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Crow and turkey hunts this fall?

You might be able to hunt crows in Utah this fall. And the first fall turkey hunt in Utah since 1984 might also be held.

Utah might hold its first crow hunt this fall.

Utah might hold its first crow hunt this fall.

Photo by Scott Root

Those ideas — along with proposals to increase the state's Canada goose and dove bag limits — are among ideas Division of Wildlife Resources biologists will share at upcoming public meetings.

Utah's new trial hunting program, and an early look at possible fishing changes for 2015, will also be part of the meetings.

Learn more, share your ideas

After you've reviewed the ideas online, 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 chairs will share the input they receive with members of the Utah Wildlife Board. The board will meet in Salt Lake City on June 5 to approve rules for Utah's 2014 upland game and waterfowl hunts.

Dates, times and locations for the RAC meetings are as follows:

Email

You can also provide your comments to your RAC via email. Email addresses for your RAC members are available online.

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.

Fall turkey hunt

You might have two chances to hunt turkeys in Utah this year. In addition to the spring hunt, a hunt might be held in northern and southern Utah this fall.

Jason Robinson, upland game coordinator for the DWR, says there's plenty of room in Utah for more turkeys. "But," he says, "in a few areas, the number of turkeys has grown to the point that the birds are coming into conflict with people. Those are the areas where we'd like to hold a fall hunt."

Turkeys breed and nest in the spring. During the spring, hunters may take only bearded turkeys. Ninety percent of bearded turkeys are male.

In the fall, you'd be allowed to take either a male or a female turkey. "A fall hunt is a great way to control turkey numbers," Robinson says. "In the fall, it's tough to tell a female from a male, so hunters end up taking a decent number of females. Taking females will help reduce the number of turkeys that are born the following spring."

Biologists are proposing the following for the fall hunt:

  • The DWR has split Utah into five regions. The hunt would happen only in specific areas in the Northern and Southern regions.
  • If you obtained a permit, you could hunt in any of the open areas in the region you obtained a permit for.
  • The hunt would happen sometime between Nov. 1 and Feb. 28.
  • Biologists are proposing 73 permits for the Northern Region and 220 permits for the Southern Region.
  • Any turkey hunter would be eligible to hunt in the fall, even those who hunted the previous spring. The two hunts would be treated as two separate hunts.
  • The DWR is still determining how and when permits would be offered. Right now, biologists and licensing staff are leaning towards offering the permits on a first-come, first-served basis in the fall. But, again, they haven't determined their final recommendation.
  • If you obtained a permit, you'd be required to use the same type of weapons that are allowed during the spring hunt. Centerfire rifles and pistols would not be allowed.
  • Most of the hunts would happen on private land. Before hunting on private land, you'd be required to obtain written permission from the landowner.

Migratory game bird changes

The following are among changes the DWR is recommending for Utah's migratory game bird hunts:

  • Allow hunters to take a combined total of 15 mourning doves and white-winged doves a day while doubling the amount of time they can hunt.

    Biologists recommend holding the hunt Sept. 1–Oct. 30.

    Blair Stringham, migratory game bird coordinator for the DWR, says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently completed a multi-year dove hunting study. The study found that regulated hunting does not hurt mourning dove or white-winged dove populations. For that reason, the USFWS is allowing states to raise the bag limit and lengthen the season this fall.

  • Raise the daily Canada goose bag limit to four geese.

    Stringham says Canada geese in the West have steadily increased in number over the past 50 years. He says raising the bag limit will give hunters more opportunity and may help decrease the number of geese that visit urban areas.

  • Hold Utah's first crow hunt.

    Stringham says states that surround Utah have held crow hunts for several years. "We want to provide that same opportunity to hunters in Utah," he says.

    Sept. 1–30 and Dec. 1–Feb. 28 are the recommended season dates. A hunting license or a combination license would be required to hunt the birds. The daily bag limit would be 10 crows.

    Stringham says crows damage fruit crops in Utah. But giving hunters another chance to hunt is the major reason for wanting to start a hunt.

    "Holding a hunt will not hurt the population," he says. "Crow populations are doing really well."

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