Utah Cougar Permits Available Soon

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Permits to pursue cougars, and permits to hunt cougars on harvest objective units in Utah, will be available beginning Nov. 7.

The state has 36 harvest objective units.

"Harvest objective units differ from traditional limited entry units in three main ways," says Judi Tutorow, wildlife licensing coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources.

"There is no limit to the number of permits that may be sold for each unit, and hunters may purchase the permits over-the-counter," she said. "The hunt on a harvest objective unit may close before the end of the season, however, if hunters take the number of cougars biologists want taken."

For example, if the objective is to take 10 cougars on a unit, the hunt on the unit closes when 10 cougars are taken, even if the ending date for the season hasn't arrived yet.

Utah's 2006 - 2007 cougar season begins Nov. 22, 2006 on some units and Feb. 17, 2007 on others. "The dates when the hunts start are found on page 15 of the 2006 - 2007 Utah Cougar Proclamation," Tutorow says.

The proclamation is available at the DWR's Web site (www.wildlife.utah.gov) and from hunting and fishing license agents statewide and DWR offices.

Hunters are reminded that they may not purchase a harvest objective permit if they've already obtained a limited entry cougar permit for this season.

Before each hunting trip, hunters must call toll-free 1-888-668-LION (5466), or visit the DWR's Web site at wildlife.utah.gov, to verify that the unit they'd like to hunt the next day is still open. The phone line and the Web site provide information for the next day's hunt and are updated by noon every day.

Following the lead of other Western states, Utah established harvest objective units in 1996 to help speed the recovery of deer herds in areas where predation is one of the factors that's limiting the growth of deer populations. By selling an unlimited number of permits, and setting a large desired harvest, biologists can increase cougar hunting pressure on these units. This increased pressure helps reduce the number of cougars and their predation on deer.

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