Photos by Lynn Chamberlain, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Salt Lake City -- The number of cougar hunting permits in Utah has been locked in for the next three years.
On Aug. 19, members of the Utah Wildlife Board approved Utah’s first three-year cougar guidebook. The permit numbers and the rules in the guidebook will guide cougar hunting in Utah for the next three seasons.
”Keeping the hunting rules and the permit numbers consistent—instead of changing them from year to year—will give our efforts to manage cougars more time to work,” says Kevin Bunnell, mammals coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources.
“It will also help us better evaluate the effectiveness of the rules and the number of permits we’re offering,” he says. “That will lead to future recommendations that will be best for the cougars and for the animals the cougars prey on.”
You can see the rules and the permit numbers the board approved in the 2010 – 2011 Utah Cougar Guidebook.
The guidebook should be available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks starting the week of Sept. 6.
At their Aug. 19 meeting, the board approved changes that should result in the number of cougars taken by hunters climbing by about six percent.
Biologists say the six percent increase should result in hunters taking an average of 325 cougars each season for the next three seasons.
Over the past three seasons, hunters took an average of 300 cougars each season.
Utah’s cougar management plan was updated in 2009. This is the first season cougars will be managed under the new plan.
In addition to keeping the number of hunting permits consistent for three years, the plan provides more direction for managing cougars on units that have bighorn sheep. It also provides more direction to manage cougars on units where the number of mule deer—the main animal cougars prey on—is still under the goal specified in unit management plans.
You can read the state’s cougar management plan at www.wildlife.utah.gov/pdf/cmgtplan.pdf .