An eastern Utah rancher has withdrawn a proposal to combine 22,000 acres of state school trust lands with his own ranch to create a trophy elk hunting area.
Greg Cunningham made the announcement at a Friday meeting of the Utah Board of Big Game Control, the first of six public hearings scheduled around Utah in the coming week as the board considers next fall's hunting seasons.Cunningham, the cattlemen's representative on the big game board, had asked the state land board and the board of big game control to create a hunting area where he would receive eight trophy elk permits, which he would sell for $5,500.
A percentage of the revenue would have gone into the school trust fund.
"If (Cunningham) was going to stay on the board, he had to drop the proposal," Division of Wildlife Resources Director Tim Provan said Sunday.
"There was a feeling from the state land board and from the governor's office that Greg had to make a choice between staying on the board and his proposal," he said. "There was a perception that there was an unfair situation with Greg on the board. By dropping his proposal, he maintains the credibility of the board of big game control."
In the meantime, Cunningham's proposal has spawned other similar ideas to use wildlife to generate revenue from trust lands for Utah schools.