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Fellow hunters and sportsman, I feel that it is my duty to warn you about the Dedicated Hunter program in the state of Utah. First of all, let me give you a little bit of background on my volunteer efforts for the state of Utah. 7 years ago I signed up with the “Communities Fishing Program”. For two years, I taught kids the basics of fishing and to enjoy the outdoors. For the last 5 years, I have served (volunteered) on the “CWMU Advisory Committee”. Both of these volunteer services were great opportunities and I enjoyed my services. I enjoyed the programs so much that I decided the Dedicated Hunter program would be a great way to volunteer and also gain additional hunting benefits for my efforts. The first time I joined the program, I completed 10 additional hours (50) of the required 40 hours. This was not rolled over, but I was ok with that decision. Overall, the experience wasn’t bad. However, two years ago when I signed up for the program again things had changed. The projects were near impossible to find, and many of them required distant travel. The only projects I could find in Northern Utah were on Antelope Island, and this is where my story begins.

I have attached my story and the email I received back from the program coordinator Jodie Anderson:

“I found the project listed on the DWR website and I believe it consisted of fixing up the bison corral. I thought it might be fun to go out there and do some hours. I talked to ****** and worked out a time to come out (around 12:00). I took a half day of vacation at work (4 hours) and went out to the island. When I arrived at the booth before crossing over to the Island, I confirmed with the lady that I was meeting ****** at the Bison Corrals. I drove over to the Bison corrals and there were just a bunch of visitors. I waited for a while, and then decided to walk around and try to locate ******. I searched all over and finally found an employee who said that ****** was in a different area working on something else. I went up to the area he described and there was only one vehicle up there. I assumed it was ******, but could not find her. I walked all over trying to find someone and could not see anyone. I then waited in the car for quite a while and finally talked to the owner of the vehicle who finally returned. He told me that ****** had most likely left for the day. I gave up at that point and headed home. I was on the island from about 12:00-4:00 (4 hours).

The next day ****** called me and apologized that she was not able to meet up with me. I think she realized she had forgot to meet me at the agreed time and location. She said that we could meet up again the following week for another try. She gave me a few details for the next project and said to meet up with her again around noon If I remember correctly. However, she didn't give me all the details and I had no idea where to meet her. I tried to call a few different times the day of the project, but she didn't answer. I went out to the booth (on the island) and asked where I could find ****** and they acted like she wasn't even there that day. Not wanting to go on a wild goose chase again, I turned around and went back home.
I do not have any hard feelings about the issue, and I realize that there was just a bit of mis-communication. However, I took hours off of work and several hours in drive time and also searching and waiting time for this project. I think it would be fair for me to receive at least the hours that I actually gave in effort to complete the project as well as compensation for the hours I had to take off of work.
6 hours Vacation time from work (4 hours the first occasion and 2 hours the second)
4 hours Total time spent on the Island searching/waiting for ****** on two different occasions.
10 Total hours
Thank you for your consideration”
Jodie’s Response:
Hi,
I submitted your request to receive credit for the time you spent trying to find ****** on Antelope Island last year. After much discussion and a lot of thought, the Division Error Committee could not support your request. If you run into this situation again, please contact myself or the State Volunteer Services Coordinator as soon as possible, so we can get the issue resolved.
My email back to Jodie:
"Jodie,
As an avid supporter and volunteer for several wildlife functions in the state, I have to say I'm very disappointed in this decision. I have supported this program from day one, but like many others I now realize that this program is very one sided. Not awarding a volunteer any hours for spending time away from his family and job to support wildlife activities is a shame. Not only did I spend the time, I also took valuable vacation time off of work, and spent money out of my own pocket to help with these projects. The mistake of the division to not show up to the project at the agreed time and date should not fall upon the volunteers shoulders.
This experience has showed me how much the division cares for the general public and wildlife volunteers. I will never join this program again and I feel it may be necessary to warn all others in the program of the consequences that fall upon our shoulders when the DWR makes a mistake."
I'm not sure why I was punished for the actions of the DWR. I did everything I could to complete my hours and was not able to complete them. As a result, I have several hours left that I will not be able to complete this year. I will not be able to hunt, and I will have a penalty for next year for not completing the hours. I don't have money to fork out to buy hours. I feel like I was ripped off by the state and I just wanted to warn everyone interested in joining the program.HJB
 

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HJB. Sorry to hear about your experience and the run-a-round you got from the program coordinator and DWR. I have no personal experience with this program but I'll certainly think twice before I sign up. Thanks for your post and insight into the downfalls of this program.
 

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For some stupid reason I applied for and got into the DH program again. July 1 and I still haven't received my tag and COR number so I can't even do any service for my hours. The DH program is getting to be a little bit ridiculous.
 

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We had a similar situation in which we were going to help out with some of our equipment including an excavator and a dump truck. We mobilized the equipment to the site and found that nobody was there. Round trip and loading and unloading we spent about 16 manhours and burned $150 in fuel.

From that point on all we did was the bigger service projects that required many people such as pulling fence and fishing groups. Tried to volunteer for the some of the DWR activities at the hunt expo but they were full before they hit the web page.

That said I think the DH program is a great deal. Although now we refer to it as the Designated Hunter program
 

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This will be my 8th year in the DH program. I've never had a single problem or issue with finding a project or with a project coordinator. I'm sure the issues you had are the exception and far from the norm. With that being said you handled yourself a lot better than I would have. I'm not sure if it's possible or even worth your time but you might be able to appeal the decision? Hopefully to someone with a little common sense!
 

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izzy,
Not sure why your in such a hurry, you don't have to complete any hours your first year in the program. Just need to have 32 before you get your tag on the third year.
 

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I have personally never had any serious problems with the DH program, except for some hiccups. I almost did not get a tag because hours were not recorded. If I had not had good documentation I would not have hunted that year.

That being said I have talked to a lot of people that have stories similar to HJB, and Mr Muleskinner. And I won't even get into the abuses of DH labor by the division and DH participants.

I will never participate again. The sad part is that this is a program where a lot of good could be done, but its like anything else with the DWR........
 

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That's a bummer and I agree you should have been credited hours but how does that even work with the island being a state parks deal and the DH program being a DWR deal. I know they are both under DNR but they are two different agencies. Maybe as long as it is beneficial for wildlife it doesn't matter who is hosting it?
 

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I've heard similar frustrations. The "Division Error Committee" should no longer be compensated for their time, just the time where they actually accomplish something.
 

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That's a bummer and I agree you should have been credited hours but how does that even work with the island being a state parks deal and the DH program being a DWR deal. I know they are both under DNR but they are two different agencies. Maybe as long as it is beneficial for wildlife it doesn't matter who is hosting it?
IDK, but DHs get used for projects on private hunting clubs as well..........
 
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I get the whole "wildlife does not acknowledge private property boundaries", and "it all still benefits wildlife that belongs to the people" argument.

But when you pull an abstract on many of these properties, and see that it was a DWR official that sold that property to the current owner(a friend of his), and then you learn that that DWR individual also helped line up the federal dollars that went into the private hunting club project, that DHs put the labor in on, and it all starts to look a like everything else that the DWR and its personnel are involved in.....Corruption!

Think this is hypothetical, or one isolated case, try again, its just SOP here in Utah.
 

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DWR is always the dog, eh?

I've never applied for DH, never will and haven't got anything positive to say about the program. BUT I do understand that it's necessary because without it, a lot of worthwhile DWR projects and events couldn't happen.

Is that the DWR's fault? Why is it that "volunteers" need to be compensated? Or more to the point, why is it that the DWR's funding inadequate for the agency to function without volunteers?

HJB, I suspect that now that you're shed of the edicts of the program, you'll again find enjoyment in volunteering as you did before.
 
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Yeah, and a lot of hunting clubs would not be as nice either......

I don't care if its a Pitbull or a Chihuahua.
 

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"why is it that the DWR's funding inadequate for the agency to function without volunteers?"

Because they killed all the wildlife and can't generate tag revenue.
 

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I have heard similar stories and that is why I have never applied for the DH program. I feel it used to be much more hunter friendly than it is now.
 

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I have heard that you can do anything you want to get hours done as long as its DWR approved. Like clearing trails on a given mountain range for example. Not just what they have listed on their web side. Is that true?????

This is my first year in the program and I still haven't got my tag or number yet. I'd like to get it because I don't want to do all 32 hours in my 3rd year. i'd like to break it up a little
 

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I have heard that you can do anything you want to get hours done as long as its DWR approved. Like clearing trails on a given mountain range for example. Not just what they have listed on their web side. Is that true?????

This is my first year in the program and I still haven't got my tag or number yet. I'd like to get it because I don't want to do all 32 hours in my 3rd year. i'd like to break it up a little
Depends on who you are.
 

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It's a very slippery slope to accuse people and agencies of corruption on a public forum. Legal fees to defend yourself or your site in a libel suit can get expensive.
 

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I bet it depends on timing as well. I checked in may, even called to volunteer and it was wide open seemed like they were very eager for help. Only reason it didn't work out was my schedule. It was the first one i tried and it seemed like there was plenty available. if you try and cram it in july and august my guess would be its hard to find projects because everyone else is doing the same thing.
 
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