Hunting License Fees Could Change in 2007

Salt Lake City -- Pending approval by the Utah Legislature, the cost to hunt and fish in Utah could change starting in July 2007.

Whether you'll pay more or less would depend on the licenses you buy.

The Utah Wildlife Board approved the changes at its Oct. 5 meeting in Salt Lake City. The Utah Legislature is expected to act on the changes during its session in February 2007.

"We're pleased that the Wildlife Board approved these changes," said Jim Karpowitz, director of the Division of Wildlife Resources. "The added revenue will allow us to cover some serious budget shortfalls we're facing and will allow us to continue managing Utahs wildlife effectively. The revenue will also allow us to provide hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers with some additional services theyve asked for.

"Those who pay $5 to apply for a big game permit each year, but then do not buy any other licenses or permits, would be the ones most affected by the changes," he said. "Those who already buy Utah hunting and fishing licenses would not be affected as much. In fact, in some cases, they may actually pay less."

When Changes Would Happen

If approved by the legislature, the changes would not take affect until July 1, 2007. Fees would change after July 1 as rules were approved for upcoming hunting and fishing seasons.

Decreases and Increases

If approved by the legislature, the following fees would be reduced:

Current New

Resident combination license $34 $30 (allows the holder to hunt and fish)

Resident deer permit $40 $35

Resident elk permit $65 $45 (any bull/spike/anterless)

Resident turkey permit $40 $35

If the legislature approves, the following fees would be raised:

Current New

Resident small game (hunting license) $17 $26

Nonresident small game (hunting license) $45 $65

Drawing application fee $5 $10

All Hunters Must Buy a Hunting License

Another change the board approved is the requirement that all hunters - including big game hunters - buy a hunting license before they apply for or buy any hunting permit.

This license is currently called a small game license. If approved by the legislature, it would be renamed a hunting license and would cost Utah residents $26. In addition to allowing the holder to apply for or buy a permit, a hunting license would also allow the holder to hunt small game.

Instead of buying a hunting license, hunters could choose to buy a $30 combination license that would also allow them to fish.

*Fishing licenses cost $26. Big game hunters who already buy a fishing license would have to pay only $4 more to upgrade to a combination license that would also allow them to apply in the draw and hunt small game,* Karpowitz said.

Application Fee Change

If approved by the legislature, the fee to apply in Utah's hunting draws, including the big game draw, would increase to $10.

License for 12- to 13-Year-Old Anglers

If the legislature approves, 12- and 13-year-old anglers would be required to buy a $5 fishing license.

"For every license sold to these young anglers, the division would collect $12 in federal aid. That money would then be invested in fish hatcheries and other programs that would make fishing better in the state," Karpowitz said.

Watchable Wildlife Pass

If approved by the legislature, those who don't have a hunting or fishing license would be required to pay a fee to visit the state's wildlife and waterfowl management areas (WMAs).

A Watchable Wildlife pass would be available for $10 and would allow the purchaser access to the state's WMAs for 365 days from the day the pass was purchased. The pass would also provide the holder access to all of the Watchable Wildlife events and festivals in Utah for which a fee is charged to attend.

For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.

Rifle Hunters Should See More Young Bucks

If the number of deer that archery and muzzleloader hunters have seen is any indication, Utah's rifle hunters could enjoy some good success this season.

The state*s 2006 rifle buck deer hunt begins Oct. 21. More than 60,000 hunters, plus their family and friends, are expected afield for Utah*s most popular hunt.

"We've received some great reports from both archery and muzzleloader hunters," says Craig McLaughlin, big game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "Many of them have reported seeing good numbers of bucks, especially a lot of smaller bucks."

Unless snow falls before the opener, McLaughlin says the bucks will probably be scattered at various elevations. "Hunters will need to get out and look for the deer," he said. "The deer could be at any elevation."

The good news is that wetter conditions should make spotting and stalking those bucks easier. "Hunting conditions for deer are excellent right now," McLaughlin said on Oct. 5. "The vegetation is a lot wetter than it was last fall, and that should make it easier for hunters to spot and stalk the bucks they see."

McLaughlin reminds hunters to obtain written permission from landowners before hunting on private land, to keep their off-highway vehicles on designated roads and trails and to let someone know where they're going and when they plan to return.

Permits for the hunt are sold out. The following is a preview for each of the DWR's five regions:

Northern Region

Wildlife biologists in the Northern Region say success during this year*s rifle hunt should be similar to last year, with the exception of northwestern Box Elder County.

Kirt Enright, the DWR's wildlife biologist in Box Elder County, is enthusiastic about the increase in deer numbers that he's seen in his district over the past four years. "This is the best year we've had for 20 years in northwest Box Elder County,* Enright said. "Last winter's post-hunt deer classification had the best buck-to-doe ratio we've seen since the early 1980s."

Enright cautioned that the overall populations are still lower than they were in the 1980s, but he's happy with the progress he's seen. "Things look pretty rosy for the first time since 1999," he said. "Last year I talked to hunters who actually passed up smaller bucks because of the good numbers of larger bucks that they had seen."

Enright expects hunting to be slightly better this year "with a decent component of two-, three- and four-year-old bucks in the population."

The Morgan and South Rich units in the Northern Region continue to have one of the best buck-to-doe ratios in the state, says wildlife biologist Scott McFarlane. Even with a slight decrease in the deer population, because of some winter loss last winter, McFarlane says the buck/doe ratio for these units is about 45 bucks to every 100 does.

McFarlane also manages the East Canyon Unit. He expects hunting to be similar to last year on all three units. "There is good vegetation and water up high," he said.

McFarlane cautions hunters to be aware of and to respect the large amount of private land in the Morgan, South Rich and East Canyon areas.

Randy Wood is the biologist for the Chalk Creek (28 bucks per 100 does); Kamas (22 bucks for every 100 does); and North Slope of the Uintas areas (deer on the North Slope of the Uintas are not counted because they migrate out of the area prior to biologists conducting their annual surveys).

Wood says hunting conditions in these areas will be similar to last year.

The deer-hunting picture isn't as good on the Cache Unit. "The Cache deer herd continues to struggle, with a buck-to-doe ratio of about 11 bucks per 100 does," said Darren DeBloois, wildlife biologist in Cache County.

DeBloois has been actively working with a group of sportsmen, the Northern Regional Advisory Council and wildlife biologists to address the low deer populations on the Cache Unit.

He has also been busy directing habitat projects in the area, including the Hardware Ranch water project. In this project, the Mule Deer Foundation worked closely with DeBloois and others from the DWR to fund and install water troughs to provide water for wintering deer in Blacksmith Fork Canyon. The project also involved developing and expanding springs. DeBloois says these areas have been getting a lot of wildlife use since the projects were completed.

This year the DWR is excited to introduce some new areas in the Northern Region where deer hunters can access private lands. This access was developed through the DWR's new Walk-In Access program.

Clint Bronson, the biologist in charge of developing the program, says the areas are listed on DWR's Web site ( ) and that maps and rules for using these private lands are also available at the site.

"Using these areas is pretty simple; all the landowners ask is that hunters sign in and out when using their property," Bronson said.

For more information, call the Northern Region office at (801) 476-2740.

Central Region

Biologists say deer herds are rebounding in the Central Region, and rifle hunters should see more younger bucks.

"The Central Region received decent amounts of precipitation this winter and spring," says Scott Root, Central Region conservation outreach manager. "The deer are in very good condition, which can be attributed to the abundant vegetation and water sources available throughout the region."

During surveys this spring, DWR biologists found excellent numbers of fawns on the mountainous eastern half of the region. The deer herd west of I-15 had good fawn production too. 'The region's three-year buck-to-doe ratio is slightly under but is approaching the 15 bucks per 100 does management objective," Root said. "Biologists have seen many younger buck deer this year, which indicates lots of fawns born in 2005 made it through the past winter."

Root says deer will be widely scattered because of the plentiful food sources found throughout most of the region. "Look for well-used game trails and invest time on pre-hunt scouting trips to learn the habits of the deer," says Wildlife Biologist Craig Clyde. "Higher elevation areas may have significant snow. In this case, hunters should pay attention to the south and west facing slopes, where the deer tend to congregate when conditions are snowy."

The western portion of the Central Region, west of I-15, is primarily desert terrain, and Root strongly encourages hunters to do some preseason scouting. "The western portion of the region has fewer deer, and pre-hunt scouting trips are strongly recommended," he said. "Stalking deer in the desert can be very difficult. Having a good scope on your gun can increase your chance for success."

Root says 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, and the deer will be more scattered."

Biologists say 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 over the past two years is the best it's been in this area for several years," he said.

Root also provides Central Region hunters with the following reminders:

- The Vernon limited entry deer unit takes up a good portion of the western part of the region, and general deer season hunters need to stay out of these boundaries (a boundary description is available in the 2006 Utah Big Game Proclamation).

- The eastern portion of Salt Lake County, south of I-80, is not open to rifle deer hunting. It's part of the Wasatch Front Extended Archery Area and is open only to archery deer and archery elk permit holders.

- Voluntary game check stations will be set up at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon, along I-15 near Santaquin and possibly at other locations. Biologists will check harvested deer for chronic wasting disease, at no charge to the hunter.

For more information, call the Central Region office at (801) 491-5678.

Northeastern Region

Depending on where they hunt, rifle hunters in the Northeastern Region should see more buck deer this fall.

"In general, deer herds in the Northeastern Region wintered well during the mild winter of 2005," says Northeastern Region Wildlife Manager Boyde Blackwell.

Based on surveys, Blackwell estimates about 20 percent of the deer in the region died during the past winter.

Blackwell says higher quality forage is allowing the deer herds in the region to slowly increase. Data collected over the past three years indicate that the general deer units in the region are just meeting the management plan objective of 15 bucks per 100 does (after the 2004 hunt, the deer herds were at 14 bucks per 100 does, which is just below the management objective).

The Uinta Mountains are one area in the region where deer are doing the best. "The Uinta Mountains had a relatively good forage year for deer during the spring and summer of 2006, especially when you compare the recent conditions to the drought years of 1998 through 2004," Blackwell says.

Blackwell expects rifle hunt success on the North and South slopes of the Unitas to be average to slightly less than average. He says fawn production on the South and North slopes of the Unitas was average this past spring.

Drought continues to affect most of the areas in the region south of US-40. Those conditions have played a major role in reducing deer production and survival on the Avintaquin and Anthro Mountain subunits. Blackwell expects poor hunt success on those units during the upcoming hunt.

For more information, call the Northeastern Region office at (435) 781-WILD (9453).

Southeastern Region

Rifle hunters will find more bucks in the Southeastern Region this fall, says Bill Bates, Southeastern Region wildlife manager.

"Good fawn production in 2005 and 2006 and good survival this past winter have strengthened herds across the region," he said. "Most units show both short and long-term upward trends as far as the total number of deer in the herds."

Bates says two of the best areas to see more yearling and two-year old bucks are the Manti, LaSal unit and the Abajo unit.

While the number of deer is up in the region this year, all of southeastern Utah's deer herds are still under the management objective as far as the total number of deer. Bates says deer habitat in southeastern Utah faces a long road to recovery after years of drought, but aggressive habitat restoration work by the DWR and other agencies is beginning to pay off.

While precipitation has been near normal in the northern part of the region, southern areas in the region continue to suffer from drought. "If the weather returns to a normal pattern, the vegetation in the region will rebound and the deer herds should continue to grow," he said.

To improve your chances of bagging a buck, Bates suggests scouting your hunting area before the season begins. "Spend time observing deer in your prospective hunting area," he said. "Get to know where the animals feed, bed down and water. Develop a hunting strategy based on your observations. Try to anticipate changes in animal behavior due to hunter pressure and weather conditions."

He also encourages rifle hunters to get away from the roads and do some hiking.

For more information, call the Southeastern Region office at (435) 636-0260.

Southern Region

Deer herds in the Southern Region are rebounding after several years of drought.

The number of bucks per 100 does increased from 18 bucks per 100 does after the 2004 hunt to 19 bucks per 100 does after the 2005 hunt.

The number of fawns biologists counted also increased, from 63 fawns per 100 does in the spring of 2005 to 66 fawns per 100 does this past spring.

"All of the increases are very slight, but the deer herds are heading in the right direction,"says Lynn Chamberlain, Southern Region conservation outreach manager.

Chamberlain says very few deer died this past winter.

"We had less moisture this past winter, and a drier spring, but range conditions appear to be decent," he says. "The rains this past summer were widespread. The rain has improved the habitat conditions and made water available over a wider area.*

Several wildfires hit the region this year, but the areas that were burned should not have a significant effect on the rifle hunt.

Chamberlain says deer are moving to lower elevations as the temperatures cool. "While hunters will probably see deer in the higher areas, the greatest number will probably be in the foothills and canyons below 7,000 feet," he says.

For more information, call the Southern Region office at (435) 865-6100.

Tips to Get Prepared for This Year's Rifle Buck Deer Hunt

Deer hunters are eagerly awaiting the beginning of Utah's general rifle buck deer hunt on Oct. 21.

Getting prepared now, by gathering materials and gaining knowledge, are some of the keys to having a safe hunt. And, while taking a deer is usually the highlight of any deer hunt, hunters should remember to enjoy all the experiences a deer hunt provides.

"Enjoy the entire experience of the hunt," says Lenny Rees, hunter education coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "Good friends, a good camp, a chance to observe wildlife and the beautiful state we live in are all things deer hunters are fortunate to enjoy during their time afield."

Rees provides the following tips for an enjoyable and safe hunting experience:

Personal Preparation:

* know the area you're going to hunt. If possible, scout the area before the hunt.

* put a survival kit together. The kit should include:

1) a small first aid kit;
2) three ways to make a fire (matches, cigarette lighter, firestarters, etc.);
3) quick energy snack foods;
4) a cord or rope;
5) a compass;
6) a flashlight;
7) an extra knife and;
8) a small pad of paper and a pencil (for leaving information at your last location, about yourself and the direction you're traveling, should you become lost).

Firearm Preparation:

* make sure you have the proper ammunition for your firearm.

* be as familiar as possible with your firearm -- know how to load and unload it, and where the safety is and how to operate it.

Firearm Safety:

* controlling your muzzle is the most important aspect of firearm safety. Never let the muzzle of your firearm point at anything you do not intend to shoot, including yourself.

* never carry a loaded firearm in your vehicle.

* before shooting, make sure of your target and what's beyond it.

Vehicle Preparation:

* make sure your vehicle is in good mechanical condition.

* carry a shovel, ax, tire chains, jumper cables and a tow chain in your vehicle.

* if you experience mechanical problems with your vehicle or become snowed in, stay with your vehicle -- don't leave it.

Before Leaving On Your Trip:

* let someone know where you're going and when you expect to return.

While In the Field:

* never hunt alone.

* wear proper safety clothing -- 400 square inches of hunter orange on your back, chest and head.

Field Dressing Your Animal:

* use a sharp knife. A sharp knife is safer for field dressing than a dull knife is.

* cut away from you -- never bring a knife blade towards you while cutting.

Your Physical Well-being:

* know your physical limitations and don't exceed them.

* be prepared for weather changes by dressing in layers. Dressing in layers allows you to regulate your body temperature by adding or removing clothes as needed.

* drink plenty of water, regardless of the temperature. "You can become dehydrated, even in cold weather," Rees says.

* hypothermia (the loss of body temperature) can occur in temperatures as warm as 50 degrees.

Be aware of hypothermia signs. The first is stumbling or disorientation.

*When you notice these signs sit down immediately and build a fire," Rees says. "Make sure to get yourself warm and dry."

* frostbite. If hunting in cold weather, be aware of the development of frostbite. White spots on your skin are the first sign. Check your face, feet and hands regularly. It's much easier to notice the first signs of frostbite on the face if you're hunting with a companion who can alert you.

If You're Lost:

* don't panic. Sit down and build a fire, even if it isn't cold. "A fire is soothing and will help you to relax and think clearly," Rees says.

After calming down, try to get your bearings and think your way out of the situation. If you think you know the direction you need to travel, use the pad of paper and pencil from your survival kit and leave a note at your location, indicating who you are and the direction you're traveling. If you come across others as you're trying to find your hunting party, don't be embarrassed to stop them and ask for directions and help.

If you're unsure about the direction you should travel, stay at your camp and build a shelter several hours before sundown, if possible. Build a smoky fire (which can be spotted from the air) or build three fires (a distress signal that also can be noticed from the air).

"You can live without food and water for several days," Rees says of those who choose to remain at their camp until they're found.

Alcohol and Gunpowder Don't Mix!

* do not handle a firearm if you've been consuming alcohol.

* do not give alcohol to someone who's cold. Rather than warming the person, alcohol will actually make them colder.

Keep More Trout at Scofield Reservoir in 2007

Salt Lake City -- Anglers at Scofield Reservoir can keep eight trout a day beginning Jan. 1, 2007.

Also beginning Jan. 1, anglers who have a Second Pole Permit can fish with two fishing poles at any fishing water in the state.

Those changes were among several fishing regulation changes the Utah Wildlife Board approved for Utah's 2007 fishing season. Board members approved the changes at their Oct. 5 meeting in Salt Lake City.


The following are some of the major fishing changes the board approved for 2007.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2007, anglers may:

- keep eight trout at Scofield Reservoir in central Utah.

- keep 10 walleye at all of the waters in Utah that have walleye except Willard Bay Reservoir, where the limit will remain at six walleye. Only one of the walleyes caught at any of the waters can be longer than 24 inches.

- if they have a Second Pole Permit, fish with two fishing poles at any public fishing water in Utah. Anglers who fish with two poles may NOT take two limits.

- keep four trout of any species at Panguitch Lake and its tributaries, but the trout must be under 15 inches or over 22 inches in length. Anglers must release all trout 15 to 22 inches long. Panguitch Lake is in southwestern Utah.

- may use artificial flies and lures only at Calder Reservoir and may keep only one fish. The fish they keep must be over 22 inches long. Calder Reservoir is in northeastern Utah.


Trout Limit at Scofield Reservoir

A big drop in the number of anglers fishing at one of Utah's best trout waters prompted the Division of Wildlife Resources to recommend raising the trout limit at the water. After hearing the recommendation, the Utah Wildlife Board voted to raise the trout limit at Scofield Reservoir from four to eight trout beginning Jan. 1, 2007.

"Scofield is one of the best trout fishing waters in Utah, but the number of anglers who fish it has dropped off dramatically during the past 20 years," says Roger Wilson, sport fisheries coordinator for the DWR.

Wilson says in 1986, anglers spent almost 347,000 hours fishing at Scofield. By 2005, that number had dropped to just under 115,000 hours. "That's a 67 percent drop in angling pressure," Wilson said.

The drop in angler hours has also led to a drop in the number of fish caught at the reservoir. In 1986, anglers caught more than 252,000 trout. By 2005, that number had fallen to less than 36,000.

"Scofield is a fantastic trout fishing water, and anglers are missing out on some great fishing," Wilson said. "We hope raising the trout limit will bring the anglers back."

Wilson says biologists will try the eight trout limit as an experiment. "Our biologists will continue to watch the trout population closely to make sure the eight-trout limit is not having a negative effect on the population," he said. "We'll also survey anglers to learn if the eight-trout limit is one of the reasons they decided to fish at the reservoir."

Statewide Walleye Limit

Walleye fishing in Utah should be even better in the future after board members approved a recommendation that allows anglers to keep up to 10 walleye. The only exception is Willard Bay Reservoir in northern Utah, where the limit remains at six walleye.

Only one of the walleyes caught at any of the waters can be longer than 24 inches.

"Right now many of the state's walleye populations are going through a boom-and-bust cycle. We'll have good numbers of nice-sized walleye at a particular water for a few years, and then the population at that water will decline in both size and numbers as the walleye population grows bigger than the population of fish they prey on," Wilson said.

Wilson says the key to preventing the decline is creating a better balance between the walleye and the fish they prey on.

"Allowing anglers to keep more of the small walleyes should reduce the overall number of walleyes in these waters. Fewer walleyes will provide a better balance between the walleyes and the fish they prey on," he says. "We're hoping the regulation change will result in fewer ups and downs in the walleye population and more consistent and better walleye fishing."

Two Fishing Poles

Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, anglers can fish with two fishing poles at any public water in Utah that's open to fishing.

"Other states have allowed anglers to use two fishing poles statewide, and there hasn't been a negative effect on their fish populations," Wilson said. "Allowing Utah's anglers to use two poles will provide them with more opportunity and more fun at waters across the state."

In addition to their fishing license, anglers must purchase a Second Pole Permit to use a second pole. Second Pole permits cost $15.

Anglers who use a second pole are reminded that they may not catch two limits of fish. "You may keep only one limit of fish, but using two poles might just give you a better chance at catching that limit," Wilson said.

For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.

Utah's 2007 Fishing Guide should be available in December.

More Turkey Permits Approved

Salt Lake City -- More than 400 additional hunters will be hunting wild turkeys in Utah next spring.

At its Oct. 5 meeting in Salt Lake City, the Utah Wildlife Board approved 2,373 Rio Grande permits for Utah's 2007 hunts. That's 339 more than the 2,034 available this past spring.

Board members also approved 732 Merriam's permits. That*s 94 more than the 638 permits available this past spring.

The total number of wild turkey permits available in Utah in 2007 is 3,106. In 2006, a total of 2,673 were available.

"Over the past seven years, we've moved a lot of wild turkeys into Utah, and we've also moved a lot of birds from one area of the state to another," says Dean Mitchell, upland game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources.

"It's taken a few years, but these birds have adapted to their new habitats here in Utah," he says. "They're learning where the food is and where the best places are to spend the winter.

"Wild turkey populations across most of the state are doing really well."


Applications for 2007 wild turkey permits will be available by Nov. 28. Applications must be received by Dec. 26 to be included in the draw for permits. Draw results will be posted by Jan. 31, 2007.

For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR*s Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.

Outdoor Activities Await at Oct. 14 Hardware Ranch Elk Festival

Hyrum -- Outdoor activities and the possibility of seeing wild elk await those attending the annual Elk Festival at the Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area east of Hyrum.

The festival will be held Oct. 14 and is free of charge. Activities run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"The festival is a family-oriented event with activities targeted to immerse children of all ages in wildlife, habitat and heritage activities," says Dan Christensen, Hardware Ranch WMA superintendent.

This year marks the eighth year that the ranch, which is operated by the Division of Wildlife Resources, has held a fall event to celebrate the return of elk to the bench above the WMA's visitor center. "Last year's festival drew more than 1,300 visitors and was a big success," Christensen said.

Activities on Oct. 14 include: horse-drawn wagon rides to see the elk, pumpkin painting, mountain man story telling and activities, animal track stamping, children's archery, the DWR's shooting trailer, an elk bugling and cow elk calling contest at 1 p.m., and exploring the visitor center exhibits.

New activities this year include a Wildlife Mural Match, fun with all-terrain vehicles and sled dog demonstrations.

Those riding on the free wagon rides could see some elk in the distance. "On Sept. 30, we spotted our first elk of the fall," says Marni Lee, Hardware Ranch assistant manager. "We had about 40 elk on the bench above the meadow that day. It's always exciting to see them return."

More information about Hardware Ranch is available at or by calling (435) 753-6206.

Regular Elk Viewing Begins in Mid-December

The elk festival is the kickoff for the fall and winter elk-viewing season at Hardware Ranch. The WMA's visitor center and sleigh rides are scheduled to open on Dec. 14, which is the day the WMA's staff should begin feeding elk.

Once the WMA opens for the winter, its hours of operation are noon to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Thursday, Fridays and Sundays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. (The WMA's sleigh rides and all of its facilities are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.) Tickets to take a sleigh ride through the elk herd must be purchased before 4:30 p.m.

In addition to the sleigh rides, morning school programs for public school groups will be available in the WMA's visitor center by reservation only.

The WMA's restaurant will not be open during the day this season, but visitors are welcome to bring picnic lunches to the ranch and eat in its indoor dining room.

Hardware Ranch attracts about 50,000 visitors each year who hunt, fish, view wildlife or come to the pristine Northern Utah facility just to enjoy it.

The ranch is best known for horse-drawn sleigh rides on its meadow among 400 to 600 head of feeding elk. Moonlight sleigh rides, which include dinner, are offered on Saturday evenings once the elk viewing season begins.

The WMA is also one of the major trailheads on the newly designated Shoshone Trail, which draws several hundred off-highway vehicle and snowmobile enthusiasts to the facility each year.

Women Learn How to Fly Fish at Upcoming Clinic

Salt Lake City -- Women can learn the art and sport of fly-fishing at classes offered Oct. 24, 26 and 28 in Salt Lake City.

The Division of Wildlife Resources' Becoming an Outdoors Woman program is offering the classes.

The first two sessions will be held the evening of Oct. 24 and 26 at Western Rivers Flyfisher, 1071 E. 900 S. in Salt Lake City. Women can learn about fly-fishing equipment, how to tie knots and cast, and about the insect biology that makes fly fishing work.

On the morning of Oct. 28 the class will meet at one of Utah's world-class fly-fishing waters to try out their new skills.

"Fly-fishing is a finesse sport, rather than a strength sport, which makes it easy and fun to learn," says Jill West, volunteer coordinator for the DWR. "We will have mastered the basics during the classroom sessions, and we'll hit the river on Saturday, ready to get our feet wet."

Steve Schmidt, owner of the Western Rivers Flyfisher, will instruct and guide the class.

The cost to participate is $100, which includes classroom instruction and a fly-fishing book. All of the gear needed for the class will be provided, including the use of waders and a fly rod and reel.

The class is limited to 12 women, and pre-registration is required. To register, call Western Rivers Flyfisher at (801) 521-6424.

For more information, contact Jill West at (801) 557-0605 or


October 7 Snow Canyon State Park - Ivins
Moonlit Hike: Explore the nighttime sights and sounds of the canyon during a two-mile round-trip moonlit hike beginning at 8:30 p.m. Space is limited and registration is required. For more information, please call (435) 628-2255.

October 10 Antelope Island State Park - Syracuse
Children's ADA Bison Roundup: Annual event for school children with disabilities. Bison are worked through the chutes and receive vaccinations and health checks. This event allows managers an opportunity to test the handling facility prior to the main working event November 3-5. For schools interested in scheduling their students to participate in this event please contact Crystal Carpenter at (801) 721-9569, or for information regarding the bison please call Steve Bates at (801) 209-4678.

October 12 Goblin Valley State Park - Green River
Junior Ranger Program: Wildlife Clues- Find out how to find Goblin Valley's wildlife. Learn to identify the tracks and scat they leave behind. Meet at 9:30 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! For more information, please call (435) 564-3633.

October 12 Goblin Valley State Park - Green River
Lifestyles of the Dry and Dusty- What do a desert bighorn sheep, a midget faded rattlesnake, and a prickly pear cactus all have in common? They're all guests on Goblin Valley's very own talk show! Sit back and enjoy this theater program or be part of the show! Meet at the amphitheater at 7:30 p.m. For more information, please call (435) 564-3633.

October 13 Antelope Island State Park-Syracuse
Hike with a Naturalist: Join the park naturalist on a nine-mile moderate hike to Elephant Head. Participants will be entertained with myths and human history of Great Salt Lake. Participants should meet at White Rock Bay at 10 a.m. Registration is required for this event. For more information or to register for this event, please call Crystal at (801) 721-9569.

October 13 Goblin Valley State Park - Green River
Junior Ranger Program: Incredible Insects! Discover some of Goblin Valley's mini-beasts. Meet at 9:30 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! For more information, please call (435) 564-3633.

October 13 Goblin Valley State Park - Green River
Discover Goblin Valley: Join park staff for an evening walk through the goblins beginning at 7:30 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.

October 14 Antelope Island State Park-Syracuse
Junior Ranger Program: Join park naturalist for a battle of the wits on Mammal Quiz Show. Participants should meet at the visitor center at 4 p.m. This program is intended for children ages six to 12, though all ages are welcome. For more information or questions, please call (801) 721-9569.

October 14 Antelope Island State Park-Syracuse
Star Party: Join Ogden Astronomical Society and Weber State University for an evening under the stars. Participants can expect to enjoy beautiful celestial views (weather permitting), and stellar conversation with our local astronomers. Meet at White Rock Bay at dusk. If you bring a flashlight, make it a red-colored lens please. For more information please call (801) 773-2941.

October 14 Goblin Valley State Park - Green River
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 9:30 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! For more information, please call (435) 564-3633.

October 14 Goblin Valley State Park - Green River
A Seed's Need: Follow the journey of a plant seed's life and learn about Goblin Valley's rocks and wildlife. Join park staff at the Goblin Valley amphitheater at 7:30 p.m. Sit back and enjoy this theater program or take part in the show! For more information, please call (435) 564-3633.

700 Students to Take Part in Earth Science Week

What: Utah Geological Survey (UGS) will host 700 students in grades 4-8 from local schools for Earth Science Week

The school children will rotate through sessions including:
7 Panning for gold
7 Stream table * erosion and deposition
7 Rocks and minerals * testing for identification
7 Paleontology * how dinosaurs are unearthed in the lab
7 Landforms * how Utah's landscape came to be

When: Thursday, October 5, 2006, 9:30 am*11:00 am, 12:30 pm*3:30 pm
Friday, October 6, 2006, 9:30 am*12:30 pm
Tuesday, October 10, 2006, 9:30 am*2:00 pm
Wednesday, October 11, 2006, 9:30 am*2:00 pm

Where: Utah Core Research Center
240 North Redwood Road

Why: "We truly enjoy getting children excited about earth sciences," says Sandy Eldredge, Geologic Program Manager. "Our goal is to make the day fun and hopefully, the kids learn something along the way."

Lions and Tigers and Doves

NEWTOWN, Conn. If you lived in Michigan, would you vote to cancel future Detroit Lions seasons? What about the Tigers and Pistons' future seasons: Would you vote them out?

No, of course not.

It wouldn't make sense to vote out Michigan's future dove hunting seasons, either. Because if you did, you'd be depriving another sport's most avid fans of their game?doves?one of the most popular, elusive, delectable, abundant and readily renewable natural resources in North America.

Venue Capacity
Michigan's dove hunting fields 80,745
Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions 53,412
Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers 40,120
Palace of Auburn Hills, home of the Detroit Pistons 22,076

Doves also are among the most economically important game species.

But such a vote is a real possibility in the Wolverine State, where the future of dove hunting will be decided by ballot initiative on Election Day, Nov. 7.

Today the trade association for the shooting, hunting and firearm industry, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, urged Michigan citizens to vote "yes" on Proposal 3.

"Jobs, businesses and a surprisingly large economic infrastructure are tied to dove hunting in 4 of every 5 states, where families have been enjoying dove hunts and dove meals together for many, many years," said Doug Painter, president of NSSF. "The Michigan decision won't be made in a vacuum. A yes vote would be good news for traditional values and lifestyles, as well as the businesses that support hunting in America."

The wrong outcome would boost the animal rights industry and its fundraising engines.

Painter added that since animal rights groups from outside of Michigan are buying ads and working to influence the vote, citizens should take time to understand how voting to keep dove season also fits into a national picture.

Dove Hunting,
Dove Hunting,
Number of Hunters 80,745 1,441,889
Days Hunted 102,492 9,040,896
Retail Sales $7.6 million $520.8 million
Economic Impact $17.9 million $1.4 billion
Dependent Jobs 170 12,132
Associated Income $4.56 million $354.2 million
State Income Tax $774,000 $5.6 million
Federal Income Tax $123,000 $63.3 million
State Sales Tax $539,000 $20.1 million

Source: Southwick Associates Inc., Fernandina Beach, FL, 904-277-9765. Based on U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. Michigan projections are calculated from a small sample with greater margin of error, but are based on national averages and deemed reliable for a comparative presentation.

Across the continent, dove populations annually reach about 400 million birds. The natural mortality rate for mourning doves (the species found in Michigan) is high, meaning that most doves do not survive from one year to the next?whether they're hunted or not.

Nesting failure, predators, disease, accidents and weather extremes are controlling factors. Conservation is the sustainable use of such "surplus" populations. In Michigan and elsewhere, hunters can harvest portions of doves without impacting the long-term health of the population. Science provides the framework for hunting seasons and limits.

Nationwide, 1.4 million dove hunters take approximately 23 million doves per year.

The economic impact tops $520 million annually. Each hunter spends an average of $111.16 on equipment, and another $250.07 on travel, ice, meals, lodging and hunting licenses.

Hunting license fees, along with excise taxes on firearms and ammunition, fund state conservation programs, benefiting all citizens who appreciate wildlife and wild places. In Michigan, dove hunters also are required to purchase a $2 dove stamp. This pool of stamp revenue would be matched exponentially by federal dollars, creating yet another significant source of conservation funding to benefit game and non-game species alike.

Painter said voting down Michigan's dove-hunting season would be one more chop in an ongoing animal rights campaign to fell hunting traditions nationwide.