Utah to Increase Spring Turkey Permits

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You might have a good chance at drawing a wild turkey hunting permit for this spring's hunts.

The Division of Wildlife Resources is proposing 13,761 public hunting permits for Utah's 2009 hunts. That's an 81 percent increase over the 7,706 public permits that were available in 2008.

"Sportsmen have told us that they'd like more opportunities to hunt wild turkeys," says Dave Olsen, upland game coordinator for the DWR. "Because of the way we manage turkeys in Utah, we believe we can allow more hunters into the field without affecting the turkey populations in a negative way."

Learn more, share your ideas

All of the DWR's turkey hunting proposals are available at www.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 set rules for Utah's 2009 wild turkey hunts.

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

* Southern Region
Aug. 12, 7 p.m.
Millard High School
200 W. Eagle Ave., Fillmore

* Southeastern Region
Aug. 13, 6:30 p.m.
John Wesley Powell Museum
1765 E. Main St., Green River

* Northeastern Region
Aug. 14, 6:30 p.m.
Uintah Interagency Fire Center
355 N. Vernal Ave., Vernal

* Central Region
Aug. 19, 6:30 p.m.
Springville Junior High School
165 S. 700 E., Springville

* Northern Region
Aug. 20, 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 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.

Turkey hunter survey

After last spring's hunts, the DWR surveyed 2,330 of the 7,856 public and private hunters who hunted turkeys in Utah in 2008.

"There were more turkey hunters in the field this past spring than there's ever been. But most of hunters we surveyed said they were satisfied with their experience," Olsen says. "Raising the number of permits will allow even more sportsmen to enjoy hunting turkeys this spring."

Turkey hunters in Utah can take only male turkeys. That rule, and the fact that female turkeys are very productive, means putting additional hunters in the field shouldn't have a negative effect on Utah's turkey populations.

"Turkeys and other upland game reproduce at a high rate," Olsen says. "It's not unusual for a single male turkey to breed as many as 10 females. And female turkeys are very productive. They usually lay a clutch of between 10 to 12 eggs.

"Because one male will breed several females, and because female turkeys are so productive, taking some extra males out of the population shouldn't affect the overall number of turkeys 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.