Want to Join the Utah Dedicated Hunter Program?

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Applications start Dec. 29 and must be received no later than Jan. 12.

Applications to joing the 2009 Dedicated Hunter Program begin soon. SALT LAKE CITY — If you want to join Utah’s Dedicated Hunter Program, Dec. 29 is an important day. Dec. 29 is the first day you can submit your application to join the program in 2009.

But before you submit your application, you must learn more about the program by completing a free online course. The course should be available at wildlife.utah.gov starting the week of Dec. 15.

Dec. 15

If your three-year membership in the program will end in 2008, Dec. 15 is another important date to keep in mind.

If this is your third year in the program — and you’ve completed all of the program’s current requirements by Dec. 15 — you’ll receive a preference point. If you want to rejoin the program in 2009, this point will ensure your application is among the first drawn to join.

Holding a drawing to join the program, and requiring hunters to become more familiar with the program before they join, are among several Dedicated Hunter changes the Utah Wildlife Board approved at its Dec. 4 meeting in Salt Lake City.

Background

Dedicated Hunters are guaranteed a chance to obtain a deer permit for the region they want to hunt in during the three years they’re in the program. They can also hunt all three general seasons in that region each fall. They may take only two deer during the three years they’re in the program.

In return, they must participate in conservation projects that benefit Utah’s wildlife. They must also pay a fee to join the program.

Becoming more popular

Since it started in 1995, the Dedicated Hunter program has grown in popularity with Utah’s hunters. The program is capped at 10,000 hunters. That cap was reached in 2008.

Now that the program has reached its cap, members of the Utah Wildlife Board have approved several changes. These changes are designed to give everyone an easy way to join the program:

  •  The first-come, first-served enrollment process has been changed to a drawing.

Applications for the drawing will be accepted from Dec. 29, 2008 to Jan. 12, 2009. Results of the drawing will be available by Jan. 16.

A $10 application fee is the only fee you have to pay to apply. If your application is drawn, you don’t have to buy a hunting license until it’s time to get your hunting permit each year.

If your application isn’t drawn to join the program, you’ll still have time to apply for a general season buck deer permit. Applications for general season buck deer permits will be accepted from Jan. 22 to Feb. 26.

Also, if your application isn’t drawn to join the program, you’ll receive a preference point. The preference point will ensure your application is among the first drawn to join the program in 2010.

  •  Before you can apply to join the Dedicated Hunter program, you must learn more about the program by completing a free online orientation course. The course should be available during the week of Dec. 15 at www.wildlife.utah.gov.
  •  Once you’ve joined the program, you must complete another course — the program’s online wildlife conservation and ethics course — before you receive your first hunting permit. Starting in 2009, this course will provide even more information about Utah’s wildlife. It will also take the place of attending a Regional Advisory Council meeting.

Dedicated Hunters are strongly encouraged to attend their local RAC meetings, but attendance at a RAC meeting is no longer required.

“We think the program’s online wildlife conservation and ethics course is a great idea,” says Rhianna Christopher, volunteer services coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. “The course teaches Dedicated Hunters about wildlife management and conservation in Utah, why it’s important to be an ethical hunter and how they can provide input to us through our RAC process.”

For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR’s Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.