Friday, 19 August 2011 15:14
Another long season awaits Utah's waterfowl hunters
Salt Lake City — Good news, duck and goose hunters—you can hunt for 107 days in Utah this fall.
Another 107-day duck hunt and a chance to take seven ducks a day awaits Utah's hunters this fall. Your seven duck limit can include two pintails.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo
During their meeting on Aug. 18, 2011 members of the Utah Wildlife Board approved another 107-day duck and goose season for Utah.
The season begins Sept. 17, 2011 for hunters who are 15 years of age or younger. That's the day Utah will hold its special Youth Hunting Day.
The general duck and goose hunt starts Oct. 1, 2011.
Board members also approved the same bag limits they approved last year. That means you can keep up to seven ducks a day. Your seven duck bag limit can include two pintail ducks, a bird highly prized among many Utah hunters.
Justin Dolling, waterfowl and upland game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says wetland conditions were excellent this spring across much of the prairie pothole region in western Canada and the western United States. Wetland conditions in Utah were also better than they were in 2010.
"Plenty of ducks and geese should wing their way through Utah's marshes this fall," he says. "It should be a good hunt."
All of the rules the Utah Wildlife Board approved will be available in the 2011–2012 Utah Waterfowl Guidebook. A draft copy of the free guidebook should be available by Aug. 26 at wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks.
10 days of goose hunting in March
Holding part of the spring light goose hunt from March 1–10 in the area that's outside of Utah's North Goose Zone was the major change approved by the board.
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 and the start of the hunt.
The festival is a popular wildlife viewing event in Delta.
Unfortunately for hunters, by the time the hunt started, most of the light geese that migrate through Utah in the spring had arrived in the Delta area. When the hunt started, the geese were already preparing to leave for their northern breeding and nesting grounds. "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.
March 1 is also a Thursday. "Starting the hunt on a Thursday should reduce the number of hunters and make hunting even better for those who can make it out that day," Dolling says. "Don't worry if you can't make it out on March 1, though. Hunting should be good during the entire 10 days the hunt runs."
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