|Jim Gilson is the new chairman of the southeastern RAC.|
Castle Dale resident, James Gilson was elected chairman of the RAC with Terry Sanslow being elected as vice-chairman.The Regional Wildlife Advisory Council met for their Bucks and Bulls discussion at the John Wesley Powell River History Museum in Green River on March 16.
Derris Jones, regional supervisor, introduced Wade Paskett who will be the new biologist for Emery County. Paskett has been serving as the damage specialist for the Divison of Wildlife Resources in this region for the past year.
Jones explained that rehabilitation is beginning at the Range Creek fire site. The area burned 230 acres in July 2003 and the DWR, along with the Bureau of Land Management have reseeded the burn area. Jones also announced the Wilcox Ranch, a recent acquisition of the DWR, remains foot and horse access only. The Henry Mountains fire areas were reseeded recently, with one way chaining beginning on a 1,000 acre parcel.
Concerning recent poachings in the region, two individuals confessed to illegally shooting a six point bull elk, while the investigation remains open for nine deer killed in the Dolores Triangle. Seven of these deer were does and two were bucks.
DWR has been bear denning. In the five areas checked, seven cubs were located. During 2002, there were no cubs located. For the turkey transplants, 84 Merriam turkeys have been transplanted and 37 Rio Grande turkeys have been transplanted into this region. Also, 30 California quail were transplanted to the lower Price River area.
Jim Karpowitz, DWR big game program coordinator, and Bill Bates, regional wildlife program manager, gave an overview of the license numbers for the 2004 hunts. Both men explained the objective numbers of each species and how those numbers are determined. They also explained that extensive surveys of hunt success numbers from the previous year and aerial surveys of animals in the wild are taken into account to determine the recommended number of permits to be issued for 2004. The following are statewide numbers.
General season deer permits will remain the same as 2003 at 18,000. Premium limited entry deer permits will also remain the same as 2003 at 174. In 2003, limited entry deer permits were 927, but in 2004 that number will drop to 763. Limited entry elk will raise from the 2003 number of 957 to 1,269 in 2004. Limited entry pronghorn will increase from 394 in 2003 to 409 in 2004.
The number of moose permits will increase from 96 to 114; bison permits will decrease by 20 permits to a total of 43; desert bighorn sheep permits will be reduced by three to a total of 35; Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep permits will go from 10 to nine; and Rocky Mountain goat permits will increase from 36 to 43.
Several concerned sportsmen were in attendance and voiced their opposition to the increase in the number of elk permits on the Manti Mountain region.
Karpowitz explained that the number of permits was decided upon following extensive surveys and determination of the average age of the bull elk.
The age objective of bulls in this region is 5-6 years old and as a result of the surveys of the harvested bulls from 2003, the determination was made that the average age of bulls at present is 7.1 years.
Karpowitz said that as a result, the bulls on the Manti are beginning to be past the objective age and they should be harvested before their conditions begin to decline due to old age.
Discussion on this issue, whether for or against, went on for two hours. When the RAC finally got a motion to vote on, the vote was close at 5-4, in favor of accepting the recommended numbers from the DWR.
In previous years, the DWR has attempted to obtain accurate information concerning harvest numbers and animal health.
A large percentage of hunters are not responding. With the percentage of non-responses, mandatory harvest response is being considered.
If a hunter does not comply and respond on line, he may forfeit the opportunity to receive a hunting permit for the following year.
The DWR is hoping that by making a response mandatory, they will get numbers they need to more accurately compile objective numbers.
The permit numbers for the number of antlerless permits will be discussed at the April RAC meeting.