Becoming an Outdoors Woman offers Tipi Experience

The Becoming an Outdoor Woman Program is offering an overnight tipi experience and service project on Fri., Aug. 19th through Sat., Aug. 20th at the American West Heritage Center near Logan.

Participants will arrive at the American West Center by 4:30 pm on Friday and have an opportunity to sleep in a tipi and learn about customs and cultures of the Old American West. A Dutch-oven dinner will be provided on Friday evening.

At noon on Saturday, participating ladies will travel to the Hardware Ranch to help with a service project, assembling bird houses to encourage bird nesting along Curtis Creek. Lunch will be provided. To register, contact Nancy Hoff, BOW coordinator at (801) 560-9605 or email her at NancyHoff@utah.gov

Great Year for the Perseids

The best known meteor shower, the Perseids, is expected to be at its North American best during the predawn hours of Fri. Aug.12th. "And with no Moon in the sky to spoil the view," notes NASA Solar System Ambassador to Utah Patrick Wiggins, "observers away from
city light pollution may be able to see 1 or 2 meteors every minute."

Some meteors may also be seen in the nights and mornings just before and after the 12th but Friday morning will probably be the best time to look since that's when Utah, and the rest of North America, will be most nearly centered in and facing toward the oncoming meteoroid swarm.

These meteors are called the Perseids because they appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus. Telescopes and binoculars should not be used for viewing this or any meteor shower since they limit how much sky the observer can see. Wiggins says that a lawn chair, the naked eye "and a few munchies" are the best devices for viewing meteor showers.

Often called "shooting stars" or "falling stars", the majority of meteors are actually tiny bits of rock that burn up do to air friction when they strike Earth's extreme upper atmosphere. The resultant meteor ash then drifts harmlessly and invisibly to Earth.

Wiggins notes that the Perseids are among the fastest meteors known, "tearing into our atmosphere at some 60 kilometers per second". At that rate a driver on the interstate could cover the distance from Salt Lake to St. George in about 8 seconds.

Most meteors are thought to be debris left behind by comets. The Perseids' parent comet, Swift/Tuttle, was last closest to the Earth in the early 1990s and will not return until 2126. Perseids observing information can be found at Wiggins' Solar System Ambassador web site at http://www.umnh.utah.edu/utahsky

12th Annual Rockport Dam Jam scheduled this weekend

The 12th Annual Rockport Dam Jam awaits this weekend, Aug. 12 - 14, with bluegrass and acoustic jamming at the Old Church campground below the dam at Rockport. Pickers and listeners are welcome. Camping is available for tents and trailers for $2 per person per day.

Participants are welcome to share in a potluck dinner Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m. Visitors are asked to please keep their dogs leashed and clean up after them. For more information contact Steve Hewson at (435) 336-2025.

Junior Ranger Programs scheduled Aug 13

On Aug. 13 the Rock Cliff Nature Center at Jordanelle State Park is offering a Junior Ranger Program titled: Living with Wildlife. Children age six to 10 are invited to participate from 11 a.m. to noon at the Nature Center to learn about the importance of wildlife. Children will earn a badge and certificate. For more information, call (435) 782 3030.
Wasatch Mountain State Park is also presenting a Junior Ranger Program on Aug 13 titled: Nature Observation - Creating a Nature Journal. Scheduled from 11 a.m. to noon at Huber Grove, children age six to 12 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.
Tips shared for Central Region Archery Hunters

Deer in the Central Region will be widely scattered during the archery hunt due to plentiful water and food sources found throughout most of the region. Scott Root, Central Region conservation outreach manager, suggested, "Scouting is crucial when deer are not tied to a single water source. Look for well-used game trails and invest time on pre-hunting scouting trips to learn the habits of the deer."

Despite an abundance of snow this past winter and early spring, DWR biologists say very few deer have been lost in the Central Region. Root reported, "Winter storms were generally spaced far enough apart and temperatures remained relatively mild despite the snow, which kept food sources available for wintering deer. Biologists report that the deer in the region are in very good condition, which can be attributed to the abundance of vegetation and water sources currently available to them."

The number of bucks will be down from last year, but the future for deer in the region looks bright. "Although the region's three-year buck-to-doe average is slightly under the 15 bucks to 100 doe management objective, favorable habitat conditions may improve this ratio during the upcoming year, " Root noted. "Initial post-winter deer counts indicate excellent fawn production on the mountainous eastern half of the region, which will benefit the region's deer herd in the future."

Root says the western portion of the Central Region, located west of I-15, is primarily desert terrain. He commented, "This portion of the region has fewer deer and I'd strongly recommend pre-hunt scouting trips. Stalking deer with archery equipment in the desert can be very difficult."

Most hunters concentrate on the Tintic, Deep Creek, Oquirrh and Stansbury mountain ranges, but pockets of deer can be found throughout the western portion of the region. "Higher mountain elevations in the desert that have components of deer habitat generally attract deer and are a good place to hunt," he said. "Above average precipitation has provided more watering sources in the desert areas this year, and deer will be more scattered."

Root says the deer herd in the western portion of the region is rebuilding. "The current buck to doe ratio is below the management objective, but fawn production in the area is the best it's been in about four years," he said. Hunters are reminded that a good portion of the western part of the region includes the Vernon limited entry deer unit and general deer season hunters need to stay out of these boundaries (a boundary description is available in the 2005 Utah Big Game Proclamation).

Fire restrictions also are in place in the western portion of the region. Archers are encouraged to contact either the Bureau of Land Management or the U.S. Forest Service (depending on the public land they're hunting) for the latest fire restriction information. Hunters who are interested in hunting the extended season archery units within the region are reminded that they must complete the DWR's Extended Archery Ethics Course before hunting. The free course is available at the division's Web site ( http://www.wildlife.utah.gov ).

Archers who will be hunting along the Wasatch Front are encouraged to know local hunting restrictions, especially if they'll be hunting around Salt Lake City. "Check with local law enforcement agencies for more information," Root concluded. For more information about hunting in the Central Region, contact the DWR's Springville office at (801) 491-5678.

Tips for a Safe and Successful Archery Hunt

By following a few, simple rules, Utah's archery hunters can enjoy a safe experience in the state's backcountry this season. The state's general archery buck deer hunt begins Aug. 20, and the state's general archery elk hunt kicks off Aug. 25.

"There's been only one recorded death of an archery hunter in the state's history, so it's a very safe hunt that way, but every year we receive reports of archery hunters injuring themselves," reported Lenny Rees, hunter education coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources.

Rees says most of the accidents happen because hunters are unsafe in tree stands, or they have arrows out of their quiver when they shouldn't. He provides the following advice to help hunters avoid these accidents:

1) Tree stands - before climbing a tree, make sure it's large enough to hold your weight. To avoid falling while climbing the tree, attach a hauling line to your bow, arrows and other equipment and leave them on the ground. After climbing into your tree stand, attach your safety line. Then use your hauling line to lift your gear to you.

Rees also recommends using a portable tree stand, rather than constructing a "permanent" one. "Permanent tree stands have a tendency to deteriorate and become unsafe," he commented. "They're unsightly, too, and a person damages the tree by putting nails in it."

2) "Until you're ready to shoot, keep your arrows in a hooded quiver that covers the broadheads," Rees said. "Archers jabbing themselves or hunters walking close to them, while carrying arrows in their hand that should be in their quiver, is one of the most common accidents during the archery hunts."

State law requires that arrows be cased while the arrows are in or on a vehicle. When hunters are outside their vehicles, it's up to hunters to protect themselves. Rees also provides archery hunters tips on getting prepared for the season, safety items to remember while in the field and tips on tracking animals and preserving meat.

1) Preparation -

a. equipment checks - make sure laminations are not flaking or separating, that the strings on your bow are not fraying and that the pulleys and cables on compound bows are in good working order. Also, be sure your equipment is matched, that your arrow's spline (the stiffness of the arrow's shaft) matches your bow's draw weight. If your bow's draw weight produces more force than your arrow is designed to handle, your arrow will probably fly off target when you shoot.

b. broadhead sharpening - be careful to not cut yourself while sharpening your broadheads. Your broadheads should be razor sharp, but don't cut yourself in the process.

c. practice your shooting as much as possible.

d. obtain written permission from private landowners before hunting on their property or using their property to access public land.

e. obtain a general statewide archery buck deer permit and/or a general archery elk permit, and know the boundaries of limited entry units and other restricted areas in the general season area you're hunting.

2) Never take a shot at a deer or elk that is beyond the maximum, effective range you're comfortable shooting at. Also, before releasing your arrow, be sure of your target and what's beyond it.

3) After the shot -

a. watch the animal and determine the direction it took. Then go to the spot where you last saw the animal and find your arrow. If there's blood on it, and if you have a compass, take a reading of the direction the animal went. Then wait 30 minutes before tracking it. Hunters who track an animal too soon can spook it into running. Most deer and elk that are shot will be found dead by the hunter at a reasonable distance, if the hunter waits 30 minutes before tracking it.

b. when tracking an animal, look for blood not only on the ground, but the brush too. If you begin to lose the animal's trail, tie a piece of biodegradable paper on the last blood spot you see and then search for the animal's trail, walking a circular pattern out from the paper. The paper will serve as a marker, letting you know where you started.

Also, tying paper at the locations of the last three or four spots you see, and then standing a distance away and looking at the paper trail, can help you visualize the direction the animal last took.

c. once you've located your animal, make sure it's dead by seeing if its eyes are open. If they're not, the animal probably isn't dead. If they are, touch one of the eyes with a long stick that will keep you out of harm's way. Once the animal is dead, field dress and cool the meat immediately. The warm weather that usually accompanies the archery hunt can cause meat to spoil quickly.

Rees also advises archery hunters on ways to reduce conflicts with homeowners and those who don't hunt:

1) Find and confirm access points to hunting areas well in advance.

2) If access requires crossing private land, you must obtain written permission from the landowner. If you can't obtain written permission, find another access point.

3) Make sure you're well beyond the required minimum distances from roads and dwellings before you start hunting. Those hunting in Salt Lake County are reminded that the county has more restrictive requirements than the rest of Utah. Read the 2005 Big Game Proclamation closely for more information.

4) Avoid hunting in high profile areas. When possible, heavily used trails should also be avoided. "Most people in Utah choose not to hunt, but they support hunting and hunting-related activities as long as hunters are safe, legal and ethical while in the field," Rees said. "When that does not happen, public favor about hunting can take a turn for the worse."

Archery hunters who want to hunt the Wasatch Front, Ogden, Unitah Basin, Nebo-West Desert or Sanpete Valley extended archery areas need to remember the following:

1) Before hunting any of these areas, they must complete the Extended Archery Ethics Course. The free course is available online at the DWR's Web site ( http://www.wildlife.utah.gov ).

2) While hunting these areas, they must carry two items with them - their 2005 statewide general archery buck deer permit and their Extended Archery Ethics Course certificate. If the archer is a member of Utah's Dedicated Hunter program, they also must carry their Dedicated Hunter certificate of registration with them.

For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.
Applications Due Soon for Special Youth Upland Game Hunts

Twelve- to 15-year-old Utah hunters can experience the thrill of hunting ring-necked pheasants and chukar partridge by signing up for special youth upland game hunts this fall. Dean Mitchell, upland game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, reported, "We're holding these hunts to increase the interest young people have in upland game hunting and wildlife conservation. The hunts are a lot of fun and kids don't have to compete with older hunters for a bird, and those who have participated in the past have really enjoyed it."

Getting qualified to participate is easy. All that recent 12- to 15-year-old Hunter Education course graduates have to do is complete an application and write a one-paragraph essay on: "I want to continue the Utah upland game hunting tradition because ... " or, "I would like to start my own upland game hunting tradition because ..." Completed applications and essays must be received through the DWR's Web site ( http://www.wildlife.utah.gov/uplandgame ) or the mail on or before Aug. 26 to be considered for the chukar hunt. Applications for one of the pheasant hunts are due by Sept. 9.

Hunters can apply online at the Web site. Hunters who would like to mail an application in can obtain one at the Web site; on page 25 of the 2005 - 2006 Utah Upland Game Hunting Guide; and at DWR offices and hunter education centers.

Utah's first-ever Youth Chukar Hunt awaits Sept. 10 on the Henefer-Echo Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The WMA is between Echo and Henefer, just off I-84 in Morgan and Summit counties. A total of 30 youth hunters will be able to participate. The WMA will be closed Sept. 10 to all other hunters. Each youth who participates will be allowed to take five chukar partridge from a number of birds released on the WMA before the hunt.

The youth pheasant hunts are scheduled Nov. 12 on five state wildlife management areas. These WMAs will be closed to all other hunters on Nov. 12. Hunts will be held at the Willard Bay WMA south of Willard Bay Reservoir; at the Carr Fork WMA, about 2 miles northeast of Tooele; at the Mallard Springs WMA, about 1 miles southeast of Myton; at the Pahvant WMA, about 5 miles northwest of Fillmore; and at the Huntington WMA, about 2 miles north of Huntington.

The Willard Bay WMA hunt is limited to 90 youth hunters, the Mallard Springs WMA hunt is limited to 30 and the Huntington WMA hunt is limited to 75. The remaining two hunts are limited to 100 youth hunters each. Each youth who participates will be allowed to take two pheasants from a number of birds released on the areas before the hunts.

"We've noticed that the number of young people who participate in hunting and support wildlife conservation in Utah has declined significantly over time," Mitchell commented. "These hunts are an opportunity to get young people interested in upland game bird hunting and wildlife conservation by allowing them, without competition from other hunters, to go into the field and experience what it's like to take an upland game bird. "The hunts also allow us a 'hands-on' way of teaching youth what it means to be ethical, responsible hunters."

Utah Hunter Education instructors will give the young hunters a brief presentation about hunter ethics and safety when they arrive for the hunts. After the presentation, the young hunters will go afield and will have two to three hours to harvest their birds. Once hunters have taken their birds, they'll receive a demonstration and presentation about proper game care and field dressing. Hunter education instructors, DWR personnel and other volunteers will assist the hunters in field dressing their birds and taking care of them.

Each youth must be accompanied by someone 21-years-of-age or older who is willing to sign a waiver of liability. The person 21-years-of-age or older is the only person who may accompany that youth into the field during the hunt. Participants who have a trained hunting dog, or dogs, are encouraged to bring them.

More information is available at the DWR Web site; on page 24 of the 2005 - 2006 Utah Upland Game Hunting Guide; or by calling the nearest DWR office, including the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700. These special youth hunts are sponsored by the Division of Wildlife Resources, the Golden Spike and Great Salt Lake chapters of Pheasants Forever, the Utah Chukar and Wildlife Foundation, the Salt Lake County Fish and Game Association and the Wasatch Mountain Chapter of the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association.