A bill has been introduced for this year’s Utah legislative session that would at first seem small but could, if passed, have a profound negative effect on our wild large species.
The Division of Wildlife Resources Amendments, H.B. 125, would require the DWR to increase hunting permits even beyond its three year scientific management plan quotas if it believes that deer populations in the state are ebbing in any given year.
This bill is misguided for two reasons. It allows the Legislature to, in effect, usurp the authority it has granted to the DWR to make wildlife management decisions. Secondly, it scapegoats natural predators as the default, single cause of any reduction in deer and elk available to hunters with no need for other scientific justification. No other factors, such as forage availability, human infringement into natural habitat, difficult winters, climate change, fires, poaching, illness or, ironically, over-hunting, need be explored.
The vast majority of Utah’s residents do not hunt but want all species to be allowed to flourish in the state. If you are someone who opposes the killing and trapping of cougars, bears, bobcats and other apex mammals in our state, please contact your representatives and politely tell them you oppose this bill. You can find them at le.utah.gov. Go to the scroll in the upper right corner and choose the “Find Legislator” option. Follow the prompts to the “Search by Address” until their picture and contact information appears.
If you prefer, you can also follow this bill on this same site and then join others at Natural Resources and Conservation Committee meeting at the capital when the bill is on their agenda and show your desire to defeat this inhumane and ill-conceived legislation.
Paul Zuckerman, Salt Lake City