Utah hunters need not feel put upon by the restricted duck hunting season imposed last Friday by the Utah Wildlife Board.
Wyoming placed nearly identical guidelines on its duck hunting season in its Pacific Flyway, and Idaho will soon call for an identical season.In its executive session in Nephi, the board followed U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommendations and reduced Utah's duck hunt from the 79-day hunt it was last year to 58 days this year. The hunt will begin Oct. 8 and close Dec. 4.
Wyoming's hunt will open on the same day, but will close Dec. 5, a Monday. Utah board members felt it was better to end the hunt on a Sunday. Idaho is looking at running the same days at Wyoming, or going to a split season like Utah tried last year, that is, opening Oct. 8 and closing Oct. 29, then reopening Thanksgiving Day through Dec. 29.
Some Idaho hunter prefer the split season because duck populations there are concentrated in different parts of the state at different times. Utah hunters did not like the split season and in a Utah Division of Wildlife Resources poll voted five to one against a split hunt this year.
Utah also adopted the feds recommendation of a four bird limit, down from five last year. In that limit there can be no more than three mallards, only one may be a hen, two redheads and no canvasback ducks. Wyoming did the same, and Idaho is expected to follow. Under the federal recommendations adopted by Utah, hunters can hunt pintail for only three weeks - the first week and the last two weeks of the season. During that time, they can take but one pintail, drake or hen, the first week, and only two, both drakes, the second two weeks. Wyoming canceled its pintail hunt this year.
The Utah hunt will open at noon on Oct. 8. Also, shooting hours will be from sunrise to sunset, or one-half hour shorter than last year when hunter could begin shooting 30 minutes before sunrise.