Archives: SFW News
A unique program created by the Utah Division of Wildlife provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity for coyote hunters to help increase Utah’s Mule deer populations. An added benefit to the program is that successful hunters can also get paid handsomely for having fun in the field.
Utah initiated a unique predator-control program provides a cash incentive for any qualified hunter who wants to take coyotes. Participants in this program can receive $50 for each properly documented coyote that they kill in Utah. However, hunters hoping to cash in on the coyote bounty must pre-register for the program and follow through on a few simple rules.
Sen. Ralph Okerlund, a Republican from Monroe, Utah, sponsored the Mule Deer Preservation Act during the 2012 Legislative Session. The new law allocated the $50 bounty that is projected to help significantly reduce coyote populations, and thereby preventing the predation of potentially thousands of Mule deer annually.
“Our members have been behind Utah’s coyote bounty program since its beginning, and we’re excited to see the bounty has grown to fifty dollars per dog,” said SFW Coyote Specialist Bryce Pilling of Delta, Utah. “Some SFW members throughout the state spend more days hunting coyotes than they do hunting big game.”
The program’s popularity can also be measured by the number of people registered for the program, which continues to rise year after year, according to the DWR. The program is responsible for removing nearly 25,000 of the predators throughout the state.
“Coyotes occur in every corner of the state and are responsible for a large number of deer kills,” Pilling added. “Coyotes take deer year-round, but especially in the spring and early summer months. That’s why we encourage our members to hunt these predators all year long.”
SFW is greatly encouraged by the fact that Utah’s deer herds are on the rebound. Leadership at SFW meets regularly with the DWR to discuss the program and its effectiveness. SFW agrees with wildlife biologists and game managers that the state’s coyote bounty program is a key component to the long-term health and growth of deer populations state wide.
How does Utah’s Predator Control Program benefit mule deer?
Several key factors can affect mule deer survival and limit deer numbers, including the severity of weather and the amount of forage available during wintering months. In years with mild weather and high quality and quantity habitat is available, then removing predators is likely to increase fawn survival rates.
Register for the program.
If you are interested in participating, you must first complete an online training course. Registration is easy, and before you know it you can be making money while you simultaneously help save Utah’s deer.
Below is a list of required steps:
1) Complete the online training and registration course
2) Find coyote check-in locations and times
3) Download the Coyote Compensation Form
4) Review the statewide map (382 KB PDF)
5) Read the program report for 2015 online
6) Apply for the Targeted Predator Control Program
Learn how to register for the program, where to check your coyotes, and other details about Utah’s coyote bounty program here.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) has posted a list of common questions and answers about how the 200 Hunt Expo Permit Program contract was awarded to SFW and how the program works to benefit wildlife and the hunting public. This comes on the heels of wild accusations and much misinformation about both the program and the process of awarding the contract.
“Utah’s 200 Expo conservation permit program and the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo built by SFW and its partner the Mule Deer Foundation is unique and highly successful in delivering on-the-ground results for Utah big game,” said Jon Larson, SFW President and CEO. “There has recently been much said about SFW and the Hunting Expo on public forums and in social media in recent weeks. Unfortunately much of it is grossly misinterpreted and twisted.”
SFW has a policy of openness about how monies raised through the 200 Expo tags and Utah’s Conservation Permit Program are used. The Expo permit contract recently signed between SFW and the State of Utah clearly states that all of the money raised from expo permit application fees will be used specifically for “policies, programs, projects and personnel that support conservation initiatives in Utah.” SFW and MDF continue our commitment to annually disclosing how 100% of these funds are used to benefit Utah wildlife.
SFW is also encouraged by the straightforward and comprehensive nature of the DWR’s Q&A information and feels it will do much to address concerns of those seeking true and accurate information.
Wildlife Conservation Showcased at Western Hunting & Conservation Expo
Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife released information on the successes of the 2016 Western Hunting and Conservation Expo (WHCE) event, which exceed previous records for attendance and donations raised for Utah wildlife conservation topping 40,000 attendees and $6 million in wildlife conservation donations.
The success of the WHCE makes it the largest non-profit fundraiser in the state. Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife (SFW) and the Mule Deer Foundation (MDF) partnered in presenting the 10th Annual WHCE event held last month, a gathering that is also becoming one of the most important annual events for the protection and enhancement Utah’s diverse wildlife and habitats.
One of the primary attractions to the WHCE is 200 special Utah hunting permits available to the public for a $5 application fee each. The $5 drawing alone raised more than $1 million for Utah conservation this year. One dollar and fifty-cents of each $5 application fee is retained for the Utah Division of Wildlife and its wildlife conservation programs, and $3.50 evenly split between SFW and MDF, all of which is used to bolster wildlife conservation throughout the state of Utah benefiting multiple species. This commitment to utilize 100% of the application fee revenue to support Utah Conservation Initiatives included in the contract that SFW recently signed with the State to distribute expo permits from 2017 to 2021. We will annually disclose how these funds are utilized to benefit Utah wildlife.
Through evening auctions of Utah conservation tags, an additional $2.5 million was raised to support the Utah wildlife conservation efforts of SFW, MDF and the State of Utah. In the Friday night auction, the Antelope Island mule deer tag sold for a record-breaking $410,000.
“We applaud Utah lawmakers and our state wildlife agency for their vision in making these conservation permits and the two hundred permits available to our expo,” said SFW President Jon Larson. “Without that support, this level of contribution from the hunting public simply would not be available to Utah’s wildlife conservation programs.”
SFW and MDF use their portion of the $5 application revenue to fund a wide variety of meaningful wildlife conservation projects in Utah. For example, SFW has invested nearly $300,000 of the application revenues in the past few years on youth outreach and pheasant augmentation programs. The group has also funded over $280,000 of a groundbreaking, multi-year study in partnership with Brigham Young University involving the capture, transplant and radio collaring of Utah mule deer along southern Utah’s Parowan Front. An ongoing $125,000 research study to determine causes and solutions to Utah’s dip in moose populations has also been funded using SFW’s portion of the $5 application revenues, as has a two-year water protection and storage program that is enabling wintering deer to survive on the trophy east Paunsaugunt unit of Southern Utah. Additionally, SFW has funded over 30 ongoing annual habitat improvement projects that enhance critical habitat benefiting mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep and other species in Utah. One of the most high-profile of all Utah wildlife conservation projects partially funded through the application revenues is the much needed money and volunteer labor in capturing, radio-collaring and transporting mule deer captured in Bountiful and the Parowan Front and releasing them at various locations in the Uintah Basin, northern and southern Utah. SFW accepts important responsibilities in these projects and believes in transparency with its $5 application expenditures. Details of these and other projects as well as SFW’s 990 tax audit reports are available online at www.sfw.net.
Both SFW and MDF use portions of the $5 application fee revenue in a collaborative and leveraged approach to implement real solutions to conservation challenges in the state of Utah. These funds are important to wildlife conservation efforts in the state of Utah enabling Utah’s unique conservation model to function effectively. The importance of this leveraged approach is measurable in the significant support the WHCE partners have provided to the State of Utah since the 200 Expo tags were first offered in 2007.
The WHCE partners have raised more money for conservation in Utah than any other hunting conservation groups combined. The WHCE partners account for over 86% of all of the direct conservation funding raised by the top five groups participating in Utah’s Conservation Permit Program. Since 2007 the partners have raised over $22 million in direct funding to the state of Utah, which represents the bulk of private funding for conservation programs in the state and nearly 10 times that of the next closest competitor.
“Money raised by the WHCE partners through the $5 application revenue is often leveraged or matched as high as 10-1 in current state programs,” Larson added. “This approach has led to millions of dollars in on-the-ground habitat improvement projects since the expo began yielding critical benefits to the health and survival of Utah wildlife.”
Significant projects and programs funded by SFW and MDF’s portions of the $5 application revenues include but are not limited to the following:
1. The Utah Mule Deer Recovery Act
2. Transplanting and translocation of deer, moose, elk, bighorn, bison, turkeys, antelope, mountain goats, fish, and other wildlife species
3. Advancing funding for programs to improve quality wildlife management programs in the state
4. Highway underpasses for migrating deer, elk and wild sheep
5. Purchasing horse trailers and equipment for transplants and habitat projects.
A contract for the state’s 200 expo tags was recently awarded to SFW for use over the next five years in its annual WHCE events. As the WHCE continues to expand, SFW and MDF foresee expanded and even more significant results for wildlife conservation in Utah through the $5 application fee revenues. The conservation groups already work closely with their more than 31 chapters throughout the state in prioritizing and planning conservation projects and how monies will be invested on regional and local levels. Beginning in 2016-2017, the groups are initiating an even more intensely collaborative planning program with five or six major categories of conservation project categories that will enable a greater level of partnering between conservation organizations and state and federal wildlife agencies that will benefit Utah wildlife for the next generation. Reporting targeted expenditures to sportsmen and tracking results will also become more vigorous.
The WHCE is perhaps the most unique gathering of hunters from all socio-economic and diverse backgrounds in North America. It is also the fastest growing expo event for western hunters and represents the single greatest opportunity to raise funds for the benefit of Utah’s diverse wildlife and conservation programs.
Next year’s Western Hunting and Conservation Expo will be held again at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City February 16–19, 2017.
Watch a video clip of Utah Governor Herbert’s address to 1,500 sportsmen about the Hunting Expo here.
Watch a video clip of Utah Governor Herbert’s address about the Expo here.