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Front Page » November 21, 2002 » Sports » Local cougar hunters urged to excercise caution this season
Published 4,300 days ago

Local cougar hunters urged to excercise caution this season


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Permits to hunt cougars on harvest objective units in Utah will be available from Division of Wildlife Resources offices only beginning Nov. 26.

There are 31 harvest objective units in Utah this year. When buying their permit, Utah residents can choose two units to hunt. Nonresidents can choose three units.

"There are three main ways in which harvest objective units differ from traditional limited entry units," stted Suzette Fowlks, information specialist with the DWR.

"There is no limit to the number of permits that may be sold for each unit and hunters may purchase them over-the-counter," Fowlks continued.

"The hunt on each harvest objective unit may close before the official end of the season, however, if the number of cougars to be taken on the unit is met."

For example, if the objective is to take 10 cougars on a unit, the hunt on the unit closes when 10 cougars are taken, even if the end of the season hasn't been reached.

During the season, hunters may exchange their harvest objective permit for a permit to hunt a different unit. A handling fee is charged for each exchange and the permit is not valid until the day after the exchange is made. All exchanges must be made at a DWR office.

The 2002-2003 cougar season begins Dec. 14 on most of Utah's harvest objective units.

"Hunters should study the 2002 Utah cougar proclamation to choose their harvest objective units," Fowlks stated.

Proclamations are available from hunting and fishing license agents statewide, DWR offices and the DWR's Internet website at www.wildlife.utah.gov.

Following the lead of other western states, Utah established harvest objective units in 1996 as one way to help speed the recovery of Utah's deer herds. Through the sale of an unlimited number of permits, the units help speed Utah's deer herd recovery by increasing chances that a set number of cougars can be taken on units where deer herds are facing their toughest challenge.

Before each hunting trip, hunters must call toll-free, 1-888-668-5466 to verify their harvest objective unit is still open to hunting.

The phone line is updated by 8 p.m. daily, providing hunters with closure information for the next day's hunt.

For more information call the nearest DWR office.

The wildlife agency would also like to remind hunters and outdoorsmen to use caution while treading thorugh cougar or mountain lion country this winter.

Although attacks by this usually shy predator are extremely rare, recent tragic incidents show they do occur.

The following guidelines are provided to help ensure safety in cougar country.

•Do not feed deer or raccoons. Feeding these wildlife species encourages them to remain in areas of human use, often in greater-than-normal densities. This, in turn, attracts cougars and increases the potential for conflict.

•Do not leave pet food where other wildlife or cougar have access to it.

•Do not allow pets to run at large. Cougars will prey on dogs and cats, quickly learning that they are easy to take. If pets are left outside, they should be in covered cages. A lion can leap over an eight foot fence to get a pet.

•Do not leave doors of barns or sheds open. Inquisitive cougars may go inside for a look.

•Do not allow children to play alone in foothill locations, particularly at dawn and dusk when cougars are most active.

If contact with a cougar does occur, the following tips just might save a life.

•Do not panic. Most cougars will try to avoid confrontation.

•Raise arms to make the body appear as large as possible. Cougars prefer smaller prey.

•Slowly back away, being careful never to run and never to turn away from the animal.

•Yell at the cougar and back away.

•Do not make direct eye contact. Cougars perceive this as an act of aggression.

If an attack occurs, fight back, doing the best not to allow the cougar to get behind its prey. But no matter what, always use caution while hunting.

If any unusual or threatening behavior does take place, please notify the nearest DWR office.


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