Utah Looking At Bear Season Changes

Utah DWR, Bear Hunting Magazine

Black bear hunters in Utah may have some new opportunities in the state starting next year. A new bear management plan is making the new opportunities possible after the Utah Wildlife Board approved the plan earlier this year.

John Shivik, game mammals coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says the plan has opened the door to some new hunting options. "At the same time," Shivik says, "the plan provides some important safeguards to keep the state's bear populations healthy and safe."

All of the changes the DWR is recommending for Utah's 2012 bear hunts are available online here - Utah DWR.

The following are some highlights:
Currently, most of the bears that are hunted in Utah are tracked by hounds. A few hunters hunt over bait while archery hunting. But starting in 2012, biologists are recommending that spot-and-stalk-only hunts be held in some areas in Utah.

Currently, all of Utah's bear hunting areas are limited-entry areas. Only those who draw a permit for a limited-entry area can hunt on it. Starting in 2012, biologists would like to offer some harvest-objective hunts too.

The number of hunters who can hunt on a harvest-objective area isn't limited, so switching an area to harvest objective gives more people a chance to hunt the area. Letting more hunters hunt an area increases the chance that more bears will be taken.

As soon as a predetermined number of bears are taken (called the area's quota), the hunt on the area will end for the season. The spring hunts on some of Utah's bear hunting units might run a little longer next year. Having longer spring seasons allows biologists to put more pressure on bears in areas where bears often kill livestock and raid campgrounds.

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