The Division of Wildlife Services has announced several changes regarding hunting permits and areas which will be open to public hunting. Some of the changes that will appear this year on proclamations include the following.
2002 antlerless permits.
For the 2002 season, DWR is proposing a significant decrease in doe deer permits and a big increase in cow moose permits.
Under division proposals, the total number of doe deer permits would decrease from 5,680 offered in 2001, to 3,685 this fall. "In general, the number of deer fawns across the state this spring is down," explained Steve Cranney, big game coordinator for DWR. "Several years of drought have affected many of the deer herds in the southern and northeastern regions, and these are the areas where we're proposing most of the permit decreases. The northern region was also hit with a significant winter and biologists are still in the field evaluating the extent of deer losses there. In some of these areas the herds have been at or over their population objective and we've had to offer quite a few doe deer permits the past couple of years to keep the herds in line with approved numbers," Cranney continued. "Now that we have them there, we can cut back on the number of permits we need to offer."
Cow moose permits would increase under division proposals, from a total of 28 last year, to 55 this year. Most of the increases would be along the populated areas of the Wasatch Front, where moose populations are at all-time highs.
Cow elk permits would decrease about 15 percent, from 12,500 last year to 10,679 this year. Doe pronghorn permits would increase slightly, from 284 last year to 296 this fall.
Areas closed to spike bull elk hunts.
Two of Utah's popular spike bull elk hunting areas will be closed to general spike bull elk hunting this fall. At its April 9 meeting in Salt Lake City, the Utah Wildlife Board voted to close the Fishlake and Thousand Lake portions of the Plateau unit to archery, rifle and muzzleloader spike bull elk hunting this fall. The areas are located mostly on the Fishlake National Forest in south-central Utah.
Closing the areas will shift hunters who usually hunt them to other areas. To prevent increased hunting pressure on Utah's remaining spike bull elk hunting units, the board also voted to lower the number of general spike bull elk permits by 2,400 from what was sold in 2001. The 2,400 figure represents the number of spike bull elk hunters who hunted the two areas last fall.
Spike bull elk permits for this fall's hunts will go on sale, on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning July 18.
The closure request was brought to the board by the Southern Regional Advisory Council and citizens in attendance at the April 9 board meeting who were concerned about the low number of elk counted recently in the area.
DWR biologists conducted a helicopter survey of the areas recently and estimate the total number of elk in the area to be less than 2,000. The management objective for the two areas is 4,800. Because of the low numbers, the division will recommend that no antlerless elk hunting permits be offered for the units this fall. It will make this recommendation at upcoming public RAC meetings. "Eliminating antlerless elk harvest will help put these units in a recovery mode," explained Cranney.
The DWR aerial survey also found an average of 30 bulls per 100 cows. "There's still a good bull elk population in the areas, but drought conditions have reduced the number of elk calves this past year," Cranney continued. "Eliminating spike elk hunting on the areas this fall will help assure that sufficient spike bulls make it to a mature age."
The Division will conduct another aerial survey of the area this winter.
For further information regarding changes to hunting permits and area closures, contact the Division of Wildlife Resources.