Kingman, AZ -(Ammoland.com)- The Arizona Game and Fish Department has worked closely with the Boquillas Ranch to put agreements in place to preserve fair and reasonable sportsmen access on the ranch into the future.
The Big Boquillas Ranch, approximately 730,000 acres in size, is the largest in Arizona and one of the largest ranches in the country. The ranch covers approximately half of Game Management Unit 10 in Northern Arizona.
In 2013, the ranch implemented Ranch Rules as part of a pilot for the department's Land Owner Compact. The Ranch Rules were developed collaboratively with the department to help offset concerns of the landowner regarding some specific issues related to access.
The ranch also began charging a Recreational Impact Fee (RIF) in 2013. With nearly 500,000 of the ranch’s acreage being private, the $60 per person fee helps defer operational costs associated with access as well as costs associated with maintaining infrastructure on the ranch.
That infrastructure helps to sustain wildlife on the ranch which includes miles of pipeline, 110 steel water tanks, 150 steel troughs, and 130 earthen tanks. The fees may also be used to help offset wildlife impacts to ranch infrastructure and operations. The fee, however, is waived for youth and disabled veteran hunters, and youth mentors.
“All this supports wildlife conservation,” explained Tom Finley, supervisor for the Game and Fish Region 3 office in Kingman. “The ranch has always had the right to lock the gates, but instead of doing so they worked closely with the department to maintain hunting opportunities.”
Wildlife Managers received significant positive feedback from those hunters who opted to pay the access fee to hunt on the Boquillas Ranch last year. The department has made a significant effort to ensure sportsmen understand the ranch rules and the RIF requirement this year.
The ranch has been open to hunters who obtain a proper Ranch Access Permit since August 8. Permits can only be purchased, and ranch rules reviewed, at the ranch's website HuntBigBoRanch.
Based on feedback from 2013, the ranch developed several additions to the access program. Among the most notable is that antlerless elk hunters who purchase a Big Boquillas hunter permit will receive one complimentary Hunter Assist Permit. In addition, archery deer hunters who purchase a permit can hunt the ranch from Dec. 12-Dec. 19, after which the ranch will close to all recreational users.
Also new for 2014 is that non-hunting youth under 16 do not require a permit and are free. In 2013, youth younger than 15 years old were free.
“After implementation of the fee last year, some people feared the worst,” Finley said. “Instead the ranch made some modifications to improve the overall experience. The ranch has made a significant good-faith effort to work with the department to maintain and improve the hunting experience for our constituents.”
Did you know?
Arizona hunting and fishing licenses are a great value. You can get combination hunting and fishing licenses for a family of four for less than the price of one night in a motel. Great Outdoors, Great Value!
About The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD)
The Arizona Game and Fish Department mission is to conserve Arizona’s diverse wildlife resources and manage for safe, compatible outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future generations.