Utah Adds Cougar Hunting to Six Areas

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Deer and bighorn sheep in six areas in Utah will soon receive some added protection from cougars.

Under authority granted in Utah Code 23-14-8, Division of Wildlife Resources Director Jim Karpowitz on March 3, 2011 signed an emergency change to Utah's 2010–2011 Utah Cougar Guidebook. The change extends the hunting seasons and increases the number of cougars that hunters can take on six hunting areas in Utah.

Three of the areas are in southern Utah. The number of deer that died in these areas during the winter of 2009–2010 was higher than expected. And the number of fawns compared to the number of does in the three areas has been low for the past three years.

The remaining three areas are in central and southeastern Utah. Each area has a bighorn sheep population that's either declining in number or is stable in number but is still heavily preyed on by cougars.

If you're among those who have a cougar harvest objective hunting permit for this season, or you're thinking about getting one, you'll want to pay close attention to the changes—some cougar hunting areas that closed earlier this season will reopen to hunting.

A complete list of the areas in question, and how many additional cougars can be taken, is available at go.usa.gov/4CI. After clicking on the link, scroll down to the "Changes to the guidebook" heading to find the changes.

You can also stay updated on which harvest objective areas are open to hunting, and which have been closed, by visiting http://go.usa.gov/4CN.


Ca_Vermonster's picture

Very cool! Nice to see a

Very cool!

Nice to see a state taking an offensive approach to balancing the herd between lions and game species.

In California, lions continue to wreak havoc on the deer herd, and nothing is done except protect them.

Heck, we're even holding candlelight vigils when law enforcement shoot one out of fear for public safety.

jaybe's picture

I'd say that is good news for

I'd say that is good news for both the deer and the bighorn sheep - and the hunters who enjoy pursuing the cats.

Kudos to the Utah DWR for taking this step to help protect the animals and control the amount of cougar that are allowed to reproduce in that area.

I don't really know how low the deer and sheep herds have gotten, but I hope they didn't wait too long. I guess the emotional response of most people toward cougars isn't quite as strong as it tends to be toward wolves, though. It seems like they are going to be allowed to wreak severe havoc on wildlife populations in many states before the wildlife people finally begin to implement some more stringent measures to control their population.