Giant Raptor Dinosaur Discovered in Utah Monument New "egg-thief" dinosaur roamed the southwest
April 3, 2006--Scientists from the University of Utah and the Utah Museum of Natural History have discovered the remains of a new bird-like, meat-eating dinosaur in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM), southern Utah. Although represented only by the fossilized remains of hand and foot bones, comparisons with more complete skeletons found in Asia demonstrate that this animal was about seven feet tall when standing upright. Discovery of this Utah giant, which is much larger than its counterparts in Canada and the northern US, nearly doubles the documented range of these dinosaurs in North America, and demonstrates that they roamed much farther south than previously thought. A scientific paper naming and describing this animal, and published in the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, was authored by Lindsay Zanno, a graduate student in the Department of Geology and Geophysics, and Scott Sampson, chief curator at the Utah Museum of Natural History (UMNH), and associate professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics.
The new dinosaur, formally dubbed Hagryphus giganteus, which means "giant four-footed, bird-like god of the western desert" in reference to the animal's outward resemblance to a large land bird, its giant stature, and its discovery in the Utah desert. Hagryphus is a member of the oviraptorosaurs, a group of bird-like feathered dinosaurs with toothless beaks, powerful arms and formidable claws. These enigmatic animals are thought by some paleontologists to have been omnivorous, feeding on a mixture of meat and plants. Although only the hands and feet of Hagryphus are known, the scientists were able to use the animal's close relatives to estimate the size of the skeleton. The researchers say they do not know why this dinosaur was so much larger than its northern cousins but speculate that it may have been related to different environmental conditions in the south.
Ruthless Thief or Protective Parent?
The most spectacular finds of oviraptorosaur dinosaurs are fossilized skeletons from the Gobi desert in Mongolia. These dinosaurs were named oviraptors, meaning "egg-thief," because their remains were discovered in close association with nests of dinosaur eggs, and it was thought that the raptors were eating the egg contents. In more recent years, however, eggs have been found with remains of baby oviraptors inside. And the adult oviraptors turn out to have been sitting on the nests, brooding the eggs just as birds do today. Thus, it appears that the adult oviraptors were protecting the embryos rather than devouring them! Nevertheless, the name has stuck.
Oviraptorsaurs are known from a large portion of Asia but were thought to have invaded only the northern portion North America, since previous examples were known only from Montana, South Dakota, and Alberta, Canada. Discovery of Hagryphus in southern Utah demonstrates that this group of dinosaurs was much more widespread, living across much of the western United States. Hagryphus lived in a time of global warming, which melted polar caps and produced exceptionally high sea levels. As a result, the central portion of North America was flooded, isolating the eastern and western portions of the continent. The dinosaurs preserved in GSENM were stranded on the western landmass, which formed a narrow peninsula. The relationships between northern and southern dinosaurs that occupied this western landmass during the Late Cretaceous are part of a long-term research project undertaken by University of Utah scientists.
A Monumental Effort
Hagryphus is the first new dinosaur to be named from GSENM, and just one of many exciting finds made during a five-year collaborative project between the Monument and the University of Utah. The primary goal of this project, funded by GSENM, has been to conduct paleontological surveys and to excavate the fossils of dinosaurs and other lifeforms that existed in this region during a period near the end of the Age of Dinosaurs. More specifically, the focus of this work has been the Kaiparowits Formation, which dates to a time near the end of the Cretaceous, between 76 and 74 million years ago. Over the past five years, GSENM and University of Utah and researchers, including dozens of students and volunteers, have spent almost 17 months conducting field work within the Monument boundaries.
GSENM encompasses 1.9 million acres, comprising a substantial portion of southern Utah. Sampson states that, "due to the extremely rugged nature of the terrain, this region was the last major area within the lower 48 states to be formally mapped. For the same reason, it now represents an untapped and perhaps the last major dinosaur graveyard in this country to be explored." The central region of the Monument, known as the Kaiparowits Plateau, preserves one the most complete records of Cretaceous life anywhere in the world. However, access to the remote back country must be accomplished almost entirely on foot, and fossils must either be carried out under human power or, if the specimen involves a large dinosaur skeleton, via helicopter. Thus far, project teams have prospected approximately 20,000 acres of the central Kaiparowits Plateau in the search for dinosaurs and their prehistoric contemporaries. Yet this area amounts to less than 5% of the Cretaceous, fossil-bearing rocks preserved in the Monument.
To date, the results of this collaborative project have been spectacular. In addition to Hagryphus, discoveries include at least three other previously unknown kinds of dinosaurs--including a meat-eating tyrannosaur, a duckbilled dinosaur, and a horned dinosaur--all of which are under study and will be formally named in the near future. Remarkably, virtually every dinosaur species identified to date has turned out to be new to science. Many of the fossils from the Monument were buried quickly in sandy rivers and are exceptionally preserved. Several duckbill dinosaurs even retain fossilized skin impressions, which are very rare finds anywhere in the world. One bony claw of Hagryphus preserves the impression of the keratinous fingernail-like that would have covered the claw in life (see image CD). In addition to the charismatic dinosaur "megafauna," fossil finds from GSENM include abundant remains of clams, fishes, amphibians, lizards, turtles, birds, crocodiles, and mammals.
Project investigators, aided by workers at several other US institutions, are currently researching this bounty of prehistoric life forms, as well as their geologic context, in an effort to reconstruct this 75 million year old ecosystem. Project findings, including many original fossils, will be featured in an entirely new UMNH facility, scheduled to open at the end of 2009. Meanwhile, Hagryphus and many other Monument fossils can be viewed on display at the current UMNH building on Presidents Circle at the University of Utah campus, as well as in the GSENM visitor's center in Big Water, Utah.
18-Pound Rainbow Trout Caught in Strawberry Reservoir
Orem resident Sherm Holdaway hauled an enormous 18-pound, 2-ounce rainbow trout through the ice at Strawberry Reservoir last week.
Holdaway was ecstatic with his trophy catch and added that he landed a 9-pound trout from almost the exact location last month.
Holdaway was fishing a frozen shiner minnow on the Soldier Creek portion of the reservoir when he caught the huge fish. "My line started moving and I set the hook on what felt like a snag, but then the snag started to pull back," he says. "We had a tug-of-war for quite a while-I would gain 10 feet and then the fish would take it right back."
Eventually, the 33-inch long trout tired and Holdaway was able to work the trout up to the hole in the ice. Perhaps the most amazing part of the adventure was Holdaway hoisting a fish with a 20½ inch girth through an 8-inch diameter hole!
He then took the trophy trout to the Strawberry Marina store where it was officially weighed.
There is still a lot of ice and snow at the reservoir, and ice-off will likely take place around early to mid-May. Anglers should beware of transitional ice conditions in the meantime.
"Strawberry Reservoir is still my favorite place to go fishing," the 66-year-old Holdaway says. "I have fished the reservoir for over 60 years and still fish on about a weekly basis. I have really enjoyed catching the large trout in the reservoir, especially when you catch one of these lunker sterile rainbow trout.
"In my experience, the reservoir is as good now for fishing as it has ever been."
Strawberry Reservoir is not only Sherm Holdaway's favorite fishing spot, it's the favorite fishing spot for many other anglers too. The reservoir receives more fishing pressure than any other body of water in Utah.
The reason? Big fish, and lots of them. Anglers and biologists alike will attest to the fact that the average rainbow trout runs about 17 to 18 inches in length.
Bear Lake cutthroat trout in the reservoir are also growing to large sizes. Cutthroat trout ranging from 5 to 10 pounds are commonly caught. These large Bear Lake cutthroats are effective predators and are known for their ability to control Utah chub populations.
As you fish at Strawberry, please remember the following regulations that have helped make the reservoir the fantastic fishery it is:
- Limit 4 trout or kokanee salmon in the aggregate (in the aggregate means your bag limit can consist of four trout, or four salmon, or a combination of trout and salmon as long as your combination of trout and salmon doesn't exceed a total of four fish).
- No more than 2 of the fish in your limit may be cutthroat trout under 15 inches, and no more than 1 may be a cutthroat trout over 22 inches.
- All cutthroat trout 15 to 22 inches must be immediately released.
- Anglers are encouraged to voluntarily release all cutthroat trout.
- Any trout with cutthroat markings is considered to be a cutthroat trout.
Strawberry Reservoir contains three game fish: Bear Lake cutthroat trout, sterile rainbow trout and kokanee salmon. The reservoir also sports a large population of crayfish.
The Division of Wildlife Resources plans to stock more than 500,000 larger-than-usual rainbow trout into the reservoir this year (these above-average-sized trout should be large enough to avoid being eaten by the other large trout in the reservoir).
The DWR will also continue stocking an many additional sterile rainbow trout into the reservoir as possible to provide more fish for anglers to catch and more exciting stories about "the big one that didn't get away!"
For weekly fishing information, including tips and current conditions at fishing waters across the state, or to purchase a 365-day Utah fishing license, visit the DWR's Web site at http://www.wildlife.utah.gov/fishing .
VIEW STRUTTING SAGE-GROUSE ON APRIL 15
PRICE, UTAH--The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) invites the residents of Castle Country and elsewhere to watch strutting sage-grouse on Saturday, April 15th at Emma Park in Carbon County. Emma Park is situated about 13 miles north of Price. The Emma Park Road serves as an alternate route for motorists, traveling up or down Price Canyon.
Viewing is best before or near dawn. Grouse leave the strutting ground within an hour or so after sun-up. Grouse spend daylight hours in stands of sagebrush, where they feed and rest. For the most part, grouse remain out-of-sight, until the following morning, when they congregate at the strutting ground at first light.
DWR biologists will be on-hand with spotting scopes and binoculars. They will help the public find the grouse and answer any questions they may have. No pre-registration is necessary. The event is free of charge. The general public is cordially invited.
To get to Emma Park from Price, travel north on U. S. Highway 6 to the Castle Gate Power Plant. Turn right onto Highway 191 and travel in a northeasterly direction for about six miles to the Bamberger Monument. From there, turn left onto the Emma Park Road, and travel in a westerly direction, until you see parked state vehicles.
From the Wasatch Front, travel east on U.S. Highway 6 from Spanish Fork. At the top of Price Canyon, turn left onto the Emma Park Road which is signed. Travel easterly until you see vehicles with a state emblem. For more information, contact: Brent Stettler at: 435-636-0266.
Sign up today for KCBS Certified BBQ Judge Training Class
Do you like BBQ? Are you able to judge entries according to specific guidelines rather than personal preferences? Would you like to qualify to take part in large-scale BBQ events across the country?
The Utah BBQ Association is sponsoring a KCBS Certified BBQ Judges class to teach interested individuals how to properly judge and score competition class BBQ foods.
Certified BBQ Judges are crucial to the success of any sanctioned cookoff. They help ensure that the entries and winners meet the same standards at all KCBS Sanctioned BBQ Events across the Nation. They lend credibility to the
awards that are earned, and help create a level playing field.
Saturday, May 13th, 2006 - 10am to 2pm at Pat's BBQ, 155 W Commonwealth, SLC
Instructor: Ed Roith, VP KCBS, "The Judge's Judge"
Certified BBQ Judging Class
The Utah BBQ
c/o Joe Ferguson
10098 Countrywood Dr.
Sandy, UT 84092
City:___________________ State:____ Zip:_________
____ KCBS Member $40 (# ____________) Registration:
____ Non-Member $60 *includes $35 one-year
Make checks/money orders payable to The Utah BBQ Association
Entries and Registration Fees must be received by Monday, May 8, 2006.
Cancellations after May 8, 2006, cannot be refunded. For more information, visit http://www.utahbbq.org
Utah Friends of Paleontology Great Basin Chapter Meeting
Thursday, April 13th
Department of Natural Resources Auditorium
1594 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah
Speaker: Scott Foss, Paleontologist
for the Bureau of Land Management,
Utah State Office
Title: Achaenodon, T-rex of the Tertiary
Other upcoming meetings, lectures, and events:
Wednesday April 12, 2006, 7:30 PM: Frontiers of Science Lecture - presented by Joel R.Primack, professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Nancy Ellen Abrams, his wife and co-author of their book, The View From the Center of the Universe: Discovering Our Extraordinary Place in the Cosmos. Aline Wilmot Skaggs Biology building, University of Utah campus. Free and open to the public.
Friday, April 14, 2006, 7:30 pm: Special Lecture - The Spitzer Space Telescope: Exploring the Infrared Universe, by Robert K. Wilson, NASA Spitzer Space Telescope project manager,Aline Wilmot Skaggs Biology Building Auditorium, University of Utah. Free and open to thepublic.
May 6 - 13, 2006: Utah Prehistory Week. For a complete listing of statewide events see http://www.history.utah.gov
Saturday, MAY 6TH, 10 am - 3 pm: DIVISION OF STATE HISTORY OPEN HOUSE. 300 Rio Grande, SLC. Displays, archaeology, atlatl and spears, demonstrations, archaeology lab, family fun and its FREE.
May 10th 7:00 pm: Division of State History Zephyr Room, 300 Rio Grande. The Archaeology of Range Creek Canyon. A presentation by Dr. Duncan Metcalfe of the Utah Museum of Natural History.
Thursday, May 11, 2006, 7:00 PM: Utah Friends of Paleontology, Great Basin Chapter Meeting, Speaker TBA
June 2 - 4, 2006: Utah Friends of Paleontology Annual Convention, Logan, Utah. Hosted by the Cache Valley Chapter.
Minutes for Utah Friends Of Paleontology Great Basin Chapter meeting
Thursday, March 9, 2006
Secretary: Edan Lee
Visitors were welcomed and introduced.
Treasurer's report: $923.14 in treasury.
Upcoming events and announcements are:
• Association for Women Geoscientists, Salt Lake Chapter, will be hosting their 17th annual silent auction and wine tasting on March 25 at 734 East 200 South from 7 to 10 PM.
• Martha Hayden has some Utah Prehistory Week posters available for anyone who knows suitable places for displaying them.
• The Utah Friends Of Paleontology annual meeting has been tentatively scheduled for June 9-11.
• The members of UFOP have agreed to fund the gasoline expenses for Dr. Kirkland'sexpedition to Petrified Forest National Park to study Early Triassic to Late Triassic animals.
Kevin Bylund was introduced as tonight's speaker.
Kevin's presentation: "Utah's Fossil Cephalopods"
The usual parts of a cephalopod that were fossilized are the beak, the shell if it has one, and, in the case of cuttlefish, the supporting structure known as the cuttlebone. The specimens mentioned in the presentation range from a few millimeters to 2 feet indiameter. Kevin didn't find any cuttlebones. The most species found in Utah are 121
from the Ordovician era, with the Cretaceous coming in second with 86 species. The ammonites that are often found in the Cretaceous fossil beds are theorized to have gone extinct due to their very long planktonic larval stage and, since the adults fed on plankton, the possibility that they ended up eating their young. The presentation also included a small video of a "walking" octopus.
DWR Recommends Doubling Cow Moose Permits for This Fall's Hunts
It appears Utah's big game animals have made it through another winter in great shape.
Moose are doing so well, in fact, that the Division of Wildlife Resources is recommending that the number of cow moose permits be doubled for hunts in Utah this fall.
Doe pronghorn antelope permits would also increase under DWR recommendations, while doe deer and cow elk permits would decrease. People can learn more about the proposals, and provide DWR biologists with their input and suggestions, at five public meetings that will be held April 18. Citizen Regional Advisory Council representatives will
take the public input received to the Utah Wildlife Board when it meets April 27 in Salt Lake City to approve Utah's 2006 Antlerless Addendum.
The April 18 meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. You can participate and provide your input at any of the following locations:
Brigham City Community Center
24 N. 300 W.
Springville Junior High School
165 S. 700 E.
Uintah Basin Applied Technology Center
1100 E. Lagoon St.
John Wesley Powell Museum
885 E. Main St.
Cross Hollows Intermediate School
2215 W. Royal Hunte Dr.
Antlerless Permit Recommendations
The number of antlerless permits available in 2005, and the number the DWR is recommending for 2006, are as follows:
Cow Elk 5,982 5,274
Doe Deer 1,680 1,080
Doe Pronghorn 452 587
Cow Moose 25 63
More Cow Moose Permits
Utah's moose populations have grown to the point that the DWR wants to start maintaining the number of moose the state has.
To help keep moose in Utah at their current level, the DWR is recommending 63 cow moose permits for this fall's hunts. In 2005, a total of 25 were offered.
The DWR conducted its most recent moose survey in February 2005. After the survey, DWR biologists estimated the state's moose population at 4,130 animals. That's only 40 animals shy of a statewide objective of 4,170.
"While 4,130 moose is really close to the statewide objective, some of the state's individual moose units actually have more moose on them than the units can handle," says Craig McLaughlin, big game coordinator for the DWR.
McLaughlin says it's important to try and keep moose within the objectives called for in Utah's Moose Management Plan. "It's exciting to see lots of moose, but if the populations get too big, then we can run into some problems," he said.
Those problems include people hitting moose with their cars and moose be getting into backyards, where they eat tress and pose a threat to people. Too many moose can also damage the habitat that moose and other animals rely on.
McLaughlin says public hunting is the best way to control moose numbers. "In addition to controlling moose numbers, cow moose hunting provides people with a great outdoor experience and a lot of good meat to share with their family," he said.
More Deer and Elk
The state's deer and elk populations are also growing. "The rain and snow the state has received over the past couple of
years have really helped the deer and elk populations," McLaughlin said. "The forage is a lot better than it was during the drought years, and the animals are doing well."
Mild winters have also helped. "Very few animals have been lost during the past two winters," he said.
Even with the growing populations, the DWR is recommending a reduction in cow elk and doe deer permits this year. "We want to keep Utah's deer and elk populations moving towards the objectives set in Utah's deer and elk management plans," McLaughlin said.
For more information about the April 18 meetings, contact the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.
Early Spring Means Big Fish
If you'd like to catch some big fish this year, grab your fishing pole and start looking for a lake or reservoir where the ice is
Ice-off is one of the best times to catch big fish, including brown trout. And Red Fleet, Starvation and Steinaker reservoirs in northeastern Utah are three of the best places to try.
"The first few weeks after ice-off are one of the best times to fish for brown trout-big brown trout," says Ron Stewart, outreach manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR). "It might not be the fastest action, but it can be worth the wait to hook into a 5- to 10-pound fish. Browns up to 26 pounds have been taken from these Uinta
Basin reservoirs in recent years."
While Stewart recommends trying Steinaker, Red Fleet and Starvation reservoirs for big browns, he said other good waters across the state also offer great early spring fishing for big browns, rainbows, cutthroats and walleye.
"Almost every big water has the potential to produce a big fish, so just look for a big lake or reservoir near you," he said.
In the early spring, all of the water levels in a lake or reservoir are cold. This cold water brings big fish up to where anglers can reach them by trolling or casting from the shore. These large predators are feeding actively after being dormant throughout the long winter.
Shore Fishing Tips
Trolling for big browns provides anglers with an advantage; they can reach additional areas and cover more water. However, some big browns are caught every year by shore anglers; shore anglers just need to be more selective in where they fish.
"Look for two types of places; one with water flowing in or one that has underwater structure, such as ledges or rocks," Stewart said. "Inflowing streams are a real attraction for browns as they move into the inflow searching for spawning fish and their eggs. A rocky point is ideal as the fish often follow the shoreline and the point brings them in close.
"Graveled slopes are also attractive during the spring as some rainbows and cutthroats try and spawn in these areas. Their efforts attract other fish, including the browns [which spawn in the fall]."
Tips for Trollers
While anglers can catch big browns from the shoreline, trolling is still the method of choice.
"There are a variety of ways to try trolling," Stewart said.
"Some anglers prefer trolling with just a lure while others swear by flashers and other attractors," he said. "Try a medium to large-sized flatfish, rapala, spoon or crankbait. In the early spring, a monofilament line usually works, as the fish are higher in the water column. As the spring progresses, try adding weights or a weighted line to get the lure down deeper."
According to Roger Schneidervin (UDWR fisheries manager) the technique used for most of the big browns caught during the glory days at Flaming Gorge Reservoir was to troll a rapala or crankbait 100 to 200 feet behind the boat on a monofilament line. This technique is called long-lining.
Schneidervin provides a few other secrets too.
"The time of year is critical for long-lining browns," he said. "There are two slim windows for most waters-just after ice-off and just before it freezes again. This is usually April to early May and late October through November.
"Second, time of day plays a role. Browns are most active at low light levels, around sunrise or sunset. Some serious brown anglers even continue fishing after it gets dark. This is when the browns move in shallow to feed on smaller fish.
"Trollers need to get in close to the banks and really work the points, over channels and around areas where streams enter," he said. "Trolling speed can also be a factor. Troll a bit faster than you would normally. This gives the lure more action, which can help in low-light situations. The predator browns may also think their prey is trying to escape, so they hit harder."
Canoes and Kayaks Work Too
To most, trolling means puttering about with a boat and motor, but you can troll from non-motorized craft too. "I like to fish from a canoe, and kayak fishing is also getting popular," Stewart said.
"A couple years ago, I traded my boat in for a couple of kayaks," says Ed Johnson, UDWR fisheries biologist. "The kayaks are outfitted for fishing, and my son and I have caught some big fish trolling behind the kayak as we paddle along. We can also stop and jig or cast toward the shoreline.
"I don't think the kayak scares the fish as much as a larger boat with a trolling motor does," Johnson says. "Not only do we catch a lot of fish, we get some good exercise."
More Hunters Will Be Hunting Big Game in Utah This Fall
Salt Lake City -- More hunters will have a chance to take a big bull elk in Utah this fall.
At its April 6 meeting in Salt Lake City, the Utah Wildlife Board added additional permits to many of Utah's 2006 big game hunts. Board members upped limited entry bull elk permits by 281 and increased pronghorn antelope permits by 268. The only permits that were decreased were bison permits, which fell from 28 in 2005 to 17 in 2006.
It won't be long before hunters learn whether they drew a permit in this year's Utah Big Game Draw. Draw results will be available by April 28.
More Bull Elk Permits
More hunters will be hunting some of the biggest bull elk in the country after board members voted to increase the number of Utah limited entry bull elk permits to 1,835.
In 2005, a total of 1,554 were offered.
"The average age of the bull elk hunters took on limited entry units last fall was way above the objective on most of the units, and that's why more hunters will be able to hunt bull elk this fall," said Craig McLaughlin, big game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources.
"Each elk unit in Utah is managed with an age objective," he explained. "If the average age of the bulls taken on a unit is above
the objective, then the Wildlife Board can offer more permits for that unit."
At the request of the Utah Elk Management Plan Advisory Committee, in 2004 the Wildlife Board lowered the age objectives on many of Utah's elk hunting units. Units that had been managed so hunters would take a bull that averaged between 7 to 8 years of age are now managed so hunters will take a bull that averages between 5 and 6 years of age.
Units that had been managed for 5- to 6-year-old bulls were also changed and are now managed for 4- to 5-year-old bulls.
The 15-person elk committee included representatives from sportsman's groups, including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife; the Utah Farm Bureau; land managing agencies; and Utah's Regional Advisory Councils and Wildlife Board. Jim Karpowitz, who now serves as the director of the DWR, was the committee's
"The committee was looking for a way to allow more hunters to hunt bull elk, but to still allow those hunters to take a nice, mature bull," McLaughlin said.
The age objectives were lowered in November 2004. Lowering the objectives allowed 283 more limited entry bull elk permits to be offered in 2005 than were offered in 2004.
"Even though more permits were offered last fall, the average age of the bulls hunters took is still way above the age objective on almost every unit in the state," he said. "That's good news for hunters because it means more permits can be offered this year."
More Pronghorn Permits
More hunters will be hunting pronghorn antelope in Utah this fall too. Board members approved 855 permits for this fall's hunts. A total of 587 were available in 2005.
Most of the permits are for the Plateau unit in southwestern Utah.
"The buck to doe ratio on the Plateau unit is more than 80 bucks per 100 does, so there's plenty of bucks for hunters to take,"
McLaughlin said. "The goal for the unit is 1,500 pronghorn. About 3,100 pronghorn are on the unit now, so the herd is doing great."
Buck Deer Permits Will Stay at 95,000
One group of permits that board members decided not to increase is general season buck deer permits. The total number of general season buck deer permits in Utah will stay at 95,000 in 2006.
In 2005, general season buck deer permits in the Central and Northeastern regions were cut by 1,000 permits each. The permits were cut because the three-year buck to doe ratio in each region had fallen below the minimum of 15 bucks per 100 does called for in Utah's Deer Management Plan. As a result, the total number of Utah general season buck deer permits was reduced from 97,000 (the level where permits had been since 1994) to 95,000 permits.
After hunts this past fall, DWR biologists found that the three-year buck to doe average in the Northeastern Region had increased to 15 bucks per 100 does, the minimum number called for in the management plan. In the Central Region, the three-year average increased to 14 bucks per 100 does.
Based on the findings, the DWR recommended returning 1,000 permits to the Northeastern Region.
Citizens representing the Northeastern Regional Advisory Council (RAC) voted against the DWR recommendation, however. They expressed concerns that allowing 1,000 additional hunters in the region this fall could cause the buck to doe ratio to fall back under 15 bucks per 100 does.
Board members agreed with the RAC and voted not to return the 1,000 permits to the region.
Permits for 2006
Permit numbers for 2005, and the number of permits the board approved for 2006, are listed below:
General season buck deer 95,000 95,000
Premium limited entry deer 174 179
Limited entry deer 768 820
Limited entry bull elk 1,554 1,835
Pronghorn antelope 587 855
Moose 117 138
Rocky Mountain goat 64 89
Desert bighorn sheep 35 36
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep 11 15
Bison 28 17
A list showing the total permits for each unit in the state will be available at the DWR's Web site
( http://www.wildlife.utah.gov/hunting/2006permits ) by April 10.
Deer Management Plans
Board members also approved revisions to Utah's 30 deer unit management plans after learning that the long-term goal of having more than 426,000 deer in Utah may take more time to reach than originally thought.
"Since the plans were written in 2001, Utah has lost some of its winter ranges and we've learned that some of the winter ranges we have can't support the number of deer that we first thought they could," McLaughlin said.
The new plans propose a short-term goal of about 412,000 deer in Utah by 2011.
The deer management plans approved by the board will be available on the DWR's Web site ( http://www.wildlife.utah.gov/hunting/plans ) by April 10.
View Rocky Mountain Goats April 15
Salt Lake City -- Now that the weather is "coming around," it's time to get outside and see something wild!
Rocky Mountain goats will be the featured species during a Division of Wildlife Resources' Watchable Wildlife program field trip on Saturday, April 15.
The field trip, which will allow people to watch and enjoy the surefooted antics of the goats, will be held at the Park and Ride lot, at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake County, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. To reach the canyon, travel east out of Salt Lake City on 9400 S.
The field trip is free.
"Powerful scopes and binoculars will be available to enhance the views of this remarkable animal," says Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife program coordinator for the DWR. "Rocky Mountain goat fact cards and posters also will be distributed to everyone in attendance."
The field trip, which will not require leaving the Park and Ride lot area, is sponsored by the DWR's Watchable Wildlife program.
For more information, call Walters at (801) 538-4771.
Women Learn How to Shoot Shotguns at April 22 Open House
Salt Lake City -- Women can sharpen their shotgun-shooting skills, and learn new skills, as they relax and have fun at an April 22 open house.
The shotgun shooting open house will be held from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Great Salt Lake Gun Club, 6000 W. 2100 S. in Salt Lake City. The gun club and the Division of Wildlife Resources' Becoming an Outdoors Woman program are sponsoring the open house.
"This open house is for everyone, including women who have never shot a gun before," says Jill West, volunteer coordinator for the DWR. "If you want to learn how to shoot, please come out to the event. It's going to be a lot of fun."
Suzi Farley will be available to answer questions and help shooters. Farley is a volunteer Hunter Education instructor for the DWR.
The cost to participate is $5 per trap round (about 25 shots). Shotgun shells can also be purchased for $5 per box, or women can bring their own. Those who have their own shotguns are encouraged to bring them, but the gun club will provide free rental shotguns for ladies who don't have their own gun.
For more information, call Farley at (801) 966-7522.
NEW FACILITIES AT EAST CANYON STATE PARK
Morgan - Phase one of construction is near completion at East Canyon State Park. New improvements include a new boat ramp and a renovated 33-site campground with shelters, new restrooms with showers, full hookups at 14 sites, with the remaining offering power and water hook-ups.
The campground is scheduled to open by May 1. Until facilities are fully complete, camping reservations are not accepted and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
"We are excited about the completion of phase one," stated Park Manager John Sullivan. "These were much needed improvements and will greatly enhance our visitors enjoyment of East Canyon State Park."
A concession service should be in operation by Memorial Day Weekend, providing watercraft rentals, a general store, and grill. Visitors will also enjoy an improved deck and expanded seating.
A four-unit yurt camping area and other improvements, including new day-use area shelters and restrooms, are scheduled for completion this fall. The second phase of improvement projects is underway and will continue over the next few years. Facilities will include a new entrance road and park office.
For more information, and current park conditions please call (801) 829-6866.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED AT ROCKPORT STATE PARK
Peoa -- Rockport State Park staff needs volunteer service groups to assist with cleanup projects around the reservoir, including garbage pickup along Highway 32. Volunteers receive free camping while assisting with the cleanup. For more information, please call (435) 336 2241.
IRON MISSION FOUNDATION SEEKS VOLUNTEERS
Cedar City -- Iron Mission State Park Museum and the Iron Mission Foundation propose creating a historic homestead and waystation community behind the existing museum.
Plans include a reproduction of the original iron foundry, a general store and trading post, a one-room schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, brick production area, candle dipping station, outdoor bread ovens, garden for native plants and vegetables, and other outdoor activity/program areas.
Potential benefits of this development include opportunities for retail concessions, expanded programming and interpretive opportunities, addition of traditional living skills, potential rental opportunities for such uses as community dinners, rustic wedding receptions, family reunions, church and scout groups, and a greater potential to contribute to Cedar's Festival City concept.
If you are interested in participating in this effort, call Park Manager Todd Prince at (435) 586-9290, or Celeste Denton at (435) 865-7781.
UPCOMING UTAH STATE PARKS EVENTS
April 14 Goblin Valley State Park - Hanksville
Junior Ranger Program: Plant Secrets - Learn about the plants American Indians and settlers have used for medicine and common uses. Meet at the Curtis Bench Trail parking area at 10 a.m. This program is geared to children six to 12, but everyone is invited. Become a Junior Ranger and earn a Junior Ranger badge and certificate. For more information, please call (435) 564-3633.
April 14 Goblin Valley State Park - Hanksville
Discover Goblin Valley: Join the park naturalist for an evening walk through the goblins at 8 p.m. at the Observation Point shelter. Find out how the goblins came to be, and who lurks around in the night! For more information, please call (435) 564-3633.
April 15 Goblin Valley State Park - Hanksville
Junior Ranger Program: Who lives here? Learn about the wildlife that calls Goblin Valley home. Find out what it might be like to live in the desert. Meet at 10 a.m. at the Observation Point shelter. This program is geared to children six to 12, but everyone is invited. Become a Junior Ranger and earn a Junior Ranger badge and certificate. For more information, please call (435) 564-3633.
April 15 Goblin Valley State Park - Hanksville
Stargazing with the Goblins. Meet at 8 p.m. at the Observation Point shelter to learn the constellations of spring. For more information, please call (435) 564-3633.
April 15 Antelope Island State Park - Syracuse
Springtime at the Ranch: Join park staff all day at the Fielding Garr Ranch and learn to shear sheep and how wool was processed. Learn to make pioneer handkerchief dolls, pick up a needle and quilt, and play pioneer games. From 1 to 5 p.m., enjoy music by Coyote Moon, The Drifter and Miss Judy, and cowboy poetry by Stan Tixier. For more information call (801) 649-5742.
April 15 Antelope Island State Park-Syracuse
Junior Ranger Program: Animals must be creative and cunning in choosing their homes to insure survival. Join the park naturalist at noon for an island hunt for rabbit habitat. This activity is intended for children ages six to 12, however all ages are welcome. At
2 p.m., hike with a ranger up Frary Peak. This is a difficult seven-mile hike. Participants should dress for the weather conditions, wear sturdy shoes, bring plenty of water, and sunscreen. For more information, please call (801) 773-2941.
April 15 Fremont Indian State Park and Museum - Sevier
Annual Easter Egg Hunt: Children up to 12 invited to participate in the search for candy, eggs, and prizes beginning at 9 a.m. For more information, please call (435) 527-4631.
April 15 Iron Mission State Park Museum - Cedar City
Living History Activities: Learn and experience pioneer dancing from 10 to 11 a.m. Cost is $4 per person eight years and older. Registration is required and participant numbers are limited. For more information, please call (435) 586-9290.
April 15 Palisade State Park Golf Course - Sterling
Palisade Golf Course sponsors a two-man scramble golf tournament. Pre-registration is required for the 9 a.m. shotgun start. Course is open to the general public after 2:30 p.m. For registration or tee times, call (435) 835-4653.
April 15 Snow Canyon State Park - Ivins
Wildlife Fact or Folklore: Can you get warts from a toad? Do gila monsters really spit venom? Learn to distinguish fact from folklore regarding some of the more intriguing wildlife species living in our area during this 45-minute lecture and presentation beginning at 8 p.m. Registration is required. For more information, please call (435) 628-2255.
April 15 Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum - Vernal
Dippy the Dino Easter Egg Hunt: Join park staff for an Easter egg hunt from 9 to 10 a.m. Hunts are for children ages one to three, and four to eight. For more information, please call (435) 789-3799.
April 15 Wasatch Mountain State Park - Midway
Wetland Exploration: Celebrate the coming of spring with a community education program focusing on wetlands from 10 a.m. to noon. Registration is required. For more information, please call (435) 654-1791.
FOUR CARBON COUNTY MEN HONORED AT BOWHUNTING RECORDS OF UTAH BANQUET
The Bowhunting Records of Utah Banquet was held on April 1st in the Grand Ballroom of the Utah Valley Community College in Orem. This awards banquet is held only once every 10 years, and honors Utah's top archery records over for the past decade. Four Carbon County men received plaques for taking trophy animals with archery tackle during this time period. Their names, trophies and scores are published in the world-renowned Pope and Young Records Book.
Featured in the accompanying photo (from left to right) are: Terry Sanslow, whose velvet buck took 3rd place in the typical mule deer velvet class with a score of 192 1/8. Next to Terry is Kirk Mascaro, whose pronghorn buck, measured 80 2/8, landing him in 3rd place. Next to Kirk stands Kenny Leo, who took the state's 5th place black bear with a skull scoring 19 12/16. On the right is Rick Stockburger, who shot the state record pronghorn, measuring 83 4/8.
(The award winners stand in front of the new Utah State Record non-typical elk, which scored 401 1/8 points.)
March Snow Madness Hits Utah Ski Areas Snow totals Surpass 500-inch Annual Average
SALT LAKE CITY - Continuing the theme of a fantastic winter season, March brought abundant, record snowfall to Utah's ski resorts.
Masses of spring skiers were greeted by epic powder days nearly every day of the month. Utah's ski areas are well ahead of their
average annual snowfall for the second consecutive year. More of the Greatest Snow on EarthR is in the forecast for this week, and
most resorts remain open with fantastic ski conditions and base depths of well over 100-inches.
Great spring lodging deals are available for those seeking late season powder. Visit http://www.skiutah.com for updated resort closing dates and unbeatable bargains.
The following highlights impressive snowfall statistics for last month as well as year to date at some of Utah's resorts:
Resort March Snowfall Year to Date
Alta 151" 575"
The Canyons 113" 395"
Park City 110" 455"
Powder Mountain 96" 406"
Snowbird 143" 522"
Solitude 165" 567"
SCI Praises Formation of Sporting Conservation Council
TUCSON, Ariz. , April 3, 2006 - SCI lauded U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton's announcement concerning the formation of the Sporting Conservation Council, a coalition of outdoor organizations whose purpose it will be to advise the Interior Secretary on conservation and outdoor sporting issues.
Secretary Norton made the announcement at a March 23 breakfast hosted by SCI and its sister organization, the SCI Foundation, for directors of state fish and game departments and other leaders of the wildlife and conservation community during the 71st North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Over 140 outdoor representatives were in attendance, including non-government organization leaders, SCI Ohio Chapter presidents and members and other invited guests.
"It's wonderful that Secretary Norton has formed the Sporting Conservation Council," said SCI Executive Director Tom Riley. "Sportsmen were the first conservationists, and this will ensure that this tradition will continue to have a voice with those who set policy in our nation's government. I'd like to personally congratulate SCI Vice President and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Merle Shepard, who was appointed by Secretary Norton to serve as SCI's representative on the Sporting Conservation Council."
According to the March 6, 2006 edition of the Federal Register, "The purpose of the Council is to advise the Secretary of the Interior about wildlife conservation endeavors that benefit recreational hunting and wildlife resources and that encourage partnerships among the public, the sportsman conservation community and Federal and State government."
In addition to SCI, Secretary Norton also has appointed representatives from such groups as the NRA, Boone and Crockett, the Ruffed Grouse Society, the North American Grouse Partnership, Ducks Unlimited, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Becoming an Outdoors Woman, to serve on the Council.
For more on the Sporting Conservation Council, visit the Federal Register Online at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/a060306c.html . The notice is available as text and PDF documents under the "Fish and Wildlife Service" heading.
SCI-First For Hunters is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI's 173 Chapters represent all 50 United States as well as 13 other countries. SCI's proactive leadership in a host of cooperative wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian programs, with the SCI Foundation and other conservation groups, research institutions and government agencies, empowers sportsmen to be contributing community members and participants in sound wildlife management and conservation. Visit http://www.safariclub.org or call 520-620-1220 for more information.