TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Hunters who harvest big game with GPS or VHF tracking collars are asked to return the collar undamaged to any AZ Game and Fish Department office across the state.
According to AZGFD it is legal to harvest an animal that has a tracking collar, officials ask that hunter do not cut, damage, or otherwise destroy any portion of the collar. The information gathered from the collar helps provide valuable data to make "science-based decisions that determine the most effective wildlife management practices." Stored data can include behaviors, movement patterns and frequency, individual and group dynamics, home-range size and much more.
Those collars, which can cost up to several thousand dollars, can be removed easily by loosening two nuts on the black "drop-off" box on one side, using a crescent or socket wrench or a multi-use tool.
When factoring in additional costs of human resources, equipment and capture, the department is making a substantial investment in each collared animal. A portion of the funding comes from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) program, a stalwart national funding source for state conservation and recreational opportunities.
It's also helpful for hunters to report the date and location of their harvest when returning an undamaged collar to any department office statewide. For more information, call (602) 942-3000.