At the South Eastern Region RAC meeting, held at the John Wesley Powell River History Museum, the board took action on the recommendations from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. The recommendations were concerning the number of antlerless permits to be released for the 2005 hunting season.
With an increase in fawn populations and survival, this is a good chance to increase and rebuild the deer herds in this region. The population numbers are less than the objective in all units in this region, so the Utah legislature has instructed the DWR not to allow any doe permits, if possible. The only doe permits that can be given are depredation and mitigation permits.
Concerning the antlerless elk population, it has seen a slight decrease in numbers to 58,000 statewide. This number is determined by an aerial survey and count completed every three years. In the southeastern region, no antlerless moose or pronghorn permits are issued, so those species were not discussed.
Bill Bates explained that statewide the recommendation is to reserved 20 percent of the total number of available permits be reserved for the youth. In the event that the number of youth requesting permits does not exceed that 20 percent, those permits will go back into the total numbers for distribution.
In a unit by unit explanation, Bates gave the recommendation that, for antlerless elk: in the Book Cliff-San Arroyo unit, a reduction of 15 permits from 2004, to bring the total to 80; in the Nine Mile/Range Creek unit, a total of 360 permits; in the LaSal Mountain unit, a total of 200 permits for the public; in the San Juan unit, in the four hunts, a total of 180 permits be issued; in the Henry Mountains, a total of 20; and in the Central Mountains, Manti, a total of 664 permits for the public. These numbers are for the public lands in the southeast region.
The RAC approved the recommendation of the numbers presented by the DWR with two exceptions. The first was expressed by RAC member Jordan Hatch. Hatch proposed to combine the Danish Bench area and the Poison Springs area into one late elk hunt unit. The Rac approved this suggestion and urged the DWR to rename the unit Stump Flat/Mohrland. This is typically a late hunt for antlerless elk.
As a second recommendation, John Healy from the Ferron Ranger District of the US Forest Service explained how the drought has affected the feed conditions on Horn Mountain and in the Muddy drainage. It was his recommendation that the RAC consider another hunt on Horn Mountain.
In the discussion that followed Healy's comment, the RAC approved to add an extra hunt to target the number of elk that winter on Horn Mountain. The decision was made to take 20 permits from the Ferron Canyon unit and 20 permits from the Central Manti unit. This would make a hunt for the Horn Mountain area with 40 permits available. The hunt would run from Nov. 19, 2005-Jan. 15, 2005.
Along with the two hunt change recommendations approved by the RAC, it was approved to write a letter concerning the legal matter in the Piute Springs CWMU. As a result of that litigation, the total number for the CWMUs has not been solidly determined.
In other business conducted by the RAC, a five year reauthorization of rule R657-21, which allows CWMUs for small game and waterfowl hunting, was discussed. In 2004, there were only two units in the state, and interest is declining. The reauthorization of the rule was approved.
James Gilson, RAC chairman, announced that on June 30, four terms on the RAC would expire. He also announced the resignation of Maggie McMullin, who holds the nonconsumptive interest seat. Those people filling the positions will need to fill out renomination forms, or nomination forms would need to be filled out for another person to fill the position. Those terms expiring are: Verd Byrnes, James Gilson, Kurt Lewis, and Drew Sitterud. Nomination forms can be downloaded from the website, www.wildlife.utah.gov.