Monday, June 21, 2010

Grouse and Sandhill Crane Hunt Applications accepted starting June 24

Applications for three different Utah bird hunts will be accepted soon.

Starting June 24, the Division of Wildlife Resources will accept applications for this fall’s sage-grouse, sharp-tailed grouse and sandhill crane hunts.

To be included in the draw for permits, your application must be received through  no later than 11 p.m. on July 8.

You can also apply over-the-phone by calling the nearest DWR office no later than 6 p.m. on July 8.

If you’re not going to hunt grouse or cranes this year, you can still apply for a preference point. Hunters with preference points have the best chance at obtaining a permit in 2011.

If you apply for a permit, you’ll know by July 29 whether you drew one.

Sandhill crane tips
Those who obtain a sandhill crane permit you can expect a good hunt. “About 60 percent of the hunters who draw a permit and go afield to hunt cranes usually take one,” says Tom Aldrich, migratory game bird coordinator for the DWR.

Aldrich says scouting before the hunt is the key to success. “I’d encourage hunters to watch sandhill cranes in the mornings and the evenings, when they fly between their roosting and feeding areas,” he says. “Find the fields they’re feeding in. Then get written permission from the landowner to set up in that field.”

Aldrich says you can also find success pass shooting birds as they fly between roosting and feeding areas.

“Hunting success is pretty consistent from year-to-year,” Aldrich says. “Weather and other factors don’t affect the success rate much.”

Aldrich reminds you that some areas in Box Elder and Cache counties are closed to sandhill crane hunting.

In Box Elder County, the western half of the county is closed. The Harold Crane, Public Shooting Grounds and Salt Creek waterfowl management areas, and the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, are also closed to crane hunting.

In Cache County, a 1½-mile by 11-mile area in and around Mendon is closed.

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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