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More chances to hunt bears in Utah during 2011

From the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

-- Black bears in Utah are doing well, and that means hunters have a few more chances to hunt bears in 2011 since the number of permits has increased and spring hunting season has been extended for one week on four additional bear hunting units in Utah.

The Utah Wildlife Board has approved several bear hunting changes for Utah's 2011 seasons, and the changes will be available in the 2011 Utah Black Bear Guidebook available at http://wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/guidebooks.html after Jan. 31.

The board approved a total of 419 hunting permits to be made available, 53 more than the 366 offered in 2010. About 40 percent of those who draw a bear-hunting permit end up taking a bear. The extra 53 permits could result in hunters taking about 180 bears in 2011.

In 2010, hunters took 158 bears. Forty one of the 419 permits are premium-limited-entry permits. If a hunter doesn't take a bear during the spring hunt, those who draw one of the 41 premium-limited-entry permits can hunt bears again during the fall hunt.

The South Slope, Yellowstone unit and the South Slope, Vernal, Diamond Mountain, Bonanza unit in northeastern Utah, and the Central Mountains, Manti-North unit in central Utah, are the three units where the spring season was extended at the request of Wildlife Resources biologists.

The Wildlife Board has also approved a request from the Southern Region Advisory Council to extend the season one week on the Boulder unit in southern Utah. Adding the four units brings to 10 the total number of bear hunting units in Utah that have a spring hunting season that runs one week longer than the other units in the state.

The extended season starts April 9 and runs until June 5.

Those who draw a fall spot-and-stalk permit for the Book Cliffs, Little Creek unit can hunt from August through November. The 2010 was the first year a spot-and-stalk bear hunt was held on the unit.

To avoid conflicts with big game hunters, bear hunters were not allowed to hunt on the unit in October. But very few deer hunters are allowed to hunt the unit, and the DWR was not made aware of any conflict between deer and bear hunters. For that reason, DWR biologists recommended spot-and-stalk bear hunters be allowed to hunt on the unit in October, too.

Spot-and-stalk hunters may not use hounds to track and tree bears, and they may not use bait to try to lure bears in.

The Book Cliffs, Little Creek unit is in the roadless area in the Book Cliffs. For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the Division's Salt Lake City office at (801)538-4700.

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