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Squirrels! Image of cute critters wins Arizona wildlife photo contest

(Arizona Game and Fish Department)

PHOENIX – An image of two squirrels who appear to be greeting each other took top honors in this year’s Arizona Game and Fish Department wildlife photo contest.

Julie Curtis’ photo of Harris’s antelope squirrels cavorting on a rock was selected to appear on the cover and inside the November-December calendar issue of Arizona Wildlife Views.

“Photos like this don’t come along very often for me,” Curtis said in a press release Friday.

“When I saw the photo, I just sat back in my chair staring at it and knew it was one of my best so far. Everyone who has a passion for photography knows what I’m talking about.”

Curtis, who lives in Golden Valley, west of Kingman, said she was preparing to photograph one squirrel when the other one popped into frame.

Her picture beat out nearly 750 entries from more than 300 photographers.

The Arizona Wildlife Views calendar issue will go on sale at Arizona Game and Fish Department offices in late November. New subscribers to the magazine who order before Dec. 31 will also get the calendar issue.

The regular annual subscription price is $8.50 for six issues, but a $7 rate for seven issues is good through the end of the year.

The following 11 other winners will join Curtis’ as part of the calendar:

  • Dominic Ambrosino, Surprise: Bobcat
  • Timothy Cota, Mesa: Northern leopard frog
  • Joshua Esquivel, Sedona: Rufous hummingbirds
  • Darin Guerena, Globe: Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep
  • Tom Jones, Phoenix: Harris’s hawk
  • Bryan Keil, Gilbert: Gadwall
  • Kathleen Reeder, Peoria: Mountain lion
  • Kathy Ritter, Happy Jack: Bison
  • Bruce Taubert, Glendale: Coues white-tailed deer
  • William Wells, Surprise: Eastern collared lizard
  • Patrick Wundrock, Tucson: Pronghorn

Additionally, these 20 honorable mention selections will appear in the magazine:

  • RonnieSue Ambrosino, Surprise: Hermit thrush
  • George L. Ball, Tucson: Gila monster
  • Kristin Bendigo, Tucson: Broad-billed hummingbird
  • Michael J. Chan, Kingman: Black bear
  • Ken Cook, Casa Grande: Coatimundi
  • Ximena Echeverria, Mesa: Canada geese
  • Shane Farmer, Mesa: Mule deer
  • Bill Ferris, Flagstaff: Coyote
  • Dwight Haigh, Cornville: River otter
  • Caroline Horowitz, Chandler: Harris’s antelope squirrel
  • Dana Kelley, Tucson: Canyon tree frog
  • Rocky LaRose, Tucson: Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep
  • Melinda Kaye Lockhart, Mesa: Long-tailed weasel
  • Thomas Machowicz, Phoenix: Gilded flicker
  • Paul Martin, Mesa: Wood duck
  • Charles T. Peden, Tucson: American badger
  • Jim Rust, Peoria: Desert bighorn sheep
  • Tam Ryan, Mesa: House finch
  • Gary Schafer, Surprise: Gray hawk
  • Robert Shupak, Greer: Elegant trogon

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