Cougar hunting/trapping discussions to take place
Animals that trappers aren't trying to trap would have an easier time escaping from snares the Division of Wildlife Resources wants to require in Utah it was reported last week.
The DWR also wants to keep the number of cougars taken during Utah's upcoming hunting season at a level similar to the number taken during the past three seasons.
The DWR will share its recommendations at an upcoming series of public meetings. The meetings provide an opportunity to learn more about the recommendations and to provide biologists with your input and suggestions.
Citizens from Utah's five regional advisory councils will take the public input received to the Utah Wildlife Board when it meets August 8 in Salt Lake City to approve Utah's 2007 - 2008 furbearer and cougar proclamations.
Locally the meetings will take place for the southeastern region of the state on July 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the John Wesley Powell Museum, 885 East Main Street in Green River.
Starting with Utah's 2007 - 2008 season, trappers in Utah would be required to use breakaway snares. These snares allow bigger animals to escape if they're accidentally trapped.
"Larger animals, such as deer, elk, cougars and black bears, should be able to escape from these traps," says Kevin Bunnell, mammals program coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "When an animal puts enough pressure on the snare by pulling on it, the snare releases and lets the animal free. It's rare that these larger animals are caught in these traps, but when they are, they should be able to escape from them."
The Utah Trappers Association supports the DWR and is working with the agency to get this recommendation implemented.
When it comes to hunting about 300 cougars will probably be taken in Utah during the state's 2007 - 2008 season under proposals the DWR is recommending.
That number would be similar to the past three seasons in Utah, when an average of 311 cougars were taken each season.
"A few years ago, an effort was underway to reduce the number of cougars in Utah," Bunnell says. "The goal was to bring cougars into better balance with the deer, bighorn sheep and other animals that cougars prey on. It appears those efforts have worked. Now we want to maintain that balance. We think our recommendations for the upcoming season are another step in that direction."