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Discussion Starter #1
OK, enough is enough, it's time for a major review and overhaul of our current system of big game hunting regulations in Utah. Point taken....the HAMS hunt.
These HAMS hunt seem to me to be nothing more than another failed step in the trend to increase hunting opportunity by adding additional "hunts" based upon the type of weapon that is legal to use.
Some may even argue that this is the final step in this progression, that all the viable weapons now have their own dedicated hunts and that perhaps we need to stop the expansion of hunting opportunities based upon weapon choice. But I beg to disagree.
There is one more option. An option that I have supported for many years, and it is this: one big game hunt that runs from say Sept 1st through Dec 31st. Use any legal weapon of your choice. Of course bag limits, species choices, unit herd management practices, etc would still be in affect. If more opportunity is the end goal, and I believe it should be, then to me, this is the simplest way to increase it. Restrictive hunts, more regulation, restricted time schedules based upon available time(trying to find a time period to "fit" another specialty hunt into an already over crowded fall hunting season) are in the end, opportunity killers.
I guess I could go on for weeks about the craziness called hunting now days, a craziness that is now so bad we actually have to not only have a handbook to cover all the laws and rules of hunting but a handbook telling us how to even apply to take part in the craziness.
So, I call to dismantle all the "license, permit and tag sale" driven bureaucracy and return to a simple system of opportunity driven hunts.
Sure, I know that I am just dreaming...that I am talking about the goring of too many bulls, the "end" as we know it, "that makes to much sense to happen", but what the heck, wouldn't be the first time I've had some dumb thought. Live long and prosper.
 

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While I can see your point about confusing and sometime onerous game laws, there is no way that just allowing one big season using any weapon increases opportunity. Ok, maybe I said that wrong, it would increase the opportunity to buy a license, but from my view, that opportunity slams shut when harvest quotas are enforced and the season shut down early. That's the only way it could work because if you allow every Tom, Dick, and Harry an "any weapon" tag, rifle hunting success rates will skew harvest results. Those success rates will then eat up quota numbers and the season will have to shut down early to compensate for the increased harvest percentage. At least with seasons broken up by weapon type, game managers can more accurately determine what harvest rates will be and spread that opportunity out. That's how I see it anyway.

I get it though- it would be nice to have an eastern / whitetail-type philosophy here in the west, but our game numbers and pressures put on them won't support that.
 

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I'm not interested in the craziness of general opener all hunting season long. It sounds like a good way to get archers shot.

What is the bag limit on archers anyway?
 

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I'm not interested in the craziness of general opener all hunting season long. It sounds like a good way to get archers shot.

What is the bag limit on archers anyway?
It would just require that the archers wear some sort of orange per the regulations where it says that you have to wear orange if there is a rifle hunt in your area where you are archery hunting.

But then it would thin the herd out a little.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Opening day madness is in direct relationship to the number of opening days there are. For example, after the one day(maybe one week or one weekend) of "opening day" madness of the duck hunt, things settle down and there are a lot less hunters spread out over many many more hunting days. Can you imagine the craziness if we had an "opening day of duck season every other week"?
Opportunity to go hunting is in direct relationship to the number of days your license(tag, etc) allows. If you have a 7 day deer tag for example, you only get 7 days of opportunity to go. The "what if's" are endless...what if there's bad weather, what if I can't get that time off work, what if I get sic, what if, what if...all these thinks kill your opportunity to go hunting. More available days = more opportunity!
Shooting Archers, in fact shooting other hunters with any weapon has never been anything other than a very seldom seen occurrence. It has always been just an excuse to limit the numbers of other hunters in the field(limit opportunity) to somehow enhance the hunting experience.
I have never understood why, if all biological evidence and research allows a certain number of animals to be harvested, what does limiting the number of days a person has to harvest said animals have anything to do with biology? Limiting the number of days to harvest only limits personal opportunity.
And MW you make some great valid points. Of course all harvest quotas and biological herd management practices MUST be maintained. One long season does not in anyway interfere with that. Look at how the Salmon fisheries and big game hunts, primarily in the east, are operated ...pretty simple, when quotas are met, they stop the fishing or hunting. These are really simple and effective practices.
 

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I've not drawn any permit since 2017 which includes the general season deer permit... But the odds are ever in my favor for 2021 if we all make it to May 15, or whatever the day they start hitting cards.

Even though I've not drawn anything, I still find myself out in the mountains, finding the game, and getting out. Still finding ways to get out hunting either with my own kids, family, or friends... Still finding a way to scratch that itch!

Love the idea in general about "open season" with any weapon... But I think it would provide just as much chaos, and as mentioned, as soon as quotas were hit the season ends early which would suggest more pressure early on in the hunt so you at least had the opportunity to hunt. I think there's many other issues we're facing that need fixed... I know of a couple dudes that had a West Desert permit, and were found with two very mature deer hunting the Oquirrh / Stansbury unit. Glad they were caught, but it begs the question... How frequently does this happen? Much easier to draw WD vs OS. And, the only reason they were caught was because they took only the heads and capes. Shot during the general any weapon opener. Other hunters spotted it, and called it in. Would prefer to see stiffer penalties on those cheating the system and stealing from you and I?
 

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You will always have people hunting in the wrong units, for one reason or another.

I once talked to a hunter that was coming off of the Manti who said that he wasn't seeing the deer that he thought should be up there so he was headed to the Strawberry area. I asked him what kind of a permit he had that he could hunt in two different regions, this was back when the state was divided up in regions. He just looked at me like I had no idea of what I was doing.

Then there are those hunters who shoot a large buck during the spike elk hunt and then just hang him up in the trees. I saw this one year on the Fish Lake. Around noon on opening day a truck came down the hill with a huge buck in the back of the truck. The funny thing was that I hadn't heard any shooting and from the looks of the skinned out buck he had been dead and skinned for quite a while. I called the DWR with the license number but never did hear back on it.

I would also never support a hunt for deer where there is a "quota" set on the number of deer killed, even if the season started in August and ended in December. I also think that this would place even more pressure on the mature bucks since a lot of the hunters would want to hunt during the rut when the animals were down lower and the bucks were acting like teenagers chasing girls.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
...
I would also never support a hunt for deer where there is a "quota" set on the number of deer killed, even if the season started in August and ended in December. I also think that this would place even more pressure on the mature bucks since a lot of the hunters would want to hunt during the rut when the animals were down lower and the bucks were acting like teenagers chasing girls.
No doubt about it, a quota based hunt presents a lot of problems, but at the end of the day, all hunts driven by biology must include a quota. How to implement that in an "any weapons" hunt in a fair way, without skewing the numbers toward the kills by more effective weapons, as MW pointed out, being a major problem. Hunting the rut has it's own handful of problems also...maybe some smart guy/computer could come up with some kind of algorithm...but then, egads, what am I saying.
 

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I'm not interested in the craziness of general opener all hunting season long. It sounds like a good way to get archers shot.

What is the bag limit on archers anyway?
It would just require that the archers wear some sort of orange per the regulations where it says that you have to wear orange if there is a rifle hunt in your area where you are archery hunting.

But then it would thin the herd out a little.
Yes, easy to find hunters orange and glass up the surrounding hundred yards. After that just blast away until get get a few in the bull. The archer usually takes off after the first box of ammo is spent anyway.

I guess what I'm saying is as an archer I'd feel safer if no one could see where I was. At least then I'd have a fair shot at survival.

Fwiw, I hunt rifle too. Just taking a lunch break now to go back up after some cows.
 

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Yes, easy to find hunters orange and glass up the surrounding hundred yards. After that just blast away until get get a few in the bull. The archer usually takes off after the first box of ammo is spent anyway.

I guess what I'm saying is as an archer I'd feel safer if no one could see where I was. At least then I'd have a fair shot at survival.

Fwiw, I hunt rifle too. Just taking a lunch break now to go back up after some cows.
The hunter orange thing is always a different type of a debate one way or the other. Here in Colorado the muzzle loaders need to wear it but archery hunters do not and the muzzle loader season runs right in the middle of archery. Then there is Arizona where no orange is required and Wyoming where just a hat is good enough.

It is too bad that hunters both archery and rifle can't learn to identify their targets before shooting. But the closest that I ever came to shooting a person was during a archery hunt in Utah. I saw a nice buck and just as I came to full draw I looked right over that bucks back and there a short distance away was a kids face. I have no idea of how his dad and that kid got into the position that they were in without me seeing them but they did. Everything when through my head about that kid right there and I let the string down easy.

I can still see that kids face and it has been over 40 years since that happened.
 

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Your kill quota for every single animal and unit would be met in a week, probably less and that would be a week of insanity. Utahns are straight up killers man! Do not underestimate the killing ability of a populous that doesn’t drink, do drugs, or fornicate! This is a crazy pants suggestion IMHO. One of my favorite quotes: For every complex problem there is a solution that is clear, simple, and wrong
 

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Where's Moose Meat?? I cant wait to see what he has to say about this thread.


IDEA: Make the entire state archery only. Success isn't that high, and nobody catches a stray Accubond.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So you guys are saying that the quotas would be filled very rapidly because every hunter would take up the pursuit with a rifle and this in turn would actually reduce opportunity for some to go hunting...interesting. You might be right, but the facts don't seem to bear this out. Success rates in all hunts, archery, BP, rifle, have never been 100%, or anything even near that. I agree that the overall success rate would increase under my plan, but hay, isn't a quota made to be met? Wouldn't a met quota indicate more hunters had the time to go hunting and be successful? Isn't that the goal of a well planned, biologically based hunting program?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
How about this crazy idea. Only people that harvest an animal pay. You buy a "hunting" license that allows you the privilege to be in the field and hunting. Upon harvest you pay a harvest fee. The number of harvest tags available( based upon best biological planning) would control herd management decisions. I am still looking for ways to increase the opportunity for people to go hunting...as a God given right.
 

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I am still looking for ways to increase the opportunity for people to go hunting...
Do away with annual seasonal unit deer permit draws. Go with OTC state-wide permits valid for 3 years, all seasons but only 1 buck. (Think DH program without the "volunteer" requirement.) Require all harvested bucks to be registered. To make this work would require a 3 year management plan in order to adjust seasons or permit durations as necessary. That management plan should be far less concerned with antlers and B/D ratios and far more concerned with fawn recruitment.

So, for instance, instead of competing for a general season any weapon tag (in our screwed up draw system) to be rewarded with the state's permission to hunt 2 weeks on a specific unit, a hunter would have roughly 3 months (time 3 years) with various weapons (seasons) to select his or her kill from various units.

That won't work? What we've been doing doesn't work, but here we are.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Do away with annual seasonal unit deer permit draws. Go with OTC state-wide permits valid for 3 years, all seasons but only 1 buck. (Think DH program without the "volunteer" requirement.) Require all harvested bucks to be registered. To make this work would require a 3 year management plan in order to adjust seasons or permit durations as necessary. That management plan should be far less concerned with antlers and B/D ratios and far more concerned with fawn recruitment.

So, for instance, instead of competing for a general season any weapon tag (in our screwed up draw system) to be rewarded with the state's permission to hunt 2 weeks on a specific unit, a hunter would have roughly 3 months (time 3 years) with various weapons (seasons) to select his or her kill from various units.

That won't work? What we've been doing doesn't work, but here we are.
I like where you're going here but I am little concerned with the only one buck every three years. You harvest the first year and you're done for a couple years. My objective in all this is to increase opportunity and hunter satisfaction by increasing the time available to go hunting, not just by increase harvest success or, lordy, increase the "quality"(code for bigger antlers) of the animals . And of course I am not just talking about the deer hunt. Elk are a total different ball game with it's own set of variables.

..."That won't work? What we've been doing doesn't work, but here we are"

That's kind of my point with this thread. What we are doing now doesn't seem to work either biologically or hunter satisfaction. We simply just keep putting layer upon layer of complication and instead of getting "more for less" we are getting "less for more". Less opportunity, less hunter satisfaction, less quality herd management.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Satisfaction or lack of is certainly hard to prove and even the fulfilment of artificial biological goals doesn't really prove success. With habitat shelf space running low, maybe we are actually doing a great job with herd management. I am the first to try and congratulate the DWR for at least giving it a good honest try. I am just saying I think opportunity to spend time in the field hunting should be one of the driving forces in any management plan. Besides that, who needs evidence, haven't I said this enough times to make it true.:smile:
 

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It was said in another thread, managing the biology is easy. Managing the social aspect is where it gets hard.

Everybody wants to hunt. Nobody wants competition when they are hunting. And everyone wants success (however they define it). A social issue.
 
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