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Big changes in store for Utah's 2011 deer seasons

From the Utah Division of wildlife Resources

-- Members of the Utah Wildlife Board want hunters to see more buck deer during Utah's general hunts. That goal has led the Division of Wildlife Resources to put on hold big game hunting ideas it's shared with hunters over the past several months.

Instead, the Division will present some new ideas with a goal of increasing the number of bucks per 100 does on Utah's general season units. To increase the number of bucks per 100 does, fewer people would be allowed to hunt in some areas of the state.

The discussion that led to the changes happened at the board's Sept. 22 executive work meeting. Minutes of the meeting will be available Oct. 7 online at wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/board-minutes.html.

The Division is still working out the details of an idea that would likely involve the Wildlife Board amending Utah's statewide deer management plan. Those amendments would likely raise the average number of bucks per 100 does Division biologists must manage for.

Instead of an average of 15 bucks per 100 does, biologists would likely have to manage general-season areas so an average of 18 bucks per 100 does was found after the fall hunting seasons were over.

Two ideas to reach that goal have emerged so far.

Under a proposal the Division is formulating, general deer hunting would likely continue in the five deer hunting regions Utah currently has. If the number of bucks per 100 does fell below preset levels on units or subunits within the regions, however, hunting on those specific units would be allowed only on a limited basis.

A second idea that's been proposed would likely result in the regions being divided into smaller units. All hunters-archery, muzzleloader and rifle-would be allowed to hunt on only one of up to 29 smaller units in the state.

Both ideas have one thing in common-fewer hunters would be allowed to hunt in some areas of the state.

All of the details should be worked out by the end of October, according to Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the Division.

When the proposals have been finalized, they will be available online at wildlife.utah.gov.

The public will be able to provide comments on the proposals at Regional Advisory Council meetings in November.  See the revised meeting schedule at  http://wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings/pdf/10_schedule.pdf.  Members of the Wildlife Board will decide which option to approve at their Dec. 2 meeting.

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