Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wildlife Board approves Antlerless Big Game Hunting Changes

Salt Lake City -- If they have a cow elk permit for the same area, all bull elk hunters—including rifle hunters—can take a cow elk during this fall’s bull elk hunt.

That change was among the antlerless big game hunting changes members of the Utah Wildlife Board approved at their May 6 meeting in Salt Lake City.

All of the changes the board approved—including permit numbers for individual units—will be available in the 2010 Utah Antlerless Guidebook. The guidebook should be available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks  by May 17.

Permit numbers
The following are the number of antlerless hunting permits that were available in 2009 and the number the board approved for this fall:

                             2009         2010

Cow elk                11,146      9,838
Doe deer               1,775       1,975
Doe pronghorn      1,107        622
Cow moose           30            19

Taking cow elk during the bull elk hunts

Division of Wildlife Resources biologists have used several strategies to keep elk herds within population objectives outlined in Utah’s elk unit management plans.

One of those strategies involves archery and muzzleloader bull elk hunters. If they have a cow elk permit for the same unit on which they’re hunting bulls, archery and muzzleloader elk hunters have been allowed to take a cow elk during the bull elk hunts.

Now rifle bull elk hunters will have the same chance.

“Allowing hunters to take a cow elk during the rifle bull elk hunts will be good for the state’s elk herds and the state’s rifle elk hunters,” says Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR.

“Doing so will help ensure enough cow elk are taken,” he says. “Rifle hunters have the highest success rate.

“Also, allowing hunters to take a cow elk during the bull elk rifle hunts will reduce the number of hunters who hunt during the cow elk-only hunts later in the year,” he says. “That will reduce hunter crowding and reduce pressure on the elk while they’re on their winter ranges.”

Deer and crops
Almost 90 percent of the doe deer permits the board approved will be used to control deer that are damaging crops on farm land.

The remaining 10 percent of the permits—200 of the 2,025 permits the board approved—will be used to keep deer herds on the Paunsaugunt and Panguitch Lake limited-entry units from growing beyond the number their habitat can support.

“The deer herds on these two units are at their population objective,” Aoude says. “We need to make sure we balance the number of deer with the habitat that’s available to them.”

Pronghorn on the Parker Mountains
In 2009, the board approved 1,107 doe pronghorn permits. Most of those permits were used to reduce the number of pronghorn on the Parker Mountains in southwestern Utah. (The population objective for the unit is 1,500 pronghorn.)

“The unit is getting closer to its population objective,” Aoude says. “Because it’s getting closer to the objective, we can start reducing the number of doe pronghorn permits offered for it.”

Moose: Nearing their objective
Aoude says the number of moose in northern Utah is approaching the population objective. At the May 6 meeting, members of the board approved a slight decrease in the number of cow moose permits available for hunts this year.

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

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