DWR proposes minor changes to black bear permit numbers

Salt Lake City — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is proposing a few changes to the number of black bear permits for the 2020 hunting and pursuit seasons and is requesting the public's feedback on the proposals.

Black Bear in Autumn
Black Bear in Autumn
Black bear permit and pursuit proposals

In 2018, the Utah Wildlife Board approved the permit numbers and season structure for bear hunting in Utah for the next three years. However, concerns about large numbers of pursuers and dogs on some hunting units, mule deer populations on one unit, and clarifications about fair chase aspects of hunting bears using dogs have prompted a few recommended changes.

The DWR is proposing the following recommendations:

  • Implementing restricted pursuit seasons in the spring for the La Sal, San Juan and Book Cliffs units, with 75 pursuit permits available for each unit. Of those permits, only 10% will be available for non-residents.
  • Limiting the number of dogs that can be used to pursue or harvest a single bear or mountain lion to 16 dogs.
  • Retaining the eight-dog limit for the restricted summer pursuit seasons.
  • Clarifying in rule that a person may not pursue a single bear or mountain lion in repeated pursuits, where it could render the animal physically unable to escape. Also clarifying that a person must make reasonable efforts to call dogs off of a bear or mountain lion after it has been cornered and held at bay.
  • Recommending an increase of 30 spot-and-stalk permits in the fall for the Plateau and Boulder/Kaiparowits units to help address concerns about mule deer population numbers (bringing the total to 50 permits).
  • Recommending an increase of five permits for the summer bait season also on the Plateau and Boulder/Kairparowits units (bringing the total to 17 permits).

"We wanted to implement some of these changes to address concerns about fair chase and resource damage during the pursuit seasons for bears and mountain lions," DWR game mammals coordinator Darren DeBloois said. "We feel confident that these recommendations will help with that."

Other agenda items

Along with the recommendations regarding bears, the DWR is also proposing to extend the current Wolf Management Plan for another 10 years. It was approved in 2005 for a 10-year period, and then a five-year extension was approved in 2015. Gray wolves are currently classified as endangered (except for in a small portion of northeastern Utah where they have been delisted) and as an endangered species, they fall under the management of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Utah Wolf Management Plan will only take effect when wolves are delisted statewide.

The DWR is also proposing an amendment that would allow brine shrimp harvesting companies to more easily transfer their Certificate of Registration, which allows them to harvest brine shrimp from the Great Salt Lake, to another business.

Additional details for all the recommendations can be found on the DWR website.

Give feedback

You can view the proposal presentations and share your feedback online or attend a Regional Advisory Council meeting in person. Online feedback must be submitted before 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1.

If you'd like to attend the RAC meetings, here are the dates and times for the different regions across Utah:

  • Central Utah: Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the Springville DWR office at 1115 N. Main St., Springville
  • Northern Utah: Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. at the Brigham City Community Center at 24 N. 300 West, Brigham City
  • Southern Utah: Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. at Cedar City Middle School at 2215 W. Royal Hunte Drive, Cedar
  • Southeastern Utah: Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the John Wesley Powell Museum at 1765 E. Main St., Green River
  • Northeastern Utah: Dec. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Vernal DWR office at 318 N. Vernal Ave., Vernal
  • Wildlife Board Meeting: Jan. 7, 2020 at 9 a.m. at the Utah Department of Natural Resources building at 1594 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City
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