Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Meetings scheduled to cover Cougar, Waterfowl and Bobcat Ideas

The number of cougars hunters take in Utah this season should be similar to the number taken over the past four seasons.

The Division of Wildlife Resources’ cougar hunting ideas—along with ideas for Utah’s upcoming waterfowl hunting and bobcat trapping seasons—are available for review at www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings/next.php on the Web.

Learn more, share your ideas

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 upcoming cougar, waterfowl and furbearer seasons. They’ll set those rules at their Aug. 19 – 20 meeting in Salt Lake City.

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.

Cougar hunting

About 300 cougars would probably be taken in Utah under ideas the DWR is proposing for the state’s 2009 – 2010 hunting season.

That number would be similar to the past four seasons in Utah. Hunters took an average of 306 cougars during each of those seasons.

“About 15 years ago, the Utah Wildlife Board increased the number of cougar hunting permits a bunch,” says Kevin Bunnell, mammals program coordinator for the DWR.

Bunnell says helping mule deer herds recover after hard winters in the early 1990s was the biggest reason for the increase. “Cougars were one of several factors that kept mule deer herds from rebounding after those winters,” Bunnell says.

Biologists had two things in mind when they proposed the permit increase: they wanted to help the mule deer herds recover while making sure Utah’s cougar population stayed protected.

“Our main goal was to find a balance between the two species,” Bunnell says. He says it appears the effort over the past 15 years worked. Permits were increased for several years. Then, for the past four years, permit numbers have been reduced.

“Based on the number of cougars that hunters took in 2009, and the number of cougars houndsmen put up trees last year, it appears Utah’s cougar population has started to stabilize,” Bunnell says.

“Now we’re working to find the proper balance between cougars and their prey. We think the proposals we’re recommending for 2010 are another step in that direction.”

The number of hunting permits the DWR is recommending for Utah’s limited entry units, and the total number of cougars to be taken on the state’s harvest objective units, are down slightly from 2009.

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