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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Whilst reading the comments about the expo, I came across one from vanilla that stuck with me. He said something to the effect that 'backdoor deals and under the radar efforts don't work'. On that note I thought I'd fill any interested parties in on what I know.

1st in light of the concerns of multiple organizations and vested parties, a committee was formed last year to meet and work to address issues facing the Wasatch elk herd as a whole. It is called the 'Wasatch committee'. Haha

Over the course of year several meetings happened where the problems were discussed and potential solutions and recommendations were brought forward. Some of the ideas were not possible and others were but needed some give and take and tweaking to fit within the laws as they stand.

Overall the meetings were extremely positive and they coincided with a new 5 year statewide plan that is currently headed through the rac and WLB process, this allowed even more freedom with recommendations.

2nd some of the more drastic proposals that are moving forward now are:

A new planned objective in the 10,000 head range.

This year will see recommendations from the biologists for 4000 or so antlerless permits that will be valid only on private land. Meaning hunters will have to obtain access from the landowners in order to harvest. This is an incredibly radical plan that has never been attempted in the state so far as we are aware. If successful, it will move forward for years to come.

More collar studies

A clause in the statewide plan that allows for a portion of the total counted population to be excluded from the objective due to private land inaccessibility. For example 60% of the collared elk on the Wasatch are summering on private land this would mean that the sportsmen could have them excluded from the count.

My father was asked to act as the rep for the sportsmen on the committee and this is what we have fought tooth and nail for, for several years now. We worked for this based off of input from ALOT of sportsmen.

I will be the first to say that my understanding and tone concerning the unit has changed as my knowledge has grown. It's a very challenging nut to crack but we think we are on the right track!

Here's to hoping we can move it through!


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I watched how long it took to build the Wasatch elk herd up the first time,
starting back in the early 90's when general any bull was taken off it.........

Was on it almost every year from the first LE permits in 1997 till 2010....

IMO, The Wasatch elk are going to have several years of sub par quality..
I will certainly not be involved in any elk hunting on the Wasatch for awhile,
Heck, may-be never again....
And I loved it when it was good!

4000 cow permits on private is about the same number as cows that are left..:shock:

I'm not sure I'll live long enough to see it again like it was from 1998 thru 2009 ...

I'm putting my focus else were---------- Just put my Utah elk app in an hour ago.
Manti this year.
 
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Blaster,
That's a good update and I appreciate the info. I heard about the committee some time ago, but hadn't heard about any proposed solutions, so your post is good news. Sometimes I think sportsmen (of which I am a part) forget that there are lots of other factors to consider beside what we want. :D

You guys have a good finger on the pulse of the Wasatch and I hope you will keep giving your feedback!
 

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Thanks for the updates. We'll see what happens. I came around just soon enough to have a few good years of elk hunting in Diamond Fork (mainly for cows). Elk numbers have taken a big hit in the areas we frequent...I'd love to see it moving back toward what it used to be.
 

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The big bull I watched opening morning of the ML deer season got harvested a couple days later, went 389. There were 4 other really big bulls with him... didnt hear of any of them getting nailed. I'd blow any number of points for a wasatch elk rifle tag if I could get it.


-DallanC
 

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Only allowing 4000 cow tags on private land just sounds to me like another push to cater to the wealthy. How much will they be able to charge the public to go kill an public elk that has essentially become privatized. Maybe I'm reading it wrong but it sure seems like the DWR takes every opportunity to give advantage to the Governor's donors.

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Berry, for the record...the context of those things not working was that it wouldn't work to get others involved. Not that they couldn't get certain things accomplished. I appreciate the update. It's nice to see they are thinking outside the box. Gives me hope for the unit, because what had been happening couldn't be sustained.

Dallan--show where a 380 bull is on the early rifle and I'll burn my 18 points! Haven't applied yet... :)
 

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This year will see recommendations from the biologists for 4000 or so antlerless permits that will be valid only on private land. Meaning hunters will have to obtain access from the landowners in order to harvest. This is an incredibly radical plan that has never been attempted in the state so far as we are aware. If successful, it will move forward for years to come.
Were any of the major private land owners present at any of the meetings, showing interest in letting 4,000 hunters access their property?
 

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Only allowing 4000 cow tags on private land just sounds to me like another push to cater to the wealthy. How much will they be able to charge the public to go kill an public elk that has essentially become privatized. Maybe I'm reading it wrong but it sure seems like the DWR takes every opportunity to give advantage to the Governor's donors.

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I don't see it like that at all. I think what it would accomplish is increase the incentives of the public draw hunters and landowners to reach a middle ground that is mutually satisfactory. As it is, the elk that are on those lands are largely removed from public access anyway. But under these proposed changes, those elk wouldn't count against the unit's population objective and the tags that are currently being used on the private lands (buddies, family, trespass fee payers) wouldn't be taken out of the general pool (yes, this argument is weakened by the control tags, but there is still some merit and overlap there).

The elk are still completely public, private land just happens to be more attractive to them for many reasons. I think the creation of private land only tags could create additional opportunity for landowners to open their gates to the public--and yes, likely for a fee. The beauty of this is pure economics: if the supply of private land available for access increases then the average price of access will decrease.
 

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I don't see it like that at all. I think what it would accomplish is increase the incentives of the public draw hunters and landowners to reach a middle ground that is mutually satisfactory. As it is, the elk that are on those lands are largely removed from public access anyway. But under these proposed changes, those elk wouldn't count against the unit's population objective and the tags that are currently being used on the private lands (buddies, family, trespass fee payers) wouldn't be taken out of the general pool (yes, this argument is weakened by the control tags, but there is still some merit and overlap there).

The elk are still completely public, private land just happens to be more attractive to them for many reasons. I think the creation of private land only tags could create additional opportunity for landowners to open their gates to the public--and yes, likely for a fee. The beauty of this is pure economics: if the supply of private land available for access increases then the average price of access will decrease.
I think what concerns me is when they only use the private land tags as a means of controlling the population and offer no public land cow tags, they ate essentially selling these via the private land access fees.

The more I look at it it seems like they are trying to allow private land owners to sell hunts of a publicly owned commodity. At least the CWMU program allows for reciprocation of public hunter access in exchange for privates selling access and tags.

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Bucksnort, I guess I don't see where they aren't going to be issuing the public land cow tags (which most likely will be able to be used on the private as well). In fact, with a population objective increase to 10k where the animals counted on the private land aren't factored into tag allocations for the unit (aside from the private-unit-within-the-unit tags) there will likely result in more opportunity on the public land than has been experienced heretofore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think what concerns me is when they only use the private land tags as a means of controlling the population and offer no public land cow tags, they ate essentially selling these via the private land access fees.

The more I look at it it seems like they are trying to allow private land owners to sell hunts of a publicly owned commodity. At least the CWMU program allows for reciprocation of public hunter access in exchange for privates selling access and tags.

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Bucksnort just to put this into context, the Wasatch has an extremely large portion of the planned objective that is living on private land. This is creating a huge problem with an uncontrollable uptick in elk. The committees purpose was to find ways for the average joe to still be able to hunt while minimizing the damage being done to an overly pressured, and shrinking public land herd. Along with working to find long term solutions so that this doesn't happen again. The objective of these tags is too redistribute the elk back to public land so that they can be effectively managed through more conventional avenues.

The committee and division recognizes that obtaining permission will be difficult for some and many of the permits will go unfilled as a result, but it's going to increase pressure where we need it rather than continue to hammer a herd for no other reason than 'we have to'.

To answer an above question, yes private land reps from across the unit say in on these meetings and voiced concerns and approval over this. Obviously there will be those who unequivocally say NO HUNTING but the committee worked with many who felt that these recommendations and direction was what was needed and voiced their intention to work to make this possible.

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Berry, thanks for the update.

It has taken many years as some of us laid the ground work for this type of change to come about. I served on the elk committee 7 years ago and proposed private lands only tags. Initially, it was met with heavy criticism from some of the Conservation Groups. Some warmed up to it over time as they saw how it benefits the public lands hunter. I proposed the idea in a couple different RACs. The first time I had a couple fellows mutter some threats that included see you in the parking lot. Some good discussions were had with the Wasatch biologists on the issue over the past decade and here we are today.

So it is good to see them try different strategies to manage the resource, but they need to incentive-ize private landowners to kill elk on those private lands. They need to pressure the CWMUs to harvest more antlerless elk.

Where is the Wasatch headed? Probably for lower bull permits in the short term (or stagnant tag numbers). The good thing about elk is they can recover on a relatively short time. Some areas went from open bull in 1997 to shooting 360 type bulls by 2002.

Bucksnort-- Can you access those elk on priovate lands? No. So why do you care if they shoot all the elk on private lands? (Which would never happen). If a unit can have 5,000 elk and 4,000 live on private lands then you only have access to 1,000. Wouldn't it be better to have 1,000 elk on private lands and 4,000 on public lands? IF (and it is a big if) private lands herds can be redistributed to public lands by hunting pressure the the public lands hunter will benefit.
 

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Are we getting any closer to breaking up the unit into two or three smaller sub-units?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Berry, thanks for the update.

It has taken many years as some of us laid the ground work for this type of change to come about. I served on the elk committee 7 years ago and proposed private lands only tags. Initially, it was met with heavy criticism from some of the Conservation Groups. Some warmed up to it over time as they saw how it benefits the public lands hunter. I proposed the idea in a couple different RACs. The first time I had a couple fellows mutter some threats that included see you in the parking lot. Some good discussions were had with the Wasatch biologists on the issue over the past decade and here we are today.

So it is good to see them try different strategies to manage the resource, but they need to incentive-ize private landowners to kill elk on those private lands. They need to pressure the CWMUs to harvest more antlerless elk.

Where is the Wasatch headed? Probably for lower bull permits in the short term (or stagnant tag numbers). The good thing about elk is they can recover on a relatively short time. Some areas went from open bull in 1997 to shooting 360 type bulls by 2002.

Bucksnort-- Can you access those elk on priovate lands? No. So why do you care if they shoot all the elk on private lands? (Which would never happen). If a unit can have 5,000 elk and 4,000 live on private lands then you only have access to 1,000. Wouldn't it be better to have 1,000 elk on private lands and 4,000 on public lands? IF (and it is a big if) private lands herds can be redistributed to public lands by hunting pressure the the public lands hunter will benefit.
Incentives are being worked on, but not enough headway has been made in any direction for me to talk about it yet. Anything from money, to tags, to programs have been talked about but not much agreement yet.

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Great news berry thanks for the update and your work on it. It sounds like a very solid plan the private property issue sounds great that is by far the biggest problem with the unit. Private property elk getting thrown into public land herd numbers great job guys. I can't wait to see this unit start to turn back to form
 

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So, this might seem like a silly question, but I would like to get a general archery elk tag this year. Wasatch is the closest unit to me (and the one I am most familiar with) so I will more than likely hunt that unit. As a hunter, what can I do to help the herd? Target spike bulls, calves, cows? Does it matter much? Should I just avoid the unit all together unit the herd is healthier?
 

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Just noticed,

The new 'Wasatch mountain elk plan' that was originally scheduled for the RAC/BOARD
meetings in March , now that has been bumped out to the November agenda.
Anyone on here know why?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just noticed,

The new 'Wasatch mountain elk plan' that was originally scheduled for the RAC/BOARD
meetings in March , now that has been bumped out to the November agenda.
Anyone on here know why?
I'd guess cause they are still ironing out details. They don't need a new plan for the recommendations going forward this year

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