BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
WOODS CROSS – Youth hunters 17 years old and younger came out as the biggest winners after the Utah Wildlife Board approved a list of proposed changes for the 2014 hunting season.
The approved changes occurred at the last meeting, which took place last Thursday, Dec. 5.
Hunters 17 years old and younger now have the ability to use an adult mentor’s permit to take a big game animal in the 2014 season, which is the biggest change of all the approvals made for next year’s hunting season.
The Hunter Mentoring program, which will start next year, “allows a non-licensed youth hunter to accompany their parent, stepparent, grandparent or legal guardian into the field,” according to a press release sent to the Clipper.
Once an animal is found and taken, the youth hunter will be allowed to take the animal and tag it with the mentor’s tag.
Once the animal is taken, however, the hunting season will be over for both the youth and the mentor.
Another change will affect six waterfowl management areas in Utah, but will not include Farmington Bay.
Archery deer and pronghorn hunters will now be able to hunt on six of Utah’s waterfowl management areas. The areas affected will be Bicknell Bottoms, Brown’s Park, Clear Lake, Desert Lake, Locomotive Springs and Redmond.
Both the archery deer and pronghorn hunts will be over before the general waterfowl hunt starts in October, according to the press release.
Another change will be the allowance of magnifying scopes on muzzleloaders, draw lock devices on bows, and the use of crossbows.
The approved change will allow hunters the use of the three items during Utah’s any-weapon big game hunts. Any-weapon hunts are commonly called “rifle hunts,” but hunters are allowed to use either a rifle, muzzleloader or archery equipment.
“We don’t have concerns with people using scopes, draw lock devices or crossbows during the any-weapon hunts,” said Justin Shannon, big game coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, in the press release. “By choosing archery equipment or a muzzleloader, the chance they’ll take an animal is lower than if they used a rifle.”
Other changes approved by the board were the transplantation of deer in eight units, or areas, throughout Utah, the split of the rifle hunt in the Book Cliffs limited-entry deer hunting unit, and bighorn sheep hunting in three areas of north-central Utah.
All of the approved changes will be available in next year’s Utah Big Game Field Regulations Guidebook.
The book will be available in late December.