Boating Safety encouraged for Duck Hunt

Utah State Parks boating officials urge duck hunters to use extreme caution this hunting season while using vessels to access hunting grounds. Utah State Parks Boating Education Specialist Richard Droesbeke offers the following safe boating tips:

- Wear a personal floatation device (PFD) at all times while in the water. PFDs
are available in a variety of styles, including camouflage vests and float coats.

- Know and obey all boating laws and safe boating rules.

- Possess a valid hunting license, tag, and permit for the hunt.

- Take all precautions to avoid capsizing or swamping the vessel: small, flat-bottom vessels are prone to capsizing; distribute gear evenly; do not exceed the vessel's capacity; take only well-trained dogs on board a small vessel.

- Cold water can be a killer. When hunting on cold water, wear several layers of clothing under your PFD.

- Always check weather forecasts, and stay as close to shore as possible.

- Fire no shots or release any arrows until the vessel it stopped, the motor is turned off, and the vessel is secured or properly anchored. Always remain seated when shooting.

- Firearms should always be unloaded, have the safety on, and be secured in a gun case when being transported in a vessel.

- Airboats operated on the Great Salt Lake or adjacent marshes must have a compass and at least one of the following: approved flares, a strobe light, or other visual distress signal, on board.

For more information or for a copy of Utah's Boating Highlights, call (801) 538-7220.
Free Trailer Winterizations offered to Military Families called to Duty

In the wake of hurricane's Katrina and Rita, State Trailer Supply is extending a special offer to those military people who were called to duty. As winter weather approaches, State Trailer Supply is concerned that families will not be able to properly take care of their campers and trailers before freezing damage occurs.

As a result, State Trailer Supply is offering 50 free winterizations to those activated by the military to aid in the clean-up and rebuilding efforts in Louisiana and Texas. To participate, families only need to bring a copy of their spouses deployment papers.

State Trailer Supply is also giving away 25 free winterizations where their service department will come to the residence if they cannot bring the RV to State Trailer Supply. In order to be eligible participants must reside in the Salt Lake County area and be able to provide your spouses deployment papers. Their website is

In addition to the previous offer State Trailer Supply is extending 50% off any RV winterization to anyone with Active Military ID. Their phone number is (801) 978-0400 or toll free 877-978-0400. State Trailer Supply is located at 3600 South Redwood Road in West Valley City.

Pine Nut Crop best in Decade

For the first time in nearly a decade, the pine nut crop in Utah is good and is now ripe for the picking. Many cones still remain closed, but just as many are already open or opening. This allows collectors to determine whether they wish to pick the closed cones for drying and seed extraction or simply spread a blanket below the trees to collect just the seed that can be shaken from the open cones. Almost anywhere above 7,000 feet in elevation where there are pinyon pines there are trees with abundant cone crops, and in some areas nearly every tree has good cone production.

On BLM lands, individuals are permitted to gather up to 25 pounds of nuts (or 5 bushels of cones) with no charge and no written permit required. Collectors who plan to gather more than 25 pounds of nuts should visit the local BLM office to obtain a "commercial" permit. Commercial permits cost $0.25 per pound (the minimum permit issued is for $10 or 40 pounds).

Two species of pinyon pine may be found in southwest Utah. The Singleleaf pinyon may be found to the west of Cedar City in the Indian Peak / Hamlin Valley area and also grows throughout Nevada. It produces a larger nut than the Colorado Pinyon, which may be found throughout Utah, northern Arizona, western Colorado, and northern New Mexico.

Pine nuts are used extensively in southwest recipes, however, over recent years many of the pinyon pine nut production areas in Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado were severely affected by tree mortality caused by bark beetles, and traditional commercial pickers are looking for other sources. The Pinion Pine Nut opens up after a hard frost. The sap can be removed by using lard or cooking oil. Provided is a link for recipes and tips for preparing these nuts.
October is Energy Awareness Month

Every time Utahns flip a light switch, they can help change the world. As part of the nationwide energy efficiency campaign, Governor Huntsman has signed a declaration in support of Utah citizens changing one light bulb at home to an ENERGY STAR model. ENERGY STAR bulbs meet strict energy efficiency criteria set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy. The declaration encourages all Utah homes to switch to energy efficient lighting as an easy way to save energy, money, and reduce greenhouse emissions.

Utah is joining with the federal government and other states across the country to bring attention to the importance of using energy wisely at home. Laura Nelson, Utah's new Energy Director pointed out "switching to energy - efficient lighting is an easy step we can take to make a significant difference in our energy consumption. We can begin saving money on energy bills today while helping our environment at the same time. We're encouraging Utahns to take the Energy Star Change a Light Pledge."

If every household in Utah changed just one light, Utahns would save nearly $4 million in energy costs each year. It also reduces air pollution equivalent to taking more than 7,000 cars off the road.

"Efficiency is an untapped energy resource - it is the cheapest and cleanest energy source available today," explained Sarah Wright, Director of Utah Clean Energy. "Compact fluorescents cost a bit more up front, but over the life of a single bulb you will save $25 and 500 lbs of coal." ENERGY STAR light bulbs use two-thirds less energy and last six to ten times longer than standard bulbs. You can find ENERGY STAR-rated bulbs at your nearest hardware store or supermarket, just look for the blue star indicating it is ENERGY STAR approved. Visit for more information.

Utah Solar Home Tour awaits Saturday October 8

Utah's annual Solar Home Tour returns, providing access to homes whose owners successfully use alternative forms of heat and power. The Utah tour, now in its fifth year, is affiliated with the American Solar Energy Society's annual National Tour of Solar Buildings.

This statewide tour is self-guided, allowing visitors to tour any of these homes between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 8. Home-owners will be on hand to explain their system's capabilities and benefits. Interested individuals may visit any or all of the homes.

Although called a Solar Building Tour, the homes and buildings featured on Oct. 8 offer a variety of heat and power sources, including wind. For more information or a listing of participating homes, visit

Representatives sought for Trails Council

Utah State Parks and Recreation is seeking two individuals interested in representing equestrians and hikers on the Utah Recreational Trails Advisory Council (URTAC)."We are looking for people to represent the specific interests of non-motorized trail users," said Trails Program Coordinator John Knudson.

URTAC reviews requests for matching grant funding for non-motorized trail projects throughout Utah and provides recommendations to the Division and Board of Utah State Parks and Recreation on trail issues. The nine-member council consists of individuals representing the interests of hikers, bicyclists, equestrians, cross-county skiers, Utah League of Cities and Towns, Utah Association of Counties, USDA Forest Service, and USDI Bureau of Land Management. The council also includes one member-at-large who represents the interest of non-motorized trail users in general.

Council members are appointed to three-year terms by the Board of Utah State Parks and Recreation and Division Director Mary Tullius. Interested individuals may receive an application and/or additional information by contacting John Knudson at (801) 538-7344 or via email at . Applications must be received by Tues., Nov. 15.

Hunters Should Not Eat Shovelers and Goldeneyes

High mercury levels have been found in two species of ducks on the southern end of the Great Salt Lake, according to the Division of Wildlife Resources. The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) issued a waterfowl consumption advisory recommending people not eat Northern shovelers and common goldeneyes. The results of testing that's been done so far is available in a Health Consultation document at the Department of Health's Web site ( ).

Eating meat from these two species could result in an intake of mercury that exceeds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's health recommendations, according to the UDOH analysis. There is no health risk to other recreationists on the lake. Several other duck species also have been sampled. "Green-winged teal and gadwalls were well below the screening level for mercury and hunters should feel safe eating them," commented Jim Karpowitz, director of the DWR. "Mallards were just below the EPA's mercury screening level of 0.3 parts per million. We'll be doing more sampling and testing to further evaluate mallards and other duck species on the

Karpowitz recommends that duck hunters avoid shooting shovelers and goldeneyes. "If you kill any of these birds, you must retrieve them and include them as part of your bag limit," he noted. Tom Aldrich, migratory game bird coordinator for the DWR, says 487,000 ducks are currently on Utah's waterfowl management areas and the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. Of those 487,000 ducks, less than 10 percent (47,000) are shovelers. No goldeneyes were found. "It's very unlikely that hunters will bag a goldeneye in the next few weeks," Aldrich said. "Goldeneyes represent only 2 percent of the ducks harvested in Utah, and they usually don't arrive at the Great Salt Lake until mid-November."

Hunters could bag plenty of shovelers, however. During the past three years, 13 to 14 percent of the ducks taken by Utah hunters from mid-October to mid-December have been shovelers.
A study to determine the level of mercury in ducks began this July when a small number of meat samples from several waterfowl species collected on the southern end of the lake last winter were tested.

Mercury was found in several of the samples, so the DWR decided to collect a larger number of waterfowl in August. Lab results from those samples also were assessed by the Utah Department of Health, which led to the waterfowl consumption advisory. "The Division of Wildlife Resources, along with the UDOH and the lab at Utah State University, have worked hard to get these birds collected and sampled before the start of the duck hunting season," Karpowitz
said. "Now we'll work hard, throughout the fall and winter, to collect more birds and learn more about the mercury situation on the lake."

"A lot of work still needs to be done," said Clay Perschon, Great Salt Lake Ecosystem project leader for the DWR. "Only a small number of birds have been sampled so far, and all of those birds have come from the southern end of the lake. We don't know much about mercury levels
in waterfowl using other areas of the lake.

"The next steps are to expand the survey by collecting a larger number of birds and collecting them from several areas on the lake." The officials who issued the advisory have established a Mercury Work Group to coordinate and collaborate on mercury studies and
investigations that are ongoing in Utah. Stakeholders from a broad base of state, federal and nonprofit agencies, industry and the public are members of the group. Information about this work group is available at

Information about the waterfowl consumption advisory will also 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

General information about mercury in Utah is available at
Hunting Ethics begin with practice

Hunting ethics begin long before going afield and now is the time for sportsmen and sportswomen to prepare for the upcoming hunting seasons, with sighting in rifles being one of the best examples. The responsibility and benefits of sighting in runs deeper than just having the personal confidence of knowing where your bullet will hit, it also reflects the pride and integrity of a true sportsman.

Walt Gasson, Wyoming Game and Fish Department Planning Coordinator, comments,"By taking the time to become a marksman, you show great respect for the quarry by having the ability to make the quickest, cleanest kills possible. That ethical respect will help perpetuate this autumn pastime."

Gasson, who researches strategies to promote hunting for the Game and Fish Department, encourages hunters to practice shots at a variety of distances to help prepare for every situation that might be encountered afield.

Gasson continued, "If you're unsure how your gun and bullet will perform in a certain situation, you have no business taking the shot. A wounded animal lost is the hunter's greatest lament, and every step should be taken to prevent that."

Ethics also pertain to shooting practice. Various land agencies regularly receive complaints of persons sighting in rifles by shooting off public roads into private land. This illegal practice serves to strain hunter/landowner relations. Although it is legal to sight in rifles on most public land, several picnickers and hikers have complained about careless target practicing.

Keep in mind that not every forest user is a hunter," advises Gasson. "If you target practice on the forest make sure you're well away from other people and that you are shooting into a hill to stop all bullets. As with any activity, clean up all trash. Even before the actual hunt, we can influence non-hunters' perception of hunting by our actions."

Hunters are encouraged to sight in on public shooting ranges or to join a shooting club. They are also encouraged to conduct themselves afield with the perspective of continuing the hunting legacy for future generations.