Friday, September 24, 2010

National Park Entrance fees waived on September 25

WASHINGTON – Come visit one of America’s 392 national parks on National Public Lands Day, September 25, 2010. All national parks are waiving entrance fees.

“I invite everyone to enjoy these special places,” said National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis. “National parks have contributed so much to me personally. Within their bounds, I’ve set off on adventures, relaxed in quiet solitude, and shared some unforgettable experiences with my wife and children. I encourage everyone to take advantage of the free entry on September 25. Bring your family and friends, and discover how America’s public lands can enrich your life.”

The national parks hold something for everyone—hardcore hikers and campers and people who like to explore history, take a leisurely nature walk, or simply pack a picnic lunch and get away from it all. In the parks, visitors of all abilities and interests can enjoy a day away, often without making more than a short trip from one of the population centers many of us call home.

For example:
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park offers residents of the Washington metropolitan area the chance to discover the Civil War and the build-up to this conflict.

New Yorkers can stroll and picnic in a landscape of woodlands and meadows, marsh and beach, at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site on Long Island.  For people who call Chicago or Gary, Ind., home, it’s not too late to build sand castles at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

At Bandelier National Monument, residents of Albuquerque and Santa Fe can climb wooden ladders and sit in cavates—tiny rooms carved into cliffs by Ancestral Pueblo people.  Folks in San Diego can get an up-close look at seastars, anemones, and other tidepool creatures at Cabrillo National Monument.

To discover many other activities available in national parks, please consult the National Park Service’s Events Calendar for 2010 ( ). It’s not too early to start thinking about how to take advantage of the next time your national parks waive entrance fees—Veterans Day, November 11, the last of 2010’s fee-free days.

Here are the Utah parks that are participating in these FEE FREE day:

Arches National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Cedar Breaks National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Golden Spike National Historic Site
Hovenweep National Monument
Natural Bridges National Monument
Zion National Park

The National Environmental Education Foundation, a Congressionally chartered complement to the Environmental Protection Agency, organizes National Public Lands Day every year. This annual event encourages stewardship and enjoyment of public lands. On National Public Lands Day, volunteers labor to conserve national, state, and local parks; national forests; and other lands that belong to the American people. In support of the effort to engage people in service and recreation on public lands, the National Park Service waives entrance fees on National Public Lands Day.

September 27, 2010 - October 1, 2010 Drivetime Audio Segments Now Available

Download this week’s drivetime programming at our Network Page at  . Check out the schedule below or find a station near you that airs Backcountry Utah.


September 27, 2010
 Monday Morning (Track 1) Radios for Emergency Communication-- Stuart Barber, Midland Radio

Monday Afternoon (Track 2) FRS and GMRS Radio Bands-- Stuart Barber, Midland Radio

September 28, 2010
Tuesday Morning (Track 3) Pick a Radio with multiple Power Sources-- Stuart Barber, Midland Radio

Tuesday Afternoon (Track 4) Revealing the Base Camp Radio—Stuart Barber, Midland Radio

September 29, 2010
Wednesday Morning (Track 5) Light My Fire Swedish Fire Steel-- Steve Llorente—Industrial Revolution

Wednesday Afternoon (Track 6) Basic Fire Building Principles-- SteveLlorente-- Insustrial Revolution

September 30, 2010
Thursday Morning (Track 7) Swedish Fire Steel 2.0 now Available-- SteveLlorente-- Industrial Revolution

Thursday Afternoon (Track 8) See Artisan Cheesemaking on UEN-- Lisa Cohne, Utah Education Network

October 1, 2010
 Friday Morning (Track 9) Fall Colors at their Peak during the Hunts-- Guy Perkins, Camp Chef

 Friday Afternoon (Track 10) Maintaining Quality Game for the Table – Guy Perkins, Camp Chef

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Registration open for Antelope Island Bison Roundup and Range Ride

Syracuse – Antelope Island State Park hosts the 24th Annual Bison Roundup and Range Ride Friday, October 29 and Saturday, October 30. Horsemen and women interested in participating in the range ride must register by Friday, October 22. All registration documents are available online at

Range ride participants herd the Antelope Island bison to designated areas on Friday and Saturday. Please be aware that in past years, most bison have been moved to holding facilities on the first day of the range ride. Registration fees are $25 per person and include a souvenir bandana and entertainment. For more information, visit or call (801) 773-2941.

Youth Off-Highway Vehicle Training Course Offered

Salt Lake City – An off-highway vehicle (OHV) education course for youth eight to 15 is available at 9 a.m. Saturday, October 9 at the Jordan River OHV State Recreation Area. Students must first complete the online certification class and receive the youth OHV education card before registering for the course.

This three-hour training provides hands-on instruction covering correct turning postures, braking procedures, handling quick stops and swerves, riding over obstacles and traversing hills. A parent or legal guardian must attend the class and students must provide their own appropriately-sized OHV, helmet and goggles, and wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves and over the ankle boots.

Classes are free, but pre-registration is required by calling 1-800-OHV-RIDE.

California Condors Get Help from Hunters

Photo by Lynn Chamberlain, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Utah offers rebates to those using non-lead ammunition
The amount of lead California condors are exposed to in southern Utah should be going down soon.

In August, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources launched a program to encourage hunters to use non-lead ammunition while hunting on the Zion unit near the Utah/Arizona border.

The agency mailed rebate coupons to more than 2,000 deer, elk and bighorn sheep hunters. Each hunter who received a coupon indicated he or she planned to hunt on the Zion unit this fall.

Those who receive a coupon can mail it back to the UDWR along with proof that they bought a box of non-lead ammunition. In return, the UDWR will mail a check for $25 to the hunter.

The $25 check will cover most of what they spent to buy a box of non-lead bullets.

To qualify for the rebate, hunters need to buy bullets that are truly non-lead bullets. Bonded or jacketed lead bullets will not qualify for the rebate.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Utah’s Endangered Species Mitigation Fund provided the money for the rebate.

Lead poisoning
California condors are scavengers. Among the animals they eat are those that die after being wounded. They also eat gut piles that are left after hunters clean the animals the hunters have harvested.

Keith Day, a regional sensitive species biologist for the UDWR, says the animal carcasses and gut piles often contain fragments from lead bullets. After ingesting the fragments, the condors can contract lead poisoning.

Day says 15 condors have died from lead poisoning since condors were reintroduced to northern Arizona and southern Utah in 1996. He says lead poisoning is the greatest threat to the recovery of condors in the two states.

“More than 60 percent of the condors show signs of exposure to lead each year,” Day says. “That’s dangerously high for a population that numbers about 75 birds.”

Day says he’s hopeful the non-lead program will turn that figure around.

“Hunters top the list of people who care about wildlife and want to see it flourish,” Day says. “If you’re among those who received a coupon, we hope you’ll buy a box of non-lead bullets and use them while hunting on the Zion unit this fall.

”We think it’s possible to have both a quality hunt and a healthy California condor population in Utah.”

Monday, September 20, 2010

Volunteers needed at Great Salt Lake Nature Center

Photo by Charles Uibel ©2007

Farmington — Do you love the great outdoors? Would you like to share your passion with others?

A school field trip program at the Great Salt Lake Nature Center might be the perfect opportunity to do just that! Volunteers are needed to teach school children and other visitors about wildlife habitat and the importance of protecting it while guiding them along the center's new 1.5 mile boardwalk.

The boardwalk takes visitors through the middle of the area's wetlands. On Sept. 13, nature center staff will hold a training session for new volunteers. The training will be held at the center from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The center is at 1700 W. Glover Lane in Farmington.

Justina Parsons-Bernstein, director of the nature center, says you can also help teach workshops the center offers. "Animal tracks and sign, the wide variety of birds that use the Great Salt Lake, and the Great Salt Lake ecosystem itself are among the topics you can help students learn," she says.

If you'd like to attend the training, please RSVP to Parsons-Bernstein by calling her at 801-589-2373. If you can't attend the Sept. 13 training session, contact Parsons-Bernstein to find out when the next training will be held.

More information about the nature center, including directions to the center, are available at .

Seeing nature in a new way
The recently completed 1.5 mile wheelchair-accessible boardwalk was built by the nature center's staff, volunteers, colleagues and partners, including Utah Wildlife in Need, a non-profit wildlife foundation. The trail passes over four types of habitat: emergent marsh, riparian, upland and large ponds.

"The trail is beautiful," Parsons-Bernstein says. "And it's increased access and visitation to the 300-acre educational area near the nature center." Parsons-Bernstein says the nature center's field trip and workshop program helps 4,000 students and 500 Boy Scouts see nature in a new way every year. "And they learn to see nature in a new way in one of the most dynamic and beautiful natural areas in Utah," she says.

Friday, September 17, 2010

September 25 is Raptor Watch Day

Photo by Scott Root, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Orem -- Thousands of hawks, eagles and other birds of prey fly through Utah’s crisp, clear skies every fall. This fall, a hawk that’s been rehabilitated will join them! You can see and learn more about these raptors—and watch the release of a hawk that’s been nursed back to health—during this year’s Raptor Watch Day.

The event will happen at the Orem Overlook on Sept. 25, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The overlook is along the Squaw Peak Trail Road, just east of Orem.

A Swainson’s hawk that’s been nursed back to health by Patti Richards, a wildlife rehabilitator in Springville, will be released at noon.

Getting to the site
You can reach Squaw Peak Trail Road from Provo Canyon.

To reach the canyon from Interstate 15, exit I-15 at the 800 North exit in Orem (Exit 272) and travel east on 800 North. This road will take you into Provo Canyon.

Once you reach the mouth of the canyon, travel for about two miles, and look for Raptor Watch Day event signs on the south side of the road. Once you see the signs, turn onto Squaw Peak Trail Road and travel to the overlook.

The Division of Wildlife Resources hosts Raptor Watch Day every year. The event is free.

Kick back, and relax
Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the DWR, says by Sept. 25, the trees near the Orem Overlook should be gleaming in their fall colors. And the air should be crisp at the watch site.

“If the skies are clear,” Walters says, “you’ll be treated to an up-close look at harriers, vultures, eagles, hawks and falcons as they sail overhead.”

Walters says experts will be on hand to help you identify the birds and to answer any questions you have about the raptors’ fall migration. “Raptor Watch Day is a great opportunity to kick back, relax and watch raptors,” he says.

For more information, call Walters at (801) 209-5326.

Kokanee Day is September. 18

Photo by Ron Stewart

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will host Kokanee Salmon Day at Sheep Creek on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010 at the Scenic Byway turnout where Sheep Creek crosses under Highway 44. Biologists will be on site between 10:00 a.m. and 3 p.m. with display materials to help viewers see the fish and interpret the kokanee's behavior.

Bring your camera and your binoculars. At Sheep Creek, Kokanee Day often becomes Wildlife Day as bighorn sheep and other wildlife species are frequently seen from the site. The biologists often have their spotting scopes on these majestic animals or can tell you where they are.

Occasionally other big mammals come down to visit and birds of prey like golden eagles, kestrels, osprey and vultures are frequent visitors. Participants often hear Sandhill cranes as they fly over and report seeing a large variety of smaller mammals and birds.

Between the drive along one of Utah's first National Scenic Byways with its spectacular scenery and 18 interpretive sites, usually nice fall weather, leaves turning color, watchable wildlife and a great kokanee viewing opportunity, it is well worth the time to visit.

Bull Elk Permits: Get One Before They’re Gone

Photo by Brent Stettler, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Permits to hunt bull elk in Utah this fall are almost gone. On the morning of Sept. 13, the following general elk permits were still available:

Unit             Permits available
Any bull       2,199
Spike only   1,383

The general rifle bull elk hunt starts Oct. 9. Last fall, permits sold out before the hunt started.

“Don’t wait to get your permit,” says Judi Tutorow, wildlife licensing coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. “If you want to hunt bull elk in Utah, get your permit now.”

You can buy a permit at . Permits are also available at DWR offices and from more than 300 hunting license agents across Utah.

More information about Utah’s general bull elk hunts is available on pages 14 – 17 of the 2010 Utah Big Game Guidebook. The free guidebook is available at .

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

Partridge and grouse hunts open Sept. 25

Photo by Brent Stettler, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

More Chukars this Fall

You should find more chukar partridge in Utah this fall. With the exception of some areas in the west-central desert, chukar numbers appear to be up across most of the state.

And three other upland game birds—Hungarian partridge, sharp-tailed grouse and sage-grouse—also appear to be doing well.

Hunts for all four of these birds start Sept. 25.

Rain last spring
Dave Olsen, upland game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says rain that fell last spring and early summer provided the birds with better habitat. He says good spring and early summer moisture is critical to upland game birds. The moisture helps the vegetation grow and provides newly hatched birds with plenty of insects to eat.

“This year, Mother Nature delivered in the moisture department,” Olsen says. “Nesting temperatures were a little on the cold side, though.”

Olsen says the colder temperatures that accompany spring snow or sleet storms can sometimes create problems for birds that nest on the ground.

Olsen provides the following preview for each of the four hunts:

Chukar partridge
DWR biologists use helicopters to survey chukar populations in August each year.

The biologists conduct two surveys. One survey takes them over Tooele County. The other survey takes them over Box Elder County. Both counties have some of the best chukar habitat in Utah.

Biologists who flew the Tooele County survey route in August recorded the fewest number of chukars they’ve observed in the past decade.

The news from the Box Elder County survey, and reports from other areas in Utah, was more encouraging, though.

For example, a team from Brigham Young University is working on a multi-year water and wildlife research project in western Utah. Their research area stretches from the Dugway Proving Grounds south of Tooele to the Mohave Deseret west of St. George.

Olsen says members of the research team have seen more chukar partridge this year. And DWR biologists in southeastern Utah also report seeing a fair number of chukars in that part of the state.

“Overall, hunting for chukar partridge should be better than it was last fall,” Olsen says.

If you hunt chukars this fall, Olsen has a reminder: don’t drive your all-terrain vehicles or other vehicles near water sources.

“The vegetation around these water sources is important habitat,” Olsen says. “It provides security to wildlife in the area. And it protects chukars from predators when the birds come to the water sources for a drink.”

More information about hunting chukar partridge is available in an audio interview at the DWR’s website. You can hear the interview at .

Hungarian partridge
Hungarian partridge are another upland game bird that appears to be doing well this year.

Huns are found from Cache County to as far south as northern Utah County. But dry farms in Box Elder County, and brushy areas near those farms, are the state’s Hungarian partridge hotspots.

Olsen reminds you that these hotspots are found almost entirely on private land. Before approaching landowners to ask for written permission to hunt, ask yourself this question: If you allowed someone to hunt on land you owned, how would you want that person to treat your property?

Olsen says that’s the same way you should treat private property that landowners give you written permission to hunt on.

“If you treat landowners and their land with respect, there’s a decent chance they’ll allow you on their property in the future,” Olsen says.

Special permit to hunt sharp-tailed grouse and sage-grouse
A small game or combination license is the only license you need to hunt chukars or Huns.

Hunting sharp-tailed grouse and sage-grouse is different—in addition to your license, you also need a special permit for the bird you’re hunting. And all of the sage-grouse and sharp-tailed grouse permits for this fall’s hunts have been taken.

If you obtained a permit, Olsen says you can expect a good hunt.

Sharp-tailed grouse
Utah has two sharp-tailed grouse hunting units, one in Cache County and one in eastern Box Elder County. Most of the sharp-tailed grouse hunting that happens on the units happens on private land.

“Please remember that you must obtain written permission to hunt on private land,” Olsen says. “And once you’ve obtained that permission, please treat the land and the landowners with respect.”

Overall, Olsen says Utah’s sage-grouse populations are doing well. Plenty of birds should be available to hunters who drew a permit.

“The wet spring did appear to have some effect on nesting sage-grouse,” he says. “Snow that fell late last spring reduced nesting success in some areas.”

On a positive note, the improved habitat conditions the storms created appeared to benefit the chicks that did hatch. Olsen says most of the sage-grouse chicks that hatched this past spring made it through the summer.

If you hunt upland game this fall or winter, Olsen asks for your help:

Keep a journal
After the hunting season is over, you might receive a telephone call or an e-mail from the DWR asking you about your hunting experience. To provide accurate information, Olsen asks you to keep a record of where and when you hunted, and how many birds you took each time you went.

An easy way to keep track is to use the agency’s Upland Game Hunter’s Harvest Record. The record is found on page 24 of the 2010 – 2011 Utah Upland Game Guidebook.

The free guidebook is available at .

Olsen says the information you provide is valuable in helping biologists monitor the condition of Utah’s upland game populations and trends in the populations.

Give a wing
If you obtained a sage-grouse or a sharp-tailed grouse permit, biologists would like you to supply a wing from each bird you take. Having the wings allows biologists to determine several things, including the gender of the birds taken, the nesting success of the hens, when the chicks were hatched and how old the birds are.

You can deposit the wings in wing-collection barrels. The barrels will be available at many of the state’s popular sage-grouse and sharp-tailed grouse hunting areas.

You can also drop the wings off at DWR offices from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays.

More information
More information about hunting upland game in Utah is available at .

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Liability Insurance required for Boats and Personal Watercraft

Salt Lake– Owners of motorboats, including personal watercraft (PWC), are required to carry owner’s or operator’s liability insurance on vessels operating on Utah’s waters. Motorboats equipped with engines less than 50 horsepower are exempt from this requirement.

Proof of insurance must be carried on board their motorboat whenever it is in operation. The minimum insurance requirements are: $25,000/$50,000 bodily injury/death - $15,000 property damage or $65,000 combined minimum per accident.

A motorboat owned by a non-Utah resident and registered in the non-resident’s state must meet its state’s insurance requirements or have 90 days to comply with Utah’s liability insurance requirements.

The following tips may help save money on boat insurance:

- Look for a marine-specific policy

- Get an appraisal of your boat’s value: Today's competitive boat buying market has likely reduced the value of your boat, which could allow you to reduce your premium.

- Check for duplication and understand your coverage: If you have a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, it may cover items such as sports equipment.

- Educate yourself: Take a Utah State Parks or U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary boating education course. Completion of the course may reduce your premium.

For more information go or call 801-538-BOAT. Wear it Utah!

Native trout returning to Shingle Creek

Photo by Tod Williams

One of Utah's native fish, the Bonneville cutthroat trout, will soon be returned to the Shingle Creek drainage. Shingle Creek is one of the primary tributaries of Clear Creek, located on the north end of the Tushar Mountains in Piute and Sevier counties. The stream originates near the Piute-Beaver county line and flows north for approximately 9 miles to where it meets the much smaller Clear Creek. The entire length of Shingle Creek lies within the boundaries of the Fishlake National Forest.

The drainage above the Shingle-Clear Creek confluence will be chemically treated with rotenone on Sept. 22, 2010, in order to remove non-native fish. This area includes: approximately 8 miles of Shingle Creek, beginning 1.2 miles upstream (south) of the end of Forest Road 114 and extending to the confluence with Clear Creek; Snow Canyon, a small tributary, from its confluence with Shingle Creek upstream approximately 2.5 miles; and Clear Creek, from its confluence with Shingle Creek upstream approximately 1.5 miles. In addition, two ponds on the Nowell property in Long Valley will be treated with rotenone on Sept. 20 or 21. To ensure that non-native fish are completely removed from target waters, a second rotenone treatment is planned for Sept. 2011.

General plans to conduct native trout restoration projects were formalized in The Conservation Agreement and Strategy for Bonneville Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarki utah) in the state of Utah. Specific details of the Shingle Creek project were outlined in the Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for Native Trout Restoration and Enhancement Projects in Southwestern Utah.

Liquid rotenone (Prentox Prenfish toxicant) will be applied to target waters using nineteen 7-gallon drip barrels. The drips will be set on the morning of the Sept. 22 and run through the afternoon. Most drips will run for 3 to 8 hours, depending upon the location, to ensure that all fresh water sources are simultaneously treated. Charges for drip stations are calculated to apply the 5% active ingredient liquid rotenone at a concentration of 1.5 parts per million in the target reach. Rotenone applied by backpack sprayers will be mixed at a ratio of approximately 8 ounces of 5% rotenone to 3 gallons of filtered water.

To deactivate the rotenone downstream of the target area, potassium permanganate—an oxidizing agent—will be applied to treated waters below the Shingle-Clear Creek confluence.

Although rotenone is relatively benign to humans, fish treated with the chemical have not been cleared for human consumption by the FDA. Consequently, the salvage of fish during the project will not be permitted. Bonneville cutthroat trout may be stocked in the treated section as early as fall 2011. Similar restoration projects involving Utah's native trout are underway throughout the state as part of conservation strategies designed to prevent their listing under the Endangered Species Act.

Stay on guard; mussels still a threat

Utah's boating season is winding down. But the threat quagga mussels pose to Utah is still very real.
Photo by Natalie Boren

Summer is winding down, but the threat from mussels still exists. Even though boaters are putting their boats away for the season, a nasty little invader could still make its way into Utah over Labor Day weekend.

And Lake Mead would be a likely source. Larry Dalton says the number of quagga mussels produced at Lake Mead each year reaches its high point in September and October. "Lake Mead has more quagga mussels in it during those two months than any time during the year," says Dalton, aquatic invasive species coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

"To avoid giving these mussels a free ride into Utah, boaters need to decontaminate their boats before they leave the lake."

The same goes at Sand Hollow Reservoir, Red Fleet Reservoir and Electric Lake in Utah; after boating on these waters, you must clean, drain and dry your boat before placing it on any water in Utah. "An adult quagga mussel was found earlier this year at Sand Hollow," Dalton says, "and we detected microscopic forms of quagga and zebra mussels at Red Fleet and Electric Lake two years ago."

More information about how to decontaminate your boat — including a simple clean, drain and dry process you can follow—is available at .

Clean, drain and dry
Cleaning, draining and drying your boat is the easiest way to decontaminate it. "You can do it yourself," Dalton says, "and it won't cost you a thing."

Follow these three steps to clean, drain and dry your boat:

1.Remove all of the plants, mud or animals (attached mussels or fish) from your boat's exterior and interior by wiping them clean.

2.Drain all the water from places in your boat where it may have accumulated. This includes the ballast tanks, the bilge, live wells and the motor. Even coolers that contain water from the lake should be drained.

The first two steps should be done immediately after pulling your boat out of the water and up the launch ramp. "Doing these steps should become as routine as securing your boat to its trailer," Dalton says. "Make sure you do them every time."

3.Finally, dry your boat and all the equipment that got wet (water toys, anchor or tie ropes and the anchor chest) at home or where you store it for the following amount of time:

Months                                               Dry time
June, July and August--                        7 days
September, October and November-- 18 days
December, January and February--      30 days
March, April and May--                      18 days

Temperatures that drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for three straight days will also kill the mussels.

If you want to get your boat on the water before the drying times allow, you'll have to get it professionally decontaminated. "Decontamination equipment is available at most of Utah's popular boating waters," Dalton says, "and the service is typically free."

When you get your boat decontaminated, a certified operator will wash it inside and out with scalding hot water (140 degrees Fahrenheit). He or she will use the same hot water to flush the raw water circulation systems on your boat too.

You can learn where decontamination units are located by calling a regional DWR aquatic invasive species biologist. Telephone numbers for the biologists are available at

Dalton has two more reminders:
Decontamination form required—it's the law!

Before you launch your boat in Utah, you must fill out a decontamination certification form, sign it and date it, and then display it in plain sight on the dashboard of your vehicle.

You can get a form that's good for the entire 2010 boating season at

Dalton would like to know your thoughts about Utah's Aquatic Invasive Species program. "We'd like you to give us your candid response by taking a survey on our website," he says.

The survey is available at

Apply for swan permits by Sept. 9

Two thousand hunters will have a chance to hunt tundra swans in Utah this fall.
Photo by Phil Douglass

If you want to hunt tundra swans in Utah this fall, you need to apply for a permit no later than 11 p.m. on Sept. 9, 2010. You can apply for a 2010 Utah swan hunting permit at .  If you need help applying, call 801-538-4700 no later than 6 p.m. on Sept. 9, 2010.

Complete the swan course first
If you haven't completed Utah's one-time Swan Hunter Orientation course, you must complete the course before you apply for a permit.

The course is available in the waterfowl portion of the Division of Wildlife Resource's website ( ). The course takes about 30 minutes to complete. You only have to complete the course once, so if you've already completed it, you don't need to take the course again.

A thrilling experience
Just like last year, a total of 2,000 permits will be available for this fall's hunt. Last year, 4,406 hunters applied. Tom Aldrich, migratory game bird coordinator for the DWR, says Utah is one of four states in the Pacific Flyway where hunters can hunt tundra swans. "If you want an experience that'll get your heart pounding," Aldrich says, "try hunting tundra swans. These birds are huge. Waiting for one to fly in close enough for a good shot is a thrill.

"And just hearing and seeing swans in the marsh in the fall—whether you have a swan permit or not—is quite a thrill too," he says.

Learn more
More information about applying for a swan permit is available on pages 11 and 12 of the 2010–2011 Utah Waterfowl Guidebook. A draft copy of the guidebook is available online at   .

Friday, September 3, 2010

Great Upland Game Hunts for kids begin Septermber 11

Photo by Phil Douglass

Two hunts that are great ones to take your children out on—Utah's cottontail rabbit and forest grouse hunts—start Sept. 11, 2010.

The snowshoe hare hunt also starts Sept. 11, 2010. But you don't have to wait until Sept. 11, 2010 to start upland game hunting. If you're really adventurous, you can head to the high country now to pursue white-tailed ptarmigan. The hunt for this bird that lives above the timberline started Aug. 21, 2010. It runs until Oct. 17, 2010.

Take your kids out
Dave Olsen, upland game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says taking your kids on a cottontail rabbit or a forest grouse hunt is a perfect way to introduce them to hunting. Rabbits can be taken with small .22 caliber rifles, and grouse can be taken with shotguns as small as .410s. If you match the size of the firearm to the size of your child, your child should have fun and find some success.

Olsen says the two hunts are also a great way to introduce children to nature.

"Rabbits and grouse are small enough that your kids can help you dress the game they've taken and prepare it for the table," he says. "And forest grouse have beautiful and intricate feather patterns that help them blend into their surroundings. It's fun to watch your children marvel at the birds' feathers."

The following is a preview for each of the four hunts:

Forest grouse
Two forest grouse species live in Utah—ruffed grouse and dusky grouse. (Dusky grouse are commonly known as blue grouse).

Good numbers of forest grouse were born in Utah this past spring. And many of the grouse survived this past summer. About the same number of grouse that were available last fall—and maybe a few more—should be available to you this season.

Areas that have aspen trees are good places to find ruffed grouse. Aspen forests with streams and heavy understory vegetation and tangles are especially good places to try.

You'll often find dusky grouse on the edge of the forest where the mountain brush blends into the forest. Dusky grouse can also be found deeper in the forest. In the winter, try wind-swept ridges that have pine trees.

Cottontail rabbits
Cottontail rabbit populations go through a boom-and-bust cycle that lasts about 10 years. After reaching the top of the cycle, rabbits decline in number until they reach the bottom of the cycle about five years later. Then their numbers start to build back to the high levels again.

The last rabbit population peak across most of the state occurred around 2005. That means rabbit populations across most of Utah are at the bottom of their cycle and are just starting to build again. You can expect to find and harvest cottontails, but hunting will be a little slower than it is when populations are at the top of the cycle. Taking a full bag limit will likely require some time and effort.

Snowshoe hares
Snowshoe hare populations appear to be in fair condition again this year. You'll find most of Utah's snowshoe hares in higher elevation mountain ranges that have pine and fir trees and a brushy understory. You have to be willing to put some time and effort in to find their habitat. Early morning and evening are the best times to hunt hares. That's when they're the most active.

White-tailed ptarmigan
White-tailed ptarmigan live above the timberline in the Uinta Mountains. Once you've gotten above the timberline, look for ptarmigan on talus rock slopes and outcrops that have dwarf willow bushes that are located near springs, streams or other wet areas.

Hunter success this year should be similar to past years. Ptarmigan are limited in distribution, and they're highly prized because of their novelty.

Before hunting ptarmigan, you must obtain a free white-tailed ptarmigan permit. You can obtain one from hunting license agents across Utah and at any DWR office.

You can also obtain a free permit at Once you arrive at the site, click on the Licenses choice, and then click on the "Buy fishing licenses, hunting licenses and hunting permits online" choice. Enter your date of birth and your Social Security or Customer ID number. Then proceed through the screens until you come to the list of available permits.

The free white-tailed ptarmigan permits are listed under the Small Game option.

Respect private landowners
All four of these species are found on public land, so finding a place to hunt shouldn't be a problem. But some cottontail, snowshoe hare and forest grouse hunting opportunities are also available on private land.

If you allowed someone to hunt on land you owned, how would you want that person to treat your property? Olsen says that's the same way you should treat private property that landowners give you written permission to hunt on.

"If you treat landowners and their land with respect, there's a decent chance they'll allow you on their property in the future," Olsen says.

Learn more
More information about upland game hunting in Utah is available in the 2010–2011 Utah Upland Game Guidebook. The guidebook is available at

You can also learn more by visiting the upland game portion of the DWR's website at .

National Archery in the Schools Program Improves students’ confidence, focus, motivation and behavior

National Archery in the Schools Program

The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) teaches international-style target archery in physical education classes for grades four through twelve.

The program fits easily into the school day, usually as a two-week PE course. The course covers archery history, safety, technique, equipment, concentration, core strengthening, physical fitness and self-improvement. Before presenting the archery course to students, teachers undergo a rigorous eight-hour NASP training program.

Widespread academic and interpersonal benefits
The results of a recent study* showed that NASP participation helped students, even outside of their physical education (PE) classes:

*84 percent of instructors agreed that archery improved students’ self-confidence.
*78 percent of instructors agreed that archery improved students’ motivation.
*74 percent of instructors agreed that archery improved students’ behavior.
*64 percent of students stated that the program has helped them to pay more attention and improve their   focus in a variety of learning situations.

Overall, 83 percent of students enjoyed the opportunity to learn archery in their schools, and 78 percent rated their archery skills as either good or very good after completing the course.

Program growth and success in Utah
Utah recently became the thirty-second state to participate in NASP, and the program is gaining momentum. As of May 2010, Utah has seven schools trained and participating in NASP. The Utah Bowhunter’s Association has several members trained in the program. They are willing to assist the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) in training teachers.

This program offers students lifelong skills and provides many additional benefits. The DWR is working to introduce NASP in other schools across the state. By partnering with sportsmen’s groups and other conservation organizations, the DWR hopes to minimize or eliminate the cost of equipment and instruction.

Helpful information
Contact the Utah NASP representative
----RaLynne Takeda Email: Phone: 801-538-4753

Download course curriculum
--Grades four and five PDF 1.0 MB

--Grades six through eight PDF 1.0 MB
--Grades nine through twelve PDF 1.0 MB
Archery in the Schools—National Website

* Responsive Management conducted the study in consultation with Hilarie Davis, Ed.D., of the Technology for Learning Consortium.

Sept. 18, 2010 is Youth Hunting Day

Photo courtesy of Ducks Unlimited

Hunters 15 years of age and younger will have Utah's marshes—and the ducks and geese that go with it—all to themselves on Sept. 18, 2010.
Tom Aldrich, migratory game bird coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says Youth Hunting Day is a perfect way to get your children involved in duck and goose hunting.

"The marshes are usually filled with ducks in mid-September," Aldrich says, "so your kids should see plenty of birds and get plenty of shots.

"And because adults can't hunt that day, your kids get all of your attention," he says. "Youth day might be one of the best days you have in the marsh all season." Shooting on Youth Hunting Day starts at 6:41 a.m. Hunting is open to those who are 15 years of age or younger.

To qualify, you must be a Hunter Education course graduate, have a current hunting license and Harvest Information Program (HIP) number, and be accompanied by an adult.

Learn more
More information about Youth Hunting Day, including the number of ducks and geese your kids can take, is available on page 30 of the 2010–2011 Utah Waterfowl Guidebook.

The guidebook should be available at  by Sept. 9, 2010.