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Utah Considers Deer, Spike Elk Changes

October 30, 2008.

From the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources:

If you like to hunt deer with a bow and arrow, you may have to wait until Sept. 1 to hunt statewide in 2009.

That idea is among several the Division of Wildlife Resources is proposing for Utah's 2009 big game hunts.

Most of the DWR's deer–hunting ideas came from a committee the agency formed last spring to review Utah's Mule Deer Management Plan. Increasing the number of deer in Utah, and providing more chances to hunt deer, are among the goals of the committee members.

Proposals — Buck deer

The following are among the DWR's deer hunting proposals for 2009:

  • Require general season archery buck deer hunters to hunt in a single region until Sept. 1. Starting Sept. 1, you could hunt in any region in the state.

"Hunters in southern Utah are concerned that too many archery hunters are hunting in the Southern Region at the start of the season," says Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR.

"Depending on which region you choose to hunt in, this change could prevent you from hunting in the Southern Region at the start of the archery season. But you could still hunt in the region halfway through the season."

The DWR is proposing that Utah's general season archery buck deer hunt run from Aug. 15 to Sept. 11.

Under the proposal, you'd indicate which region you wanted to hunt in when you bought your archery permit. Your permit would then be valid for that region until Sept. 1. Starting Sept. 1, you could hunt in any region in the state.

  • Make Utah's general rifle buck deer hunt a nine–day hunt in each of the DWR's five regions. The hunt would run Oct. 17 – 25.

The only exception would be five subunits where buck–to–doe ratios aren't meeting goals in the state's management plan. The hunt on the five subunits would run Oct. 21 – 25.

The five subunits that would have the shorter hunts are the Nebo and Oquirrh–Stansbury subunits in central Utah; the South Slope, Vernal subunit in northeastern Utah; the LaSal Mountains subunit in southeastern Utah; and the Monroe subunit in south–central Utah.

  • Allow more hunters to hunt on the Paunsaugunt and Henry Mountains premium limited entry units during a hunt that ran Nov. 7 – 11.

Those who hunted during this hunt would be restricted to taking deer that did not have a single antler with more than three points on it. They would also be required to hunt with either a muzzleloader, or a bow and arrow.

"This change would give more hunters a chance to hunt on these premiere units while still protecting the larger bucks on the units," Aoude says.

The committee that provided deer hunting ideas to the DWR consisted of 17 members. The Mule Deer Foundation, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, the Utah Bowman's Association, the Utah Wildlife Federation, the Utah Farm Bureau, the Bureau of Land Management, Utah's Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit Association, all five of Utah's Regional Advisory Councils and the Utah Wildlife Board were among the groups that had members on the committee.

Proposals — Bull Elk

The following is the major DWR elk hunting proposal for 2009:

  • Increase the number of permits for spike–only units to 17,000, and allow spike bull elk hunting on all of Utah's limited entry units.

The state currently offers 11,000 spike bull elk permits. Spike bull hunting is allowed on 10 of Utah's 29 limited entry bull elk units.

"On many of these units, the number of bull elk and cow elk is the same," Aoude says. "The only way to keep bull elk numbers that high is to continuing taking a lot of cow elk. And that isn't good for the herds.

"Because the herds have fewer cow elk in them, fewer and fewer calves are being born. If the situation doesn't change, the elk populations will eventually crash."

Aoude says the DWR proposal would allow more hunters to take spike bulls while continuing to protect the larger bulls in the herds.

Learn more, share your ideas

All of the DWR's big game proposals are available in the public meetings section of our website at www.wildlife.utah.gov. Once you've read the proposals, you can share your thoughts and ideas one of two ways:

Five Regional Advisory Council meetings will be held across Utah. Citizens representing the RACs will take the input received at the meetings to the Utah Wildlife Board. Board members will use the input to set rules for Utah's 2009 big game hunts.

You can participate and provide your input at any of the following meetings (two notes: the Southern Region meeting begins at 5 p.m. The Central Region meeting is being held on a Thursday.):

Southern Region
Nov. 4
5 p.m.
Beaver High School
195 E. Center St.
Beaver

Southeastern Region
Nov. 5
6:30 p.m.
John Wesley Powell Museum
1765 E. Main St.
Green River

Northeastern Region
Nov. 6
6:30 p.m.
Uintah Interagency Fire Center
355 N. Vernal Ave.
Vernal

Northern Region
Nov. 12
6 p.m.
Weber Commission Chambers
1st floor
2383 Washington Blvd.
Ogden

Central Region
Nov. 13
6:30 p.m.
Springville Junior High School
165 S. 700 E.
Springville

E–mail

You can also provide your comments to your RAC via e–mail. E–mail addresses for your RAC members are available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings.

The group each RAC member represents (sportsman, non–consumptive, etc.) is listed under each person's e–mail address. You should direct your e–mail to the people on the RAC who represent your interest.

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