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Utah Makes Changes to Bonus/Preference Point System for 2009

December 8, 2008.

From the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources:

Utah has two systems that are designed to give everyone a chance to hunt big game animals in Utah.

Changes are coming to both of those systems — Utah's bonus point and preference point systems — in 2009.

One of the changes will reward those who apply regularly for some of the most difficult permits to obtain in Utah. Two other changes will make it easier for various hunters to get a deer hunting permit. A fourth change will help stop an unethical practice that's picking up steam in the state.

The changes were approved Dec. 4 by members of the Utah Wildlife Board.

The changes, and the challenges they address, are listed below:

Change for 2009: If you don't apply for a limited entry or once-in-a-lifetime permit at least once every three years, you'll lose all of the bonus points you've accumulated up to that time.

Challenge in the past: Some of Utah's big game permits are limited in number. They're tough to draw. "This change will reward those who apply for a permit regularly by removing bonus points from those who don't," says Greg Sheehan, Administrative Services Section chief for the Division of Wildlife Resources.

"If you apply for a permit regularly, we want to give you the best chance possible to get one."

Change for 2009: If you list several choices on your general season buck deer permit application, and you draw a permit for your second, third, fourth or even your fifth choice, you'll still get a preference point because you didn't draw your first choice.

Challenge in the past: In the past, preference points were awarded to hunters who didn't draw ANY of the choices they listed on their general buck deer permit application. Because most hunters want a preference point if they don't draw the first choice on their application, many hunters were listing just one hunt.

This change will allow hunters to get a preference point for the first choice they listed (if they don't draw a permit for their first choice) and still have a chance to hunt deer by drawing a permit for one of their other choices.

Change for 2009: The percent of general season buck deer permits set aside for hunters 15 years of age and younger has been increased.

Twenty percent of the total number of permits available in 2009 will be set aside for young hunters. In the past, 15 percent of the permits were set aside.

Challenge in the past: The number of young people who hunt in Utah has been declining for years. "We're hoping to slow or even reverse that trend by giving young hunters a better chance to get a permit," Sheehan says.

Change for 2009: If hunters apply together as a group, and then one or more of the group wants to surrender their permit, ALL of the members of the group must surrender their permits if they want to receive a bonus point or a preference point.

If all of the members of the group don't surrender their permits, those who do surrender their permits won't receive a bonus point or preference point for that year.

Challenge in the past: A hunter with a high number of bonus or preference points would agree to apply in a group with a hunter who had a low number of points. The only reason he did this was to increase the odds that the hunter with a low number of points would draw a permit.

If both of the hunters drew a permit, the hunter with a high number of points would surrender his permit to the DWR.

In the past, in addition to getting his points back for surrendering his permit, he also got a bonus point or a preference point for that year.

For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.

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