Utah turkey hunters to get more permits for spring of 2005
Turkey hunters will have a much greater chance of drawing a turkey hunting permit in Utah this spring thanks to restoration efforts by the Utah State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
At its Oct. 7 meeting in Salt Lake City, the Utah Wildlife Board approved a 58 percent increase in the number of public wild turkey permits available for hunts in spring 2005. A total of 1,306 Rio Grande permits will be available next spring, compared to 733 in 2004. A total of 501 Merriam's permits will also be available, compared to 410 this past spring.
This year, the state chapter paid nearly $112,000 to transplant wild turkeys in Utah. Federation members and biologists have made efforts to nurture the state's wild turkey population for years, and this year the state chapter has spent more money to restore wild turkeys than any other state. Over the past six years Utah volunteers have paid to relocate more than 4,500 wild turkeys.
"Utah has volunteers that are driven to make the wild turkey population stronger than ever before," said Stan Baker, NWTF regional biologist. "As long as they are working for the wild turkey, good things are going to continue to happen for hunters and wildlife throughout the state."
Good weather, efforts to transplant wild turkeys to Utah and a better understanding of how the birds adapt once they arrive in the state have led to the biggest increase in wild turkey hunting permits ever approved in Utah.
"The weather this year has been very favorable for wild turkeys," said Dean Mitchell, upland game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources.
"This past winter was closer to normal but fairly mild through most of the state, and very few turkeys were lost. Since then, we've received good rainfall that has provided the food and nesting cover the birds need. Our biologists in the field reported seeing good numbers of young turkeys in the population this summer."
Applications for permits will be available by Nov. 30. Applications must be received no later than Dec. 27 to be included in the draw for permits. Draw results will be posted by Feb. 2, 2005. Hunt dates have yet to be determined but will be held in April and May.
Since 1985, the Utah Chapter has spent more than $975,000 on a variety of conservation, education and hunting projects. This year, they have spent more than $170,000 to:
Enhance wildlife habitat.
Introduce women and children to hunting and the outdoors.
Offer scholarships to high school seniors interested in hunting and conservation.
Provide education boxes to teach conservation and the comeback story of the wild turkey to schools.