Enforcing Game and Fish Laws on the Arizona Strip

AZGFD on the Colorado 7

The AZGFD’s Arm of the Law Reaches Out to All Offenders

Chief ThompsonIt’s 6am and it’s 18 degrees. I’m dressed for cold weather as well as the 5 Arizona Game & Fish Game Wardens getting ready for a day on the Colorado River, but nonetheless, shivering.

The team of law enforcement is ready to launch their boat placing plain clothes officers along a stretch of the Colorado River from Lee’s Ferry to Glen Canyon Dam. Dressed in plain clothes they spend the morning fishing while watching for violators after ducks. Once all are deployed, Luke Thompson (Wildlife Manager Field Supervisor Arizona Strip) and I move the boat farther upstream awaiting calls from the officers deployed.

Going up the Colorado RiverThey’re watching for hunters that use unauthorized methods for gathering and shooting ducks. They employ several methods to do this but in each case they are breaking the law’s set forth by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

According to Officer Thompson, they periodically conduct these plan-clothed operations for all species on the Strip but today it happened to be for the ducks that use the Colorado River as a sanctuary during their annual migration from the north.

Agent OffloadingLike most Game & Fish Departments across the country, the AZGFD places emphasis on enforcing the rules and regulations of the department while providing the science required to maintain healthy wildlife within the jurisdiction of their authority. Luke Thompson’s authority encompasses the Arizona Strip and this includes the Colorado River.

From the headwaters to Hoover Dam, the Colorado River draws millions of people including hunters and fishermen from across the nation. Managing this resource is a daily job and those in the Game & Fish department spend countless hours performing these tasks keeping you safe and playing by the rules. These five officers, (first names) are a perfect example of knowledge and dedication. Today was a good example of that dedication in 18 degrees.

It can be a lot of fun on this river but the Colorado can take your life in a matter of minutes. Water temps were approximately 45 degrees and the current is very strong. Fall in and you’re instantly going down stream subjected to hypothermia. You have minutes to get rescued.

Doug Stricker Author Huntingfishing.com
Doug Stricker: Huntingfishing.com

The project ends on a positive note. No one was breaking the law. Although there are huge numbers of ducks, all the sportsmen spotted on the river were fishing. Game Wardens are placed along the river in plain clothes and in radio contact with the Wildlife Manager. In the event of a violation, the Wildlife Manger picks up the calling Warden and violators are approached. If you’re out to circumvent the law remember, there may be a Warden watching you!

No matter where you live, make sure you’re doing it safe, you have a license and you’re following the rules.

 

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