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I was fortunate to have drawn an elk tag for the upcoming 2019 hunt. My hunting buddy and I spent the past weekend scouting several of our favorite areas. Unfortunately, the range and forest are parched, and watering holes are few and far between in our hunting unit. Except for the Game and Fish Departments trick tanks, there was no water to be found anywhere -- except for an old uranium exploration drill hole that encountered a shallow perched aquifer. This long-forgotten exploration hole was recently rehabilitated by a very generous rancher and now, besides cattle, provides drinking water for hundreds of elk, deer, antelope and other animals.

On another note, I was somewhat taken back by what I found at the Game and Fish Departments trick tanks. At one tank there, were 11 trail cameras focused right on the water hole, at another tank there were nine. Professional guides looking for the biggest bulls and bucks for their clients have saturated the forest with cameras, so they know where the best trophy animals are to be found, what trails they use and what time they come to water. Is this what "fair chase" hunting has evolved into? Although it is apparently legal, those who hunt with the aid of a camera should be ashamed of their tactics especially the so called “professional guides."

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FRANK BAIN

Flagstaff

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