Arizona Game and Fish offers nine ideas for a better 2016

The Arizona Game and Fish "Explore Expo" takes place at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, April 2 and 3. Photo/AZGF

The Arizona Game and Fish "Explore Expo" takes place at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, April 2 and 3. Photo/AZGF

How about making an outdoors New Year's resolution?

Here are a few ideas game and fish have to get you outdoors more in the new year.

• Fish local.

With lakes and ponds in 17 Arizona communities that are seasonally stocked with channel catfish, bluegill and rainbow trout, there's always a hotspot close to home. This is a great way to introduce a youngster to a fun, lifelong sport. Your reward? Hearing that youngster squeal with delight while pulling in his or her first fish.

• Support wildlife.

Wildlife lovers can put their money where their heart is by becoming a member of the department's "I Support Wildlife" program.

• Take a youngster outdoors.

Look for animal tracks together and identify the critter that made them. Armed with only a bird identification guide, embark on a hunting expedition and see how many species you can find. A day in the field will create memories that last a lifetime - for both of you.

• Pick it up.

Vow to clean up not only after yourself, but those who aren't as considerate. Take an extra trash bag along on your next outing and spend a few minutes picking up those empty cans, cigarette butts or campsite trash.

• Be a wildlife watcher.

Arizona provides some of the best wildlife-viewing opportunities in the nation, with more than 800 species of wildlife. It's a fun, inexpensive activity the entire family can enjoy.

• Invest in good optics.

Most hunters know that success in the field begins with a quality pair of binoculars or spotting scope. Don't skimp. Better to buy the best you can afford that fits your needs than settle for a middle-of-the-road piece of equipment and be forced to upgrade later.

• Be a conservationist.

It's difficult to imagine what our wildlife populations might be like today without the North American Model for Wildlife Conservation.

• Explore "Expo."

Save the date - April 2-3 - and experience the great outdoors at the department's 2016 Outdoor Expo at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. There will be plenty of hands-on activities, wildlife presentations/educational demonstrations, and the opportunity to meet with outdoors groups, agencies and exhibitors. Admission and parking are free.

• Hunt something new.

Don't let the odds of being selected in the random draw keep you from applying for what could be the hunt of a lifetime. If you've always dreamed of hunting bison, pronghorn or bull elk, then get in the game and fill out an application. Also, don't overlook small game or other species that can be hunted year-round.

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