant and white-fronted).
Scaup can be harvested in the Mountain Zone from Saturday, Oct. 16, through Jan. 9, 2022, and in the Desert Zone from Sunday, Nov. 7, through Jan. 31, 2022.
NOTE: Opening days in bold (for general waterfowl and snipe seasons in the “Desert Zone,” as well as for scaup in both zones) are correct. Per federal regulations, those seasons will now end on Jan. 31 each year, instead of the “last Sunday in January.” This will cause the opening day to shift accordingly, affording hunters an opportunity to hunt later in the season.
All waterfowl hunters 18 and older must possess a valid Arizona hunting license and state migratory bird stamp, as well as a federal migratory bird stamp. All waterfowl hunters 16 and older must also possess a federal migratory bird stamp.
Need a license? Visit www.azgfd.gov/license/. Keep in mind that a combination hunt and fish license is only $20 more (for state residents) than the price of an individual hunting or fishing license. As a reminder, a youth combination hunt and fish license (ages 10 to 17) is only $5 and includes the privileges associated with the state migratory bird stamp.
The “2021-2022 Arizona Waterfowl and Snipe Regulations” are posted at www.azgfd.com/Hunting/Regulations/. For more information about waterfowl hunting, visit www.azgfd.com/hunting/species/waterfowl/.
NOTE: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has expanded hunting opportunities on national wildlife refuges for the 2021-2022 seasons. Hunting opportunities are authorized and provided on USFWS-managed lands in accordance with federal, state and tribal (where applicable) regulations and seasons. For questions on hunting opportunities, consult current refuge hunt regulations.
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