Utah Harvest Data And Possible Changes

Utah DWR, Bear Hunting Magazine

The final count for the 2009 bear season in Utah stands at 147. Biologists are recommending that the number of hunting permits be increased for next year's black bear hunts. In 2009, a total of 319 permits were available. The DWR is recommending a total of 368 permits for 2010. Based on an average success rate of just over 40 percent, the extra 49 permits should result in hunters taking about 21 additional bears in 2010.

Changes Possible for 2010
Three areas that are popular places to pursue bears with dogs might be quieter next summer. Division of Wildlife Resources biologists want to limit the number of people who pursue bears on the Book Cliffs, San Juan and La Sal units (eastern Utah) in summer 2010. The biologists also want to limit the number of dogs that can be used to hunt or pursue bears on any unit in Utah.

Those changes, and more bear hunting permits in Utah, are among changes the DWR is recommending for Utah's 2010 black bear pursuit and hunting seasons.

To review all of the DWR's bear hunting and pursuit proposals at wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings. Once Utah residents read the proposals, they can share their thoughts and ideas one of two ways:

RAC meetings
Five Regional Advisory Council meetings will be held across Utah. Citizens representing the RACs will take the input received at the meetings to the Utah Wildlife Board. Board members will use the input to help them set rules for Utah's 2010 bear hunt and pursuit seasons. They'll set those rules at their January 7th meeting in Salt Lake City.

You can participate and provide your input at any of the following meetings:
* Southern Region - December 8, 7 p.m.
Cross Hollows Inter. School - 2215 W. Royal Hunte Drive, Cedar City

* Southeastern Region - December 9, 6:30 p.m.
John Wesley Powell Museum - 1765 E. Main St., Green River

* Northeastern Region - December 10, 6:30 p.m.
Uintah Basin Applied Technology - 450 N. 2000 W., Vernal
* Central Region - December 15, 6:30 p.m.
Central Region Conference Center - 1115 N. Main Street, Springville

* Northern Region - December 16, 6 p.m.
Brigham City Community Center - 24 N. 300 W., Brigham City

Residents can also provide comments to their RAC via e-mail. E-mail addresses for RAC members are available at wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings.

Pursuit and hunting changes
The Book Cliffs, San Juan and La Sal units are among the most popular places in Utah to pursue bears with trained hounds. Unfortunately, that popularity has caused some problems.

"This past summer, we received more than 150 complaints from campers, hikers and others who were recreating in the area," says Justin Dolling, game mammals coordinator for the DWR.

"Some of the houndsmen were using as many as 20 hounds to pursue a single bear," Dolling says. "When hounds get on a bear's track, they bark a lot, and they're extremely noisy. The noise and the commotion the hounds and the houndsmen were causing bothered some of the people who were camping and hiking in the area."

To quiet things down, DWR biologists are recommending two changes:
* Limit the number of permits offered to pursue bears on the Book Cliffs, San Juan and La Sal units in the summer.

* Limit the number of hounds houndsmen can use to pursue or hunt bears on any of the state's bear units. Biologists are recommending that houndsmen not be allowed to use more than eight hounds to pursue a single bear.

For more information about the meetings, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.

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