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More Spike Bull Hunts in Utah in 2009

December 19, 2008.

From the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources:

Spike bull elk hunters can now hunt spike bulls on 26 of Utah's 29 limited entry bull elk hunting units.

The only limited entry elk units where spike bull hunting will not be allowed are the North Slope, Three Corners and South Slope, Diamond Mountain units in northeastern Utah, and the Pilot Mountain unit in western Utah.

And a few more hunters will be hunting spike bulls in 2009 after board members raised the number of spike bull rifle hunting permits to 12,500. In 2008, a total of 11,000 spike bull permits were available.

Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says the changes the board approved are important to the future of Utah's elk herds.

"On many of these units, the number of bull elk and the number of cow elk is the same," Aoude says. "The only way to make room for that many bull elk is to keep reducing the number of cow elk. And that could spell disaster 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, eventually the elk populations will crash and the fantastic elk hunting hunters are enjoying in Utah now will be gone."

Aoude says opening all but three of the state's limited entry units to spike bull hunting will allow more spike bulls to be taken while still protecting the larger bulls in the herds.

DWR biologists recommended 17,000 spike bull permits at public meetings a few weeks ago. They changed their proposal after hunters said some of the units would be inundated with hunters if 17,000 permits were offered.

"We survey hunters after every hunting season," Aoude says. "The survey we conduct after the 2009 hunts will give us a good picture of what the hunting pressure was like on each unit."


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