Canada geese could be hunted into late January under a proposal the Division of Wildlife Resources will present at an upcoming series of public meetings.
The DWR will also present cougar hunting recommendations for Utah's 2005-2006 season.
Those who attend the meetings can learn more about the proposals and can provide their input and suggestions. Citizens representing Utah's five Regional Advisory Councils will take the public input received to the Utah Wildlife Board when it meets Aug. 11 in Salt Lake City to approve Utah's 2005 - 2006 waterfowl, cougar and furbearer proclamations.
Meeting dates, times and locations are as follows:
Southern Region; July 19, 7 p.m. at Delta High School, 50 West 300 North, Delta.
Central Region; July 26, 6:30 p.m. at Springville Junior High School, 165 South 700 East, Springville.
Southeastern Region; July 20, 6:30 p.m. at John Wesley Powell Museum, 885 East Main Street, Green River.
Northern Region; July 27, 6 p.m. at Brigham City Community Center, 24 North 300 West, Brigham City.
Northeastern Region; July 21, 6:30 p.m. at Uintah Basin Applied Technology College, 1100 East Lagoon Street, Roosevelt.
DWR biologists are in the process of determining the number of cougar hunting permits that will be available next season and possible changes in how cougars are hunted in Utah.
One possible change involves a split season on Utah's harvest objective units. During the first few weeks of the season, the units would be open to hunters who drew a permit to hunt them. After the first few weeks, the units would open to all hunters with a harvest objective permit.
"The Utah Wildlife Board has directed us to consider a split season on harvest objective units, and we're working out the details," said Kevin Bunnell, mammals program coordinator for the DWR. "We'll have the details worked out by the time the RAC meetings start, and I encourage people to attend the meetings to learn more and provide their input."
Utah hunters could hunt geese into late January under a DWR proposal that would shut Utah's 107-day Canada geese season down for two weeks in December. The season would reopen in December and would run until the end of January.
"We think this proposal will increase the success Canada goose hunters find next season," said Tom Aldrich, waterfowl coordinator for the DWR.
Aldrich said as soon as the hunting season starts in October, many of the Canada geese in Utah head for urban areas where they spend most of the season.
In January, the geese begin moving back to the marshes in preparation for the breeding season. Data the DWR has collected from four independent harvest surveys across the state shows the number of Canada geese taken by hunters starts to climb in early January.
"If the season is extended until the end of January, we think Canada goose hunters will be in for some great hunting and will take more geese," Aldrich said.
Aldrich says the number of Canada geese in Utah has increased over the past 40 years. "There are three times as many geese in Utah now as there was 30 to 40 years ago," he said.
Many of these geese are causing problems at golf courses and other urban areas where they spend much of the fall and winter, and where they can't be taken by hunters.
For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.