Tuesday, August 4, 2009

DWR shares ideas for next spring’s Turkey Hunts

Every person who wants to hunt wild turkeys next spring could if ideas the Division of Wildlife Resources is proposing for Utah’s 2010 hunts are approved.

And you’d have more places to hunt turkeys than ever before. “Even though we’d be putting more hunters in the field, we don’t think that would have a negative effect on Utah’s turkey populations,” says Dave Olsen, upland game coordinator for the DWR. “Each hunter in Utah is restricted to taking only one male turkey. And female turkeys in the state are very successful at reproducing.”

Learn more, share your ideas

You can review all of the DWR’s turkey hunting proposals at www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings/next.php on the Web. Once you’ve read the proposals, you can share your thoughts and ideas one of two ways:

RAC meetings

Five Regional Advisory Council meetings will be held across Utah. Citizens representing the RACs will take the input received at the meetings to the Utah Wildlife Board. Board members will use the input to help them set rules for Utah’s 2010 turkey hunts. They’ll set those rules at their Aug. 19 – 20 meeting in Salt Lake City.

You can participate and provide your input at any of the following meetings:

Central Region
Aug. 4
6:30 p.m.
Central Region Conference Center
1115 N. Main St.

Northern Region
Aug. 5
6 p.m.
Brigham City Community Center
24 N. 300 W.
Brigham City

You can also provide your comments to your RAC via e-mail. E-mail addresses for your RAC members are available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings.

The group each RAC member represents (sportsman, non-consumptive, etc.) is listed under each person’s e-mail address. You should direct your e-mail to the people on the RAC who represent your interest.

Turkey hunting changes

Olsen says DWR biologists have watched and studied turkeys in Utah closely for more than 20 years. He says the biologists are comfortable allowing more hunters into the field.

“Turkeys and other upland game birds reproduce at a high rate,” Olsen says. “It’s not unusual for a single male turkey to breed as many as 10 females. And female turkeys are very productive. They usually lay a clutch of between 10 to 12 eggs.

“Because one male will breed several females, and because female turkeys are so productive, removing males out of the population will have little effect on the overall number of turkeys in Utah.”

Olsen says the DWR is proposing the following for Utah’s 2010 hunts:

* A total of three hunts would be held. The first hunt would run April 10 – 29. Only a limited number of permits would be available for the hunt, and the hunt would be held on a regional basis. The following number of permits would be available through a draw:

Region Number of permits

Northern 400
Central 500
Northeastern 250
Southeastern 250
Southern 1,100

“This first hunt should be less crowded than the hunt in May because only 2,500 permits would be offered for it,” Olsen says. “Also, if you drew a permit for the April hunt, you wouldn’t be confined to hunting one specific area like you have been in the past. Instead, you could hunt an entire region.”

* The second hunt would be held April 30 – May 2. This hunt would be a youth hunt for hunters 15 years of age and younger. Permits would not be limited in number, and permits would be available over the counter. Youth hunters could hunt anywhere in the state that’s open to turkey hunting.

Youngsters who bought a permit for the youth hunt could also use the permit to hunt during Utah’s general statewide hunt. That hunt would start May 3.

* The third and final hunt would be a statewide hunt held May 3 – 31. Just like the youth hunt, there would be no limit on the number of permits offered for the hunt, and permits would be available over the counter. Hunters of all ages could participate in the hunt. You could hunt anywhere in the state that was open to turkey hunting.

For more information about the meetings, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR’s Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.