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Additional antlerless deer and elk permits for Northeastern Utah available

SALT LAKE CITY An additional 1,315 doe deer permits, 230 cow elk permits and 11 doe pronghorn permits for hunts in northeastern Utah this fall and winter will be available beginning Sept. 18 from the Division of Wildlife Resources' six offices. Permits will go on sale at 8 a.m.

The permits will not be available over the Internet or from hunting license agents. Beginning Sept. 15, a list of the available permits may be obtained on this Web site and at the six DWR offices.

Utah Wildlife Board members approved the additional permits Sept. 11 after learning about the condition of sagebrush in some parts of northeastern Utah.

"The sagebrush habitats in northeastern Utah have been in decline for decades, but the drought has sped up the rate of decline," said Boyde Blackwell, wildlife manager in the DWR's Northeastern Region. "In some areas of northeastern Utah, between 50 to 100 percent of the sagebrush has died. Many of these areas are vital to deer in the winter, and we need to protect the sagebrush that's left."

Blackwell says biologists recommended the permit increase for two reasons. "If we have a severe winter, many of these deer will starve to death and we want to allow sportsmen a chance to take them before that happens," he said. "We also want to protect these winter ranges by reducing the number of deer and elk that are eating the sagebrush. Some of the plants that haven't died only have one or two leafs on them. If the deer and elk eat those remaining leafs, the plant will die and there will be nothing left for the animals to eat in years to come."

Blackwell says important deer winter ranges, that have been the hardest hit by the sagebrush die-off, were chosen for the permit increase. "The antlerless permits are targeted for the specific areas where the sagebrush die-off has occurred," he said. Three of the areas are in the eastern part of the Northeastern Region, and two are in the western part. "These are also areas deer and elk tend to funnel into, especially during heavy winters," Blackwell said.

Blackwell says additional permits were not requested earlier in the year because biologists needed time to determine the severity of the sagebrush die-off. "Taking additional antlerless animals is not something we take lightly," he said. "We wanted to make sure we had the best information possible before making these recommendations."




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