In an attempt to manage Utah’s wildlife populations, officials are seeking public input as they propose an increase in some hunting permits and a decrease in others.
Offering more spike bull-elk hunting permits, a few more mountain goat permits and fewer buck deer permits are among ideas that Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologists will share at upcoming public meetings.
Biologists are recommending an increase in the number of general spike bull-elk permits from 13,750 to 15,000 for this fall’s hunts, while once-in-a-lifetime mountain goat permits could increase from 111 to 133.
“Overall, Utah’s big game animals are doing well,” said Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR. “There are plenty of opportunities to hunt big game in Utah.”
But while permits for elk and mountain goats may be on the rise, the deer situation is a different story.
Within the state’s deer population, biologists are concerned about the ratio of fawns and bucks to does in some areas of the state. Aoude said the Utah Wildlife Board may decide to cut general-season buck permits by as many as 13,000 by 2012.
Rather than hit hunters with the cuts all at once, he said biologists would like to start cutting permits now so the impact won’t be as severe next year. The recommended cuts for this year would be as follows: From 13,000 to 11,000 in the Northeastern region; 13,000 to 12,000 in the Southeastern region; and 18,000 to 16,000 in the Southern region. The Northern and Central regions would not be affected this year.
Each of the five DWR regional advisory councils will hold public meetings to discuss the proposed changes. The Northern RAC meeting will be held at 6 p.m. April 20 in room 404 of Weber State University’s Shepherd Union Building.
Comments to RAC members can also be made via email. Addresses for individual members are available at wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings.
RAC chairmen will share the input they receive with members of the Utah Wildlife Board. The board will meet in Salt Lake City on May 5 to approve permit numbers for this fall’s big game hunts.