Utah adds more black bear opportunity
There will be more opportunities for black bear in Utah. The Utah Wildlife Board recently approved an increase in the number of available black bear permits for the upcoming season. The change was approved during January’s meeting. Board members took into account concerns involving an increase in the number of hunters and dogs in certain units, impact on mule deer population declines and what fair chase means when using dogs to hunt bears.
According to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the following changes have been approved:
- Implementing restricted pursuit seasons in the spring for nonresident pursuers on the La Sal, San Juan and Book Cliffs units, with two restricted pursuit permits available for each unit.
- 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 all summer pursuit and restricted summer pursuit seasons.
- Clarifying 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.
- Adding a total of 122 hunting permits, with the largest increases on the following units:
- Requiring that a mandatory ethics portion be added to the online Utah Bear Orientation Course. Individuals must complete the course before purchasing or applying for hunting or pursuit permits.
- Revisiting the frequency of changes to black bear management. Going forward, any proposed changes to the management of bears will occur on a yearly cycle, rather than the previous three-year recommendation cycle