From the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
-- Hunters can lock in the deer hunting unit they want to hunt in Utah for the next three years by joining the state's Dedicated Hunter program.
On June 9, the Utah Wildlife Board approved changes to the program because in 2012, hunters will no longer hunt in five large regions in Utah. Instead, they'll hunt in 30 smaller units.
Rhianna Christopher, volunteer program coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says the DWR worked hard to keep the Dedicated Hunter program hunters join in 2012 as close as possible to the way the program is now. "This is a valuable program," she says. "We want the program to work for hunters."
Major changes the board approved for the program starting in 2012 include:
. After lifetime license holders choose the unit they want to hunt, 15 percent of the remaining general-season deer hunting permits in each unit will be set aside for Dedicated Hunters.
. To join the Dedicated Hunter program in 2012, hunters must apply to join the program, and draw a permit for the unit they would like to hunt.
. After applying for the program, if a hunter draws a permit for the unit her or she would like to hunt, the permit will be issued after completing Dedicated Hunter program requirements each year in the program.
Christopher says the unit a hunter obtains a permit for is the unit her or she will hunt during the three years in the program. "You will not be allowed to change or exchange your permit for a different unit," she says, "so you need to make sure the unit you apply for is the unit you want to hunt for the next three years."
The board also reduced the number of service hours needed to complete to 32 hours, and eliminated the Dedicated Hunter limited-entry permit draw.
More information about the changes will be available in a chart Christopher has compiled. Download the chart at http://wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings/info/2011-05-01.pdf.
In return for some extra chances to hunt deer, dedicated hunters in Utah have given the state's wildlife more than $6 million in volunteer hours and service in the past four years alone. More information about the current Dedicated Hunter program is available at http://wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/hunting/dedicated-hunters.html.