PAYSON, Ariz. – Have you ever wanted to experience Arizona’s great outdoors but didn’t know how to get started?

The Arizona Game and Fish Department, in partnership with Safari Club International, Red Bear Outfitters, and the Mogollon Sportsmen Association, still has some space available at its FREE outdoor skills workshop and campout for beginners this weekend in the tall pine country east of Payson. The camp starts at 6 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 30) and runs through noon on Sunday, Oct. 2.

Pre-registration is required. To sign up, call (480) 639-9994 or e-mail hapfel@azgfd.gov.

“This experience is really geared for the inexperienced outdoors person or family, such as people who are new to camping, wildlife viewing, fishing or hunting, or those who’ve wanted to learn the basics but didn’t have someone to teach them,” says Game and Fish biologist Henry Apfel.

A variety of activities led by experienced biologists and seasoned outdoors experts will be offered:

  • Fishing in rim country lakes – learn how to fish for trout with experienced anglers.
  • Wildlife/birding/nature hikes – spend time in the field with biologists, learning about the plants and animals of the area and looking for birds and other animals.
  • Basic outdoor skills – learn what gear you need for hiking and camping, how to set up a safe camp, how to build a fire, how to read a map, and more.
  • Try a squirrel hunt – learn techniques for hunting squirrel and how to properly care for bagged animals in the field.

“Arizona offers incredible outdoor recreation opportunities, and the fall is a great time to be outdoors” says Apfel. “The elk are bugling, the fall colors are starting to show, and the mornings are crisp and days cool. When people learn new skills, it makes them feel more comfortable in the outdoors and enhances their experience.”

Campers must bring their own camping gear and hunting or fishing license if they plan on fishing or hunting. Other suggested gear to bring is a decent pair of binoculars and field guides.

Again, the free workshop/campout begins at 6 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 30) and runs through noon on Sunday, Oct. 2 at the Sharp Creek Campground, about 23 miles east of Payson. Sharp Creek Campground is located near mile post 275.5 south of Highway 260. Space will be limited to 50 participants. Pre-registration is required; to register, call (480) 639-9994 or e-mailhapfel@azgfd.gov.

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