Survey shows fewer people hunt, fish in Utah

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  • Consideration Draper, UT
    Sept. 18, 2012 8:28 a.m.

    I can personally pinpoint what lead to my decision not to get a fishing license in Utah. There are a lot of good waters to fish along the Wasatch, but I don't enjoy fishing in a crowd. I was able to find the fishing solitude I was looking for fishing weekdays. A few years ago, the laws changed relating to stream access on private lands. With the change in the law, I could no longer stand in the water on these properties.

    I threw in the towel. Now I needed a plat map to determine property line boundaries. Getting into and out of the water to go around was not a hassle I wanted in my fishing experience. In the back of my mind, I would continually have to worry I had entered the water in a public area and inadvertently crossed a private boundary as I was wading upstream. It was just too much and no longer worth paying for a license. This may have had some impact on fishing licenses here in Utah. I know it reduced the count by at least one.

  • Stenar Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 18, 2012 12:22 a.m.

    I don't think the state of Utah ought to be encouraging people to hunt. That is appalling. Let it die out.

  • ProudUtahn St. George, Utah
    Sept. 17, 2012 7:58 p.m.

    I tryed to teach my Boys the way I was taught, but the draw came about, even though we were promised a hunt every 3 years at times it was 5 yrs before we drew out. We used to be able to hunt anywhere in the state and we had two week ends, I would hunt after school or work, If I had business up state I would take an extra day and do little hunting expeditions going up and back. Then the hunt time shortend and the areas you could hunt in got smaller, I have not lost interest I have great memories. Now with the application fee each year I just dont see it worth trying anymore in Utah. It has gotten almost impossible to find places you can even go target practicing any more without going and paying at a shooting range because all the lands are now off limits. I have friends that have stoped trying and gone to other states for their hunts. And where out of state applications get higher priority than in state (for the money)Utah is looseing the in state interest of keeping up teaching the younger generation those skills.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 7:58 p.m.

    I love to fish. The rules are so complex at Strawberry I avoid it. I agree with many of the posts on here. To many rules, can't use this, can't fish here because it is private property. Remember when someone had to file a lawsuit to fish from the banks of a public river. The courts ruled in their favor and the legislature passed a law to overturn it. I can remember when the deer hunt was a big event in Utah. Not anymore. Utah is a state controlled by right wing republicans who cater to the whims of wealthy landowners. Everyone else can take a hike.

  • ProudUtahn St. George, Utah
    Sept. 17, 2012 7:41 p.m.

    "Now that hunting isn't something required for survival it is no surprise fewer are participating in the activity. The only reason to hunt in this day and age is purely for the fun of it."
    There is a skill to hunting, I love venison, fresh liver and onions ect. That you can't match or get in the store. I remember a few years ago people asking why garden? you can get it in the store cheeper! now with all the concerns of the tainted food supply more people are trying to learn how to garden again, those that kept up the skill all along has reaped a great benefit, health wise and are further along with harvest of food. The same goes for the hunting skill some day we may need it for survival and the skills will not be there. At age 8 I was taught to carry a bb gun,for half a day of opening, age 10 a pellet gun, age 12 a 22 with a small game licence. At 8 on I was held to the same standards and accountablity in handling a gun as my older borthers carring high powered rifle.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Sept. 17, 2012 6:00 p.m.

    Why on earth would they go out in the fresh air and beautiful surroundings and enjoy nature and commune with God?

    Don't you know there's an APP for that?

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 4:49 p.m.

    @LDS Liberal

    "I I suspect the next step will be to start charging people by making them purchase a "viewing" license or ticket like they do in National Parks."

    They already do that, when was the last time you tried to drive up American Fork Canyon? That has been a "fee area" for about 15 years or so. Technically you don't have to pay it, if you tell the toll takers at the mouth of the canyon that you are just driving through they cannot charge you. But when you do that they will get indignant, like you're trying to rip off the government, and tell you that if you stop for any reason whatsoever while driving through, that you will be ticketed and prosecuted.

    As far as your take on President Kimball and hunting is concerned, well his comments have been distorted for a long time. It seems perhaps you have been either taken in by the distortions or else one of those propagating them.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 4:37 p.m.

    I remember in high school having the deer hunt holiday. This was in the late 1970's. Everyone hunted so the school district just made a holiday. I think they called it the harvest holiday but the harvest was for venison. Now nobody hunts it seems. Family traditions that go back generations are gone. Very sad. Most kids never actually shot anything but being with dad, uncles, brothers, cousins etc... in this beautiful time of year around the camp fire was priceless. Today - I even see many kids who are cluess about the outdoors period. The great outdoors has been replaced by the internet and the iPhone.

  • TemplarBlue CENTRAL, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 4:23 p.m.

    The DWR, the RAC, and the Legislature have alienated all hunters with their regulations, poor management, lack of deer, and resource officers who would rather write a ticket than use common sense. And then they wonder why the hunter numbers are down. People are fed up. They would rather go to neighboring states then put up with Utah's DWR nonsense.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 4:07 p.m.

    SALT LAKE CITY — Despite having millions of acres of outdoor playgrounds, fewer than half of Utahns ages 16 and older get out to fish, hunt or view wildlife.

    Those findings, part of a new survey released this week by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, underscore what Utah wildlife officials see as an alarming trend they want to reverse.

    "Over time we have been seeing decreases in the number of people who fish or hunt or are participating in wildlife viewing," said Dean Mitchell, conservation outreach chief for the state Division of Wildlife Resources. "That is a concern."


    How do they tally up those of us you are just "viewing"?

    My thinks this is some sort of sour grapes about lost revenues,
    I I suspect the next step will be to start charging people by making them purchase a "viewing" license or ticket like they do in National Parks

    I don't suppose those of us young one's who grew up after listening to President Kimball's talk about hunting had anything to do with it.

  • justamacguy Manti, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 2:06 p.m.

    Too many rules. Too high of penalties if you accidentally break one.

  • Sliver Maned Cougar American Fork, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 1:18 p.m.

    When we are too busy to get into the beautiful outdoors that surround us, we are entirely too busy!

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 11:19 a.m.

    I quit hunting and rarely go fishing any more due to the laws. 4 fish total? Stupid. Last time I went to Strawberry I caught over 20 fish. I had to throw back all the Cuts because they weren't big enough, and kept two Kokanee and two Rainbows. Hardly fun to drive for two hours and be able to keep 4 fish.

    Hunting? I haven't even tried for the draw. There are so many closed areas and limited entry areas that it is a pain to even try to go deer hunting. The draw is stupid also.

    If less people are hunting and fishing, the State of Utah government has only themselfs and their stupid rules to blame.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 10:53 a.m.

    never hunted, seldom fish - but I do camp and hike
    I still don't want the state to take over federal lands, which they are clearly NOT qualified to manage, merely so real estate agents in the legislature can ruin that land with ticky-tacky development and billboards (erected by wealthy billboard owners who donate thousands of dollars each year to individual legislators)

  • titan60 mapleton, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 9:51 a.m.

    Not surprising! When I was young we spent our summers fishing at Strawberry reservoir. The lake was full of large, feisty rainbow trout. Then the DWR started regulating every little move you could make. They have done the same thing with Walleye fishing on Utah lake. They want you to feel guilty about harvesting a fish. They have taken the fun out of fishing. I remember one of the last times I went they had set up a road block on the way out of Strawberry and every vehicle was being searched for illegal fish. We waited in line for over an hour only to have an arrogant officer treat us like criminals while they searched our vehicle and boat. I now have a family (5 children) who were not raised going fishing or hunting (children need to be able to catch fish in order to have any fun). The few times we have gone fishing now we go out of state to Idaho where they have some beautiful Rainbow trout to catch and they don't mind if you catch and keep a fish. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has been successful at breaking the tradition.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 8:03 a.m.

    Things have changed, for many reasons. When I was in high school in the early 80's we actually got out of school for the deer hunt, it was an actual school holiday. 1 million people lived in Utah then and 600,000 of us hunted, most of the state. There are now around 3 million people in Utah and only around 80,000 deer tags given out, and the areas we can hunt are very limited because the state has been divided into micro units. We went from 60% of the state to about 3% of the state with tags.

    While not passing judgement on this management policy, although I don't like it, it has undoubtedly been one of the major factors in the decline of participants. I used to hunt every year, and seldom shot a deer, but now hunt deer only sporadically because of the limits on tags. I'm sorry my sons and daughters will never have the experiences I had on any sort of consistent basis.

  • slicker Monroe, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 7:57 a.m.

    I will tell you you why people have quit hunting and fishing. There are so many laws and regulations now that I am afraid of going out and doing something illegal that I am not aware of. I have a friend that was fishing a lake that was artificial lures only, so he shows up and is getting his pole ready with a spinner and a dwr officer shows up and gives him a ticket for having powerbait in his box. He was not using it he merely had it in his box. I guess he didn't know he needed to empty his tackle box before fishing this lake. What a joke the DWR is. It is all about money.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Sept. 17, 2012 7:18 a.m.

    I don't get it. The cost of a couple of bucks for permits is the problem where as the cost of guns and ammo isn't? Give me a break. A buddy of mine owns a gun shop and tells me of how much people spend on this stuff. And that isn't even the "required" ATVs and all that... the truck... camping gear. Hunting has come a long way from a bunch of guys heading out to the woods and doing some shooting.

    But lets blame the government once again.

    When I was a kid, we would walk up Farmington Canyon and go shooting. The area we used to go is now all homes. That option just doesn't exist any more for many kids. For my kids, they do other stuff... and no... its not video games. The play sports. One goes paint balling often. Utah is becoming more urbanized compared to Idaho, Montana and the like... which accounts to more of it rather than fishing license fees.

    I know it is easier to blame the government, but it isn't always at fault.... not totally.

  • Pierda kaysville, ut
    Sept. 17, 2012 6:58 a.m.

    I did not grow up hunting, but lately I've really wanted to give it a try. The idea of pitting my wits and skill against the wilderness for survival has a genuine appeal for me. There are just a couple of things that keep my from trying to do it.

    For one, since I didn't grow up doing it, I don't have the guns etc. to go. The cost of getting myself outfitted is just too high. Even with all the camping gear that I do have (I love backpacking, etc.) I'd be looking at thousands of dollars to get myself geared up to hunt.

    The second drawback is experience. If I'm going to spend all that money, I'd want to have some level of success in hunting. I don't think I have the knowledge to make it work. It would be nice if there were some kind of mentoring program that would team a guy like me up with someone who was willing and patient enough to really teach some skills. Then maybe the investment would be worth it. As it is...I can buy a lot of meat for my $.

  • Seronac Orem, UT
    Sept. 17, 2012 12:47 a.m.

    The problem has a number of causes:
    1) popularity of indoor recreation (video games, etc.) (blame: parents)
    2) the poor management by the DWR (blame: DWR, legislators)
    3) rising costs associated with licenses, taxes, fees, equipment, fuel, etc. (blame: DWR, legislators, regulations, environmentalists)
    4) falling incomes and increasing expense (health care, fuel, etc.) require people to spend more time working to make ends meet, and takes time, money and other resources away from (blame: legislators, regulations, environmentalists, progressive governmental policies, etc.)
    5) change in use of outdoor recreational resources toward less consumptive activities, such as rock-climbing, hiking, etc. (blame: the reduction in hunting and fishing can be directly attributed to DWR policies, I no longer hunt big game and rarely fish because of the more complex and expensive policies and procedures)

    In short: With the new, more complicated licensing rules, over-regulation, over-pricing, lotteries, etc., the Utah DWR is shooting themselves in the foot and making it harder for hunters and fishers to get out and enjoy what Utah has to offer.

  • Spaghedeity Draper, UT
    Sept. 16, 2012 11:38 p.m.

    Now that hunting isn't something required for survival it is no surprise fewer are participating in the activity. The only reason to hunt in this day and age is purely for the fun of it. Fortunately, the younger generations are beginning to see that there isn't much difference between the psychologically disturbed kid who kills neighborhood cats for fun or the grown man who gets pleasure out of putting a bullet into something as beautiful and innocent as a deer.

    Personally, I find it a heartening trend to see that we are able to look beyond our basest desires and accept that inflicting unnecessary pain on an innocent life is more vice than virtue.

  • vegasmormon henderson, NV
    Sept. 16, 2012 11:33 p.m.

    As an old timer, avid hunter and fisherman, I seldom come to Utah anymore. Look at the cost now for non-residents (used to be a resident), it's outrageous for what you get in return. There is still excellent experiences to be had but for the money and experience I will go to Idaho, Montana or Oregon or even stay in Nevada. Utah has priced themselves out of the non-resident market.
    With the kids nowadays a wii or video game is to easy compared to learning what a real adventure is (probably a lot of parents are at fault because of the amount of work and effort it takes go on much of an outing now). Don't see it changing much for the better but at least I"m still doing my part, making sure the grand kids have as many adventures as this ole grandpa can afford!

  • ljeppson Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 16, 2012 10:43 p.m.

    RE: SAS "All we need to do is privatize the land, and then people won't have to deal with all these stupid fees and regulations!" But we WILL have to pay the private land owners to hunt and fish (through the nose).

  • ljeppson Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 16, 2012 10:35 p.m.

    I am a small stream wild trout (though I will take rainbow plants if I have to) fisherman. Utah does absolutely nothing to support my sport, including supporting private interests in blocking national forest access. I don't think I should have to buy a license to fish.

  • SAS Sandy, UT
    Sept. 16, 2012 10:32 p.m.

    Everyone knows that this decline is the fault of the federal government and the enviro-whackos who want to lock people out of the public lands. But our state legislators know what to do. All we need to do is privatize the land, and then people won't have to deal with all these stupid fees and regulations!

  • Californian#1@94131 San Francisco, CA
    Sept. 16, 2012 9:46 p.m.

    Similar trends are probably common in all states.

    The 16-25 year old crowd (or even up to 30) is busy pursuing indoor recreation like X-box, iPod, Wii, Facebook, and big screen TV. They may get their nature experiences by playing a wildlife adventure or outdoor simulation game now and then, if they can spare the time from the RPGs.

    Try taking the survey among people of age 30 and over, folks who didn't necessarily grow up tethered to computers, video games, cell phones, and MP3 players. I suspect the percentage of people who get out and enjoy the real world around them will be much higher.

  • IQ92 hi, UT
    Sept. 16, 2012 8:28 p.m.

    As ol timers fade away, outdoor recreation is transitioning from the once necessary primal activities (hunting, fishing) toward the more active (hiking, climbing, boating, cycling, biking, etc.). Hope Utah DW can adapt (i.e., reallocate resources to meet public changes).

  • Orem Parent Orem, UT
    Sept. 16, 2012 8:24 p.m.

    I'll tell you why we stopped fishing. We used to go fishing up American Fork canyon a lot. I was fine having to buy a license but not it isn't just a license. Now we have to pay to get a pass just to drive up our canyon. Once I buy a license for the kids and pay the access fee to get into the canyon, it just seems like I am getting gouged. I know people will say it isn't that much and in reality it isn't. It is the mental aspect of now having to pay for something I used to be able to do for free. I already pay taxes, why should i have to pay another user fee just to drive on the road?

    I'm guessing that there are many more that are in the same boat.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 16, 2012 8:00 p.m.

    It used to be that the entire family packed up and left town for "the hunt" which conveniently coincided with the teachers' conference weekend. Ahyone who wanted could get a tag, and the whole family got tags, even if only a few actually hunted, and the could go anywhere in the state.

    The restricted areas, lottery drawings for tags and general hassle, and the shifting of the UEA weekend have all combined to diminish the opportunity for, and interest in hunting among family members.

    Go back to the old system and the numbers will increase dramatically.

    And, the state needs to keep a careful eye on the rising wolf population which is decimating game herds in neighboring states. That predation needs to be controlled to preserve hunting opportunities.

  • ute alumni Tengoku, UT
    Sept. 16, 2012 7:43 p.m.

    property access is crazy. dwr is poorly run. i'll hunt in Idaho, Wyoming and Nebraska anytime over hunting in utah

  • prelax Murray, UT
    Sept. 16, 2012 7:29 p.m.

    Growth into habitat by subdivisions has cut participation. It use to be a family outing with everyone carrying a tag. Restricted hunting cuts out the family in many cases.

    As far as fishing, the governor messing with stream access after the courts ruled them open, then buying some access with tax dollars before it went to court again, soured me on it.

    No use getting it in your system. If the Feds turn over the land it will end up in private ownership.

  • jdub Ephraim, UT
    Sept. 16, 2012 5:24 p.m.

    Of course many people have quit hunting since 1991. I remember my first deer tag, I bought it over the counter and hunted with my dad and other family. The next year is when the draw system started and since then I have hunted, on average, about every 3rd year. As a youth I never got to start the habit of big game hunting. These other states with high participation rates generally don't screw with the hunting public but encourage and facilitate participation.