Tuesday, August 17, 2010

DWR Proposes Cougar Hunting Rules for the Next Three Years

If you’re interested in Utah’s cougars, pay attention to the Division of Wildlife Resource’s latest cougar hunting proposals—they’ll be in effect for the next three years.

”Keeping the hunting rules and permit numbers consistent will give our efforts to manage cougars more time to work,” says Kevin Bunnell, mammals coordinator for the DWR. “And that will result in future recommendations that will be best for the cougars and for the animals the cougars prey on.”

Utah’s cougar management plan was updated in 2009. This is the first season cougars will be managed under the new plan.

In addition to keeping the number of hunting permits consistent for three years, the plan gives biologists more direction on how to manage cougars on units that have bighorn sheep. It also provides more direction on how to manage cougars on units where the number of mule deer—the main animal cougars prey on—is still under the goal specified in unit management plans.

For the 2010 – 2011 season, biologists are recommending a slight increase in the number of cougars hunters can take. They estimate raising the number by about eight percent will result in hunters taking an average of about 325 cougars each season for the next three seasons.

Over the past three seasons, hunters took an average of 300 cougars each season.

(The state’s cougar management plan is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/pdf/cmgtplan.pdf .)

Learn more, share your ideas
After you’ve reviewed the DWR’s cougar hunting proposals at www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings , you can let your Regional Advisory Council members know your thoughts by attending an  upcoming meeting or by sending an e-mail to them.

RAC chairmen will share the input they receive with members of the Utah Wildlife Board. The board will meet in Salt Lake City on Aug. 19 to approve cougar hunting rules for the next three seasons.

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.

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