Utah DWR Considers Longer Seasons and Special Youth Only Days
You might have more chances to hunt upland game in Utah this fall.
The following are among changes biologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources are recommending for this fall's hunts:
- Two special hunting days for hunters who will be 15 years of age or younger on the day the hunts occur.
- The first youth-only hunting day -- for chukar and Hungarian partridge -- would happen on Sept. 17. The youth hunt would happen one week before the general partridge seasons open on Sept. 24.
- The second youth hunting day -- for pheasant and quail -- would happen on Oct. 15. The general pheasant and quail hunt opens on Nov. 5.
- Hunters of all ages would have more days to hunt most of Utah's upland game species. And the number of birds, rabbits and hares you could have in your possession would also increase.
- In another change, rules and permit numbers for the 2012 spring turkey hunt will be set in June this year.
Last year, wild turkey rules and permit numbers were set in August.
More information about the biologists' wild turkey and upland game recommendations is available at http://go.usa.gov/bY5.
More time to hunt
Justin Dolling, upland game and migratory game bird coordinator for the DWR, says biologists want to give Utah's hunters more time to hunt. And upland game are the perfect group of species to offer that opportunity.
Whether it's hunted or not, Dolling says between 60 to 70 percent of an upland game population dies every year from natural causes. Most of the birds, rabbits and hares hunters take each year would have died from natural causes if hunters hadn't taken them.
Fortunately, upland game species also have a high reproductive rate. "Their reproductive rate is what keeps upland game populations going," Dolling says. "The reproductive rate among the 30 to 40 percent of the population that survives each year is usually enough to bring the population back to the point it was before the losses."
The high reproductive rate is also among the reasons Utah's upland game seasons can be lengthened. It's also a reason why two special youth-only hunting days can be added to the regular hunts.
Dolling says holding special youth days -- before the birds have been hunted and when adults aren't allowed to hunt -- is a great way to get young people interested and involved in hunting.
"Upland game hunting has been called the 'gateway hunt,'" Dolling says. "In addition to being an activity you can enjoy the rest of your life, hunting upland game often causes hunters to get excited about hunting in general."
And since most of Utah's pheasant hunting happens on private land, Dolling says the youth pheasant hunting day will give young hunters and their parents experience in approaching landowners about hunting their property.
"In the process," he says, "these young hunters will learn more about the vital role landowners play in conserving habitat for wildlife."