Administrative rule R657-10
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KEY: wildlife, cougar, game laws
Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment: May 2, 2022
Notice of Continuation: July 2, 2021
Authorizing, and Implemented or Interpreted law: 23-14-18; 23-14-19
R657-10-1. Purpose and Authority.
(1) Under authority of Sections 23-14-18 and 23-14-19, the Wildlife Board has established this rule for taking and pursuing cougar.
(2) Specific dates, areas, number of permits, limits, and other administrative details which may change annually are published in the guidebook of the Wildlife Board for taking cougar.
(1) Terms used in this rule are defined in Section 23-13-2.
(2) In addition:
(a) "Canned hunt" means that a cougar is treed, cornered, held at bay or its ability to escape is otherwise restricted to allow a person who was not a member of the initial hunting party to arrive and take the cougar.
(b) "Compensation" means anything of economic value in excess of $100 that is paid, loaned, granted, given, donated, or transferred to a dog handler for or in consideration of pursuing cougar for any purpose.
(c) "Cougar" means Puma concolor, commonly known as mountain lion, lion, puma, panther or catamount.
(d) "Cougar pursuit permit" means a permit that authorizes a person to pursue cougar during designated seasons.
(e) "Dog handler" means the person in the field that is responsible for transporting, releasing, tracking, controlling, managing, training, commanding and retrieving the dogs involved in the pursuit. The owner of the dogs is presumed the dog handler when the owner is in the field during pursuit.
(f) "Evidence of sex" means the sex organs of a cougar, including a penis, scrotum or vulva.
(g) "Green pelt" means the untanned hide or skin of any cougar.
(h) "Harvest objective" means an identified limit on the number of cougars that may be harvested during the season on a particular unit.
(i) "Harvest objective permit" means any permit that can be obtained without entering a drawing and is valid on all units during non-limited entry seasons. A person may use dogs to hunt cougars with this permit.
(j) "Immediate family member" means a livestock owner's spouse, child, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother, sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepchild and grandchild.
(k) "Kitten" means a cougar that has obvious spots on its sides or its back or has obvious leg barring coloration.
(l) "Limited entry season" means any season listed in the hunt tables of the guidebook of the Wildlife Board for taking cougar, which is identified as limited entry and a person must draw a permit to hunt that season.
(m) "Limited entry permit" means any permit obtained for a limited entry season by any means, including conservation permits and sportsman permits. Limited entry permits may only be used on the specific unit they are issued for during the limited entry season. Limited entry permits may be used on any unit open to cougar hunting once the limited entry season for which the permit is valid ends.
(n) "Location of Harvest" means the exact location that the cougar is killed. GPS coordinates are preferred.
(o) "Private lands" means any lands that are not public lands, excluding Indian trust lands.
(p) "Public lands" means any lands owned by the state, a political subdivision or independent entity of the state, or the United States, excluding Indian trust lands, that are open to the public for purposes of engaging in pursuit.
(q) "Pursue" means to chase, tree, corner or hold a cougar at bay.
(r) "Spot-and-stalk permit" means a cougar permit available over the counter for seasons and units designated by the Division Director as per Statute 23-16-10. A hunter who obtains this permit may not use dogs to take a cougar.
(s) "Predator management unit" means a unit managed under direction of DWR W1AG-4 to reduce cougar densities. This type of unit does not have a limit on the number of cougars that may be harvested during the season.
(t) "Trail Camera" means a device that is not held or manually operated by a person and is used to capture images, video, or location data of wildlife using heat or motion to trigger the device.
(u) "Waiting period" means a specified period that a person who has obtained a cougar permit must wait before applying for any other limited entry cougar season.
(v) "Written permission" means written authorization from the owner or person in charge to enter upon private lands and must include:
(i) the name and signature of the owner or person in charge;
(ii) the address and phone number of the owner or person in charge;
(iii) the name of the dog handler given permission to enter the private lands;
(iv) a brief description of the pursuit activity authorized;
(v) the appropriate dates; and
(vi) a general description of the property.
R657-10-3. Permits for Taking Cougar.
(1)(a) To harvest a cougar, a person must first obtain a valid limited entry cougar permit, harvest objective cougar permit, or spot-and-stalk permit, for the specified management units as provided in the guidebook of the Wildlife Board for taking cougar.
(b) Any person who obtains a limited entry cougar season permit, harvest objective cougar permit, or spot-and-stalk permit, may pursue cougar during the season for which the permit is valid.
(2) A person may not apply for or obtain more than one cougar permit for the same season, except:
(a) as provided in Subsection R657-10-25(3);
(b) if the person is unsuccessful in the limited entry drawing, the person may purchase a harvest objective or spot-and-stalk permit; or
(c) a person may acquire and use a permit issued pursuant to Section 23-16-10 in addition to another lawfully acquired cougar permit.
(3) Any cougar permit purchased after the season opens is not valid until three days after the date of purchase.
(4) To obtain a cougar limited entry permit, harvest objective permit, spot-and-stalk permit, or pursuit permit, a person must possess a Utah hunting or combination license.
R657-10-4. Permits for Pursuing Cougar.
(1)(a) To pursue cougar without a limited entry, harvest objective permit, the dog handler must:
(i) obtain a valid cougar pursuit permit from a division office; or
(ii) possess the documentation and certifications required in Subsection R657-10-25(2) to pursue cougar for compensation.
(b) A cougar pursuit permit or exemption there from does not allow a person to kill a cougar.
(2) Residents and nonresidents may purchase cougar pursuit permits consistent with the requirements of this rule and the guidebooks of the Wildlife Board.
(3) To obtain a cougar pursuit permit, a person must possess a Utah hunting or combination license.
R657-10-5. Hunting Hours.
Cougar may be taken or pursued only between one-half hour before official sunrise through one-half hour after official sunset.
R657-10-6. Firearms, Archery Equipment, Crossbows, and Airguns.
(1) A person may only use weapons identified in Sections R657-5-8 through R657-5-11.
R657-10-7. Traps and Trapping Devices.
(1) Cougar may not be taken with a trap, snare or any other trapping device, except as authorized by the Division of Wildlife.
(2) Cougar accidentally caught in any trapping device must be released unharmed, and must not be pursued or taken.
(3)(a) Authorization must be obtained from a division representative to remove the carcass of a cougar from any trapping device.
(b) The carcass shall remain the property of the state and must be surrendered to the division.
R657-10-8. State Parks.
(1) Hunting of wildlife is allowed within the boundaries of all state park areas except for those areas and hunts specifically closed by the Division of Parks and Recreation in Section R651-614-4.
(2) State laws regarding possession and discharge of dangerous weapons apply in state park areas open to hunting.
R657-10-9. Prohibited Methods.
(1) Cougar may be taken or pursued only during open seasons and using methods prescribed in this rule and the guidebook of the Wildlife Board for taking cougar. Otherwise, under the Wildlife Resources Code, it is unlawful for any person to pursue, possess, capture, kill, injure, drug, rope, trap, snare or in any way harm or transport cougar.
(2)(a) A person may not pursue a single cougar in repeated pursuits such that it renders the cougar physically unable to escape.
(b) After a cougar has been pursued, chased, treed, cornered or held at bay, a person may not, in any manner, restrict or hinder the animal's ability to escape.
(c) A person must make reasonable efforts to call dogs off of a cougar that has been cornered or held at bay.
(3) A person may not engage in a canned hunt.
(4) A person may not take any wildlife from an airplane or any other airborne vehicle or device or any motorized terrestrial or aquatic vehicle, including snowmobiles and other recreational vehicles.
(5) Electronic locating equipment may not be used to locate cougars wearing electronic radio devices.
(6)(a) A person shall not place, maintain, or use any trail camera or non-handheld device capable of capturing image, video, location, time or date data in the field to take, attempt to take, or aid in the take or attempted take of cougar between July 31 and December 31.
(b) Engage in the sale or purchase of trail camera or other non-handheld device media, including images, video, location, time, or date data to take, attempt to take, or aid in the take or attempted take of cougar; or
(c) Engage in the storage and sale or purchase of stored media, including image, video, location, time or date data to take, attempt to take, or aid in the take or attempted take of cougar.
(d) the prohibition on the use of trail cameras does not apply to:
(i) private landowners monitoring or protecting their property from trespass;
(ii) monitoring active agricultural operations;
(iii) to aid in the take of bear and cougar depredating livestock; and
(iv) municipalities participating in the Urban Deer Program.
(e) Trail cameras and other non-handheld devices described in Subsection (6)(a) on private property cannot be used to take, attempt to take, or aid in the take or attempted take of cougar between July 31 and December 31.
(1) Except as provided in Section 23-13-17:
(a) a person may not use or cast the rays of any spotlight, headlight or other artificial light to locate protected wildlife while having in possession a firearm or other weapon or device that could be used to take or injure protected wildlife; and
(b) the use of a spotlight or other artificial light in a field, woodland or forest where protected wildlife are generally found is prima facie evidence of attempting to locate protected wildlife.
(2) The provisions of this section do not apply to:
(a) the use of the headlights of a motor vehicle or other artificial light in a usual manner where there is no attempt or intent to locate protected wildlife; or
(b) a person licensed to carry a concealed weapon in accordance with Title 53, Chapter 5, Part 7 of the Utah Code, provided the person is not utilizing the concealed weapon to hunt or take wildlife.
R657-10-11. Party Hunting.
A person may not take a cougar for another person.
R657-10-12. Use of Dogs.
(1) Dogs may be used to take or pursue cougar only during open seasons as provided in the guidebook of the Wildlife Board for taking cougar.
(2) A dog handler may pursue cougar provided he or she possesses:
(a) a valid cougar permit issued to the dog handler;
(b) a valid cougar pursuit permit; or
(c) the documentation and certifications required in Subsection R657-10-25(2) to pursue cougar for compensation.
(3) When dogs are used in the pursuit of a cougar, the licensed hunter intending to take the cougar must be present when the dogs are released and must continuously participate in the hunt thereafter until the hunt is completed.
(4) When dogs are used to take a cougar and there is not an open pursuit season, the dog handler must have:
(a) a valid cougar permit issued to the dog handler for the unit being hunted;
(b)(i) a valid cougar pursuit permit; and
(ii) be accompanied, as provided in Subsection (3), by a hunter possessing a cougar permit for the area; or
(c)(i) the documentation and certifications required in Subsection R657-10-25(2) to pursue cougar for compensation and
(ii) be accompanied, as provided in Subsection (3), by a paying client possessing a valid cougar permit for the area.
(5) A dog handler may pursue cougar under:
(a) a cougar pursuit permit only during the season and in the areas designated by the Wildlife Board in the guidebook open to pursuit;
(b) a valid cougar permit only during the season and in the area designated by the Wildlife Board in the guidebook for that permit; or
(c) the pursuit for compensation provisions in this rule only during the seasons and in the areas designated by the Wildlife Board in the guidebook open to pursuit.
(6) (a) An individual may not:
(i) release into the field more than the maximum number of dogs allowed in a single pursuit;
(ii) pursue a cougar with more than the maximum number of dogs allowed in a single pursuit, regardless of whether the individual owns or controls the dogs encountered in the field; or
(iii) harvest a cougar that was pursued using more than the allowable maximum number of dogs.
(b) An individual may not pursue or take a cougar using more than 16 dogs in a single pursuit.
(c) The maximum number of dogs allowed in a single pursuit is cumulative across all members of a hunting party, even if multiple members of the hunting party possess authorization to use dogs to pursue cougar.
(7)(a) A dog handler pursuing cougar may retrieve dogs that separate from the pack, provided the dog handler:
(i) takes reasonable steps to keep the pack together before and during pursuit;
(ii) separates from the permit holder exclusively to retrieve stray dogs and does not attempt to actively pursue cougar during the retrieval process; and
(iii) immediately releases any cougar incidentally treed or held at bay by the stray dogs.
(b) Dogs that separate from the pack continue to count towards the maximum number of dogs allowable in pursuit.
(c) A dog handler retrieving stray dogs under this subsection must still possess the documentation initially required to use dogs to pursue cougar as provided in this rule.
R657-10-13. Tagging Requirements.
(1) The carcass of a cougar must be tagged with a temporary possession tag before the carcass is moved from or the hunter leaves the site of kill as provided in Section 23-20-30.
(2) A person may not hunt or pursue a cougar after any of the notches have been removed from the tag or the tag has been detached from the permit.
(3) The temporary possession tag:
(a) must remain attached to the pelt or unskinned carcass until the permanent possession tag is attached; and
(b) is only valid for 48 hours after the date of kill.
(4) A person may not possess a cougar pelt or unskinned carcass without a valid permanent possession tag affixed to the pelt or unskinned carcass. This provision does not apply to a person in possession of a properly tagged carcass or pelt within 48 hours after the kill, provided the person was issued and is in possession of a valid permit.
R657-10-14. Evidence of Sex and Age.
(1) Evidence of sex must remain attached to the carcass or pelt of each cougar until a permanent tag has been attached by the division.
(2) The pelt and skull must be presented to the division in an unfrozen condition to allow the division to gather management data.
(3) It is mandatory that a tooth (PM1) be removed by the division at the time of permanent tagging to be used for aging purposes.
(4) The division may seize any pelt not accompanied by its skull or not having sufficient evidence of biological sex designation attached.
R657-10-15. Permanent Tag.
(1)(a) Each cougar must be taken by the permit holder to a conservation officer or division office within 48 hours after the date of kill to have a permanent possession tag affixed to the pelt or unskinned carcass and for the removal of a tooth.
(b) After regular business hours, on weekends, or on holidays, a conservation officer may be reached by contacting the local police dispatch office.
(2) A person may not possess a green pelt after the 48-hour check-in period, or ship a green pelt out of Utah, or present a green pelt to a taxidermist if the green pelt does not have a permanent possession tag attached.
(3) The location of harvest and a tooth sample must be provided to the division during the check-in process.
R657-10-16. Transporting Cougar.
Cougar that have been legally taken may be transported by the permit holder provided the cougar is properly tagged and the permittee possesses the appropriate permit.
R657-10-17. Exporting Cougar from Utah.
(1) A person may export a legally taken cougar or its parts if that person has a valid permit and the cougar is properly tagged with a permanent possession tag.
(2) A person may not ship or cause to be shipped from Utah, a cougar pelt without first obtaining a shipping permit issued by an authorized division representative.
(1) A person may donate protected wildlife or their parts to another person as provided in Section 23-20-9.
(2) A green pelt of any cougar donated to another person must have a permanent possession tag affixed.
(3) The written statement of donation must be retained with the pelt.
R657-10-19. Purchasing or Selling.
(1) Legally obtained, tanned cougar hides may be purchased or sold.
(2) A person may not purchase, sell, offer for sale, or barter a tooth, claw, paw, or skull of any cougar.
R657-10-20. Waste of Wildlife.
(1) A person may not waste or permit to be wasted or spoiled any protected wildlife or their parts.
(2) The skinned carcass of a cougar may be left in the field and does not constitute waste of wildlife.
R657-10-21. Livestock Depredation and Human Health and Safety.
(1) If a cougar is harassing, chasing, disturbing, harming, attacking or killing livestock, or has committed such an act within the past 96 hours:
(a) in depredation cases, the livestock owner, an immediate family member or an employee of the owner on a regular payroll, and not hired specifically to take cougar, may kill the cougar;
(b) a landowner or livestock owner may notify the division of the depredation or human health and safety concerns, who shall authorize a local hunter to take the offending cougar or notify a USDA, Wildlife Services specialist; or
(c) the livestock owner may notify a USDA, Wildlife Services specialist of the depredation who may take the depredating cougar.
(2) Depredating cougar may be taken at any time by a USDA, Wildlife Services specialist, supervised by the Wildlife Services program, while acting in the performance of the person's assigned duties and in accordance with procedures approved by the division.
(3)(a) A depredating cougar may be taken by those persons authorized in Subsection (1)(a) with:
(i) any weapon authorized for taking cougar; or
(ii) with the use of snares only with written authorization from the director of the division and subject to each condition and restriction set out in the written authorization.
(b) The option in Subsection (3)(a)(ii) may only be authorized in the case of a chronic depredation situation where numerous livestock have been killed by a depredating cougar and must be verified by Wildlife Services or division personnel.
(4)(a) The division may issue depredation permits to take cougar on specified private lands and public land grazing allotments with a chronic depredation situation where numerous livestock have been killed by cougar.
(b) The division may:
(i) issue one or more depredation permits to the affected livestock owner or a designee, provided the livestock owner does not receive monetary consideration from the designee for the opportunity to use the depredation permit;
(ii) determine the legal weapons and methods of take allowed; and
(iii) specify the area and season that the permit is valid.
(5)(a) Any cougar taken under Subsection (1)(a) or (4)(a) shall remain the property of the state and must be reported to a division office or employee within 96 hours.
(b) The division may issue a cougar damage permit to a person who has killed a depredating cougar under Subsection (1)(a) that authorizes the person to keep the carcass.
(c) A person that takes a cougar under Subsection (1)(a) or (4)(a) may acquire and use a limited entry permit or harvest objective cougar permit in the same year.
(d) Notwithstanding Subsections (5)(b) and (5)(c), a person may retain no more than one cougar annually taken with a cougar depredation permit.
(6)(a) A hunter interested in taking depredating cougar as provided in Subsection (1)(b) may contact the division.
(b) Hunters will be contacted by the division to take depredating cougar as needed.
Each permittee who is contacted for a survey about their cougar hunting experience should participate in the survey regardless of success. Participation in the survey helps the division evaluate population trends, harvest success and collect other valuable information.
R657-10-23. Taking Cougar.
(1)(a) For each permit issued, a person may only take one cougar during the season and from the area specified on the permit.
(b) A limited entry permit may be obtained by following the application procedures provided in this rule and the guidebook of the Wildlife Board for taking cougar.
(c) A harvest objective permit may be purchased on a first-come, first-served basis as provided in guidebook of the Wildlife Board for taking cougar.
(2) A person may not:
(a) take or pursue a female cougar with a kitten; or
(b) repeatedly pursue, chase, tree, corner, or hold at bay, the same cougar during the same day after the cougar has been released.
(3) Any cougar may be taken during the prescribed seasons, except a kitten or any cougar accompanied by one or more kittens.
(4) A person may not take a cougar wearing a radio or GPS collar on any unit identified in the guidebook of the Wildlife Board for taking cougar as being closed to the take of collared animals.
(5) The division may authorize a hunter who has obtained a valid cougar permit to take cougar in a specified area of the state in the interest of protecting wildlife from depredation.
(6) Season dates, closed areas, harvest objective areas, predator management units, and limited entry season areas are published in the guidebook of the Wildlife Board for taking cougar.
(7)(a) A person who obtains a limited entry cougar permit may hunt on all open units after the end date of the limited entry season. Limited entry season dates are provided in the guidebook of the Wildlife Board for taking cougar.
(b) A person who obtains a limited entry cougar permit and chooses to hunt on any open unit after the transition date is subject to all harvest objective unit closure requirements provided in Section R657-10-29.
R657-10-24. Extended and Preseason Hunts.
(1) An extended or preseason hunt may be authorized by the division on selected cougar management units to control depredation or nuisance problems.
R657-10-25. Cougar Pursuit.
(1)(a) Except as provided in Subsection R657-10-3(1)(b) and Subsection (2), cougar may be pursued only by persons who have obtained a cougar pursuit permit.
(b) The cougar pursuit permit does not allow a person to:
(i) kill a cougar; or
(ii) pursue cougar for compensation.
(c) A person may pursue cougar for compensation only as provided in Subsection (2).
(d) To obtain a cougar pursuit permit, a person must possess a Utah hunting or combination license.
(2)(a) A person may pursue cougar on public lands for compensation, provided the dog handler:
(i) receives compensation from a client or customer to pursue cougar;
(ii) is a licensed hunting guide or outfitter under Title 58, Chapter 79, Hunting Guides and Outfitters Registration Act and authorized to pursue cougar;
(iii) possesses on the person the Utah hunting guide or outfitter license;
(iv) possesses on the person all permits and authorizations required by the applicable public lands managing authority to pursue cougar for compensation; and
(v) is accompanied by the client or customer at all times during pursuit.
(b) A person may pursue cougar on private lands for compensation, provided the dog handler:
(i) receives compensation from a client or customer to pursue cougar;
(ii) is accompanied by the client or customer at all times during pursuit; and
(iii) possesses on the person written permission from all private landowners on whose property pursuit takes place.
(c) A person who is an employee or agent of the Division of Wildlife Services may pursue cougar on public lands and private lands while acting within the scope of their employment.
(3) A pursuit permit is not required to pursue cougar under Subsection (2).
(4)(a) A person pursuing cougar for compensation under Subsections (2)(a) and (2)(b) shall comply with all other requirements and restrictions in statute, rule and the guidebooks of the Wildlife Board regulating the pursuit and take of cougar.
(b) Any violation of, or failure to comply with Title 23, Wildlife Resources Code of Utah, this rule, or the guidebooks of the Wildlife Board may be grounds for suspension of the privilege to pursue cougar for compensation under this subsection, as determined by a division hearing officer.
(5) A cougar pursuit permit authorizes the holder to pursue cougar with dogs on any unit open to pursuing cougar during the seasons and under the conditions prescribed by the Wildlife Board in guidebook.
(6) A person may not:
(a) take or pursue a female cougar with a kitten;
(b) repeatedly pursue, chase, tree, corner or hold at bay, the same cougar during the same day;
(c) If eligible, a person who has obtained a cougar pursuit permit may also obtain a limited entry season permit, harvest objective cougar permit, or spot-and-stalk permit.
(7) Cougar may be pursued on any units open to cougar hunting during the dates provided in the guidebook of the Wildlife Board for taking cougar.
(8) A cougar pursuit permit is valid on a calendar year basis.
(9) A person must possess a valid hunting or combination license to obtain a cougar pursuit permit.
R657-10-26. Limited Entry Cougar Permit Application Information.
(1) Limited entry cougar permits are issued pursuant to R657-62-24.
R657-10-27. Harvest Objective Permit General Information.
(1) Harvest objective permits are valid only for open harvest objective management units or predator management units and for the specified seasons published in the guidebook of the Wildlife Board for taking cougar.
(2) Harvest objective permits are not valid in a specified management unit after the harvest objective has been met for that unit.
R657-10-28. Harvest Objective Permit Sales.
(1) Harvest objective permits are available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning on the date published in the guidebook of the Wildlife Board for taking cougar.
(2) Any cougar permit purchased after the season opens is not valid until three days after the date of purchase unless specifically authorized by the division.
(3) A person must possess a valid hunting or combination license to obtain a Harvest objective permit.
R657-10-29. Units with Harvest Objective Closures.
(1) To hunt in a unit with a harvest objective, a hunter must visit the division's website to verify that the harvest objective unit is still open. The website will be updated each day by 12 noon. Updates become effective the following day 30 minutes before official sunrise.
(2) Units with harvest objective are open to hunting until:
(a) the harvest objective for that unit is met and the division closes the unit; or
(b) the end of the hunting season as provided in the guidebook of the Wildlife Board for taking cougar.
(3) Upon closure of a unit with a harvest objective, a hunter may not take or pursue cougar except as provided in Section R657-10-25.
R657-10-30. Harvest Objective Unit Reporting.
(1) Any person taking a cougar on a unit with a harvest objective must report to the division, within 48 hours, the location of harvest and have a permanent tag affixed pursuant to Section R657-10-15.
(2) Failure to accurately report the correct unit where the cougar was killed is unlawful.
(3) Any conviction for failure to accurately report, or aiding or assisting in the failure to accurately report as required in Subsection (1) shall be considered probable cause evidence of a knowing, intentional or reckless violation for purposes of permit suspension.
R657-10-31. Wildlife Management Areas.
(1) A person may not use motor vehicles on division-owned wildlife management areas closed to motor vehicle use during the winter without first obtaining written authorization from the appropriate division regional office.
(2) The division may, in its sole discretion, authorize limited motor vehicle access to its wildlife management areas closed to such use during the winter provided:
(a) the person seeking access possesses a valid cougar permit for the area;
(b) motor vehicle access is necessary to effectively utilize the cougar permit; and
(c) motor vehicle access will not interfere with wintering wildlife or wildlife habitat.
R657-10-32. Poaching-Reported Reward Permits.
(1) Cougar poaching-reported reward permits are issued pursuant to Rule R657-51 Poaching-Reported Reward Permits.