Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Scholarships offered through Remington Outdoor Foundation and National Archery in the Schools Program®

Remington Outdoor Foundation teams up with the National Archery in the Schools Program® to offer college scholarships

The Remington Outdoor Foundation has partnered with the National Archery in the Schools Program® to offer $3,000 in scholarships to college-bound students who are registered to participate in the 2010 NASP® National Tournament.

"For the Remington Outdoor Foundation, offering NASP® scholarships falls right in line with our mission to support our partners' efforts to share hunting and target shooting traditions with youth, women and other participants," said Jim Moore, president of Remington Outdoor Foundation. "We're encouraged by the fact that a significant percentage of NASP® students reported they are more interested in other shooting sports, including hunting, since taking the archery program in school."

High school seniors who write and submit a 500- to 1,000-word essay that answers the question, "How has the National Archery in the Schools Program® changed my life?" can win a $1,500 first place scholarship while second and third place winners will receive $1,000 and $500 respectively to help pay for their college education.

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be registered to participate in the 2010 NASP® National Tournament, and winners will be announced at that event. For information about the world's largest archery tournament, which will be hosted May 7-8 in Louisville, Ky., visit https://archeryintheschools.org/.

The deadline to submit essays and completed applications is April 30. Students can find the scholarship guidelines and application form and submit their entry at Remington Outdoor Foundation High School Essay Contest or email to info@nasparchery.com. Students and instructors can receive NASP program updates and information by visiting NASP®'s Facebook Fan page.

If you know a college-bound high school senior who is participating in the 2010 NASP® National Tournament, encourage him or her to write an essay and possibly win a scholarship.

Entering Bear Dens part of Statewide Study

Photo by Randall Thacker

Vernal -- Wildlife biologists found an encouraging sight when they visited a bear den near Vernal recently: two bears that were just cubs the year before were alive and doing well.
“When Kevin Bunnell first entered the den, we thought there was only one [yearling in the cave with its mother],” says Dax Mangus, wildlife biologist with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. “But then Kevin whispered an urgent, ‘get another dose ready. There’s a second [one].’”

The sow and her two one-year-old bears (called yearlings) were nestled in the back of a cave that was about 20 feet long. The biologists used a tracking device to find the cave. The device picked signals up from a radio collar the biologists placed on the female in August 2008.

“When we found her den in early March 2009, she had two newborn cubs-- a male and female,” Mangus says. “A year later, both are still alive and in good shape. We only got a good look at one, though. The den was extremely narrow. If we pulled the other bears out, we weren’t sure we could get them back in again!” Statewide survey

The survey these biologists conducted in the Ashley National Forest north of Vernal is part of a larger statewide project. Biologists in each of the UDWR’s five regions have placed radio collars on bears to determine their reproductive success and how many of their cubs survive.

The biologists find and enter the dens in late February and early March. They tranquilize the female and any yearlings she has. Then they check the bears’ health and gather biological data. They do not tranquilize newborn cubs.

“We’ve been monitoring four collared bears in this region and one that was originally collared in another region,” Mangus says.

“Checking on the bears might sound easy, since we know where they are. But it isn’t. The bear we checked last week looked easy on paper, but I think it was the [toughest] hike I’ve ever been on.

“And [checking] that one is nothing compared to its closest neighbor,” Mangus says. “This year, one of our collared bears is down in Ashley Gorge. We took a look from the air at its radio location. Reaching its den site would require a long trip by snowmobile, a hike of a mile or so on snowshoes to the edge [of the gorge], then roping up and rappelling down the cliff face before hiking through a boulder field [filled] with thick brush.” Because of the risks involved, biologists will not check the Ashley Gorge den this year.

Good results across the state

Justin Dolling, game mammals coordinator for the UDWR, says other biologists are also finding good bear survival this winter in other parts of the state.

“Cub survival is running about 90 percent so far this winter,” Dolling said on March 16. “We still have another week or so [before this year’s survey is done]. But so far, the biologists I’ve heard from [have told] me that 10 out of 11 cubs they checked last year have survived. And about 80 percent of the cubs Hal Black has checked on the Book Cliffs have also survived.” Black is a long-time bear researcher at Brigham Young University.

Dolling says their successful birth and making it through their first year of life means the yearlings north of Vernal are about two-thirds of the way to becoming healthy, independent adults.

“This spring, the sow will ‘kick the yearlings’ off so she can prepare for the upcoming breeding season,” Dolling says. “The habitat conditions the yearlings find as they venture out on their own for the first time will be a big factor in whether they survive and become adults.”

Deep snow causes concern regarding Shed Antler Hunting on the Henrys

Photo by Brent Stettler, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Hanksville -- The deep snow on the Henry Mountains is making it difficult for deer to flee from people who are collecting shed antlers.

To protect the deer, the Bureau of Land Management has enacted a new travel plan. The plan requires motorized vehicles to stay on designated routes.

Before your next trip to the Henry Mountains, please call or visit the BLM offices in Hanksville or Richfield to learn where the designated routes are.

Located south of Hanksville, the Henry Mountains is one of two premium limited-entry deer hunting units in Utah. The unit is renowned for growing trophy-sized buck deer. For this reason, it attracts a large number of shed antler hunters every winter and spring. These hunters hope to collect some of the large antler racks that drop off the heads of the buck deer in the winter.

“Under normal conditions, deer can escape the inflow of people by leaving the roadways and moving to heavy cover or remote locations,” says Brent Stettler, regional conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources.

This year is different, though, because the snowfall in southern Utah has been unusually heavy. “The snow is making the deers’ fight for survival much more tenuous this spring and their ability to retreat from people much more difficult,” Stettler says. “Please help the deer by learning the new travel rules and obeying them,” he says.

For more information, call the BLM at (435) 896-1500 or the DWR at (435) 613-3700.

For more information about gathering shed antlers in Utah, visit the ‘Want to gather shed antlers in Utah?’ selection at www.wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/newsflash . You can also listen to an interview at www.wildlife.utah.gov/radio .

View Strutting Sage-grouse on April 10

Photo by Ron Stewart, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Price -- The “bloop, bloop” sound that male sage-grouse make, as they strut on their breeding grounds, is one of the most unique sounds you’ll ever hear in nature. And the sight of the grouse strutting is pretty unique too!

You can hear and watch this ritual yourself at a free wildlife-viewing event in east-central Utah. The event will happen April 10 at Emma Park, about 13 miles north of Price.

The Division of Wildlife Resources is sponsoring the event.

To see and hear the spectacle, you need to be at the viewing site early. Viewing is best before the sun comes up and just after the sun has risen. Grouse leave their strutting ground within an hour after sun up.

Before making the trip, please remember that several things can force the grouse to leave the viewing site early or to not visit the site at all. Those factors include eagles or coyotes near the site. Wind, rain or snow can also keep the grouse under cover and out of sight.

After the birds leave their breeding ground, the grouse spend the day feeding and resting in stands of sagebrush. They remain mostly out-of-sight until the following morning at first light, when they congregate at their strutting ground again.

DWR biologists will be on hand with spotting scopes and binoculars.  They’ll help you find the grouse and answer any questions you have.

Directions:- From the Wasatch Front, travel east on US-6 from Spanish Fork. At the top of Price Canyon, look for the Emma Park sign, and turn left onto the Emma Park Road. Travel east until you see vehicles with the state of Utah seal on their doors.
- To get to Emma Park from Price, travel north on US-6 to the Castle Gate power plant. Turn right onto US-191, and travel northeast about six miles to the Bamberger Monument. From there, turn left onto the Emma Park Road, and travel west until you see the state vehicles.

For more information, call Brent Stettler at (435) 613-3707 or (435) 613-3700.

See Mountain Goats on April 10

Photo Courtesy Lynn Chamberlain, 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 10.

Free activities for children are also part of the event.

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

The 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 3 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 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) 538-4771.

POMA Urges Obama Adminsitration to Protect Recreational Sportfishing

MARCH 26, JOHNSTOWN, PA - The Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) joined POMA Corporate Partners the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation and American Sportfishing Association in urging President Obama to ensure recreational sportfishing is protected under the National Ocean and Great Lakes Policy. A decision by the administration is expected within days.

"Recreational sportfishing is an American heritage sport," said POMA Chairman Chris Chaffin. "If it is not protected, the economic impact will be enormous - on POMA members, on the thousands they employ and on our country. Supporting the heritage of fishing in the United States is just one facet of POMA's mission to help members maintain and grow their businesses."

The policy agenda was put into motion in mid 2009, when President Obama created a task force to develop a policy for managing all of the United States' ocean territory and the Great Lakes. The President gave the task force 90 days to develop a plan. Part of the rushed policy-making involved the potential for setting up a process by which regions might develop zoning structures. Many fear that could lead to closure of vast areas of fishing waters nationwide.

Responding to an overwhelming outcry from citizens, the White House made a statement that said the policy would not include "blanket zoning." Does that leave the door open for spot zoning?

Reacting to the statement by the White House, Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, said he was pleased to hear from the administration, explaining the statement was the first time the administration has made a clearly positive statement about recreational fishing. However, Crane was cautious in his optimism.

"It remains to be seen how recreational angling is going to fare in its own right as well as other factors that could impact access, especially the issue of marine spatial planning (ocean zoning)," Crane said. "Like most things in Washington, the devil is likely going to be in the details, and while the administration isn't going to come out and just ban fishing, by potentially limiting access through zoning, they could have a serious impact on recreational angling."

Many experts also point to permanent closures of waters in California as good reason for Americans to be concerned.

The Professional Outdoor Media Association is a group of individual communicators and Corporate Partners who believe in, defend, support and promote the heritage of hunting, fishing, shooting and traditional outdoor sports through writing, photography and other means. By doing so, members hope to educate the general public about these sports and encourage more participation in them. The organization serves the membership by helping members grow professionally, improve their skills, better their working environments and enhance their businesses. http://www.professionaloutdoormedia.org/

WeLoveBirds.org Photo Contest Launches

Immature Great Horned Owl by Lyle Madeson, from WeLoveBirds.org  photo gallery

New York, NY & Ithaca, NY--The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology today announced the launch of the WeLoveBirds.org photo contest. Anyone can join this free interactive online community and submit one original photograph of a wild bird for the contest. Site members will vote for their favorite photographs. The winning photos will be announced and featured on Earth Day, April 22.

WeLoveBirds.org offers an open social network of people who are passionate about birds; access to information on birds and birding from a leading ornithology lab; and an opportunity to make a positive difference for birds and their habitats. WeLoveBirds.org members can already submit photographs to the site, along with videos, comments, discussions, and blog posts.

“WeLoveBirds.org members are amazing bird photographers,” said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, NRDC senior attorney. “WeLoveBirds.org already showcases over 3,000 photographs that have been posted by its members.”

WeLoveBirds.org is a place where birders from across the world are connecting with one another,” said Miyoko Chu, director of Communications at the Cornell Lab. “Photographs are a vibrant way to make these connections as people share their favorite photos and decide the winners.”

The site represents a first partnership between NRDC and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, nationally recognized conservation organizations that will offer NRDC’s expertise in policy and advocacy and the Cornell Lab’s authoritative bird research, online birding resources, and citizen-science programs.

For contest rules and information, go to: http://www.welovebirds.org/page/photo-contest

Upcoming Utah State Parks Events

April 14 Dead Horse Point State Park - Moab
Desert Amphibians: Join us at 7:30 p.m. at the visitor center amphitheater to discover the world of desert amphibians. How do amphibians survive in the desert where water is limited? If conditions are right, this program will involve a one-mile, round-trip hike. (435) 259-2614

April 16 Escalante Petrified Forest State Park - Escalante
Starry Skies: Enjoy our famous dark skies as we take a tour through the galaxy using the park's new Orion SkyQuest telescope. Dress warmly and meet at the visitor center at 9 p.m. (435) 826-4466

April 16 Dead Horse Point State Park - Moab
Desert Ethics: Join us at 7:30 p.m. to learn how to use the land with minimum impact. Take a short hike to explore the fragile desert ecosystem and discover what you can do to protect the desert. (435) 259-2614

April 17 Dead Horse Point State Park - Moab
Leapin' Lizards! Join the park naturalist for a half-hour program about reptiles. Test your reptile knowledge, learn what lives at Dead Horse Point and get inside the mind of a rattlesnake. Meet at the visitor center amphitheater at 7:30 p.m. (435) 259-2614

April 17 Escalante Petrified Forest State Park - Escalante
Junior Ranger Program - Fabulous Fossils: Explore Earth's ancient history and discover different kinds of fossils and how they form. Make your own fossil to take home and earn a Junior Ranger Badge. Meet at the visitor center at 10 a.m. (435) 826-4466

April 17 Frontier Homestead State Park Museum – Cedar City
Cub Scout Adventure Day: Cub scouts and their leaders may participate in hands-on activities and a handcart adventure. All activities fulfill requirements toward the Year of Celebration Cub Scout patch. Sessions run from 8 to 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Cost is $2 per scout with free admission for leaders. Space is limited and reservations are required. (435) 586-9290

April 18 Dead Horse Point State Park - Moab
Geology of Dead Horse Point: Meet at the visitor center amphitheater at 7:30 p.m. and discover the processes that contributed to the incredible scenery of Dead Horse Point. (435) 259-2614

April 19 Dead Horse Point State Park - Moab
Incredible Insects: Desert insects have unique adaptations enabling them to survive and thrive. Learn about local insects and explore the desert to see what you can find. Meet at the visitor center amphitheater at 7:30 p.m. for this half-hour program. (435) 259-2614

April 20 Dead Horse Point State Park - Moab
Plants and People of the Colorado Plateau: Join the park naturalist for a 30-minute program about the plants and people of the Colorado Plateau. Find out how prehistoric Indians lived in the area. Meet at the visitor center amphitheater at 7:30 p.m. (435) 259-2614

Earth Day Activities planned at Ogden Nature Center

Come out on Saturday, April 17 from 12 noon - 4 pm to the Ogden Nature Center’s annual Earth Day Celebration. The entire community is invited to come learn and play! Earth Day is a day of education, celebration and action. Admission is only $1 per person, or free if you ride the bus, bicycle or walk.
Highlights include:
--Live Entertainment
--Recycled/Upcycled Art & Craft Sale
--River Trailer -- wetlands & erosion
--Native Plant Sale
--Nature Scavenger Hunt / Nature Walks
--Soda Bottle Seed Growing
--Sustainable Landscape Techniques
--Organic Fare from Dragonfly Health Foods
--Microhikes (in a 2 ft. sq. area)
--Green Building & Solar Array Tours
--Slow Food Utah
--Composting Workshops
--Live Bird Presentations
--Climbing Wall
--Navajo tacos, Smoothies & Lemonade
--Nature Crafts for Kids
--Leave No Trace / Local Pathways
--Renewable Energy
--Recycling / Gardening / Astronomy
Winners of the annual Earth Day Art Poster Contest winners will be announced at a ceremony at 11 a.m. that day. Contestants and their families are invited. This year’s theme is “Ways I Help The Earth.” Entries for the contest should be two-dimensional on 9” x 12” paper. Entries are due on April 3. All children in grades K-6 are invited to enter. Entry forms are available at the Ogden Nature Center.


On the Earthen Stage Behind the Visitor Center

- Cheyenne Herland, guitarist and vocalist from 12:15 to 12:45 pm.

- Talented bagpiper, Shaunna Goldberg, will perform from 1:00 to 1:30 pm. Shauna plays with various groups including the Galloway Highlanders. She loves sharing the evocative essence of the Highland Pipes on city streets, rollicking bus rides or on mountain summits. On Earth Day, she will be playing in the glen behind the Visitor Center.

- Celtic Beat Irish Dancers will return to Earth Day again this year. Celtic Beat will show off their fancy footwork from 2:00 – 2:30 pm. These spirited youth dancers have been trained by LaRae Thackery of Layton.

- Dan Arnow along with other local talent, will host an Earth Day Musical Tribute and drumming circle from 3:00 - 4:00 pm.

At the Ogden Nature Center Amphitheater
Wild Bird Presentations will start at 12:30, 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, 2:30, 3:00 and 3:30 pm. Ogden Nature Center educators and volunteers will present several of the birds and animals that call the Nature Center home. Learn about bird species native to Utah, including owls, hawks and eagles.

In the West classroom of the LS Peery Education Center
Composting Lectures will take place at 1:00 & 3:00 p.m.

EXHIBITORS – set up all day from 12 noon – 4 pm
Slow Food Utah
Leave No Trace
Recycled Denim Art
Henna, Mendhi
Sustainable Ogden / Fresh Air Fridays
Ogden Ranger District / River Trailer
Audubon Society / Backyard Birding
Dept. of Environmental Quality
Weber Pathways
ATK / Wet Lab
Sierra Club
Ogden Farmers Market
Ogden Nature Center Earth Day Poster Contest Exhibit
Ogden Nature Center Birdhouse Exhibit
Ogden Nature Center Volunteer and Membership Information
Glass Recycling
Solar Array Tours
Utah Environmental Congress
Save Our Canyons
Garden & Landscape Design
Ogden Bicycle Collective
Forest Monitoring Program
USU Horticultural Courses
Quality Bicycle Products

ACTIVITIES – running throughout the day from 12 noon – 4 pm
- Climbing wall
- Soda bottle seed growing
- Microhikes
- Head wreaths with the WSU Botany Club
- Sunscope with Brad Carroll from Weber State University
- Astronomy activity with Ott Planetarium
- Make-and-take nature crafts with ONC education staff – recycled necklaces and nature landscape craft
- Story time
- Puppet shows
- Song circles
- Bird Scavenger Hunt with ONC education staff
- Tours of the Nature Center’s green buildings and solar array throughout the day

- Caramel Corn
- Smoothies by Smoothie Island
- Navajo Tacos by Sandy’s Kitchen
- Lemonade & Iced Tea by Grounds for Coffee
- Organic Fare by Dragonfly Health Foods

- Native Plant Sale by Willard Bay Gardens
- Handmade jewelry by Heather Castillow
- Handmade gourds and leaf pictures by Green Leaf Gifts & Greenhouse
- Pottery by Kevin Parsons
- Eco-friendly products with Green the World
- Stained glass and flower pots with Youth Impact
- Sun Necklaces & Earth Day bracelets by ONC volunteers

This year’s Earth Day Celebration is sponsored by Elliot-Hall Company, ATK, Ogden City Arts, The Standard-Examiner, Quality Bicycle Products, Westinghouse and Grounds for Coffee.

Earth day will be held rain or shine at the Ogden Nature Center, located at 966 W. 12th Street in Ogden. For more information contact the Ogden Nature Center at 801-621-7595.

Utah State Parks Statewide Snow Grooming Ends April 1

Photo Courtesy Skyline Sno-Riders, Brian Howarth

Salt Lake -- With the onset of spring conditions across much of the state, Utah State Parks and Recreation announces an end to its 2010 snowmobile trail grooming season effective April 1.

Utah State Parks operates 11 snowmobile trail groomers on nine snowmobile trail complexes in the state. These complexes stretch from Logan Canyon to Cedar Mountain.

“We’ve had a tremendous snowmobile season,” said Fred Hayes, off-highway vehicle program coordinator with Utah State Parks. “Since we began grooming in November, our groomers have maintained more than 25,000 miles of trail for public use.” He added that spring conditions are now limiting groomer access on many complexes, and with current budgetary constraints, it’s time to wrap up the season.

Hayes says there is still some great riding in some of Utah’s high country, but encourages snowmobilers to exercise caution.

“Avalanche dangers remain and snowmobilers should avoid areas where avalanche activity has been noted,” said Hayes. “We also encourage all backcountry users to get an avalanche advisory before heading out, and to always wear an avalanche beacon and take along a shovel and probe.”

For additional information, please call (801) 538-7220 or 1-800-OHV-RIDE.

Utah State Parks and Recreation administers the state off-highway vehicle program, providing education, access, maintenance, and enforcement.

Water Available at Little Sahara Campgrounds

Fillmore, Utah— The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Little Sahara Recreation Area (LSRA) would like to inform the public that the water supply at the LSRA campgrounds will be turned on Friday, April 2, 2010, just in time for those who are planning on visiting LSRA during the Easter weekend.
The Little Sahara Recreation Area Visitor Center summer hours beginning on April 1 through October 17, 2010 are as follows:

Little Sahara Visitor Center Hours of Operation
Sunday: 8:00 a.m. thru 4:00 p.m.
Monday: 8:00 a.m. thru 4:00 p.m.
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: Closed
Thursday: 8:00 a.m. thru 4:00 p.m.
Friday: 8:00 a.m. thru 9:00 p.m.
Saturday: 8:00 a.m. thru 9:00 p.m.

Visitor Center and Pay Booth will be open for extended hours as needed throughout the season.
For more information about LSRA, call 435.433.5960 or 435.743.3100 or visit their web page at:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cold Water Dangers and Survival Tips

Salt Lake City - As ice begins to melt off reservoirs, Utah State Parks boating officials remind everyone to be aware of sudden spring storms and cold water temperatures.

“You never know when you might end up in the water. Life jackets not only keep you afloat, but provide an extra layer of warmth,” said Assistant Boating Program Manager Chris Haller. “The combination of additional heat and flotation might mean the difference between life and death.”
Haller recommends these cold water boating safety tips:

- Have a ladder or a method to re-board your boat
- Carry a signaling device, such as a mirror or flare gun
- Carry a cell phone or marine band radio with service where you boat
- Always tell someone your boating plans including where you are going and what time you will return
- Check local weather conditions before heading out
- Carry proper equipment on board your boat

For more information, visit stateparks.utah.gov or call (801) 538-BOAT. Wear it Utah!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fewer bison permits for the Henry Mountains among 2010 Big Game Proposals

The number of hunting permits for most of Utah’s big game animals could go up this fall.

One exception is cow bison permits for the Henry Mountains. But fewer permits to hunt cow bison on the Henry Mountains is actually good news—it means the bison herd on the unit can start building to a new management objective.

Learn more, share your ideas
You can review all of the Division of Wildlife Resources big game permit proposals at www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings . 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 set the permit numbers. They’ll approve the final numbers at their March 31 meeting in Salt Lake City.

You can participate and provide your input at any of the following meetings (please note that the Northeastern RAC is meeting on a Monday):

You can also provide your comments to your RAC via e-mail. E-mail addresses for your RAC members are available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings .

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.

Permit recommendations
The following chart shows the number of permits that were available in 2009 and the number the DWR is recommending for 2010:
                                              2009        2010
General season buck deer        94,000     94,000
Premium limited entry deer      173          179
Limited entry deer                   1,021      1,034
Management buck deer            60            95
Limited entry bull elk                2,737       2,976
Pronghorn antelope                  992          1,035
Moose                                     147           139
Bison                                       170           39
Rocky Mountain goat               104           111
Desert bighorn sheep                37             45
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep  24             31

Fewer bison permits
It’s time to start increasing the number of bison on the Henry Mountains in southeastern Utah.

To do that, the Division of Wildlife Resources is recommending fewer bison hunting permits for the unit this fall.

Two types of bison permits are offered for the Henry Mountains. Most of the permits allow hunters to take either a bull bison or a cow bison. Others allow hunters to take only a cow.

“A management plan for the Henry’s was approved in August 2007,” says Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR. “One of the objectives in the plan limits the number of adult bison on the unit to not more than 305 after the 2010 hunting season is over.”

The plan allows that number to increase to not more than 315 adults after the 2011 season is over and not more than 325 after the 2012 season.

Using information from aerial surveys, harvest data from the 2009 hunt and range studies of habitat on the Henry Mountains, biologists feel it’s safe to start increasing the number of bison on the unit to the 305 adult objective.

And right now should be a good time to do that. Aoude says the DWR and its partners have spent more than $1 million on habitat work on the Henry’s over the past three years alone. More than 8,000 acres of habitat has been improved. And multiple water sources have been developed across the unit.

Elk Tests Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease

Samples from big game animals taken this past hunting season turned up something never seen in Utah before—an elk with chronic wasting disease.

The cow elk—along with five buck deer—tested positive for CWD. The six animals were taken on units in Utah where CWD has been found in past years.

CWD was not found in any new areas in Utah this past fall.

“Chronic wasting disease is most prevalent in deer, but sometimes elk and even moose get it,” says Leslie McFarlane, wildlife disease coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources.

The cow elk was taken last November on the LaSal Mountains in southeastern Utah. Three of the five deer were also taken on the LaSal Mountains. The two remaining deer were taken on the Central Mountains unit in central Utah.

DWR biologists collected samples from more than 1,100 deer, 37 moose and close to 370 elk this past season.

Since the fall of 2002, the DWR has collected and tested samples from nearly 15,000 mule deer. Of the nearly 15,000 samples, only 48 deer have tested positive for CWD. Thirty-nine of those 48 deer were taken on the LaSal Mountains.

CWD is fatal to deer, elk and moose. But there’s no evidence the disease can be transmitted to humans. More information about CWD is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/diseases/cwd .

Proposed Elk Hunting Changes

Two major elk hunting changes would happen if proposed updates to Utah’s five-year Elk Management Plan are approved. There would be:

- fewer chances in the future to hunt bull elk on limited-entry units.
- more chances to hunt spike bull elk in Utah.

You can see all of the changes the Division of Wildlife Resources is proposing at www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings/next.php . After reviewing the proposed changes, you can share your 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 consider the input they receive as they approve the final plan. They’ll approve the plan at their March 31 meeting in Salt Lake City.

You can participate and provide your input at any of the following meetings (please note that the Northeastern RAC is meeting on a Monday):

Southern Region
March 16
7 p.m.
Beaver High School
195 E. Center St.

Southeastern Region
March 17
6:30 p.m.
John Wesley Powell Museum
1765 E. Main St.
Green River

Northeastern Region
March 22
6:30 p.m.
Uintah Basin Applied Technology College
450 N. 2000 W.

Central Region
March 23
6:30 p.m.
Central Region Conference Center
1115 N. Main St.

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

You can also provide your comments to your RAC via e-mail. E-mail addresses for your RAC members are available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings .

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.

Survey and committee
Utah’s 15-member Elk Advisory Committee helped the DWR draft the updated plan. The group included representatives from sportsmen groups and land managing agencies.

The group suggested the updates after reviewing a recent survey of Utah elk hunters.

DWR biologists conducted the survey. They surveyed more than 16,600 elk hunters. These hunters were randomly chosen from the more than 76,800 hunters who either applied for or obtained a Utah elk hunting permit in 2009. The hunters included both limited-entry and general-season hunters.

A summary of the survey results is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings/next.php .

Older bulls
One thing the DWR learned is that hunters who draw a Utah limited-entry permit want to take a bull that has large antlers. “Taking a bull with large antlers is very important to limited-entry hunters,” says Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR.

Utah already has a lot of big bull elk, including the world-record bull taken in 2008. To ensure there are plenty of big bulls in Utah in the future, the committee recommended that the DWR manage some of the state’s limited-entry units so hunters take bulls that are even older than those they’re currently taking.

Utah’s limited-entry units are managed so the average age of the bulls hunters take fall into one of four age categories. The age objective the units are managed under, and the objectives they would be managed under if the updates are approved, are as follows:

Current categories
3 - 4 years old (3 units)
4 - 5 years old (4 units)
5 - 6 years old (18 units)
6 - 7 years old (6 units)

Proposed categories
4½ - 5 years old (8 units)
5½ - 6 years old (13 units)
6½ - 7 years old (4 units)
7½ - 8 years old (6 units)

Whether the age objectives go up or not, the bulls’ ages on many of Utah’s elk units are already higher than the current objective and the new objective that’s being proposed. So permit numbers will continue to increase until more bulls are taken and the average age falls to whichever objective is finally approved.

Once the average age falls to whichever objective is approved, the number of permits will have to be reduced to keep the bulls at that objective. “Growing older bulls comes with a price,” Aoude says. “And that price is fewer permits for hunters.”

For example, if Utah’s elk herds were meeting the current age objective—which calls for slightly younger animals than the new, recommended objective—the DWR could issue about 2,500 permits each season.

Under the new, recommended age objective—which calls for older bulls—the DWR could issue only about 2,200 permits.

More spike permits
While the number of limited-entry bull elk permits might eventually go down, the number of general spike bull elk permits could go up over the next five years.

Raising the number of general spike bull permits to 13,750 is another update the committee suggested. (Currently, 12,500 permits are offered.)

Then, if fewer than 20 percent of the spike hunters take a bull during the 2010 and 2011 seasons, the permit cap would be raised to 15,000 permits for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons.

“Our survey shows that spending time with family and friends is the most important part of the hunt for general-season elk hunters,” Aoude says.

Aoude says raising the number of spike bull permits would accomplish two things.

“First, it would provide more elk hunters with a chance to hunt,” he says. “Second, it would benefit the elk herds by reducing the overall number of bulls. Right now, the number of bulls per 100 cows is higher than it should be.”