Utah DWR Considers Changes to Black Bear Hunts

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Three areas that are popular places to pursue bears with dogs might be quieter next summer.

Division of Wildlife Resources biologists want to limit the number of people who pursue bears on the Book Cliffs, San Juan and La Sal units in summer 2010. All three units are in eastern Utah.

The biologists also want to limit the number of dogs that can be used to hunt or pursue bears on any unit in Utah.

Those changes—and more bear hunting permits in Utah—are among changes the DWR is recommending for Utah's 2010 black bear pursuit and hunting seasons.

Learn more, share your ideas

You can review all of the DWR's bear hunting and pursuit proposals at wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings. 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 bear hunt and pursuit seasons. They'll set those rules at their Jan. 7 meeting in Salt Lake City.

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

  • * Southern Region
    Dec. 8, 7 p.m.
    Cross Hollows Inter. School
    2215 W. Royal Hunte Drive, Cedar City
  • * Southeastern Region
    Dec. 9, 6:30 p.m.
    John Wesley Powell Museum
    1765 E. Main St., Green River
  • * Northeastern Region
    Dec. 10, 6:30 p.m.
    Uintah Basin Applied Technology
    450 N. 2000 W., Vernal
  • * Central Region
    Dec. 15, 6:30 p.m.
    Central Region Conference Center
    1115 N. Main Street, Springville
  • * Northern Region
    Dec. 16, 6 p.m.
    Brigham City Community Center
    24 N. 300 W., Brigham City
  • E-mail

    You can also provide your comments to your RAC via e-mail. E-mail addresses for your RAC members are available at 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.

    Pursuit and hunting changes

    The Book Cliffs, San Juan and La Sal units are among the most popular places in Utah to pursue bears with trained hounds. Unfortunately, that popularity has caused some problems.

    "This past summer, we received more than 150 complaints from campers, hikers and others who were recreating in the area," says Justin Dolling, game mammals coordinator for the DWR.

    "Some of the houndsmen were using as many as 20 hounds to pursue a single bear," Dolling says. "When hounds get on a bear's track, they bark a lot, and they're extremely noisy. The noise and the commotion the hounds and the houndsmen were causing bothered some of the people who were camping and hiking in the area."

    To quiet things down, DWR biologists are recommending two changes:

    * Limit the number of permits offered to pursue bears on the Book Cliffs, San Juan and La Sal units in the summer. The DWR is recommending that the following number of pursuit permits be available for the summer pursuit season:

    Unit Resident Nonresident
    Book Cliffs 25 3
    San Juan 30 3
    La Sal 20 2

    * Limit the number of hounds houndsmen can use to pursue or hunt bears on any of the state's bear units. Biologists are recommending that houndsmen not be allowed to use more than eight hounds to pursue a single bear.

    More hunting permits

    Biologists are also recommending that the number of hunting permits be increased for next year's black bear hunts.

    In 2009, a total of 319 permits were available. The DWR is recommending a total of 368 permits for 2010.

    Based on an average success rate of just over 40 percent, the extra 49 permits should result in hunters taking about 21 additional bears in 2010.

    In 2009, hunters took 147 bears in Utah.

    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.