Thursday, 07 July 2011 13:50
DWR recommends changes for upcoming waterfowl hunt
Biologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources will know in a few weeks whether Utah can hold another 107-day duck and goose hunt this fall.
The DWR is proposing a spring hunting season change that should give hunters a better chance to take snow geese in and near Delta.
Photo by Lynn Chamberlain
Holding another 107-day duck and goose hunt—and possibly allowing hunters to keep up to three pintail ducks each day—are among items DWR biologists will know for sure after meeting with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists in late July.
Justin Dolling, waterfowl and upland game coordinator for the DWR, says wetland conditions were excellent across much of the prairie pothole region in western Canada this spring. "The excellent conditions should result in another long season here in Utah and maybe a chance to keep some extra birds," Dolling says.
The 107-day season that Utah and other Western states hold is the longest waterfowl hunt in the country.
10 days of goose hunting in March
One item DWR biologists are recommending for the upcoming season is holding part of the spring light goose hunt from March 1–10 in the area that's outside of the North Goose Zone.
The area outside of the North Goose Zone includes the area in and near Delta. This area in southern Utah is one of the best snow goose hunting spots in Utah.
This past March, the hunt outside of the North Goose Zone ran March 5 – 10. Dolling says biologists waited until March 5 to start the hunt to try to put some space between the Snow Goose Festival, a popular wildlife viewing event in Delta, and the start of the hunt.
Unfortunately for hunters, by the time the hunt started, most of the light geese that migrate through Utah in the spring were already in the Delta area. The geese were preparing to leave for their northern breeding and nesting grounds when the hunt started. "As soon as the hunt started," Dolling says, "many of the birds left."
After the hunt, DWR biologists talked with organizers of the Snow Goose Festival. The organizers said they would be comfortable with the DWR starting the light goose hunt shortly after the festival ended.
Dolling says starting the hunt on March 1 will give hunters a chance to hunt birds before the birds are ready to leave. "And new flocks of geese should be arriving during the first few days of the hunt," he says.
Learn more, share your ideas
Information about all of the waterfowl hunting changes the DWR is recommending for the 2011–2012 season is available at wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings.
After you've reviewed the ideas, you can let your Regional Advisory Council members know your thoughts by attending your upcoming RAC meeting or by sending an email to them.
RAC chairmen will share the input they receive with members of the Utah Wildlife Board. The board will meet in Salt Lake City on Aug. 18 to approve rules for Utah's 2011–2012 cougar hunting season.
Dates, times and locations for the RAC meetings are as follows:
You can also provide your comments to your RAC via email. Email 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 email address. You should direct your email to the people on the RAC who represent your interest.
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