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Wildlife meeting scheduled to discuss black bear permits

Limiting opportunities to pursue bears with hounds in Utah in the fall will be among items the public may provide input on at upcoming regional advisory council meetings.

"There have been conflicts in the fall between houndsmen pursuing bears and hunters hunting big and small game," explained Alan Clark, wildlife section chief for the Division of Wildlife Resources.

"We'd like to have a general discussion with the public about this issue on hunting units statewide. Do we need to start limiting bear pursuit through season adjustments, or going to a limited entry bear pursuit system? We need the public's help to answer that question," commented Clark.

Public input also will be sought about a recommendation to offer a total of 209 public black bear hunting permits for Utah's 2003 seasons. That would be a slight decrease from the 217 permits offered in 2002.

In addition, the DWR will recommend that black bear hunting not be allowed on the Cache unit in northern Utah. The unit would remain open for bear pursuit, however.

"There are a limited number of bears in the Cache unit and very few bear/human conflicts, so we don't believe a hunt in justified there," Clark explained.

At the meetings, the public will hear presentations about the proposals and may ask questions and provide their input and suggestions.

Region council members will take the public input received to the Utah Wildlife Board when it meets Dec. 17 in Salt Lake City to approve Utah's 2003 black bear proclamation.

The southeastern region meeting is scheduled for Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. and will take place at the John Wesley Powell Museum in Green River. The public is welcome to attend and discuss the black bear proposals.

For more information about the meeting, call the nearest DWR office.

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