Bighorn Sheep Workshops Provide Unique Wildlife-Viewing Opportunity
June 17 is the deadline to apply for random draw.
May 15, 2015
An unforgiving environment, the Black Mountains northwest of Kingman feature extreme summer temperatures, steep rock faces, and hold little forage.
While few may consider the setting an ideal destination, it's home to the majestic desert bighorn sheep and provides a unique wildlife viewing opportunity for the public, hosted by the Arizona Game and Fish Department's regional office in Kingman.
Two Days Scheduled
The department has scheduled a pair of two-day Desert Bighorn Sheep Natural History Workshops for July 31-Aug. 1 and Aug. 7-8.
The first day of each workshop is mandatory classroom education from 6 to 8 p.m. at the regional office in Kingman. On the second day, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., participants will be treated to a boat trip on the Colorado River from Willow Beach to Hoover Dam, where they can watch sheep come down to drink.
The deadline to apply for the workshops is noon June 17. The workshops are free and open to anyone 14 and older. Space is limited to 49 people per workshop, however, and preference will be given to those who have not attended in the past.
Participants are selected through a random draw process that will take place immediately after the draw deadline. All applicants are notified via mail or e-mail following the deadline. Those not drawn will have their names placed on a reserve list in the event of cancellations.
A Great Opportunity
"This is not a pleasure cruise, but it is a great opportunity for people to connect with nature," Mocarski said. "Education is critical in understanding wildlife and the actions taken by Game and Fish and other agencies to ensure they continue to thrive."
Mocarski said the workshops are made available through the Heritage Fund, a voter-passed initiative that provides funding to the department for wildlife conservation and education through Arizona Lottery dollars.
The workshop includes an optional 45-minute tour of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife's Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery prior to the boat trip. The tour begins at 9 a.m.
An application can be downloaded at http://www.azgfd.gov/bighornworkshop. Print the form and follow the instructions. For those without Internet, or needing additional information, contact Mocarski at (928) 692-7700.
Registration can be completed by mail, by e-mailing Mocarski, or by dropping off only at the Kingman regional office at 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road, Kingman, Ariz., 86409.
While the workshops are free, a refundable deposit of $20 (per person) is due by July 3 to help minimize the number of no-shows. Checks should be made payable to "Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation" and will be returned once participants attend a workshop. Checks also will be returned for cancellations made at least 48 hours prior to the date of each workshop. Please do not send cash.
Donations, which are not mandatory to participate, will be accepted at the workshop to help offset increasing costs for boat rentals and fuel.
Participants are encouraged to bring a camera, water, snacks, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. No tripods are allowed on the boats, but small coolers are OK.
The Best Time
"If you want to see bighorn sheep in the Black Mountains, the best time to do so is during the heat of summer," said Zen Mocarski, information and education program manager. "During the winter, sheep don't need to visit water often, but during the hot summer months, they visit water about every other day."
"It is going to be hot, but that's when bighorns come down for a drink," Mocarski said. "There is limited shade on the boats, but the temperatures will be in the triple digits."
Did You Know?
The Arizona Game and Fish Department receives NO Arizona general fund tax dollars? We hold the state's wildlife in trust for the public without a dime from Arizona taxpayers.