Public encouraged to report Sick Birds

Wild birds continue to be important indicators of West Nile viral activity in local communities, with viral activity in birds often detected before human illness. The Division of Wildlife Resources encourages the public to participate in the Wild Bird Surveillance program by reporting ill or dead birds to the Division of Wildlife Resources.

West Nile virus has been discovered in more Utah birds recently, with affected birds from two different counties, according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. A Great Horned Owl from Uintah County was collected August 18, while the other two birds, a Sharp-shinned Hawk and Golden Eagle from Carbon County, were collected August 22. These birds are the first detection of West Nile virus activity in Carbon County. Samples from the affected birds were submitted to the Utah Public Health Laboratory for testing, and all were positive for West Nile virus. Wild bird surveillance will continue throughout Utah as needed.

Target species for testing in the 2005 season include birds of the Corvid family (ravens, crows, jays, etc.), raptors and other species that may be exhibiting neurologic symptoms. It is important to note that not all birds may be suitable for testing. To determine if a bird is suitable for testing, follow these guidelines:

- Is the bird a target species? (Is it a raven, crow, jay, bird of prey, or does the bird appear to be ill or dying?)

- Has the bird been dead less than 24 hours? (Birds that have been dead longer than 24 hours appear decayed and are not suitable for testing.

- Is there no other obvious cause of death, such as a window strike, cat-kill or collision with a vehicle?

For those with access to the Internet, the Division of Wildlife Resources has provided an online submission form to make reporting dead birds more convenient. More information regarding wild bird surveillance, including a bird identification page and the online submission form, can be found at:

The Division of Wildlife Resources has been working closely with other state and local agencies involved in West Nile virus surveillance and prevention including the Utah Department of Health, the Utah Mosquito Abatement Association and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.

Since people may become infected with WNV through the bite of an infected mosquito, personal protection is key. West Nile virus can result in serious disease or death. It is important to follow these recommended guidelines:

- Use mosquito repellents with DEET or Picaridin, especially from dusk to dawn. Mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus are most active during this time.

- Make sure window screens and screened door are in good repair. Small holes will allow mosquitoes to enter.

- Change water regularly (every 2-3 days) in birdbaths, outdoor pet dishes, etc.

- Aerate ornamental ponds or contact your local mosquito abatement district regarding treatment options.

- Use mosquito repellent according to label instructions.

- Eliminate standing water around your home in locations such as old tires, cans, poorly kept swimming pools, or any other source where stagnant water accumulates.

For more information on personal protection and minimizing mosquitoes around your home, please visit: To report a sick bird call the Central Region office at (801) 491-5678 and ask for Steve Gray. His e-mail address is
Big Game Permits Selling Fast This Year

Archery deer hunters who waited until the last minute to buy a buck deer permit for this fall's archery hunt got an unwelcome surprise Aug. 19 as permits sold out at 4:45 p.m. that day, the day before the hunt and nine days sooner than they sold out last year.

"Big game permits in Utah are selling out faster and faster every year," says Judi Tutorow, wildlife licensing coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "If you know you want to hunt this year, don't wait to get your permit."

Several big game permits are still available for this fall's hunts. The remaining permits may be purchased from the DWR's Web site ( ), more than 190 hunting license agents across the state and the DWR's six offices.
If you're an archery hunter and missed your chance to hunt the archery buck deer hunt, consider going out on the archery elk hunt. "The state's elk herds are doing great this year, and we anticipate a good archery elk hunt," says Craig McLaughlin, big game coordinator for the DWR.

The number of archery elk permits is not capped, and an unlimited number are available.
If you'd rather hunt elk with a muzzleloader or a rifle, more than 8,900 spike bull elk permits and 10,700 any bull elk permits are still available. The general bull elk hunt begins Oct. 8.

The Northern Region is the only region where muzzleloader and rifle deer permits are still available. As of Aug. 22, about 11,000 Northern Region deer permits were still available. The general muzzleloader buck deer hunt begins Sept. 28, and the general rifle buck deer hunt begins Oct. 22. "Northern Region permits sold out three days before the hunt last year, and they're selling at a faster pace this year," Tutorow said. "If you want to hunt buck deer in the region, get your permit as soon as possible."

For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.
Sportsmen Have a New Place to Hunt in Eastern Utah

Obtained through a land trade between the Division of Wildlife Resources and Hunt Oil Company, the new Cold Springs Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is in eastern Carbon County. The property is situated on the West Tavaputs Plateau and overlooks Nine Mile Canyon, a popular tourist attraction famous for its Fremont Indian rock art.

The Cold Springs WMA consists of 2,600 acres of mountain landscape, with tracts of conifers, aspens and sagebrush-steppe rangeland. The property's namesake, Cold Springs, provides water and streamside habitat that is crucial for wildlife. Carbon County owns the right-of-way through the property, allowing public travel from the Bruin Point area along Flat Iron Ridge and down into Cottonwood Canyon, which finally empties into Nine Mile Canyon.

Hunters will have an opportunity to access the property for the first time in years, and a large number are expected to visit the area during the 2005 hunting season. The Cold Springs WMA is open for general season deer hunting. Elk hunting is open only to those who draw a limited entry permit for the area in Utah's annual Big Game Draw. The WMA also is open for upland game hunting during the seasons listed in the 2005 - 2006 Utah Upland Game Hunting Guide.

The DWR has just completed its draft management plan for the Cold Springs WMA and has implemented some public use restrictions, including restrictions on camping, use of fire and vehicle travel on the WMA.

Apart from the county right-of-way, the DWR is limiting transportation throughout the WMA to foot or horseback only. Containing vehicular traffic will reduce human disturbance and help maintain the area's high value to wildlife. Information boards at entrance gates include a map of the property and provide important visitor information.
Fish Advisories Issued for Two Southern Utah Waters

Fish consumption advisories have been issued in two Utah areas by state and local officials. The advisories are in effect for Gunlock Reservoir in Washington County, and Mill Creek in Grand County, where elevated mercury levels have been found in fish.

Fish consumption advisory signs will be posted at access points to Gunlock Reservoir and Mill Creek stating that:

- Adults should limit their consumption of largemouth bass taken from Gunlock Reservoir to no more than two 8-ounce servings per month

- Adults can safely eat three 8-ounce meals of brown trout from Mill Creek per month, and

- Women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children should not eat more than one 4-ounce serving per month from either location. A 4-ounce serving of fish is approximately the size of a deck of cards.

Eating more than these amounts over a long period of time could result in an intake of mercury that exceeds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency health recommendations, according to an analysis completed by the Utah Department of Health.

Any health risks associated with eating fish from Gunlock Reservoir or Mill Creek are based on long-term consumption and are not tied to eating fish occasionally. There is no health risk to other recreationists, including those swimming, boating or waterskiing.

Fish were collected from Gunlock Reservoir (near St. George) and Mill Creek (near Moab) as a part of a water quality investigation. Elevated mercury levels were found in six of eight largemouth bass collected from Gunlock Reservoir and three of five brown trout collected from Mill Creek.

Bluegills and channel catfish from Gunlock were also tested but did not show elevated mercury levels. Officials from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, the Utah Department of Health, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the Southeastern Utah District Health Department and the Southwest Utah Public Health Department worked in partnership to issue this advisory.

Information about the advisory also will be distributed locally, and will be available at: and each of the agencies' Web sites. More information about the health effects of mercury can be found at: .

A map of Utah highlighting the sites where fish were tested for mercury and the tests results can be found at:

A total of 217 samples of fish tissue were taken throughout the state, and only 18 samples had elevated mercury levels. Mercury levels will continue to be monitored. Advisories will be updated, as needed, based on additional information.

Labor Day Weekend Events Scheduled

Labor Day weekend will soon bring the end of summer activities and provided are a few selected opportunities to end your summer on a fun note.

September 2 Antelope Island State Park- Join park staff for a Labor Day Weekend antique tractor and engine parade at 4 p.m. These magnificent machines will travel the 11-mile road from the marina to the historic Fielding Garr Ranch. For more information, call (801) 721-9569.

September 2 Iron Mission State Park Museum - Ranger Bart Anderson presents Butch Cassidy in southern Utah at 7 p.m. The program is free and open to the public. For more information, call (435) 586-9290.

September 3 Antelope Island State Park - Bring a kite to Bridger Bay Beach at 11 a.m. and compete in a contest including best stunt, best homemade kite, and best looking kite. Hike with a ranger to the top of Buffalo Point at 4 p.m. At the Point, learn about ancient Lake Bonneville. This is a moderate half-mile hike. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., learn pioneer skills, games, and crafts with park staff and volunteers. Enjoy a stationary engine and tractor show from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (801) 721-9569.

September 3 Rock Cliff Nature Center/ Jordanelle State Park - Junior Ranger Program: Seeds for Winter - Children six to 10 are invited to the Junior Ranger program from 11 a.m. to noon at the Nature Center to learn how plants and animals prepare for winter. Children earn a badge and certificate. For more information, call (435) 782 3030.

September 3 Rock Cliff Nature Center/ Jordanelle State Park- Campfire Program: Lawn Chair Astronomy - Join Park Naturalist Wendy Wilson for a look at the stars (weather dependent). Program begins at 9:30 p.m. at the amphitheater near the visitor center. For more information, call (435) 782-3030

September 3 Wasatch Mountain Mountain State Park - Junior Ranger Program: Preparing for Winter - From 11 a.m. to noon at the campground office, children age six to12 are invited to learn what it means to be a Junior Ranger, as well as other cool stuff about nature. Earn a Junior Ranger badge and certificate. For more information, call (435) 654-1791.

September 4 Antelope Island State Park -View stationery engines and tractors, and learn how this machinery changed the way ranches like the Fielding Garr Ranch operated. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hike with a ranger to the top of Frary Peak Trail, the highest point on Antelope Island, at 11 a.m. Participants should meet at the upper Frary parking lot. Learn about bighorn sheep and see spectacular views. This is a moderately difficult seven-mile hike. Meet at the Visitor Center at 4 p.m. for a lecture on the Great Salt Lake ecosystem. For more information, call (801) 721-9569.

September 5 Antelope Island State Park - Learn pioneer skills, games, and crafts with park staff and volunteers from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Enjoy a stationary engine and tractor show from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Listen to stories of outlaws who escaped to the rugged desert land of Utah at noon at the visitor center. Try your hand at Frisbee golf in a fun and challenging contest at Bridger Bay Beach at 2 p.m. For more information, call (801) 721-9569.

Boat Operator responsibilities listed

Sharing the fun and excitement of your boat with friends and family is part of an enjoyable boating experience. As the operator of the boat, you are responsible for ensuring your passengers understand basic safety practices. Before departure, you should have a safety discussion with your passengers on topics including:

- Importance of wearing a life jacket at all times

- Locations of critical safety equipment including life jackets, fire extinguishers, distress signals, bailing devices, first aid kit, and anchor

- Safety procedures if caught in rough weather, if someone falls overboard, the boat capsizes, or a fire erupts

- How to use the VHF marine band radio, make a MAYDAY call, and signal for help

- Alcohol and boats do not mix. It is illegal for the boat operator to consume alcohol. Passengers who consume alcohol are 10 times more likely to be injured on the boat than a non-drinking passenger

- As the operator of a motorboat, never leave the helm (steering wheel and throttle controls) with the engine(s) in gear, even to simply turn around and talk with your passengers.