Fishing, hunting and a note of clarification were subjects tackled by the Utah Wildlife Board this week.
One of the first things on the agenda was a clarification on statements made Wednesday by board members with respect to Proposition 5.Four members of the board announced their endorsement of the change to the Utah Constitution that would require a two-thirds "yes" vote to change laws regulating wildlife instead of the current simple majority. The vote will come on Nov. 3.
Immediately after the announcement, the Utah Voting Rights Coalition and the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah challenged the members' rights to speak for the board.
Max Morgan, board chairman, explained that the four were speaking individually and not for the board.
The ACLU and UVRC still plan to file a lawsuit challenging the action.
In other action:
FISHING: The board reduced the limit on trout from eight to four at Scofield. The move is to make fishing better and more consistent year-round. Tom Pettingill, sport fisheries coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said he expects the total catch to be the same over a 12-month period, but that good fishing would be spread over many more days.
To try and stop the illegal snagging of spawning walleye in Utah Lake tributaries, there are now regulations limiting the hook size anglers can have between March 1 and April 24. During the period, fishermen will only be able to use lures holding a single hook that must be small enough to pass through a 9/16-inch hole.
Pettingill said there was a serious problem last year involving fishermen snagging walleye using large trebble hooks.
In a move towards a quality fishing experience, the board placed new regulations on the lower Price River. Fishermen along this section will be required to use only artificial flies and lure. This section is also known as Lower Fish Creek.
Six Water Creek in Utah County was also place under regulations requiring use of artificial flies and lures only.
The number of tiger muskie in Pineview are at levels now where fishermen can start keeping some of the larger ones. Beginning Jan. 1, fishermen can catch and keep one tiger muskie over 40 inches.
Pettingill said the DWR has planted around 36,000 muskie in the past two years.
BUFFALO: Recent counts show that the number of buffalo on the Henry Mountains has exceeded current carrying capacity.
To reduce the herd size, the board approved a once-in-a-lifetime cow buffalo hunt between Dec. 19 and Jan. 17.
A total of 30 resident permits and three nonresident permits will be issued. Applications will be available on Oct. 1 and must be into DWR offices by 5 p.m. on Oct. 19.
CONSERVATION PERMITS: The board also approved conservation big game permits that will be auctioned off through various wildlife groups. Money from the permits will be used for programs involving the various species.
Most of the permits were awarded to the Mule Deer Federation and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
The board also awarded conservation permits for wild turkey and cougar.
Area conservation permits allocated by the board totaled 21 buck deer, 27 bull elk, 24 antlerless elk, one hunter's choice elk, 14 buck pronghorn, three bull moose, two bison, one Rocky Mountain goat, four desert bighorn sheep and one Rocky Mountain sheep.
The National Wild Turkey Federation was awarded 16 area conservation permits.
The Mule Deer Foundation also asked for and was given one statewide cougar permit.