SALT LAKE CITY — Several proposed changes for the Utah black bear hunt were approved by the Utah Wildlife Board Jan. 5 and will take effect during the 2015 season.
The changes were proposed in November in an effort to give hunters more opportunities to hunt black bears. The black bear population has grown from around 2,000 in the 1990s to more than 4,100 that now roam Utah, according to a DWR news release.
Due to the growing number, black bears are coming into contact with humans and livestock more frequently and have to be euthanized due to aggression. On average, around 50 bears have to be euthanized each year after coming into conflict with people and livestock, and in 2014, that number increased to 91 bears, the news release said.
Utah hunters killed between 230 to 270 black bears each year for the past three years, and DWR officials said the changes will allow hunters to kill between 300 to 320 bears in 2015. Hunters can apply for a black bear permit starting 9.
Here are the new black bear hunts for 2015:
Spring limited-entry hunt
This hunt will run from April 4 to June 5 and would allow hunters to use trained hunting dogs. Hunters can also spot-and-stalk to get a better shot.
Summer limited-entry hunt
Hunters who obtain a permit for this hunt will be able to hunt over bait using a firearm or archery tackle, the news release said. However, hunters could not use trained hunting dogs during this hunt. Hunters can place bait on May 23, but can’t start hunting until June 6. This hunt will run until July 2.
Fall limited-entry hunt
This hunt will run from Aug. 22 to Sept. 28 and from Oct. 31 to Nov. 19. Hunters can use a trained hunting dog, spot-and-stalk tactics or hunting over bait with a firearm or archery equipment. However, the dates and hunting methods would differ on a couple of units, the news release said.
Fall limited-entry, archery-only hunt
This new hunt will be offered in two areas in Utah and will run from Aug. 10 to Sept. 11. Hunters can hunt over bait, but can only use archery equipment. Trained hunting dogs are not allowed during this hunt.
DWR biologists have set a quota for the number of permits for each unit and hunters can buy a permit over the counter as long as they are available. When the harvest objective on a unit is met, that unit will close to bear hunting for the rest of the season. This hunt will be offered on a few units during the spring and on one unit in the fall, the news release said. Hunters can begin buying permits for this hunt March 19.
Contributing: Dave Cawley
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