ST GEORGE – The rifle buck deer hunt, one of Utah’s most popular hunts begins Saturday, Oct. 19 and goes through Oct. 27. However, this year includes a few unique alterations that will affect Southern Utah hunters.
Most hunting in Utah occurs on federal land such as Bureau of Land Management or National Forrest Land. Because of the federal government shut down, none of the bathroom or camping facilities will be available, said Lynn Chamberlain, conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources.
However, hunters will be happy to hear that because the deer hunt is organized by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the federal government shutdown won’t affect any of the usual deer hunt processes.
“All access to federal land will not change and the deer hunt will go on as usual,” Chamberland said.
There will be roughly, 16,000 hunters wandering around in the Southern Utah wilderness areas this hunting season, Chamberlain said. Other outdoor enthusiasts and public-land users need to be aware that the activity level will increase significantly on National Forest and BLM land.
Conservation-minded hunters on one particular area of public land in Southern Utah will be rewarded this year. Those hunting in the “Zion Unit” – which includes most of the non-park land around Zion National Park – can be involved in a new program called The Non-Lead Ammunition Program. This program operated by the DWR in partnership with the Peregrine Fund, aims to help save the 20-40, endangered California Condors who inhabit the Zion Unit of the Southern Utah deer hunt, Chamberlain said.
All Zion Unit hunters with tags who don’t use Condor-poisoning lead bullets, or who clean up their deer’s entrails – which are typically left behind after a kill – could win a fourwheeler or one of five high powered hunting rifles that have been donated to the cause, Chamberlain said. Those Hunters can bring the the entrails – which can contain remnants of lead after a kill – to one of seven DWR check stations during the hunt to be entered into the drawing for prizes.
Two of the check stations will be at the respective DWR offices in Cedar City and Hurricane, near Quail Creek. The five other check stations will be in various locations around the Zion Unit. To find out check station times and locations call the Cedar City DWR office at 435-865-6100.
The DWR urges hunters and non-hunters alike to be courteous, ethical and follow safety rules.
All hunters are required to wear orange, and to not carry loaded firearms in their vehicle at any time, Chamberlain said. Officers patrolling these area’s will be writing citations for anyone not following these laws.
After the rifle-buck portion of the deer hunt ends on Oct. 27, the less trafficked, elk muzzle loader portion begins.
To report suspicious hunting activities including poaching, call the DWR office at 801-538-4700.
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