During the months of December and January, many non-resident hunters begin to show up in southeast Arizona. Here’s something to be very aware of for yourself and your bird dog:
In the southwest United States, there are many abandoned mine shafts throughout the open country…especially in Arizona. Some of these mines are vertical, meaning they go straight down and are very deep. Many are not fenced, having no warning signs around them of any kind and others are completely hidden by tall, dense vegetation. These abandoned mines present a real danger, not only to hunters but especially to bird dogs.
Some specific terrain where mines are very dangerous is Mearns’ quail country and they become even more dangerous in years of high moisture and heavy vegetation. If a bird dog stumbles into one of these vertical mines and doesn’t die in the fall, it can still be a very dangerous situation for you and extremely time consuming to retrieve the dog. (I personally, have been in this situation.) Low light conditions and dense fog compound the problem. Be very careful. Take a look at this helpful site that maps out 1,439 mines in Arizona: http://www.expertgps.com/data/az/mines.asp