Members of the Davis Chamber Legislative Affairs Committee and some legislators have adamantly opposed the measure. However, the issue has come up before and has now surfaced again. Executive Director of the Division of Natural Resources, (DNR) Mike Styler, presented his reasons in support of a hunt to Davis County legislators and committee members on Capitol Hill Monday.
“We’re working hard at not closing any state parks,” said Styler. “We’ve been cutting administration, but we’re now running on empty. I’m really nervous and scared about (the future of) state parks. We’re at the bottom of the totem pole, and we need every tool that we can get to raise money.”
The proposal is for a $200,000 addition to revenue for the island through allowing a limited hunt for bucks and big horn sheep.
“There may be other things that can be done,” he said. “Maybe we could have limited ATV access. Besides the revenue, there are other reasons for a hunt out there.”
Styler said two bucks wandered off the island and into Syracuse recently. They were subsequently hit by a car.
Jim Karpowitz, director for the Division of Wildlife Resources, echoed Styler’s concern for the animals. “Big horn sheep require intensive management,” he said. “It is important to keep the herd under control. We’re also going to lose them to disease.”
Davis County Commissioner Louenda Downs, asked if relocating the animals would be a better method to help the herds rather than hunting.
“When you try to transport sheep, especially the older rams, they tend not to stay where you put them,” replied Karpowitz. “Also, the chance of catching them is limited. Hunting is one of the tools that works well with the older rams. It would be very limited with only a few permits.”
Styler reiterated the need for revenue from hunting. “My plea is, ‘Give us the tools we need to stay afloat,’” he said. “Most state parks allow hunting. It is a pretty big island. The big horn stay away mostly in the hills,” with little chance the hunters would interfere with tourists.
Downs said the county’s vision for the island is to maintain its natural wilderness feel. She suggested to Styler that funding could come from tourism rather than hunting. “We’d like to have more discussion to make sure our visions are the same.”