A major change awaits Utah's swan hunters this year. Those who haven't completed the state's one-time swan hunting orientation course must complete the course before they can apply for a permit.
The course, which takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete, is available online at the Division of Wildlife Resources' Web site (wildlife.utah.gov).
The course must be taken only one time, so hunters who have already completed the course do not need to take it again.
In the past, hunters could wait to learn whether they drew a permit before taking the course.
"We ran into two problems," said Tom Aldrich, waterfowl coordinator for the DWR. "Because hunters would take the course over a period of several weeks, we were having to do weekly mailings to get permits to hunters as they completed the course. About 100 to 150 permits also were being wasted every year by hunters who drew a permit but never completed the course so their permit could be issued to them."
Utah's swan application period begins Aug. 2, and hunters who haven't completed the course are encouraged to complete it as soon as possible.
Applications to hunt tundra swans in Utah this fall will be available by Aug. 2 from hunting license agents, Division of Wildlife Resources offices and hunter education centers and the DWR's Web site (wildlife.utah.gov).
Applications must be received no later than Aug. 16 (either by 5 p.m. through the mail or by 11 p.m. over the Internet) to be included in the draw for permits. When the Utah Wildlife Board meets Aug. 11, it's likely that the DWR will recommend a total of 2,000 permits for the hunt and that the tundra swan season run from Oct. 1 to Dec. 11.
Hunters who have a major credit card can apply for a permit online at the DWR Web site. Hunters who don't have a major credit card must mail their application in. Results of the tundra swan draw will be posted by Sept. 7.
For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.