Utah officials plan on issuing more cougar hunting permits

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) A 4-year-old female mountain lion slowly shakes off the effects of a sedative after researchers from Utah State University and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources replaced her radio-collar after being captured in the Oquirrh Mountains recently.

St. George • Utah wildlife officials plan on issuing additional cougar hunting permits this fall in an attempt to reverse dwindling mule deer populations.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says evidence suggests that reducing the number of cougars may spur an uptick in mule deer populations.

Cougar numbers tend to oscillate in sync with mule deer numbers, The Spectrum reported. An abundance of deer one year will boost cougar numbers in following years. That cougar population increase might cause a decrease in deer population and, later, a corresponding drop in cougar numbers.

The plan includes $30 spot-and-stalk permits that allow cougar hunting, without the use of dogs, on any cougar hunting unit in Utah between now and the end of the year.