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Health, Science & Environment

Big Game Changes Open for Public Comment

Photo of an elk
Brent Stettler, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Last week, the Utah Divison of Wildlife released its annual agenda of proposed changes for 2014’s big game hunting season. The changes cover a wide range of hunting issues and also address a possible addition to the organization’s mule deer management plan.

The changes proposed for big game hunting could offer more opportunities across the state. These include creating consistent age requirements for different types of hunts, splitting the Book Cliffs hunting unit into two areas and introducing archery hunting in select waterfowl management areas with deer and pronghorn populations. Justin Shannon is DWR’s new big game coordinator.

"I guess we’re viewing it as an opportunity to expand big game hunting opportunities with minimal downside," he says.

In addition, officials want to add an addendum to the state’s current mule deer management plan that allows deer relocation. Shannon says there are eight areas in the state that could receive transplanted deer without negative effects.

"With transplants you would potentially solve one problem by moving deer out of an area where they’re too dense, but then in addition to that you could potentially bolster some of these populations that historically held more deer, that still have adequate ranges for them, and really try to solve two problems," he says.

The public will have opportunities to comment during open meetings starting next week. Members of DWR’s regional advisory council will share results with Utah’s Wildlife Board. The board will approve 2014 big game hunting rules on December 5th.

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