This year, waterfowl hunters can help improve waterfowl management areas in Utah while putting a new feather in their cap.
The Utah Waterfowl Slam challenges hunters to harvest specific types of waterfowl during the 2013–14 season. This season is the first time a program like this has been tried in Utah.
Division of Wildlife Resources biologists have outlined four different slams. To complete a slam, hunters must harvest drakes of the species listed in each category. They’ll earn a different color and size leg band for each slam they complete.
“We want to get hunters excited about waterfowl hunting while raising money to improve waterfowl habitat,” said Blair Stringham, migratory game bird coordinator for the DWR.
Stringham said the program should also help hunters sharpen their identification skills and increase the take of underutilized species.
A “slam” refers to harvesting a group of species in a certain time period or location. Hunters who choose to join the program can earn different sizes and colors of bands for harvesting drakes of various species. For instance, a turkey slam would require a hunter to harvest all of the subspecies of turkeys.
Following are the four distinct types of slams for this season, and the requirements for each of them:
• Puddler Slam (one of each species throughout the season) — Mallard, Northern pintail, American wigeon, gadwall, cinnamon teal, green-winged teal, Northern shoveler, American coot
• Diver Slam (one of each species throughout the season) — Redhead, canvasback, ring-neck, scaup (lesser or greater), ruddy, bufflehead, goldeneye (common or Barrow’s), merganser (common, red-breasted or hooded)
• Mallard Slam (one-day limit) — Seven mallards
• Coot Slam (one-day limit) — 25 coots
In addition to the four slams, every one who signs up will earn a band for harvesting their first duck, goose or swan in Utah — even if you have harvested one of these species in the past. Once you receive one of these three bands, you won’t be able to receive the same band in the future.
As far as hunting locations, the DWR suggests Unit 1 at Farmington Bay for divers; Clear Lake, Salt Creek, Public Shooting Grounds and Browns Park for mallards; Farmington Bay or Ogden Bay for teal; any Waterfowl Management Area in the state for coots; Public Shooting Grounds and Salt Creek for wigeon; Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Ogden Bay or Harold Crane for swans; and Green River and Cutler Marsh for Canada geese.
Slams for this season can be redeemed until June 30, 2014.
Waterfowl Slam memberships cost $35 for hunters older than 17, and $15 for those 17 years of age and younger. The money raised through the program will fund waterfowl-specific projects, such as restoring the J-Dike at the Farmington Bay WMA and improving nesting habitat at the Redmond WMA.
“The projects will provide more habitat for waterfowl and improve hunting,” Stringham said. “Overall, it will make Utah a better place for waterfowl.”