BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
WOODS CROSS – The general buck and deer hunts are still ongoing for the 2013 season, but changes could be coming that will impact hunters when the 2014 season comes around.
A few of the proposed changes being sought by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources are the allowance of archery deer and pronghorn hunting in waterfowl management areas, and the transplantation of mule deer in as many as eight waterfowl management areas.
Another possible change involves youth hunters, who may be allowed to use their parents or grandparents permit if a youth hunter doesn’t have a permit to hunt in 2014, according a press release sent to the Clipper by DWR.
None of the waterfowl management areas will include Farmington Bay, the press release said. The eight areas that will be considered for hunting “are far from urban centers.”
The transplantation of mule deer to other units, is due to a need to move the deer “from populations that were drastically exceeding their population objectives and were starting to damage habitat,” said Justin Shannon, big game coordinator.
Three of the eight suggested units that may receive deer are in western Utah. The other five are spread across the state.
Another proposed change will impact youth hunters. DWR said it wants to change the age definition of a “youth hunter” to 17 years old across the board, citing several different rules that are currently stated in its handbook.
Currently, youth hunters are being defined on a “per hunt” basis. For instance, a hunter that is 16 years old can no longer participate in the State’s youth waterfowl and upland game hunting days, which are reserved for youth hunters 15 years old and younger.
However, hunters under 19 years old are still considered youth when hunting big game.
The proposed change will include anyone that is 17 years old, before July 31 of that year, to be a youth hunter.
Many other changes are still being considered, and DWR has posted all of them on its website, wildlife.utah.gov.
In order to gather input from the public, DWR’s Regional Advisory Council will be holding a series of meetings through the month of November.
Residents may send their comments to a RAC member via email. The Northern Region Chair is currently Robert Byrnes of Centerville.
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.