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Proposal to reduce wild turkey permits goes before advisory council

A proposal to reduce Merriam's wild turkey hunting permits by 25 percent for Utah's 2004 spring seasons will be among items people may comment on at upcoming Regional Advisory Council meetings.

RAC citizen representatives will take the public input received to the Utah Wildlife Board when it meets Oct. 9 in Salt Lake City.

Utah's 2004 Wild Turkey Addendum is among the items the board is expected to approve at the meeting.

The meeting location for the southeastern region is John Wesley Powell Museum, 885 East Main Street in Green River. It will take place Sept. 16 at 6:30 p.m.

At the meeting, the Division of Wildlife Resources will propose reducing the number of Merriam's wild turkey permits offered from 550 in 2003, to 410 for 2004. Most of the reductions would be for southern areas of the state, especially the Boulder Mountain and San Juan units.

The DWR is also proposing a slight increase in the number of Rio Grande wild turkey permits offered, from 724 in 2003 to 733 in 2004.

"The long term drought Utah is experiencing has limited the food available to Merriam's wild turkeys, and fewer chicks are surviving to adulthood," said Dean Mitchell, upland game coordinator for the DWR. "Some birds have also been lost because of heavy winters in localized areas of the state."

Mitchell says Merriam's wild turkeys live in mountainous areas in the spring and summer and then migrate to lower areas in the winter.

Rio Grande wild turkeys, on the other hand, live year-round in mostly riparian areas. "These riparian areas are wetter, and the food resources in them haven't been affected as much by the drought," Mitchell said.

For more information about the meetings, call the Price Division of Wildlife Resources office.

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