The U.S. Army has been using the Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) to test nearly every piece of equipment in their arsenal. This testing can cause adverse effects on the land in certain areas. As a result, the Army is invested in providing quality stewardship of the land.
The Yuma Proving Ground is home to several types of wildlife, including pronghorn, bighorn sheep, and desert tortoise. Because of the Army’s willingness to provide stewardship, these populations remain stable. Yuma Proving Ground officials state that much of this success is due to the support of hunters and sportsmen in the area.
“We get so much support from groups like the Yuma Rod and Gun Club and Arizona Bighorn Sheep Society for construction of wildlife water catchments and monitoring animal populations. A lot of these things rely on volunteer labor to accomplish, and it is our sportsmen who reliably help get these projects done.” – Daniel Steward, YPG Wildlife Biologist.
Hunting on the Yuma Proving Ground
For generations, hunters have chased game across over 1,200 square miles of land on the YPG. With all that area there is space that allows for safe hunting. However, because of the nature of military testing, sometimes the Army has to close sections of the YPG.
“We have restricted access because at YPG we are shooting things we have never shot before. We have safety buffer zones we have to observe for our tests. Periodically, if we have a test with a large safety buffer zone, we may have to close down specific hunting units. It’s kind of a balance between safety and security when we establish these hunting areas. They are in places that avoid our busy impact areas and where people can be relatively safe without being a security issue for our testing.” – Daniel Steward, YPG Wildlife Biologist.
The YPG combats this by creating several smaller hunting units. That way if the Army needs to close off an area for testing they can close some of the smaller hunt units and not need to close the entire YPG down.
YPG officials use a program called ISportsman to help hunters that are looking to hunt on the YPG. This website has information like hunting maps, how to register to hunt the YPG, and overall information regarding the YPG. You can check out this website by clicking here. For more Arizona hunting news you can check out our Arizona section by clicking here.