White-tailed prairie dogs that live in Coyote Basin in northeastern Utah and Utah prairie dogs are fully protected—you can't shoot them.
Photo by Tony Wright
On April 1, 2012, all of the other prairie dogs in Utah will join that protected list for a short period of time.
Protecting prairie dogs
Just like game animals, Utah has a hunting season for Gunnison's and white-tailed prairie dogs:
Tony Wright, a sensitive species biologist with the Division of Wildlife Resources, says the shooting closure is designed to help Gunnison's and white-tailed prairie dogs, which are considered sensitive species in Utah.
Wright says many wildlife species depend on prairie dogs for food. "Black-footed ferrets, birds of prey, ground predators—all of these species eat prairie dogs," he says.
Wright says protecting prairie dogs during their spring breeding season is very important. "The shooting closure helps ensure the prairie dogs can give birth to their young and raise their pups successfully," he says.
Some areas closed year round
In some areas of Utah, prairie dogs may not be hunted, no matter what time of year it is:
Finding Gunnison's and white-tailed prairie dogs
Starting June 16, hunting is allowed only for white-tailed and Gunnison's prairie dogs.
In Utah, you'll find Gunnison's prairie dogs east of the Colorado River. White-tailed prairie dogs are found in other spots in eastern Utah.
You don't need a license to hunt prairie dogs in Utah. And there isn't a bag limit.
When the season reopens on June 16, please keep the following in mind:
For more information, call the DWR's Southeastern Region office at 435-613-3700 or the agency's Northeastern Region office at 435-781-9453.