Utah's hunters might have more chances to hunt upland game birds this fall and in the autumns to come. And season dates might also be more consistent across the state.
Dave Olsen, upland game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, said the state's upland game rules are reviewed every three years.
"Since our last review in 2005, we've received some great recommendations from our Upland Game Advisory Committee and from hunters," Olsen said. "Hunters have told us they would like more chances to hunt upland game. They would also like the upland game rules to be as simple and consistent as possible.
"We're comfortable with the input we've received. We don't believe implementing it would have negative biological effects on the state's upland game populations."
The following are among the upland game hunting rules the DWR is proposing for the next several years:
• Make Utah's general pheasant hunt a two-week hunt across the state by adding a week to the hunt in Utah County. The hunt in Utah County currently runs only one week.
• Add an extra month to the forest grouse season. The season would still start at the beginning of September, but it would run until the end of December.
• Lengthen the chukar partridge season and make the season dates the same across Utah. The state currently has three different seasons, depending on the area. The single statewide
season would begin later in September than the current seasons do, but it would run until mid-February.
Research that's been under way in Utah for several years shows that hunters generally take less than 10 percent of the state's chukar population each fall. Allowing hunters some extra weeks to hunt shouldn't have a negative effect on the populations.
• Offer two new quail hunts, one in Daggett County and one in Sanpete County.
• Offer a new sharp-tailed grouse hunt in Cache County.
• Reduce the number of mature sage-grouse hens that hunters take by moving the start of Utah's sage-grouse season from early September to late September. Utah's sage-grouse hunting seasons are relatively short, and the number of permits offered for the hunts is relatively small. Biologists would like to move the start of the season back as an added precaution.
Starting the season later would give young birds more time to become independent from their mothers. As the chicks become independent, they'll leave their moms and start dispersing. Hunting after the broods break up should reduce the number of mature hens that hunters take.
All of the DWR's upland game proposals should be available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings.
There are two ways of making comments on the changes attend one of the five Regional Advisory Council meetings or provide comments by e-mail to www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings.
The three remaining meetings:
May 29 Northeastern Region, 6:30 p.m. at Western Park, Room 2, 302 E. 200 South in Vernal.
June 3 Central Region, 6:30 p.m. at Springville Junior High School, 165 S. 700 East in Springville.
June 4 Northern Region, 6 p.m. at Brigham City Community Center, 24 N. 300 West in Brigham City.
For more information, call the nearest DWR office or 801-538-4700.