Friday, August 26, 2011

Four upland game hunts open Sept. 1

Photo courtesy Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Lots of doves in Utah
It's time to oil your shotgun and grab some shells—four upland game hunts are about to begin.

Lots of mourning doves are in Utah right now. This fall's dove hunt starts Sept. 1.

Sept. 1, 2011 is the first day you can hunt dove, forest grouse, cottontail rabbit and snowshoe hare in Utah this fall. But it won't be the last day. Many of Utah's upland game seasons—which were already long—have been lengthened even more this year.

You can see the new season dates in the 2011–2012 Utah Upland Game & Turkey Guidebook. The free guidebook is available at .

Justin Dolling, upland game and waterfowl coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says DWR biologists are seeing lots of doves in Utah. And they're also seeing good numbers of cottontail rabbits in concentrated pockets across the state.

The number of forest grouse biologists are seeing is mixed—in some areas, grouse numbers appear to be up this year. In other areas, they appear to be down.

The number of snowshoe hares is similar to last year.

Mourning dove
Dolling says DWR biologists are seeing good numbers of doves in Utah right now.

That's not surprising, considering what they saw last spring. During late May surveys along dove survey routes, the number of mourning doves biologists saw was up a whopping 247 percent from what they saw in May 2010.

Dolling says dove habitat is plentiful in Utah this year. And the habitat is in excellent condition. "The moisture the state received this spring and summer led to excellent plant growth," he says. "Lots of sunflowers and weedy vegetation are available for the doves.

"I'm expecting a good dove hunt this year."

Forest grouse
Dusky and ruffed grouse reports Dolling has received are mixed. In some areas of the state, forest grouse numbers appear to be up. In other areas, the numbers appear to be down.

Dolling says gathering information about forest grouse is challenging for DWR biologists. "We have a limited number of biologists and a lot of surveys to conduct," he says. "Our biologists have to gather forest grouse information while they're in the field working on other projects or surveying other species."

The following is a summary of the forest grouse reports Dolling has received from each of the DWR's five regions:

Region Summary

Northern Grouse are doing better this year than in 2010. Both dusky and ruffed grouse numbers appear to be up.

Central Most of the forest grouse chicks that were born last spring survived, but a lot of water and habitat are available for the birds. Grouse will be spread out this fall.

Northeastern A cold spring may have affected grouse production in the region this year.

Southeastern The number of grouse in the northern part of the region appears to be down. Chick survival was much better in the southern part of the region, though. Good numbers of grouse await those who hunt in the southern part of the region.

Southern The number of grouse appears to be down from previous years. Vast areas of grouse habitat burned during the past few years. While the fires have affected grouse in the short term, the fires will improve the habitat and should result in more grouse in future years.

Cottontail Rabbit
Cottontail rabbit populations go through a cycle that lasts about 10 years.

At the start of the cycle, rabbit numbers are high. Then the number of rabbits decreases until it bottoms out about five years later. After bottoming out, the population starts to increase again until it reaches a high point about five years after bottoming out.

Then the cycle repeats itself.

Dolling says the number of rabbits in Utah is increasing after bottoming out about two years ago.

DWR biologists are conducting rabbit surveys right now, and early indications are encouraging—they're seeing good numbers of rabbits in concentrated pockets across the state.

Outside of those areas, though, rabbits are scarcer.

"Rabbit populations are rebounding," Dolling says, "but they haven't reached a point where enough rabbits are available to spread out and fill all of the available habitat.

"If you can find a group of rabbits," Dolling says, "you should be in for a good hunt."

Snowshoe hare
The only snowshoe hare surveys in Utah are conducted by the U.S. Forest Service in the northern part of the state.

Those surveys indicate the number of snowshoe hares in northern Utah is increasing slightly.

"Snowshoe hares are a fun animal to hunt," Dolling says, "but they aren't real abundant, even in areas that have good habitat.

"I'd encourage you to give snowshoe hare hunting a try," he says, "especially in the winter, when there isn't as much to do in the outdoors. Hunting snowshoes is a fun and unique opportunity. And it can provide you with a lot of solitude."

Before you hunt hares, Dolling encourages you to learn the difference between a snowshoe hare and a white-tailed jackrabbit. Illustrations and descriptions that show and explain the difference are available on pages 46 and 47 of the 2011–2012 Utah Upland Game & Turkey Guidebook.

The free guidebook is available at .

Friday, July 1, 2011

July 4th Forest Service Campground Update for Utah

Flooding in Guinavah-Malibu campground June 29, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY, June 30, 2011 – Campgrounds in the five Utah National Forests are expected to be busy over the 4th of July. Most campgrounds have first-come-first serve area available, but they fill up quickly on holidays.

Forest visitors need to adhere to road closure signage or blockades, DO NOT create routes around these closures. This creates an illegal route and damages the resource, and creates a safety hazard for visitors.

Recreation users who plan to take their All Terrain-Vehicles (ATV’s) should contact local Ranger District offices for current information on open roads and trails. Riders should be properly trained and remember to protect the fragile surroundings. Always keep your ATV on designated roads and trails.

Photo of ATV that rolled off a road that was closed due to wet and muddy conditions on the Spanish Fork Ranger District

Higher elevation trails and roads are still wet, muddy and snow covered above 8,000 feet.

When hiking, dress appropriately and be aware of snow bridges and hidden moats on higher elevation trails. Carry extra water, food and take along a coat and matches in case the weather turns bad. Always let someone know where you are hiking and approximately when you will return and never hike alone.

Please keep campfires in the designated fire pits and make sure they are out cold before leaving them unattended. ABSOLUTELY NO FIREWORKS ON NATIONAL FOREST SERVICE SYSTEM LANDS. Have a great holiday on your National Forest and please be safe.

The following is a listing of Forest Service campgrounds that will be open for the Fourth of July holiday:

ASHLEY NATIONAL FOREST (435) 789-1181 or
Duchesne Ranger District (435) 738-2482
All campgrounds are open with water and fees, except Yellowstone, Bridge and Riverview campgrounds which are closed due to flooding. Please call the District for the most current information.

 All campgrounds are open with water and fees, except Skull Creek, Red Springs and Spirit Lake which are closed due to standing water and snow.

If staying in a developed campground in the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, you are not required to pay the use fee. Day passes are $5.00, 7 day passes are $15.00 and annual passes are $35.00. Passes are available in Manila, Utah and in Evanston, Rock Springs and Green River, Wyoming and local businesses in and around the Flaming Gorge area.

Roosevelt Ranger District (435) 722-5018
 Moon Lake campground is open with water and fees. Please call for the most current information pertaining to all other campgrounds in the Roosevelt Ranger District.

Vernal Ranger District (435) 789-1181
All campgrounds are open with water and fees, except Lodgepole campground, which is still closed.

DIXIE NATIONAL FOREST (435) 865-3700 or

Cedar City Ranger District (435) 865-3200
 All campgrounds are open with water and fees, except Yankee Meadows campground which is open with fees, but no water.

Escalante Ranger District (435) 826-5400
All campgrounds are open with water and fees.

Pine Valley Ranger District (435) 652-3100
 All campgrounds are open with water and fees, except Oak Grove campground which will be open with fees but no water all season.

Powell Ranger District (435) 676-9300
All campgrounds are open with water and fees.


Beaver Ranger District (435) 438-2436
All campgrounds are open with water and fees, except LeBaron Lake which is open with fees but no water. Big John Flat will not be open.

Fillmore Ranger District (435) 743-5721
 All campgrounds are open with water and fees, except Oak Creek which will be open with fees and no water.

Fremont Ranger District (435) 836-2811
 All campgrounds are open with water and fees.

Richfield Ranger District (435) 896-9233
 All campgrounds are open with water and fees.


Ferron/Price Ranger District (435) 637-2817 or (435) 384-2372
 All campgrounds are open with water and fees except Flat Canyon campground, which is open but with no water. Trough Spring area will not be open for the weekend. Reeder Canyon Trail is closed.

Moab Ranger District (435) 259-7155
All campgrounds are open fees, but no water.

Monticello Ranger District (435) 587-2041
 All campgrounds are open with water and fees.

SanPete Ranger District (435) 283-4151
 All campgrounds are open with water and fees, except 12 Mile which is closed due to snow. Manti Community which will be open with no water but fees will be charged. Maple Canyon campground will be open with fees and does not have a water system. South Skyline Drive is still closed due to snow and 12 Mile Canyon Road is open, but only to the six mile cutoff.

UINTA-WASATCH-CACHE NATIONAL FOREST (801) 236-3400 OR (801) 342-5100

Heber-Kamas Ranger District (435) 654-0470 or (435) 783-4338
 Smith Morehouse and the lower loop in Ledgefork campground located along the Weber River drainage are open with water and fees. Ponderosa group, Yellow Pine, Pine Valley group, Soapstone, Shady Dell and Cobble Rest campgrounds located along the Mirror Lake Highway are open with water and fees. Cedar Hollow ATV trail system is open. The Mirror Lake Highway (Utah State Route 150) is open from Kamas to Evanston. Trial Lake, Lily Lake, Lost Lake, Washington Lake, Mirror Lake, Moosehorn, and Butterfly Lake campgrounds, are closed due to snow and Lower Provo and Taylors Fork campgrounds will remain closed due to flooding. Solider Creek, Strawberry Bay, Renegade, Aspen Grove and Current Creek campgrounds are open with water and fees. Lodgepole campground, Loop B is open with water and fees, Loop A is open with fees, but no water. Mill Hollow campground  and reservoir will remain closed due to wet and snowy conditions.

Photo taken on June 23, 2011 of the mud slide on the Farmington Canyon Road

Evanston/Mt. View Ranger District (307) 789-3194 or (307) 782-6555
 East Fork and Bear River campgrounds will be closed, due to flooding. Hayden Fork, Christmas Meadows and Beaver View are open with water and fees. Sulpher campground is open with fees, but no water. The Lilly Lake Dump Station will be CLOSED for the July 4th weekend. Whitney Reservoir is accessible, but use caution, roads and trails are still wet and muddy. Upper Wolverine ATV trail is closed due to flooding. The North Slope road is open to Mckenzie Creek, approximately7 1/2 miles from the Mirror Lake Highway. East Fork of the Bear is open and accessible. The Bear River Ranger Station located on the Mirror Lake Highway is open Thursday through Monday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (435) 642-6662.

Visitors parked or camping along the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway must display a fee pass. 3 Day passes are $6.00, 7-day passes are $12.00 and annual passes are $45.00. Passes can be purchased at Forest Service Offices in Kamas, Utah, Evanston, Wyoming and local business in Kamas and Evanston. These passes are also valid in the American Fork Canyon area.

Little Lyman and Stateline campgrounds are open with fees, but no water. Meeks Cabin, Bridger, Marsh and Hoop Lake campgrounds are open with water and fees. Deadhorse ATV trail is open and accessible. Henry’s Fork is accessible to Henry’s Fork Basin, approximately 5 ½ miles from the trailhead, beyond the basin there is standing water and snow and the river is running extremely high.

From Gunsight Pass into Kings Peak will require snowshoes.

Pleasant Grove Ranger District (801) 785-3563
Little Mill campground is open with a fee, but no water. Granite Flat, Mt. Timpanogos and Hope campgrounds are open with water and fees. The majority of the units in Timpooneke campground are open. Altamont and Theater-in-the Pines group sites are open. Rock Canyon campground is closed due to an avalanche. The Silver Lake Flat Road is open to the trailhead. Squaw Peak Road is open approximately 2.5 miles past Hope campground. Mineral Basin, Shaffer, Timpooneke and the North Fork of American Fork Canyon are closed, due to wet and muddy conditions. Cascade Springs is accessible from the Solider Hollow/Midway side ONLY.

A recreation pass is required for the American Fork Canyon-Alpine Scenic Loop area and is available at local Forest Service offices or at the entrance stations to the Scenic Loop. The special use fee is $6.00 for a three-day pass per vehicle, $12.00 for a 7 day pass and $45.00 for the annual pass. These passes are also valid in the Mirror Lake Area.

Spanish Fork Ranger District (801) 798-3571:
All campgrounds are open with water and fees. Maple Bench and Maple Lake campgrounds will be closed through mid-summer due to campground renovation and construction. The Mona Pole road is closed due to snow. The Nebo Loop road is open on the north side to Blackhawk campground and is open on the south side to the junction with Salt Creek Road, while construction crews are repairing the Red Creek slump. Santaquin Canyon road is open from Santaquin to the Nebo Loop Road.

Ogden Ranger District (801) 625-5306
 All campgrounds are open with water and fees, except Jefferson Hunt, due to flooding, and Monte Cristo, due to snow. No ATV trails are accessible on the Ogden Ranger District. All trails within the Wheeler Creek Complex will be open on July 1, 2011.

Logan Ranger District (435) 755-3620
 Box Elder, Spring Hollow, Lodge, and Sunrise campgrounds are open with water and fees. Lewis M. Turner, Friendship and Spring campgrounds are open with fees, but no water. Tony Grove campground is closed due to snow. High Creek, Cowley Canyon/Herd Hollow, West Hodges, Temple Fork, Smithfield Canyon, Millville Peak, Twin Creek, Temple Fork, Dip Hollow-Long Hollow, Marie Springs and Left Hand Fork 4X4 roads are all closed. Worm Fence ATV trail area also closed. All higher elevation roads are still closed due to snow, wet, and muddy conditions. Please contact the Logan Ranger District office for the most current information pertaining to what roads and trails are open.

Salt Lake Ranger District (801) 466-6411Jordan Pines, Spruces and Tanners Flat campgrounds are open with water and fees. Silver Lake Visitor Center is open and only half of the boardwalk is accessible. Little Cottonwood Creek Trail is closed. Redman and Albion Basin campgrounds are closed due to snow. All picnic areas are open with fees. Intake, Cottonwood and Boy Scout campgrounds in South Willow Canyon are open with fees, but no water. Medina Flat picnic area is also open. South Willow Canyon is still closed just above the Boy Scout campground. Lower and Upper Narrow and Loop campgrounds are closed. Ward Canyon Road is open to the intersection with Skyline Drive and Sessions roads. Skyline and Sessions roads will remain closed until conditions support opening them. Farmington Canyon road remains closed due to a major rock slide and may not be accessible until mid to late July. Hikers need to be extra cautious while hiking on higher elevations trails in Mill Creek, and Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, due to wet and muddy conditions.

Remember Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons are Salt Lake City Municipal Watersheds and dogs are not allowed in these canyons.

Friday, June 10, 2011

DWR To Host Fisheries Open House

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will host a Public Open House regarding fisheries management on Tuesday, June 14th from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at DWR’s Central Region Conference Center located at 1115 North Main Street in Springville. The open house meeting is being held to give people interested in fisheries/aquatic resource management, a chance to talk directly with DWR staff and give input and suggestions on regulations, the fishing guidebook and fisheries management in general.

Sportfish biologists, native species biologists, Strawberry Reservoir Project Leaders and other staff from the DWR’s central region office will be on hand to gather input, suggestions and ideas from the public. The open house has no formal agenda, presentations or speakers other than to introduce the format of the open house and briefly present some recommendations already formalized on statewide issues. Verbal, written and electronic comments and suggestions are encouraged and will be gathered by DWR staff and recorded.

Friday, April 8, 2011

See Mountain Goats April 16

Viewers gather to watch goats at last year's event.
Photo by Scott Root, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Sandy -- Colorful flowers and warmer weather aren’t the only signs spring is here: So are mountain goats at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon!

You can see and learn more about the goats at a free wildlife-viewing event. The event will be held Saturday, April 16. Free activities for your children are also part of the event.

Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says April is one of the best months to see the goats. “This event will be a great opportunity to get out and watch their sure-footed antics,” he says.

The April 16 event will be held at the Park-and-Ride lot at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake County. DWR biologists will be at the lot from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

To reach the canyon, travel east out of Sandy on 9400 South.

“You’ll be able to get a front-row look at these agile rock climbers using spotting scopes and binoculars we’ll have on hand,” Walters says. “You can also pick up a poster and a card that will teach you more about mountain goats.”

Activities for children will be held from 9 a.m. to noon. “Your kids can stamp goat tracks using ink stamps and paper that we’ll make available,” Walters says. “We’ll also have some goat horns and goat fur that you and your kids can pick up and handle.”

For more information, call Walters at (801) 209-5326.

Viewing goats on your own
If you’d like to see the goats before April 16, swing by the parking lot any time during the day. Fixed-point telescopes are available at the lot. The telescopes will allow you to get a close look at the goats. And an interpretive panel at the parking lot will teach you more about them.

Walters says goats are usually visible at the mouth of the canyon from November through mid April.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Spring Bass Fishing Techniques in the Southeast Region

Spring time is the time for love for Largemouth Bass. In the Southeast Region when the water temps reach 57 degrees and rising, the urge to spawn switch, is flipped on for Largemouth Bass. Bass will start coming up to the shallow flats and start looking for suitable nesting areas.

Now is the best time to catch the biggest bass of your life. Large females are putting on the feedbag in anticipation of the upcoming spawn. At this time of year it is not about quantity but quality. You will not catch big numbers of fish but the chance of catching a toad is very possible.

This is the time when large profile casting and flipping jigs work their magic. The jig is designed to mimic a crawfish, which is the preferred meal for Largemouth Bass. It provides lots of protein, something the bass will need for the rigors of spawning. Jigs have been a mainstay of the bass angler’s arsenal for many years.

Although the basic design hasn’t changed, the quality and use of high tech materials in the modern jig make it come to life under the water. The silicone skirts pulsate and wave with the slightest of movement, the heads are painted to look like the real thing and the hooks are strong and needle sharp. Trailers are added to the jig in the form of soft plastic or pork.

When the jig hits the bottom the heads tip up and the trailer looks like a crawfish in the defensive position. Rocky areas in the lake catch the suns rays and warm the water around them. The warming water attracts the bass as well as the crawfish. Target these rocky areas with jigs, casting them with the least amount of splash is the best method.

If possible cast to the edge of the shore and drag the jig into the water. Crawling the jig slowly across the rocks to mimic the newly emerged crawfish is what you are striving for. Let the jig fall off the rocks and watch your line. Hits will be light or nonexistent, and many times just the tick of your line or your line moving will be your sign to reel up the slack and set the hook. Sometimes when you lift your rod to move the jig you will feel extra weight, if you do set the hook. It does not cost anything to set the hook, if it feels different, set the hook.

Jig fishing requires sturdy gear, a baitcasting rod and reel is the best gear to fish this technique with. Baitcasting reels are like small winches and give you the best control over large fish in rocky or weedy areas. With a baitcasting reel spooled with 12 to 15 lb. test line and 6 ½ to 7 foot medium to heavy action rod, you will have an rig capable of horsing a big fish out of snags or sharp rocks.

Another piece of equipment that will become invaluable is a quality pair of polarized, UV resistant sunglasses. These will enable you to look into the shallow and pick out fish that are already on the nest. Sight fishing requires stealth, proper boat position and quiet casts. If a fish is located on a nest at this time of the year it will most likely be a large female getting ready to spawn.

Casting past the nest with a tube jig or soft plastic lizard, slowly inching it toward the nest will provoke the female to pick up the threat and move it or kill it. This technique requires patients and persistence. Casting past the nest is important; any cast into the nest will scare the fish off the nest. This technique is exciting, watching the fish turn and face the intruding lure, and if properly done, watching the fish take the lure will require steady nerves and quick reflexes. Studies have shown that catching bass off the nest is not detrimental to the population. But great care and limited handling of the fish is required. If you do catch the fish, get it to the boat as quickly as possible, have your camera at the ready and limit the amount of time you have the fish out of the water. Gently put her back in the water and enjoy the moment!

The Southeast Region has some small but productive Bass waters. Down South we have Recapture Reservoir near Blanding, Moab has Ken’s Lake (you can use boats but only electric motors are allowed), The Community Fishery at the Green River State Park, Huntington Game Farm ponds and Huntington North Reservoir are all great bass fisheries to hone your skills and prepare you for the best bass fishery in Utah, Lake Powell. If you have never experienced bass fishing, this spring is the time to try it!

Walt Maldonado
Conservation Director
Utah Bass Federation

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring Turkey hunting Permits now available

If you didn't obtain a limited-entry permit to hunt wild turkeys in Utah this spring, don't put your shotgun away yet. Permits to hunt during Utah's general statewide turkey hunt are now available.

Justin Dolling, upland game and migratory game bird coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says he and other DWR biologists are excited that all of Utah's turkey hunters can hunt this year.

"Our biologists have worked hard to get Utah's turkey population to the point that all of the state's turkey hunters can hunt," Dolling says. "It's rewarding to see how well turkeys are doing in Utah."

Because the general hunt is fairly new, Judi Tutorow, wildlife licensing coordinator for the DWR, says the agency has received lots of questions from hunters. She provides the following information:

The DWR won't run out of permits because the number of general turkey permits the agency can offer isn't limited.

Permits will be available until the season ends on May 31.

If you buy a general turkey permit, you can hunt anywhere in Utah that's open to turkey hunting.

Starting Feb. 24, you can buy a permit at Permits will also be available at DWR offices and from more than 300 hunting license agents across Utah.

You can buy a general turkey permit and still keep all of your limited-entry turkey bonus points. You won't lose any of your bonus points if you buy a general turkey permit.

If you obtained a limited-entry turkey permit, you can't obtain a general turkey permit. (You can have only one turkey permit each year.)

Two general hunts:
The first hunt is a special youth hunt. Hunters who were 15 years of age or younger on Jan. 27 can participate in the hunt. The youth hunt runs April 29–May 1.

(Jan. 27 was the day results of the 2011 limited-entry turkey draw were posted.)

To participate in the youth hunt, young hunters must buy a general statewide hunting permit. Young hunters who drew a limited-entry permit can't participate in the youth hunt.

Youngsters who buy a permit for the youth hunt can also use the permit to hunt during Utah's general statewide hunt. That hunt opens May 2.

The second hunt—the general statewide hunt—is open to anyone who buys a general turkey permit.

The general hunt runs May 2–31.

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

Friday, February 25, 2011

Entries now accpeted for Ogden Nature Center Birdhouse Contest

Bird Yurt Submission from 2010
Photo Courtesy Ogden Nature Center

Ogden, UT -- It’s time to build birdhouses! Stoke your creativity and bring in your finest, hand-built birdhouse creation to The Ogden Nature Center’s 18th Annual Birdhouse Competition and Exhibit. All types of birdhouses are encouraged: whimsical, beautiful, practical, functional, artistic or magical! Entries must be received by Saturday, April 2 at the Ogden Nature Center. All ages are welcome to enter up to two creations, and there is no entry fee. Several cash prizes will be awarded for various categories.

Birdhouses chosen for the exhibit will be on display along Birdhouse Trail April 16 through August 31, 2011 so visitors to the Nature Center can enjoy and be inspired by these backyard habitats for birds.

• All birdhouses must be original works created by the exhibitor. Commercially produced birdhouses or assembled kits will not be accepted.

• Size limitations: The base of the birdhouse may not exceed 24" square. The height of the birdhouse may not exceed 36" tall.

• No propane tanks this year.

• All birdhouses must be freestanding and ready for installation outdoors. Birdhouses that are not freestanding will not be accepted for the exhibit. You must perch your birdhouse on the end of a sturdy post or attach a strong hanger. Posts will be installed at a depth of 1-2 feet.

• The Nature Center encourages the use of natural, reclaimed and recycled materials. Please consider the environment when choosing your materials and finishes.

• Please be sure your birdhouse can last through the summer weather outdoors.

• The event judges will select which birdhouses are accepted into the 2011 exhibit. A limited number of entries will be accepted for the exhibit.

• The Ogden Nature Center reserves the right to refuse submissions.

Winners in both adult and child categories will receive cash awards at a reception and awards presentation on Wednesday, April 13 at 5:30 pm.

This exhibit would not be possible without its main sponsors: the Utah Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Registration forms and full details are available online at  or at the Ogden Nature Center’s Visitor Center guest services desk, 966 W. 12th Street, Ogden, UT 84404. For more information, please call the Ogden Nature Center at 801-621-7595.