Research clearly shows that off-trail motorized use can have significant impacts on fish and wildlife habitat. Thus I am struck by the fact that the Arizona Game & Fish continue to advocate for use of motorized vehicles off trail to retrieve downed game, through the Tonto National Forest Travel Management Planning process. In particular, the need for exception which allows hunters to use motorized vehicles to be used up to one mile off a designate route has been unsubstantiated. Further this convoluted exception to the rule will undoubtedly be a nightmare to both enforce and educate sportsmen on. While I understand the need to get meat out of the woods quickly, particularly in Arizona’s warm climate, there are numerous other ways to do this without causing motorized damage to the habitat our wildlife depends on. As a board member of Arizona Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, I urge other hunters to weigh-in on the Tonto travel plan and let the Forest Service know, we don’t need an exception to the rule.
Board Member, Arizona Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
Photo by Chris McCotter