Ethical concerns prompt proposed changes to black bear permits

black bear
Photo courtesy of UDWR

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is proposing a few changes to the number of black bear permits for the 2020 hunting and pursuit seasons and is requesting the public’s feedback on the proposals, according to spokesperson Faith Jolley.

Black bear permit and pursuit proposals

In 2018, the Utah Wildlife Board approved the permit numbers and season structure for bear hunting in Utah for the next three years. However, concerns about large numbers of pursuers and dogs on some hunting units, mule deer populations on one unit, and clarifications about fair chase aspects of hunting bears using dogs have prompted a few recommended changes, said Jolley in an email.

The DWR is proposing the following recommendations:

Implementing restricted pursuit seasons in the spring for the La Sal, San Juan and Book Cliffs units, with 75 pursuit permits available for each unit. Of those permits, only 10 percent will be available for non-residents.

Limiting the number of dogs that can be used to pursue or harvest a single bear or mountain lion to 16 dogs.

Retaining the eight-dog limit for the restricted summer pursuit seasons.

Clarifying in rule that a person may not pursue a single bear or mountain lion in repeated pursuits, where it could render the animal physically unable to escape. Also clarifying that a person must make reasonable efforts to call dogs off of a bear or mountain lion after it has been cornered and held at bay.

Recommending an increase of 30 spot-and-stalk permits in the fall for the Plateau and Boulder/Kaiparowits units to help address concerns about mule deer population numbers (bringing the total to 50 permits).

Recommending an increase of five permits for the summer bait season also on the Plateau and Boulder/Kairparowits units (bringing the total to 17 permits).

“We wanted to implement some of these changes to address concerns about fair chase and resource damage during the pursuit seasons for bears and mountain lions,” DWR game mammals coordinator Darren DeBloois said. “We feel confident that these recommendations will help with that.”

Wolf management,

Brine shrimp

Along with the recommendations regarding bears, the DWR proposes to extend the current Wolf Management Plan for another 10 years. It was approved in 2005 for a 10-year period, and then a five-year extension was approved in 2015.

Gray wolves are currently classified as endangered (except for in a small portion of northeastern Utah where they have been delisted) and as an endangered species; they fall under the management of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Utah Wolf Management Plan will only take effect when wolves are delisted statewide.

The DWR also proposes an amendment that would allow brine shrimp harvesting companies to more easily transfer their certificate of registration, which allows them to harvest brine shrimp from the Great Salt Lake, to another business.

Additional details for all the recommendations can be found on the DWR website.

While the deadline to comment online expired Sunday, Dec. 3, the Resource Advisory Council meets in Southeastern Utah at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at the John Wesley Powell Museum at 1765 E. Main Street in Green River.