Utah DWR Recommends Several Changes

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The Division of Wildlife Resources is recommending several changes to Utah's bonus point and preference point system.

Learn more, share your ideas

All of the DWR's big game proposals are available in the public meetings section of our website at www.wildlife.utah.gov. Once you've read the proposals, you can share your thoughts ideas and 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.

Proposed changes

The DWR is recommending four major changes for 2009. The agency's ideas, and the challenges those ideas address, are listed below:

Challenge: It's not a widespread problem, but the number of people who are using someone else's bonus points to get a permit is increasing. Here's what people are doing:

Up to four hunters can apply as a group for limited entry elk, deer and pronghorn permits. Someone with a high number of bonus points agrees to apply in a group with someone who has a low number of points. Applying with someone who has a high number of points increases the odds that the person with a low number of points draws a permit.

After both hunters draw their permit, the person with the highest number of points surrenders his permit to the DWR.

Under the current system, he gets all of the bonus points he accrued up to that year back. And he gets another bonus point for surrendering his permit.

The next year, he offers again to apply with someone who has a low number of points.

Possible solution: To stop this practice, the DWR has two ideas:

  • * Do away with group applications for limited entry elk, deer or pronghorn permits; or,
  • * Continue to accept group applications, but no longer award a bonus point to those who surrender a limited entry elk, deer or pronghorn permit.

Challenge: Some of Utah's big game permits are hard to draw.

Possible solution: Reward hunters who regularly apply by removing bonus points from those who rarely apply.

Under this proposal, hunters who go three consecutive years without applying for a permit or a bonus point would lose any bonus points they had accrued. If they apply again in the future, they would have no bonus points. They'd have to start accruing bonus points all over again.

"This change would reward those who apply for a permit at least once every three years," says Greg Sheehan, chief of the DWR's Administrative Services Section.

Challenge: Hunters may apply for one limited entry permit and one once-in-a-lifetime permit. If you want to hunt two species (for example, limited entry elk and limited entry deer) you may never get a chance to. The current system allows you to accrue bonus points for only one of the two species.

Possible solution: Continue to allow hunters to apply for only one limited entry species and one once-in-a-lifetime species, but let them also apply for bonus points for other species.

Challenge: Preference points are awarded to hunters who don't draw any of the choices they list on their general buck deer permit application. Because many hunters want a preference point if they don't draw their first choice, many are applying for only one hunt.

When permits that weren't taken in the draw are offered over-the-counter in June, the permits go fast. This often creates frustration and inconvenience for hunters.

Possible solution: If a hunter is unsuccessful in drawing their first choice, award a preference point to them even if they draw a permit for their second, third, fourth or fifth choice.

This change would encourage hunters to apply for more than one region because they wouldn't be penalized if they drew a permit for their second, third, fourth or fifth choice. Because they'd still receive a preference point for not drawing their first choice, they'd have a better chance the following year to draw a permit for the region they wanted to hunt the most.