Monday, 25 October 2010 11:14
Jim Karpowitz, DWR director, has written an open letter to Utah sportsmen. In this letter Jim explains many of the challenges facing Utah wildlife and what the DWR is doing to protect and improve our deer herds.
In September 2010, the Utah Wildlife Board met with the DWR to discuss the state's deer herds. During that public meeting, board members said they wanted the DWR to postpone changes to the state's hunting seasons and instead focus on increasing the number of bucks per 100 does. (Listen to an audio recording of the meeting.)
With the board's input, the DWR has identified three options that could increase the number of buck deer in Utah. These options address hunters' concerns about not seeing enough bucks, but they will not produce larger deer herds. Other aspects of Utah's deer management program are focused on increasing the deer population.
To assess the options, you'll need to know the difference between a region and a unit. For the purposes of general-season deer hunting, Utah is divided into five regions. (See regions map.) For the purposes of big-game management, Utah is divided into many smaller areas called units. (See units map.)
Here are the options the DWR will present to the regional advisory councils (RACs) and the Wildlife Board this fall:
Unit-based management, hunting in five regions
DWR biologists manage deer according to Utah's deer management plan, which requires the state's deer units to have an average of 15–25 bucks per 100 does. Under this option, the DWR would continue its unit-based management and add a new regional management goal of 18 bucks per 100 does. As part of this option, the DWR would:
Of the three options under consideration, Option #1 is the DWR's preferred option.
Unit-based management, hunting in 29 units
This option would require the DWR to manage each of the state's general-season deer units for a minimum of 18 bucks per 100 does. It would also require a switch to unit-based hunting. There would be 29 general-season hunting units. As part of this option, the DWR would:
Modified version of Option #1
There are only a few differences between Option #3 and Option #1. Under Option #3, the DWR would continue its unit-based management strategy, but there would be a regional management target of 15 bucks per 100 does. (This is different from the 18 bucks per 100 does listed in Option #1). Advantages and disadvantages would remain the same, with a couple of exceptions. This option might result in the loss of approximately 3,000 permits, and it would not require the DWR to raise deer permit fees.
Which option do you prefer?
Do you want to see more bucks in Utah during the general-season hunt? All of these options will help, but each requires a different level of sacrifice from hunters. If you feel strongly about any of these options — positively or negatively — now is the time to share your views with your local RAC members and RAC chairs. The RACs are meeting to discuss these options as follows:
The Utah Wildlife Board will meet at 9 a.m. on Dec. 2 to make a final decision on one of these options. The board meets in the auditorium of the Department of Natural Resources building (1594 W. North Temple in Salt Lake City).
For more information on mule deer management, we recommend reading the following: