Friday, October 30, 2009

2009 Christmas Tree Permits Soon Available

SALT LAKE CITY, October 29, 2009 - It is that time again as Christmas is just around the corner. Families can have a unique recreational outing by cutting their own Christmas trees on Utah National Forests.

The tree cutting program is carefully managed and permit holders must adhere to the following guidelines. Trees must always be cut close to the ground leaving the stump no higher than 6 inches. A shovel will come in handy to dig through the snow to reach the base of the tree. Make sure your permit is attached to the tree before leaving the cutting area. Tree topping is not allowed. No cutting within 200 feet of riparian areas (lakes and streams) roads, campgrounds, picnic areas, administrative sites, summer home areas, or within designated closed areas shown on the tree cutting area maps.

Remember to always be prepared for winter weather. Always stay on designated roads and trails. Be prepared for slick, snow packed roads and have chains, a 4-wheel drive vehicle or a snow machine available. Always let someone know where you are planning to go and approximate time you will return. Carry a cell phone; bring additional warm clothing, good warm gloves, boots, and a container of hot liquid, water, lunch or snack as it may take longer than expected. Carry a flashlight, chains, shovel, first aid kit, matches, a hatchet, ax or handsaw, and rope to secure your tree.

ASHLEY NATIONAL FOREST: (435) 789-1181 -

Flaming Gorge Ranger District: (435) 784-3445 - Permits go on sale Friday, November 27, 2009. Permits will be available at the Flaming Gorge Ranger District Office, intersection Highway 43 & 44, Manila, Utah and the Green River Office, 1450 Uinta Drive, Green River, Wyoming from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Also, permits will be available at Flaming Gorge Resort. Cost of the nonrefundable permit is $10.00 and there is a limit of one permit per household, one tree only. Any species of tree may be cut except Ponderosa Pine.

Duchesne and Roosevelt Ranger Districts: (435) 738-2482 or (435) 722-5018

Permits go on sale Friday, November 27, 2009 and are limited - Permits may be purchased at the Duchesne Ranger District Office, 85 West Main, Duchesne, Utah, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday or the Roosevelt Ranger District Office, 650 West Highway 40, Roosevelt, Utah 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday. Permits may also be purchased at the Hanna Country Store, State Route 35, Hanna, Utah (435) 848-5752 and at Steward’s Market, 245 West Highway 40 in Roosevelt, (435) 722-5650. Permits are $10.00 each, one permit per household, one tree only.

Vernal Ranger District: (435) 789-1181 - Permits go on sale Friday, November 27, 2009. Permits may be purchased at the Vernal Office, located at 355 North Vernal Avenue in Vernal, Utah Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Permits may also be purchased at the following businesses 7 days a week; Davis Jubilee Store, 575 West Main, in Vernal, (435) 789-2001 and LaPoint Country Store, Highway 12 in LaPoint, Utah, (435) 247-2365. Permits are $10.00, one permit per household, one tree only. Any species of tree can be cut except Ponderosa Pine. Individuals may purchase up to two additional permits on the Flaming Gorge and Vernal Ranger Districts and permits must be issued in the names and addresses of the person for whom the permits are purchased.

DIXIE NATIONAL FOREST: (435) 865-3700 –

Cedar City Ranger District: (435) 865-3700 - Permits go on sale Thursday, November 12, 2009. Permits can be obtained at the Cedar City Ranger District, 1789 North Wedgewood Lane, Cedar City, Utah from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Permits are $10.00, one permit per household, one tree only. The only species of trees that can be cut are Sub-Alpine Fir, White Fir and Pinyon Pine. Please check with the Cedar City Ranger District office before traveling the Cedar Breaks Road to obtain the most current road condition information.

Escalante Ranger District: (435) 826-5400 - Permits go on sale Friday, November 6, 2009. Permits can be obtained at the Escalante Ranger District, 755 West Main, Escalante, Utah from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Permits may also be bought at these local vendors: Antimony Merc, Antimony, Utah (435) 624-3253, 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Contact the Escalante Ranger District for a list of other vendors. Permits are $10.00, one permit per household, one tree only. All species of tree may be cut except Bristlecone Pine.

Powell Ranger District: (435) 676-9300 - Permits are now available and can be obtained at the Powell Ranger District, 225 East Center Street, Panguitch, Utah from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Permits are $10.00 for a tree up to 10 feet and $20.00 for a tree 11 foot to 20 foot. All species of trees can be cut except Bristlecone Pine.

St. George Interagency Visitor Center: (435) 688-3246 or (435) 652-3100 - Permits go on sale Thursday, November 7, 2009. Permits can be purchased at the Visitor Center, 345 East Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah from 7:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Permits may also be purchased at Spanish Tail Supply Company, 21 South Main, Veyo, Utah (435) 574-0808 seven days a week. Permits are $10.00; Pinyon Pine and Juniper are the only species of trees that may be cut. One person can purchase up to 5 tags.


Beaver Ranger District: (435) 438-2436 - Permits are now available and may be purchased at the Beaver Ranger District, 575 South Main, Beaver, Utah, Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays, November 28 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Permits may also be purchased at Beaver Sport and Pond, 85 North Main, Beaver, Utah (435) 438-2100, seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Permits are $10.00 each, two permits per household, 2 trees only. All species of trees may be cut except Ponderosa Pine and Blue Spruce.
Fillmore Ranger District: (435) 743-5721 - Permits go on sale Monday, November 16, 2009. Permits can be purchased at the Fillmore Ranger District, 390 South Main Fillmore, Utah Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Also, Delta Sports Center located in Delta, Utah Monday through Saturday. Permits are $10.00, one permit per household, one tree only. Any species of tree maybe cut except Ponderosa Pine.

Freemont Ranger District: (435) 836-2811 - Permits are now available and can be purchased at the Freemont River Ranger District Office, 138 South Main, Loa, Utah from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Permits are $10.00, one permit per person, one tree only. Any species of tree may be cut except Ponderosa Pine. Permits may be purchased at the Teasdale Office, 138 East Main, Teasdale, Utah from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Permits are $10.00, one permit per person, one tree only. Any species of tree may be cut.

Richfield Ranger District: (435) 896-9233 - Permits go on sale Friday, November 20, 2009. Permits can be purchased at the Richfield Ranger District Office, 115 East 900 North, Richfield, Utah, from 8:00 a.m. to

5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Permits are $10.00, one permit per household, one tree only. Any species of tree may be cut except Ponderosa Pine, Engleman and Blue Spruce. Permits may also be purchased at: Lin’s Market, 670 North Main Street in Richfield, Utah Saturday and Sundays from 6:00 a.m. to midnight; Don’s Sinclair, 215 West Main in Salina, Utah Monday-Saturday 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Sundays from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Tast Travel Plaza, 675 East Highway 24, Torrey, Utah, Monday through Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.


Ferron/Price Ranger Districts: (435) 384-2372/ (435) 637-2817 and Moab/Monticello Ranger Districts: (435) 259-7155 or (435) 587-2041 Christmas tree permits will be on sale at all offices of the Manti-La Sal National Forest beginning November 23 at a cost of $10 each. District offices (in Ephraim, Ferron, Moab and Monticello) are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Supervisor’s Office in Price is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition, the Price office will open two Saturdays, November 28th and December 12th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Christmas tree tag sales. The Sanpete District will also sell permits November 28th from 9 a.m. to noon at the following sites:

Stock Corral east of Spring City, 400 permits

Ephraim Canyon, 300 permits

Sterling LDS Church parking lot, 175 tags

Manti Stake Center 295 S. Main, Manti, 225 permits

Stock Corral east of Mayfield, 300 permits

Fountain Green Elementary School, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., 100 permits

Forest Service District Office, 740 South Main, Nephi, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 100 permits

For the convenience of customers, the sale of Christmas tree tags has been extended at the Sanpete District Office to include the week before Thanksgiving. The District plans to sell 300 permits at its office and any tags remaining after the November 28th sale. This is the last year that tags will be sold at sites other than the district office. The Forest officer selling tags will issue each purchaser cutting instructions. Customers traveling long distances for permits should call in advance to determine if permits are still available. Vehicle access, except for snow machines, must be confined to established roads on the Forest. Roads may be muddy, snow packed and slick. Be prepared for winter driving conditions.

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

Heber-Kamas Ranger District: (435) 654-0470 and (435) 783-4338 – Christmas tree permits will be sold on Friday, November 6, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m., and Saturday, November 7 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. at the Soldier Hollow Lodge. The $10 permits are for areas within the Heber Permit Area, Heber-Kamas Ranger District, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Permits are for personal use only. One permit per adult (16 years of age and older) will be sold on a first come, first- served basis. Young adults will be required to show their driver’s license at time of purchase.

One thousand (1,000) permits will be available on Friday and 1,000 permits will be available on Saturday. Any remaining permits will be sold beginning Monday, November 9 at the Heber-Kamas Ranger District Office, Heber Office Location, 2460 South Highway 40, Heber, City.

Only subalpine fir trees 20 feet tall or shorter may be cut and removed. All trees must be tagged before removing them from the area.

Soldier Hollow Lodge is located at 2002 Soldier Hollow Drive, in Midway, Utah. Directions and a map are available on the internet at

Evanston/Mt. View Ranger Districts: (307) 789-3194 and (307) 782-6555 - Permits for the Evanston area go on sale Monday, November 16, 2009. Permits are $10.00, one permit per household, one tree only.

Permits can be purchased at the Evanston Ranger District Office, 1565 South Highway 150, Suite A, Evanston, Wyoming from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Permits may also be purchased at

the Bear River Lodge located 30 miles south of Evanston on the Mirror Lake Highway 150, (435) 642-6289. Any species of tree may be cut, but Lodgepole Pine is the main species in the area. Snow conditions may require permit holders to use snowmobiles, cross-country skies or snowshoes to access the cutting area. The gates on the Mirror Lake Highway and on the North Slope Road are typically closed during the first week of December, limiting access for people without a snow machine. Cutting is not allowed in the Lily Lake Cross Country Ski Area.
Permits for the Mt. View area go on sale, Monday, November 16, 2009. Permits are $10.00, one permit per household, one tree only. Permits can be purchased at the Mountain View Ranger District, 321 Highway 414, Mountain View, Wyoming, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday only. Permits may also be purchased at the Maverick Store (307) 782-6693 located at 655 N. Highway 414 in Mountain View, Wyoming, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Any species of tree may be cut, but Lodgepole Pine is the main species in the area.

Mountain Valley Extreme Mustang Makeover

Just wanted to invite everyone to the Mountain Valley Extreme Mustang Makeover next weekend on Nov 7 at Heber City. There are 29 really nice horses that are wonderfully trained and will be competing for up to $10,000 in prize money!

All events will take place on Saturday Nov. 7th at the Wasatch County Events Center

$5.00 - 8 AM - All horses will complete the Body Condition judging and

Obstacle/Riding Course
$25.00 - 2 PM - Top 10 horses will perform in a Freestyle competition!

FREE! - 4 PM - All horses will be available for adoption

Or pay $25 and watch all day!

Ogden and Farmington Bays scheduled for Burns during Fall Months

This fall, as weather conditions permit, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) will burn phragmites at both the Ogden Bay and Farmington Bay waterfowl management areas (WMAs). To ensure hunters' safety, the DWR will temporarily close these areas during a burn. Hunters have asked many questions about the burns and closures:

What is phragmites?

Phragmites (pronounced frag-mite-ees) is an invasive plant that can reach heights of 13–15 feet. It spreads rapidly, forming dense thickets that outcompete native plants and wildlife in Utah's marshes. Areas with phragmites are inhospitable to water birds and practically inaccessible to hunters. The DWR has used a combination of herbicides and follow-up burns to remove thousands of acres of phragmites over the past few years.

Photo Courtesy Wikipedia

Why is the DWR planning to burn phragmites during the waterfowl hunt?

Weather conditions — including temperature, wind speed/direction, air quality and other factors — have to be exactly right before the DWR can burn phragmites. Those conditions did not occur in the spring or summer of 2009. There are now approximately 4,000 acres of herbicide-treated phragmites that have not yet been burned. If the weather cooperates this fall, the DWR needs to burn these treated areas.

Where and when will the burns occur?

Burns may occur in parts of two WMAs: Farmington Bay and Ogden Bay. Because burns are weather-dependent, the DWR cannot schedule them months or weeks in advance. DWR habitat crews usually have only 12 hours' notice before a burn is authorized. The DWR hopes to complete a total of three or four burns between early October and early December. Burns will only occur on weekdays.

How long will the WMAs be closed?

DWR personnel will lock the WMA gates the night before a burn occurs. The WMA will likely remain closed throughout the following day. Fire safety officials will monitor the area and let the DWR know when it is safe to reopen.

How will hunters know about WMA closures?

To notify hunters about an impending burn, DWR personnel will:

*Hang informative banners on the locked WMA gates
*Send e-mails to hunters
*Post a notice at the top of this Web page
*Post notices on Twitter (at  )
*Alert the media
*Closures will be temporary — probably a day or two at most — and may not affect the entire WMA.

How will these burns affect hunting on the WMAs?

Hunting will improve significantly. Within two or three weeks, waterfowl will flock to the burned areas in large numbers. Hunters will need to be careful, however, because newly burned phragmites remnants are very sharp. Within a year or so, these remnants will disappear and be replaced by pockets of open water and native marsh plants. DWR employees have seen vast improvements in areas that were burned a few years ago.

In-depth information
Invasive and noxious weed control: How the Utah DWR is working to control noxious weeds on Utah's Waterfowl Management Areas.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

2009 Moab Bighorn Sheep Watch set for November

PRICE — On November 20–21, 2009, the Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) will sponsor its annual Moab Bighorn Sheep Watch. The event is free to the public. There is no pre-registration. Sheep watchers are encouraged to bring a pair of binoculars, spotting scope and camera.

The DWR will guide participants to locations where bighorns have recently been observed, and will have extra spotting scopes and binoculars for public use. The DWR will also provide a large passenger vehicle for those who wish to ride-share.

The event begins on Friday evening at 7 p.m. in the Moab Information Center, located at the corner of Center and Main. Justin Shannon, DWR regional wildlife program manager will present a PowerPoint program on bighorn sheep ecology and life history. Mr. Shannon's graduate thesis was on this very subject. Bighorn skulls and horns will be displayed as part of his presentation.

The following morning, participants will meet at the Moab Information Center, where they will search for bighorn sheep in the Moab area. Bighorns are almost always seen from asphalt roads in Moab Canyon and along the Colorado River, so don't worry about your vehicle's off-road capability. For those who ride-share, the field trip generally finishes by noon or early afternoon.

Mid-November is the peak of the bighorn sheep rut, when bighorn rams compete for breeding rights with horn clashes and other threatening behaviors to intimidate rivals. Head-butting occurs only when competing rams are equally matched in horn and body size. Otherwise, more subtle harassment of inferior rams occurs.

Because bighorn sheep are wild and unpredictable, the DWR can't guarantee that sheep will be seen at close range or even at all. Participants need to be aware of that possibility at the outset. However, in the event that no bighorns are observed, participants can still enjoy the unmatched beauty of the Colorado River Scenic Byway. For more information, contact Brent Stettler at 435-613-3707 or

Fishing Report for Southeastern Utah

A tiger trout and three rainbow trout at a fish cleaning station at Scofield Reservoir.
Photo by Randall Stilson

ABAJO MOUNTAINS: (October 28) A week ago, Conservation Officer Paul Washburn reported good fishing at Lloyds Lake with a gold or silver Jakes Spin-A-Lure. Caught rainbows ranged from 7 to 13 inches. Try fishing the area around the dam.

BOULGER RESERVOIR: (October 28) Fly-fishing is good with a floating line and a midge or caddis pattern.

ELECTRIC LAKE: (October 28) The lake was sampled by the DWR on Oct. 15. Nets contained a fairly even balance of tiger and cutthroat trout, indicating good survival of stocked fish. Most trout ranged from eight to 18 inches. More fish were netted this year than the last time sampling occurred. Trout appeared healthy and well fed. Fortunately, no zebra mussels were found during this year's sampling. The primary prey species is the redside shiner. Anglers should try using dead minnows, lures or crankbaits that imitate the three-inch baitfish. Good lure choices include silver/red Kastmasters, or the silver/red Rapala X-Rap or Husky Jerk.

HUNTINGTON CREEK: (October 28) Try a size 10 beadhead Montana nymph with one split shot 12 to 18 inches above the fly. The catch in this creek will consist mostly of brown trout with a few cutthroat trout. Most fish are smaller than 14 inches.

HUNTINGTON RESERVOIR: (October 28) Fly-fishermen should try sinking line with a black and green soft hackle fly on a size 8 hook. Spincasters should use a silver spoon or Jakes Spin-A-Lure. This water has special regulations. It is closed to the possession of cutthroat trout.

JOES VALLEY RESERVOIR: (October 28) Joes Valley Reservoir is closed to fishing to protect spawning splake from Nov. 1 until Saturday, Dec. 12. The largest splake are more vulnerable during the spawn, so the temporary closure will be implemented to protect these voracious chub predators. A week ago, Aquatics Program Manager Paul Birdsey reported fair fishing. He fished the rocky east shoreline with a black and silver three-inch Rapala. Birdsey's catch consisted mostly of 15-inch tiger trout.

LAKE POWELL: (October 28) For an in-depth look at Lake Powell fishing conditions, read this week's full report from Wayne Gustaveson, the DWR's Lake Powell project leader.

LA SAL MOUNTAINS: (October 28) Aquatics Biologist Darek Elverud fished Kens Lake on Oct. 19. He used black and brown plastic worms to catch several 10-inch bass. The trout limit at Kens Lake has been increased to eight with no size restrictions. This increase allows anglers to harvest trout that would otherwise be lost when the lake is drawn down to 100 acre feet of storage by Nov. 1. There is no change in the daily limit for bass.

SCOFIELD RESERVOIR: (October 28) Tom Ogden reports good fishing from a tube on the west side. In five hours, he caught 26 fish. His biggest fish was 22 inches, but most were cutthroats in the 12- to 14-inch range. He used slow sinking line in 6 to 12 feet of water with a black and green tinsel soft hackle fly in sizes 2 and 4. Boaters also report good success trolling gold or silver lures with red spots or stripes. The best bait choices are worms, dead minnows or chartreuse PowerBait. Boaters report the best luck around the island. Most shoreline anglers have been fishing in the dam cove or along the east side. Scofield Reservoir has special regulations. Please see page 28 in the Utah Fishing Guidebook for details.

Major Big Game Hunting Changes possible in 2011

Significant changes for Utah Big Game Hunters may be in the works for 2011 if proposed changes are approved.

Several months ago, the Utah Wildlife Board directed the state’s wildlife agency to:

- give big game hunters more hunting options to choose from

- reduce crowding among hunters who are in the field.
The ideas the Division of Wildlife Resources has come up with wouldn’t be implemented until the 2011 hunts. But the changes are big enough that the DWR wants to get the ideas out now so there’s plenty of time for you to comment.

Rules for the 2011 hunts will not be approved until November 2010.

“The ideas we’ve come up with would give hunters some new options,” says Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR.

You can learn more about the DWR’s ideas—and provide your input and suggestions—at five Regional Advisory Council meetings held across Utah.

Citizens representing the RACs will share with the Utah Wildlife Board the input received at the meetings.

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 will be held on a Thursday.):

Southern Region
Nov. 3
5 p.m.
Richfield High School
510 W. 100 S.

Southeastern Region
Nov. 4
6:30 p.m.
John Wesley Powell Museum
1765 E. Main St.
Green River

Northeastern Region
Nov. 5
6:30 p.m.
Western Park, Room #1
302 E. 200 S.

Northern Region
Nov. 10
6 p.m.
Brigham City Community Center
24 N. 300 W.
Brigham City

Central Region
Nov. 12
6:30 p.m.
Springville Junior High
165 S. 700 E.

You can also provide your comments to your RAC via e-mail. E-mail addresses for your RAC members are available at .

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.

Big Game Ideas for 2011
The following are among the ideas the DWR is considering. A calendar that shows when the proposed seasons would be held is available at  :

General Deer and Elk Hunts
Four major general-season deer and elk changes could occur in 2011:

Two general rifle deer hunts
The first idea would keep the number of general rifle buck deer permits the same as it is now (no more than 97,000 permits), but it would split Utah’s general rifle deer hunt into two hunts.

Each hunt would be nine days long, just like the hunt is now, but hunters could choose to participate in an early hunt or a late hunt.

The early hunt would be held at the start of October. The late hunt would happen at the end of October.

Having two rifle deer hunts would reduce by half the number of hunters in the field at any one time.

“You’d still be able to hunt the same number of days you can hunt now, but you’d have fewer hunters in the field with you,” Aoude says. “We think this change would make your rifle hunt even better.”

Hunting deer and elk at the same time
Another idea would let you hunt deer and elk at the same time. The DWR is considering holding the general rifle buck deer hunt and the general rifle bull elk hunt on the same days.

“This change would allow you to hunt deer and elk at the same time,” Aoude says. “But you wouldn’t have to do that. If you wanted, you could obtain a deer permit to hunt during either the early or the late season, and also obtain an elk permit to hunt during the season when you’re not hunting deer.

“This change wouldn’t take anything away from you. But it would give you another option you could take advantage of, if you wanted to.”

Hold muzzleloader deer and elk hunts at the same time
In addition to holding the rifle deer and elk hunts at the same time, the DWR is considering holding Utah’s general muzzleloader deer and muzzleloader elk hunts at the same time too. The general muzzleloader deer and elk season would be held in the middle of October, between the two rifle hunts.

The DWR is also considering adding a second muzzleloader elk hunt—a general any-bull elk hunt. That hunt would happen in mid November.

Same start dates every year
A third idea is to start all of Utah’s big game hunts on the same calendar days every year. For example, if Aug. 21 was chosen as the day to start the general archery elk hunt, the season would start on Aug. 21 every year, even if Aug. 21 didn’t fall on a Saturday.

The only exception would be if a start date fell on a Sunday. Then the season would probably begin on the proceeding Saturday.

“This idea would keep the season dates consistent from year to year,” Aoude says.

Limited-entry Deer and Elk Hunts
The DWR also has two ideas for Utah’s limited-entry deer and elk hunts:

Dates for limited-entry elk hunts
One idea would change the dates of the limited-entry elk hunts. It would also give archers first chance at the elk.

Starting in 2011, biologists would like to start the limited-entry archery elk hunt in early September and end it in mid September. That’s when the elk are at the peak of their breeding season.

(The breeding season is also known as the rut. During the rut, elk are less wary because they’re focused on breeding. That makes it easier for hunters to take them.)

After the limited-entry archery hunt ended in mid September, the limited-entry muzzleloader elk hunt would start the next day. Muzzleloader elk hunters would have the elk to themselves for four days. Then the limited-entry rifle hunt would also begin. Both the muzzleloader hunt and the rifle hunt would end on the same day in early October.

“Because they use rifles, rifle hunters have a better chance at taking an elk than archery or muzzleloader hunters do,” Aoude says.

“Even if we move limited-entry rifle hunters to the latter part of the rut, they’re still going to be successful,” he says. “But allowing archery hunters to hunt during the rut would really increase their success. And their success rate would probably still be lower than the success rate rifle hunters find during the rut.”

Hold the general and limited-entry rifle deer hunts at the same time

An additional idea is to hold the limited-entry rifle buck deer hunt at the same time the general-season rifle buck deer hunt is held.

The hunt on some limited-entry deer units would happen at the start of October. The hunt on other units would happen at the end of October.

“Limited-entry deer hunts and general-season deer hunts are held on completely different units,” Aoude says. “Holding the hunts at the same time shouldn’t create any conflicts between limited-entry hunters and general-season hunters. They’d be hunting on separate units.”

Once-In-a-Lifetime Hunts--Bull moose season
Utah’s bull moose season is currently split into two hunts. The DWR is considering combining the two hunts into one hunt. The hunt would be held from late September to mid October.

The bull moose change is the only once-in-a-lifetime species change the DWR is considering for 2011.

“The ideas we have right now are a starting point to get our biologists and sportsmen talking about possible changes for 2011,” Aoude says. “We’re wide open to the suggestions hunters and o, ther folks have.”

Upcoming Utah State Parks Events

November 7 Antelope Island State Park - Syracuse
Creatures of the Night: Meet at the visitor center at 6 p.m. for a night of mystery as we learn about the island’s animals who come out after the sun goes down. Enjoy an indoor presentation then venture outside to catch a glimpse of the island’s nocturnal predators. (801) 773-2941

November 7 Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum - Blanding
Sneak a Peek: Discover how artifacts are cared for and curated, and view perishable and environmentally-sensitive artifacts up close. Enjoy tours from 2 to 4 p.m. Free with paid admission, with a special rate for San Juan County residents. (435) 678-2238

November 10 Frontier Homestead State Park Museum – Cedar City
Children's Story Time: Pre-school children are invited to learn about the past through stories and history-related activities from 12:30 to 1 p.m. (435) 586-9290

November 12 Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum - Blanding
Perishable Artifacts of Chaco and Aztec: Dr. Laurie Webster shares her research examining sandals, basketry samples, cordage, textiles, and other perishable artifacts from the Four Corners area. A slide presentation focuses on her analysis of materials discovered at both Chaco Canyon and Aztec Pueblo. Program begins at 6:30 p.m. and is free to the public. (435) 678-2238

November 13 Escalante Petrified Forest State Park - Escalante
Star Gazing: Celebrate the International Year of Astronomy with an evening of star gazing. Join the park naturalist on a tour through the galaxy as we search for planets, constellations and other celestial wonders. Meet at the visitor center at 7 p.m. Dress warmly and bring folding chairs or blankets. Hot drinks will be served. (435) 826-4466

November 13 Snow Canyon State Park - Ivins
Simple Campfire Desserts: Gather around a toasty fire at 7 p.m. to bake and sample simple campfire desserts. Leave with recipes for your next camping trip. Space is limited and registration is required. (435) 628-2255

November 13 Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum - Vernal
Movie Night at the Museum: Watch Night at the Museum: Battle for the Smithsonian at either 5:45 p.m. or 8 p.m. This event is free, but tickets are required and can be picked up in advance at the Uintah Community Center in Vernal. (435) 789-3799

November 14 Antelope Island State Park - Syracuse
Hands-on Bison: Join the park naturalist from 1 to 3 p.m. for an afternoon of hands-on bison activities. Compare a bison and cow skull, explore horns and fur, and learn why this animal is so unique. (801) 773-2941

Guinness World Record Attempt at Moab’s Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival This Saturday

--Moab, UT~ The two time pumpkin chuckin’ world record holders--the ‘Big 10 Inch’ air cannon team-- have traveled across the country from the Delaware River Valley to attempt to break the Guinness World Record at the Youth Garden Project’s Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival this Saturday October 31st in Moab, Utah at the Old Airport Runway, just south of town.

Ralph Eschborn II, spokesperson for the ‘Big 10 Inch’ team is confident that with favorable weather his team has an excellent chance of grabbing the Guinness Record in Moab on Halloween.  They’ve achieved their previous farthest distance of 4,211 feet twice, in 2005 and 2007, both times at sea level.  The Guinness World Record currently stands only slightly farther,  at 4,491 feet.

“We looked at Moab in part for the elevation, because we think we can shoot farther in the thinner air, and Moab’s event is a perfect tune up for us since it is just a week before the World Championships in Delaware,” said Eschborn.  “Being the first to pass 5000 feet is the second big milestone to shoot for, along with being the first to chuck a mile,” he added.

But Eschborn and the ‘Big 10 Inch’ crew chose Moab not just for the elevation, but also out of appreciation for the Youth Garden Project of Moab, the nonprofit group sponsoring the event.

“Our team was excited by the community service aspect of the Youth Garden Project, and wanted to support their organization, and they’ve been great to work with,” Eschborn said.

The addition of this Guinness World Record bid tops off an already packed program, full of creativity and hometown splendor.  Fashioned in the spirit of an old time fair, the event features pumpkin pie eating and seed spitting contests, costumed Wiener dog races, a straw-bale maze for kids and other games and activities for children.

In medieval times, catapults and trebuchets launched projectiles into enemy territory. With the advent of gunpowder, they were quickly cast aside in favor of more powerful artillery, but the allure of flinging objects through the air never faded.  The lost art of making inanimate objects soar will be rediscovered this fall as the Youth Garden Project presents the fourth annual Moab Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival.

This fall harvest festival includes contests for people of all ages, live music and entertainment, vendor booths, and a wide range of characters roaming the festival grounds. The festival’s main event, the Pumpkin Chuckin’ Contest, is open to anyone craving a challenging experience that requires creativity, ingenuity, and a love of launching stuff. Entrants compete in one of four divisions: catapults, trebuchets, air cannons, and sling shots with a special youth category in each division.

No knowledge of physics or math is required to watch the launching competition or to enjoy live bluegrass music by Cosy Sheridan and T.R. Ritchie in the morning and the Metamoocil Mountain Boys in the afternoon.  A variety of talented local and regional artists will have their work available for sale.

The event brings together community organizations, local farmers, artisans, and musicians with members of the community to celebrate the harvest – and is a perfect way to enjoy the crisp Utah fall weather amidst the towering LaSal Mountains and red rock mesas. Proceeds from the event support the Youth Garden Project, a non-profit in Moab that grows food, kids and community.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Upland Game Hunters should find good Hunting in Utah this Fall and Winter.

Hunters should find more ring-necked pheasants in Utah this fall.
Photo by Brent Stettler

Dave Olsen upland game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says a wet, warm spring—with limited spring snowfall—provided great conditions for upland game chicks.

"An upland game chick eats mostly insects during the first 30 to 40 days of its life," Olsen says. "The warm rains really improved upland game habitat in the state. And that habitat allowed insect populations to flourish, so the chicks had plenty to eat."And the state received very little late-spring snowfall this year, so it appears chick survival was pretty good this past spring."

Utah's upland game hunts started Aug. 22 with the white-tailed ptarmigan hunt. They won't end until Feb. 28, 2010, when the cottontail rabbit and snowshoe hare hunts wrap-up. Olsen provides the following preview for Utah's upland game hunts:

Chukar Partridge
2007 and 2008 were tough years for chukar partridge in Utah. Hot, dry conditions caused chukar numbers to plummet. But plenty of rain this past spring has improved the vegetation on most of Utah's rangelands. The rain has also provided plenty of water sources for the chukars. As a result, chukar populations have rebounded.

"The state's chukar populations aren't all the way back, but they're doing much better," Olsen says. "Hunters should see more chukars this fall."

Hungarian Partridge
Hungarian partridge have gone through the same struggle chukar partridge have—2007 and 2008 were tough years for the birds, but their populations have rebounded this year.

"'Huns' are found almost exclusively on private land," Olsen says. "Before you hunt, you must get written permission from the person who owns the land you want to hunt on."

Forest grouse (dusky and ruffed)
Dusky and ruffed grouse can be a little harder for biologists to get a read on: their populations are spotty, and they're harder to track.

"Forest grouse seem to have responded well to the improved habitat conditions," Olsen says. "Hunters who are familiar with the birds and the areas in which they live should have good success."

Ring-necked pheasant
Ring-necked pheasants are getting harder to find in Utah because their habitat continues to decline. However, there are still areas around agricultural fields in the state that harbor good numbers of birds. And these areas should provide good action again this year.

"Pheasants did pretty well this year in the areas that still have good habitat," Olsen says. "Most pheasant populations are found on private land. Make sure you have written permission from the landowner before hunting."

Cottontail Rabbits
Cottontail rabbits generally follow a population cycle that runs for about 10 years. Hunting can be fast and furious when rabbits are at the top of the population cycle.

Currently, most of Utah's rabbit populations are on the lower side of the cycle, but some of the populations are showing improvement.

"Even though you may not see rabbits running across the road like you did a year or two ago, there are still plenty of rabbits in Utah to hunt," Olsen says.

To find success, Olsen suggests brushing up on the type of habitat rabbits prefer. And when you go rabbit hunting, make sure you take someone with you. "Cottontail rabbit hunts can be great outings for families and youth groups," he says. "They're also a great way to introduce young people to hunting."

Snowshoe Hares
Olsen says snowshoe hares are a Utah upland game species that most hunters don't pay much attention to. That could be a mistake.

"If you have a pair of cross-country skis or snowshoes, and you want to enjoy some quiet winter solitude, consider going on a snowshoe hare hunt," Olsen says. "Hunting snowshoe hares isn't always easy. But it can be relaxing and a lot of fun."

You'll usually find snowshoe hares in areas that have plenty of pine trees. Looking for their tracks and trails they leave in fresh snow is one of the best ways to find them. Look for their tracks along low-hanging pine limbs, and near logs and under-story vegetation. The low limbs and log-covered coverts provide good cover for snowshoe hares to loaf in during the day.
You'll have plenty of time to hunt snowshoe hares this season. The snowshoe hare season begins on Sept. 12 and runs until Feb. 28, 2010.

Gambel's quail
You'll find Gambel's quail in the deserts of southwestern Utah. Olsen says they've responded well to the improved habitat conditions this year, and hunting should be good.

California quail
Olsen says California quail populations are doing great in Utah. Unfortunately, most California quail populations are near urban areas where hunting isn't allowed. However, those who scout for the birds can usually find California quail in huntable areas on the foothills or in brushy areas in the bottom of valleys.

When hunting California quail, make sure you remain at least 600 feet from homes and other buildings. And remember that you must have written permission from landowners before hunting on private land.

Olsen has three upland game hunting reminders for you this fall

Take a kid hunting
Utah's upland game hunts, especially the cottontail rabbit hunt, are a great way to introduce kids to hunting. "Taking an animal from the field, cleaning it, preparing it and then sharing it at the family table helps all of us stay contacted with the cycle of life," Olsen says.

Respect private property
If you want to hunt on private property, you must obtain written permission from the person who owns the property. After you obtain permission, take care of the landowner's property; leave it in better shape than you found it.

Take notes
Every spring, the DWR does a random survey of upland game hunters to learn more about the number of days they spent hunting and the number of birds, rabbits and hares they took.

"If you jot down some brief notes after each hunting trip, you'll be able to provide us with good, accurate information," Olsen says.

Season Dates to Remember

Chukar Partridge

• Season dates: Sept. 26, 2009–Feb. 14, 2010
• Areas open: Statewide.* The following areas will be closed to general public hunting on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009 to facilitate youth chukar hunts: Morgan and Summit counties, the Henefer-Echo WMA; Tooele County, the Carr Fork WMA; Uintah County, the RT Thacker Walk-in-Access property; Carbon County, the Gordon Creek WMA; and Millard County, the Pahvant WMA. These areas will reopen to general public hunting on Sept. 6.
• Bag limit: 5, Possession limit: 2 bag limits
• Footnotes: Antelope Island is closed to upland game hunting.

Cottontail Rabbit
• Season dates: Sept. 12, 2009–Feb. 28, 2010
• Areas open: Statewide*
• Bag limit: 10, Possession limit: 2 bag limits

Forest-Grouse (Blue and ruffed)

• Season dates: Sept. 12–Dec. 31, 2009
• Areas open: Statewide*
• Bag limit: 4, Possession limit: 2 bag limits
• Footnotes: Limits singly or in the aggregate

Hungarian partridge (General season)
• Season dates: Sept. 26, 2009–Feb. 14, 2010
• Areas open: Statewide*
• Bag limit: 5, Possession limit: 2 bag limits

Pheasant (General season)

• Season dates: Nov. 7–Nov. 22, 2009
• Areas open: Statewide*. The following areas will be closed to general public hunting on Saturday, Nov. 14 to facilitate youth hunts: Box Elder County, the Douglas/Sorensen walk-in access area; Duchesne County, the Mallard Springs WMA; Emery County, the Huntington WMA; Tooele County, the Carr Fork WMA; Millard County, the Pahvant WMA. These areas will reopen to general public hunting

on Nov. 15.*
• Bag limit: 2, Possession limit: 2 bag limits
• Footnotes: Only males may be harvested. No 8 a.m. restriction on opening morning. The Goshen Warm Springs WMA in Utah County is closed to all hunting.

Pheasant (Extended season)
• Season dates: Nov. 7–Dec. 6, 2009
• Areas open: CAUTION: Not all counties are open for the extended season. Only the following areas are open: All state and federal land in Carbon, Duchesne, Emery, Grand, Juab, Millard, San Juan, Sanpete, Sevier, Tooele and Uintah counties (including private land leased by the Division subject to restrictions and closures imposed by administering agencies). Also, see above closures for youth hunts on Nov. 14.*
• Bag limit: 2, Possession limit: 2 bag limits
• Footnotes: Only males may be harvested. No 8 a.m. restriction on opening morning.

Quail (California and Gambel’s)
• Season dates: Nov. 7–Nov. 22, 2009
• Areas open: Box Elder, Carbon, Davis, Grand, Juab, Kane, Millard, Piute, Salt Lake, San Juan, Sanpete, Sevier, Tooele, Utah and Weber counties. All of Emery County except the Desert Lake WMA, which is closed. Also, see closures for youth hunts listed under general pheasant hunt.*
• Bag limit: 5, Possession limit: 2 bag limits
• Footnotes: No 8 a.m. restriction on opening morning.

Quail (California and Gambel’s—extended season)
• Season dates: Nov. 7–Dec. 31, 2009
• Areas open: Duchesne, Uintah, Daggett and Washington counties. Also see closures for youth hunts listed above under general pheasant hunt.*
• Bag limit: 5, Possession limit: 2 bag limits
• Footnotes: No 8 a.m. restriction on opening morning.

Quail (Scaled)
• Season dates: Closed
• Bag limit: Closed

Snowshoe hare

• Season dates: Sept. 12, 2009–Feb. 28, 2010
• Areas open: Statewide*
• Bag limit: 5, Possession limit: 2 bag limits
*Excludes closed areas and all Native American trust lands statewide

Ghosts in Utah's State Parks?

Salt Lake City – Utah’s state park museums reveal and preserve Utah’s history, which may include ghosts. Museum employees and paranormal investigators say activity has been recorded at Frontier Homestead and Camp Floyd/Stagecoach Inn state park museums. Are these parks really haunted?

According to Frontier Homestead State Park Museum Manager Todd Prince, digital voice recorders used in a recent investigation of the Hunter Home at Frontier Homestead revealed growling, knocking, and whispering voices within the empty home.

Joseph S. Hunter, an early settler of Cedar City, built the Hunter Home in 1866. Various Hunter family descendants lived in the home over the years, which is the oldest remaining home in Cedar City. The Hunter Home was moved to Frontier Homestead in 2005 to protect the home from demolition.

Camp Floyd/Stagecoach Inn has hosted both novice and experienced paranormal investigators who record their eerie encounters on tape and film. Recordings show orbs or balls of light, which some believe to be energy fields. Other recorded findings include whispering, sounds from moving furniture, mists and ribbons, and unexplained streaks of light.

Once home to members of Johnston’s army, this area was a bustling community until 1861 when tensions between north and south resulted in civil war. Troops were ordered back East for the emergency and nearly all the buildings were dismantled or demolished. Today, only the cemetery and the commissary building remain.

Beginning Ghost Hunters recently joined in a paranormal investigation of Camp Floyd on Saturday, October 24 as visitors brought their own tape recorders, film, digital and infrared cameras. Park staff assisted participants in the use of their equipment in finding paranormal orbs, mists and sounds. Following a brief presentation, these visitors were able to practice ghost hunting techniques and investigation. Materials are still being reviewed from the investigation.

To visit Camp Floyd, take Lehi Exit 279 off I-15, which is Lehi's Main Street. Continue west along this street, which turns into Highway 73. Continue along this highway to the town of Fairfield, approximately 22 miles from Lehi. Once in Fairfield, follow the highway signs into the park.  Admission fees are $2 per person or $6 per family.

For more information on these museums or upcoming events, visit  .

Apply for a 2010 Sportsman Permit

Applications for Utah’s most prized hunting permits accepted soon
Applications for next year’s most prized Utah hunting permits—2010 sportsman permits—will be available by Nov. 2.

Only Utah residents may apply for sportsman permits. One sportsman permit is offered for each of the following species: Desert bighorn ram, Rocky Mountain bighorn ram, buck deer, buck pronghorn, bull elk, bull moose, hunter’s choice bison, hunter’s choice Rocky Mountain goat, black bear, cougar, sandhill crane and wild turkey.

If you draw a sportsman permit, the dates you can hunt vary. But in most cases, they’re longer than the regular season dates. You can also hunt on almost any unit in Utah that’s open to hunting the species you drew a permit for.
Highly prized

“Sportsman permits are highly prized,” says Judi Tutorow, wildlife licensing coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. “If you’re one of the lucky hunters who draw one, you’ll have plenty of days—and plenty of areas—to hunt.”

You can apply for a sportsman permit starting Nov. 2 at . Applications must be submitted no later than 11 p.m. on Nov. 19 to be entered in the draw for permits.

Draw results will be posted by Dec. 10. If you draw a permit, you’ll also receive a letter in the mail. “Not many hunters draw these permits,” Tutorow says. “If you receive a letter in the mail, it wouldn’t surprise me if you frame it!”

For more information, see pages 23 and 24 of the 2009 Utah Big Game Guidebook ( ) or call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office. You can also call the DWR’s Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.

Ghost Fish in Steinaker?

Vernal -- Anglers are raising their eyebrows at Steinaker Reservoir. “What is this fish I just caught?” many of them are asking. “It looks like a ghost. Is it radioactive?!”

No, the fish isn’t radioactive. And it’s not a ghost, either. It’s just a strain of white rainbow trout the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has developed and raised to give anglers an unusual and unique fishing experience.

“We’ve stocked white rainbow trout for years in the Uinta Mountain lakes along the Mirror Lake Highway,” says Roger Schneidervin, UDWR regional aquatics manager. “Anglers and wildlife watchers really like the fish. The fish are easy to see. And they’re quite unusual.”

After Schneidervin learned that one of the DWR’s hatcheries had some extra white rainbows, he asked the hatchery workers if they would put them into Steinaker and the Kids Canal in northeastern Utah this fall.

“They stocked a few into the canal and roughly 15,000 into Steinaker a couple of weeks ago,” Schneidervin says. “It’s been fun talking with the anglers who have caught them. Some are familiar with the fish. Others have asked if the fish are radioactive!”

If you catch a fish that’s white at either water, don’t panic. It’s not a ghost, and it’s not radioactive. It’s just an unusual genetic variation that’s sometimes found in rainbow trout. DWR hatchery managers have managed to isolate some of the fish. Now the fish are being bred and raised in Utah’s fish hatcheries.

For more information, call the DWR’s Northeastern Region office at (435) 781-9453.

Statewide Deer Archery Hunting may return in 2010

The facts are in, and the findings are clear—based on the acres of public land that have deer habitat, the Southern Region doesn’t have any more archery hunters in it than any other region in the state.

In fact, based on the number of acres per archery hunter, the Southern Region is actually the least crowded region in Utah.

For that reason, the Division of Wildlife Resources is proposing that general archery deer hunters be allowed to hunt anywhere in Utah that’s open to general-season hunting.

(In 2009, archery hunters had to choose one region to hunt in during the first two weeks of the hunt. After the first two weeks, they could hunt anywhere in Utah that was open to general-season hunting.)

All of the DWR’s recommendations for Utah’s 2010 big game seasons are available at .

Learn more, share your ideas

Once you’ve read the proposals, you can share your thoughts and ideas one of two ways:

RAC meetings

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 help them set rules for Utah’s 2010 big game hunts. They’ll set those rules at their Dec. 3 meeting in Salt Lake City.

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 will be held on a Thursday.):

Southern Region
Nov. 3
5 p.m.
Richfield High School
510 W. 100 S.

Southeastern Region
Nov. 4
6:30 p.m.
John Wesley Powell Museum
1765 E. Main St.
Green River
Northeastern Region
Nov. 5
6:30 p.m.
Western Park, Room #1
302 E. 200 S.

Northern Region
Nov. 10
6 p.m.
Brigham City Community Center
24 N. 300 W.
Brigham City

Central Region
Nov. 12
6:30 p.m.
Springville Junior High
165 S. 700 E.


You can also provide your comments to your RAC via e-mail. E-mail addresses for your RAC members are available at .

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.

Acres of land per hunter

“The data is clear—archery hunters are not the only reason some people feel the Southern Region is crowded during the first part of the archery hunt,” says Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR.
Aoude bases his finding on two statistics:

- the acres of public land in the region that have deer habitat
- the number of archers who hunt in the region.

You can see the statistics at .

Crowding—what’s causing it?

Even though the Southern Region has more acres of public land per hunter than any region in Utah, that doesn’t mean certain parts of the region aren’t crowded from mid August to mid September.

“Southern Utah is a very popular place to camp and hike. And that’s what’s causing most of the crowding,” Aoude says. “We don’t feel we should restrict and penalize archery hunters because other people enjoy being in the woods too.”

Aoude says archers can also be part of the crowding challenge, but that situation isn’t unique to the Southern Region—it happens in every region in the state. “There are certain areas in every region that are popular and draw a lot of hunters,” he says.

Archery committee

A committee helped the DWR draft the statewide proposal for 2010. The committee included three archery hunters from southern Utah, two members of the Utah Bowhunter’s Association, two members of Bowhunters of Utah and Bill Fenimore, a member of the Utah Wildlife Board.

“The data helped the committee see that archers aren’t the only reason the Southern Region gets crowded during the first part of the archery hunt,” Aoude says. “The committee took the data, looked through it and then recommended to us that Utah return to a statewide hunt for the entire general archery season.”

Last Chance for Public Response to Utah Lake Bridge Proposal

Overview of Utah Lake courtesy NASA

There is only going to be one public meeting to share your concerns for the future of Utah Lake and the resulting impact of a bridge across it. Your voice and interest can make a difference.

The Utah Lake Commission will be conducting a Public Hearing to understand the support and opposition to a proposed bridge crossing Utah Lake on Thursday, October 29, 2009, at 6:00 PM in Room 2500 of the Utah County Health and Justice Building located at 151 S. University Avenue in Provo. It will include a brief presentation of the proposal from the applicants, a brief presentation of the proposal review process, and opportunity for public comments.

More information can be obtained at , or by calling the Commission offices at (801) 851-2900.

Thank you for your interest,

Carin Green
Executive Assistant
Utah Lake Commission
(801) 851-2900

Monte Cristo Snowmobile Parking Passes now Available

Willard - Season parking passes for the Monte Cristo Snowmobile Trailhead are available November 10 for $50.

To purchase by mail, please send a cashier’s check or money order to Willard Bay State Park at 900 West 650 North, Willard, UT 84340. To purchase by phone with a credit card, please call (435) 734-9494. Passes may also be purchased at Willard Bay State Park and at the trailhead when grooming begins.

Funds derived from pass sales are used for maintenance of facilities and the trailhead parking lot.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Recent Tests find no Foreign Mussels in Electric Lake

PRICE, UTAH--Last year, larval non-native zebra mussels were found in Electric Lake. This caused great concern to all water users and recreationalists. Since the discovery, the Division of Wildlife Resources has conducted vigorous sampling at Electric Lake, seeking to establish whether or not the larval mussels identified a year ago had taken hold. So far, so good.

This year, not a single adult or larval mussel has been detected. That is welcome news to PacifiCorp Energy, irrigators, culinary water users and fishermen. “Zebra mussels and their close relative quagga mussels wreak havoc on water related infrastructure by clogging pipes. They also degrade water quality and compete with fish populations,” says Aquatic Invasive Species Biologist Daniel Keller. Eradication of these foreign mussels has proven to be enormously expensive and virtually impossible, wherever they have occurred.

Sampling will continue next year. It’s possible that adult mussels have not reached a detectable density. On the other hand, these foreign invaders may not have found Electric Lake to be suitable habitat. DWR officials hope that’s the case, and will continue to monitor the lake closely in cooperation with PacifiCorp Energy.

In mid-October, the Electric Lake sport fish population was also sampled. The outcome was encouraging. Plenty of cutthroat and newly introduced tiger trout were found in gill- nets. Trout ranged from 8-18 inches in size, indicating good survival and growth of stocked fish. Trout appeared healthy and well-fed. Primary prey items in Electric Lake include aquatic invertebrates and redside shiners. Justin Hart, DWR sportfish biologist, encourages anglers to take advantage of the excellent trout fishery that is continuing to improve.

Colorado Cutthroat Trout stage a Comeback

PRICE, UTAH--The Colorado River cutthroat trout is the only historically native trout species in the Colorado River Basin. The Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) has been making efforts to preserve this native species and prevent its potential listing as threatened or endangered.

In 2000, DNA testing discovered a population of pure strain Colorado cutthroat trout in the White River near Soldier Summit. Following this crucial find, the DWR determined to preserve and propagate this pure blood strain.

A brood lake was needed where spawning could occur without hybridization from other trout species. Duck Fork Reservoir above the town of Ferron in Emery County was selected as the best water body for this purpose.

After all other trout had been removed, the pure strain Colorado cutthroats were transplanted from the White River. The first transplant occurred in 2003, followed by a second transplant in 2004. The Duck Fork Reservoir population was started with 850 fish from the White River.

Success has been realized over time. In June, approximately 64,000 eggs from Duck Fork Reservoir were collected. The eggs were fertilized on site and then taken to the Fountain Green Fish Hatchery. Since then, the hatchery successfully reared approximately 30,000 3-inch sized fish.

This October, 10,000 finger-sized cutthroats were replanted into Duck Fork Reservoir; another 10,000 were used to restock the White River, which provided the original stock for transplanting. The remaining fish will be stocked into Millsite Reservoir above the town of Ferron.

Native cutthroat trout are expected to thrive in Duck Fork Reservoir for years to come. Hundreds of thousands of eggs will become available for expanding the range of this species to drainages in southeastern Utah. The restoration will provide unique and exciting fishing opportunities for anglers and safeguard the species from potential endangerment or extinction.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Have Fun, See Wild Elk at the Hardware Ranch Elk Festival Oct. 10

Hyrum -- You and your family can participate in several outdoor activities at the Elk Festival at the Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area. And you might even see some wild elk!

The festival is free of charge. It will be held Saturday, Oct. 10. Activities run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can reach the ranch by traveling 18 miles east of Hyrum on SR-101.

Taking a free wagon ride, painting pumpkins, turning balloons into antlers, shooting pellets guns at targets, trying your skills at archery, and exploring for aquatics bugs are among the many nature-related activities you can participate in.

Whether you’ll see some elk is still in question. "Elk have not come out of the mountains and into the meadow yet," Marni Lee, assistant manager of the Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area, said on Oct. 1. "With this cooler weather and snow, hopefully they will come down by the time the festival starts," she says.

Lee encourages you to bring some binoculars and to dress for all types of weather. "We will host the event, rain or shine!" she says.

On your way to the ranch, you can enjoy the fantastic fall colors in Blacksmith Fork Canyon. Food is not available at the ranch, but you’re welcome to bring a picnic lunch and eat in the ranch’s dining room.

Hours of operation
Another chance to take a horse-drawn sleigh or wagon ride through the middle of hundreds of wild elk starts at the ranch on Dec. 18.

Starting Dec. 18, the ranch’s visitor center will be open and sleigh rides will be offered during the following days and times:

Friday noon to 5 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday noon to 5 p.m.

If you want to go on a sleigh ride, you must buy your ticket at the visitor center before 4:30 p.m. The cost to go on a ride is $3 for those four to eight years old, and $5 for those nine years of age or older. Children three years of age and younger ride for free.

On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, the sleigh rides will not be running and the visitor center will not be open. You can still bring your binoculars and view the elk from a distance, though.

For more information, call the Hardware Ranch WMA at (435) 753-6206.

New Perch Limit and New Limit at Community Ponds

Changes take effect Jan. 1, 2010

Salt Lake City -- You should catch more fish more often when you visit Utah’s community fishing waters next year. And while it might take a year or two to notice, perch fishing at waters across Utah should become more consistent too.

Two changes approved by the Utah Wildlife Board on Oct. 1—a two-fish limit at the community waters and a 50-fish yellow perch limit across the state—are the reasons for both.

The new limits start Jan. 1, 2010.

All of the changes the board approved will be available in the 2010 Utah Fishing Guidebook. The guidebook will be available at guidebooks later this fall.

50-perch limit

Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says the 50-perch limit should improve perch fishing in Utah. Right now, the perch limit in Utah varies by water. It ranges from a low of 10 perch at some waters to as high as 50 perch at other waters. "Perch in the West have two challenges that perch in other parts of the country don’t have," Cushing says.

The first challenge is the water level in Western reservoirs. These water levels go up and down from year to year. Because they fluctuate, the base of vegetation in many of Utah’s reservoirs doesn’t remain stable. And without a stable food supply and cover to hide in, perch populations don’t remain stable either.

Another thing yellow perch need is a complex fish community that provides plenty of different fish for predators to prey on. Unfortunately, fish populations in the West aren’t that complex. When perch populations get large, walleye and other predators zero in on them.

A lack of food, cover and other species for predators to prey on creates boom-and-bust cycles. The cycle begins when the perch population is small. There’s plenty of food for the perch to eat and lots of cover to hide in. The perch population explodes, and fishing is great. Then the population crashes as the perch start to compete with each other for food and cover, and other predators and bigger perch prey on the smaller perch.

After the crash, the cycle starts all over again. "Having a higher limit will allow anglers to keep more perch. Keeping the perch populations from getting too large will help smooth out the ‘ups and downs’ the populations go through in these cycles," Cushing says. "Perch fishing will be much more consistent. And anglers will still catch some nice-sized fish."

Looking at data from the perch-fishing waters in Utah illustrates what Cushing is talking about. The waters with 10-perch limits have the biggest boom-and-bust cycles, while waters with 50-perch limits, such as Pineview Reservoir, provide more consistent fishing.

Community fishing waters

Another change should make fishing at Utah’s 42 community fishing waters even better by reducing the number of fish anglers can keep.

Currently, anglers can keep up to four fish at these waters. To improve fishing, community parks and recreation directors and individual anglers asked the DWR to lower the limit. They also recommended protecting largemouth bass under a catch-and-release-only regulation.

"Largemouth bass don’t spawn until they’re at least eight inches long," Cushing says. "Very few of the bass in these waters ever make it to that length because anglers catch them before they get that big.

"The community waters that have bass also have bluegill. We need the bass to keep the bluegill populations under control. If the bluegill populations get too large, they won’t reach a size that most anglers will want to keep."

Board members agreed with the biologists’ recommendations. Starting Jan. 1, 2010, the daily limit at the community waters will be lowered to two fish. And—even though you won’t be required to—you’re strongly encouraged to release all of the largemouth bass you catch.

"These waters receive a lot of fishing pressure," Cushing says. "Most of the fish we stock are caught two or three days after we stock them. Then fishing usually slows down until we can stock the water again."

Cushing says lowering the limit will keep fish in these waters for a longer period of time. And that will improve fishing for everyone. "Each time you go out, you’ll have a better chance at catching a fish because many of the fish we stocked will still be in the water," he says.

Changes at Kolob Reservoir

The board also passed changes at Kolob Reservoir in southwestern Utah. Anglers proposed these changes to the DWR. The anglers hope the changes will bring more families and children to the reservoir to fish.

Under the current rules, anglers may fish at Kolob with artificial flies and lures only. They can keep only one trout, and that trout must be at least 18 inches long.

After a cabin owner near the reservoir circulated a petition last fall, the Wildlife Advisory Council in southwestern Utah asked the DWR to assemble an advisory committee to suggest various options. "This committee worked really hard, and we appreciate their efforts," says Roger Wilson, cold

"The committee came up with a compromise. Their goal was to maintain quality fishing at the reservoir while giving children a better chance to catch and keep fish."

Starting on Jan. 1, 2010, the trout limit at the reservoir will be increased to two trout. Any trout kept must be less than 15 inches long or over 22 inches in length. All trout between 15 and 22 inches must be released immediately.

Also, from Jan. 1 through late May 2010, you must use artificial flies or lures. From late May until early September, you can use bait. Starting in mid-September, you must switch back to flies and lures until late May 2011.

The board approved the rules for Kolob on a three-year trial basis.

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

Tips to Get Prepared for This Year’s Rifle Buck Deer Hunt

Utah’s most popular hunt—the general rifle buck deer hunt—begins Oct. 17.

If you’re one of the lucky hunters who obtained a permit for the hunt, getting prepared now—by gathering materials and gaining knowledge—are the key to a safe and successful hunt. And while taking a deer is usually the highlight of any deer hunt, make sure you take advantage of all the experiences deer hunting offers.

"Don’t be so focused on taking a deer that you miss out on everything deer hunting has to offer," says Gary Cook, hunter education coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "Camping with your family and friends and enjoying Utah’s wildlife and the beautiful state we live in are all things you can enjoy during your time afield."

Cook provides the following tips for an enjoyable and safe hunt:

Personal preparation:

* be familiar with the area you’re going to hunt. If possible, scout the area before the hunt. "Knowing the area and the habits and patterns of the deer that live in the area is vital for success," Cook says.

* put a survival kit together. The kit should include:
1) a small first aid kit;
2) three ways to make a fire (e.g. matches, a cigarette lighter, fire starters);
3) quick-energy snack foods;
4) a cord or rope;
5) a compass;
6) a flashlight;
7) an extra knife and;
8) a small pad of paper and a pencil (so if you become lost, you can leave information at your last location about yourself and the direction you’re traveling).

Preparing your firearm:

* be as familiar as possible with your firearm—know how to load and unload it, and where the safety is and how to operate it.

* make sure the barrel of your firearm doesn’t have any obstructions in it.

* make sure you have the correct ammunition for your firearm.

* sight-in your firearm before the hunt.

Firearm safety:

* controlling your firearm’s muzzle is the most important part of firearm safety. Never let the muzzle of your firearm point at anything you do not intend to shoot. That includes not pointing the muzzle at yourself.

* never carry a loaded firearm in your vehicle.

* don’t put your finger on the trigger until your firearm’s sights are on the target.

* before shooting, make sure of your target and what’s beyond it.

Vehicle preparation:

* make sure your vehicle is in good mechanical condition.

* make sure you have a shovel, an ax, tire chains, jumper cables and a tow chain in your vehicle.

* if you experience mechanical problems with your vehicle or become snowed in, stay with your vehicle—don’t leave it.

Before leaving on your trip:

* let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return.
While in the field:

* never hunt alone.

* wear proper safety clothing: 400 square inches of hunter orange on your back, chest and head.

Field dressing your animal:

* use a sharp knife. A sharp knife does a better job of cutting than a dull knife does and is safer to use.

* cut away from you—never bring a knife blade towards you while cutting.

Your physical well-being:

* know your physical limitations, and don’t exceed them.

* prepare yourself for weather changes by dressing in layers. Dressing in layers allows you to regulate your body temperature by adding or removing clothes as needed.

* drink plenty of water, no matter how cold it is. "You can become dehydrated, even in cold weather," Cook says.

* hypothermia (the loss of body temperature) can occur in temperatures as warm as 50 degrees.
Be aware of the signs of hypothermia. Some of the first signs are violent shivering, stumbling or becoming disoriented. "When you notice these signs, sit down immediately and build a fire," Cook says. "Get yourself warm and dry."

* frostbite. If you’re hunting in cold weather, watch for signs that you’re getting frostbite. White spots on your skin are the first sign. Check your face, feet and hands regularly. You’ll notice the first signs of frostbite on your face sooner if you’re hunting with a companion who can alert you.

If you get lost:

* don’t panic. Sit down and build a fire, even if it isn’t cold. "A fire is soothing. Building a fire will help you relax and think clearly," Cook says. After calming down, try to get your bearings and think your way out of the situation. If you think you know which direction you need to travel, get the pad of paper and pencil out of your survival kit and leave a note at your location. Indicate on the note who you are and the direction you’re traveling. If you find other hunters, don’t be embarrassed to ask them for directions and help.

If you don’t know which direction you should travel, stay at your camp and build a shelter several hours before sundown, if possible. Build a smoky fire (this type of fire can be spotted from the air) or build three fires (a distress signal that can also be spotted from the air).

Remaining at your camp is usually a good option. "If you have to, you can live without food and water for several days," Cook says.

Alcohol and firearms don’t mix!
* do not handle a firearm if you’ve been drinking alcohol.

* do not give alcohol to someone who’s cold. Instead of warming the person, alcohol will actually make them colder.

More Deer expected on Rifle Deer Hunt

Rifle hunt starts Oct. 17

You might see a few more deer when Utah’s rifle buck deer hunt starts Oct. 17. The weather this past spring and winter was almost ideal for mule deer. More than 70,000 hunters, plus their family and friends, are expected afield for Utah’s most popular hunt.

“The weather this past spring and winter was excellent for mule deer,” says Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. “Last winter was really mild—the snow stayed up high, and the valleys and the winter ranges were warm,” Aoude says. “It’s difficult to determine exactly how many deer die each winter. But because this past winter was so mild, we think far fewer deer were lost than would have been lost during a normal winter.”

Aoude says the mild winter was followed by a long, wet spring. “The state received plenty of rain clear into June,” he says. “That rain provided doe deer with a lot of good, nutritious vegetation. And that helped the does provide plenty of milk to the fawns they gave birth to earlier this summer.”

Aoude says nutritious vegetation also helps bucks grow bigger antlers. “When bucks have good vegetation to eat, even two- to three-year-old bucks can grow some nice antlers.”

The Northern Region is the region where hunters could notice the biggest difference in the number of deer they see.

A harsh winter in 2008 killed many of the fawns that were born in 2007. As a result, many hunters noticed a big drop in the number of one-year-old bucks they saw in the region last fall.

“The herds in the Northern Region still have a long way to go. But thanks to the mild winter we had this year, hunters should see a few more deer. And many of those deer will be yearling bucks,” Aoude says.

The following are deer hunting prospects for each of the DWR’s five regions:

Northern Region

Rifle hunters should see more deer in northern Utah this fall. “The number of deer has increased following a mild winter and a wet spring and early summer,” says Randy Wood, regional wildlife manager. “Hunters should see more yearling bucks this fall.”

Wood reminds hunters that the Northern Region includes large chunks of private property. “It’s a good idea to get written permission from landowners before planning a hunt to an area that has private property,” Wood says.

Wood says pre-season scouting will improve your success. “And please remember that you’re hunting in bear country,” he says. “Keep your camp clean.” Wood provides the following preview for each of the region’s general season hunting units:

Box Elder unit

Archery hunters who hunted the unit recently said the deer were very scattered. Numerous hunters who hunted on the Raft River Mountains reported seeing more bucks this year than last. Archery hunters who hunted on the Grouse Creek range reported seeing mostly does and fawns.

During the last two months, the unit has been extremely dry. If early October stays dry, be extra careful with fire. It’s a tinderbox out there!

Cache and Ogden units

Biologists estimate the total population on the Cache unit at 15,000 deer. On the Ogden unit, they estimate the total population at 7,500 deer.

Fawn production was good in 2008. And very few fawns died during the winter of 2008-09. That means more yearling bucks should be available to hunters during the rifle hunt. With good spring moisture, expect to find deer dispersed across the high country. The best place to find deer is at the edges of timber and open meadows in the mornings and the evenings.

After last fall’s hunting season, the buck-to-doe ratio on both of the units was 10 bucks per 100 does. Those numbers are below the unit objective of 15 bucks per 100 does. The low buck numbers were mostly the result of heavy winter losses during the winter of 2007-08.

Morgan/South Rich and East Canyon units

Thanks to a mild winter and good over-winter survival, deer numbers are increasing on both units. The number of yearling bucks is increasing, and many mature bucks have been observed too. After last fall’s hunting season, the buck-to-doe ratio on both units was 25 bucks per 100 does. Deer should be spread throughout the units, with the greatest number found at higher elevations. That’s where the best forage is. Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit operators say the overall number bucks is similar to last year, but more bucks are bigger in size this year.

Chalk Creek and Kamas units

Deer on both of these units use both high and low elevations. Deer at low elevations use agricultural fields for food and irrigation flows for water. At higher elevations, there’s abundant water and forage. For these reasons, the deer will be scattered. You’ll need to do some preseason scouting to find them.

After last fall’s hunting season, the buck-to-doe ratio on the Chalk Creek unit was 33 bucks per 100 does. On the Kamas unit, the ratio was 19 bucks per 100 does.

The Chalk Creek unit is almost entirely private property. You must have written permission from landowners before hunting on private land in the unit.

The Kamas unit is mostly private property, but there is Forest Service property in some of the higher elevation areas. The deer will be scattered because of abundant water and forage. You’ll need to do some preseason scouting to find them. Deer hunting on the unit should be good.

North Slope/Summit unit

It can be tough to find deer on this unit during the rifle hunt. Most of the deer start leaving the area before the rifle hunt begins.

Central Region

On average, one out of three hunters who hunt in the Central Region during the general rifle hunt will take a deer. Biologists expect a similar, or a slightly lower success rate, this year.
To increase your chance for success, Scott Root encourages you to get off the road and to hike through the scrub oak, conifer and aspen stands, and sagebrush and other types of cover, which the deer often hide in.

“Deer are drawn to food sources that also provide them with cover,” says Root, regional conservation outreach manager. “Deer have been exposed to countless vehicles during the archery and muzzleloader hunts, and they’re accustomed to holding up in cover most of the day. “The best spot to find deer is in and around this cover.”

Root says he’s noticed an abundant acorn crop in parts of the region this month. “There are also abundant types of other forage and water east of I-15,” he says. In the western portion of the region, the conditions are more desert-like. And that makes it more challenging to find the deer. Root reminds you that the West Desert, Vernon unit is open only to hunters who have a West Desert, Vernon limited-entry permit. (A boundary map for the unit is available at .)

Root also reminds you that rifle hunters cannot hunt within the extended archery area east of Salt Lake City. He also encourages you to start packing now for the Oct. 17 opener. “There are several good Web sites you can go to for a checklist of the items you should bring with you on your hunt,” he says.

Root says you can get cell phone service through much of the Central Region, and he encourages you to bring your phone with you. (You may want to set your phone to “vibrate,” however. You don’t want an incoming call to spook the deer!) Root reminds you that the hunts on the Central Mountains (Nebo) and Oquirrh-Stansbury units don’t open until Oct. 21. Delayed five-day hunts are being held on the units to try and increase the number of bucks on the units compared to the number of does.

A boundary description for the two units is available at . Once you reach that part of the site, click on the “General season buck deer units with shorter season dates” selection.

Northeastern Region

Deer herds in northeastern Utah are still recovering from the harsh winter of 2007 – 08. “Overall, hunters should expect lower success than they’re used to finding in the region,” says Charlie Greenwood, regional wildlife manager.

The good news is the number of bucks left after the fall hunting seasons is climbing back to the minimum objective of 15 bucks per 100 does. Greenwood says after last fall’s hunts, the buck-to-doe ratio on the region’s public-land units averaged 14½ bucks per 100 does.

Greenwood reminds rifle hunters that the South Slope (Vernal) subunit is open for only five days of hunting. And the season on the subunit doesn’t open until Oct. 21. “The buck-to-doe ratio on this unit is low enough that we had to shorten all of the deer hunts on it this year,” he says.

A boundary description for the South Slope (Vernal) unit is available at . Once you reach that part of the site, click on the “General season buck deer units with shorter season dates” selection.

Southeastern Region

The overall number of deer in southeastern Utah is still below the population objective for the region. But the number of bucks compared to the number of does is improving.

“Buck-to-doe ratios are improving across the region,” says Brent Stettler, regional conservation outreach manager. “For example, on the Central Mountains-Manti unit and the LaSal Mountain unit, the ratio is 17 bucks per 100 does. On the Abajo Mountains unit, the ratio is 20 bucks per 100 does.”

While the number of bucks compared to does is improving, the overall number of deer in the region continues to hover below the region’s population objective. “On the Central Mountains-Manti unit, our biologists estimate the deer population at 20,000 animals. That number should be closer to 40,000 deer.

“The LaSal Mountains unit, with an estimated herd size of 7,400 deer, stands at only 57 percent of its herd size objective of nearly 13,000 animals,” Stettler says. “However, the Abajo unit has rebounded to 95 percent of its herd objective with a current population of about 12,800 deer.”

Lots of rain fell in the region this past spring and early summer. That precipitation provided good forage for deer across southeastern Utah, and gave new fawns a good start. The deer appear healthy. They’re also widely dispersed.

In July, the rain turned off and the heat turned on. Dry conditions moved deer into drainages near water and onto cooler north-facing exposures. Most deer in the region will be found at medium or high elevations.

Stettler encourages hunters to do some pre-season scouting. “Once you’ve selected an area to hunt, learn where the springs, seeps and creeks are in the area,” he says. “Get to know the game trails, the bedding areas and the routes deer might use to escape hunters once the hunt starts.”

How hunting pressure might affect the deer is another important factor to consider. “Make sure you consider that factor as you put your overall strategy together,” he says. Stettler reminds you that the hunt on the LaSal (LaSal Mountains) unit doesn’t open until Oct. 21. A delayed five-day hunt is being held on the unit to try and increase the number of bucks on the unit compared to the number of does.

A boundary description for the LaSal (LaSal Mountains) unit is available at . Once you reach that part of the site, click on the “General season buck deer units with shorter season dates” selection.

Southern Region

Rifle hunters in the Southern Region could see quite a few bucks. And those bucks might have some thick antlers. “Many of the bucks that I have seen harvested during the archery and muzzleloader hunts have been fabulous,” says Teresa Bonzo, regional wildlife manager. “I’m thrilled to see the antler growth on the deer. I think the cool, wet spring really did wonders for antler growth this year.”

Bonzo anticipates a great rifle hunt. “It has been dry, though,” she says. “Unless we get some storms between now and the hunt, finding a water hole might be a huge factor in the success you find.”

Biologist Jim Lamb says there are lots of young bucks on the Plateau and Monroe units. “People report seeing them all over [the place],” he says. Lamb says the deer on the units are starting to head to lower elevations because of the cooler weather.

Jason Nicholes, biologist on the Pine Valley, Southwest Desert and Zion units, says he’s seen lots of small bucks and a few bigger ones too. “Archery hunters reported seeing a lot of nice bucks during the general hunt,” says biologist Dustin Schaible. Schaible is the biologist for the Mount Dutton, Panguitch and Paunsaugunt units.

“Hunters can expect to see plenty of deer since many of our southern region units are at or approaching population objectives,” he says. “Please remember to wear your hunter orange, and be safe.”

Sean Kelly, a biologist on the Fillmore and Beaver units, says archery and muzzleloader hunting has been a little slow on the Pahvant subunit so far. “Hunters are seeing a fair number of bucks, but the unusually dry conditions can make it difficult to get within shooting range,” he says.

Kelly says some really nice bucks have been taken on the farmland and desert areas west of I-15. On the Beaver unit, the area west of I-15 has also produced some nice bucks.

“It's hard to make predictions because weather plays such a critical role in determining how may deer are taken during the rifle hunt,” Kelly says. “But our buck-to-doe ratios were good after the hunts last fall (22 bucks per 100 does on the Fillmore unit and 16 bucks per 100 does on the Beaver unit). It looks like most of those bucks are still alive going into the 2009 rifle season.”
Vance Mumford, a biologist on the Monroe and Fishlake units, says the muzzleloader hunt was hot and dry and hunters had a hard time moving around quietly. That made hunting difficult.

“Good numbers of young bucks have been reported on the Beaver and Monroe units,” Mumford says. “By the time the general rifle hunt rolls around, though, the deer near the roads have seen a lot of big game hunters. The farther you can get away from the roads, the more bucks you’ll see.”

Mumford reminds you that the hunt on the Monroe unit doesn’t open until Oct. 21. A delayed five-day hunt is being held on the unit to try and increase the number of bucks on the unit compared to the number of does.

A boundary description for the Monroe unit is available at . Once you reach that part of the site, click on the “General season buck deer units with shorter season dates” selection. Christopher Schultze, a conservation officer in the Kane County area, says he was very impressed with the bucks he saw taken during the archery hunt.

“I haven't seen or heard of any big bucks taken so far during the muzzleloader hunt,” Schultze says. “I'm optimistic about the rifle hunt, especially if we get a cold spell that pushes the bucks down.”