Archives: SFW News
Salt Lake City, Utah: The 2018 Western Hunting & Conservation Expo (Hunting Expo) closed on Sunday February 11, but all who attended will agree that the show continues to get bigger and better. Over 50,000 attendees passed through the halls of Hunt Expo and the auctions, tag sales and other fundraisers combined to raise over $7 million for conservation efforts conducted by host organizations Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and the Mule Deer Foundation. In addition, the show was selected by US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke as the venue to sign a new Secretarial Order prioritizing big game migratory corridors and winter range. The 2018 Hunting Expo was sponsored by Ammo & More and ACI and was held in the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“This show has grown to become one of the most recognizable and important events in the hunting industry,” said Troy Justensen, SFW President and CEO. “The biggest brand names and celebrities in the business rub shoulders with everyday sportsmen and women from nearly every state. Everything about our show is geared for conservation and working to improve conditions for wildlife and hunters.”
The exhibit hall was busy throughout the show with more than 50,000 attendees touring 500,000 square feet of exhibit space. Manufacturers and vendors at the event had brisk sales and most have already reserved their booth space for next year’s show. In addition, the Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience kept the kids busy at the indoor pellet gun range and with other hands-on activities. The evening events once again paired important conservation messages through the keynote speakers, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Bass Pro Shops Founder Johnny Morris, with the fast-paced auctions raising millions of dollars for conservation efforts. Evening entertainment at the ticketed banquets was headlined by country musicians Ned Ledoux, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives, and Sara Evans.
“Each year I don’t know how Hunt Expo could get any better and every year we exceed even our own high expectations. This year was no different setting new records for attendance and money raised to fulfill our conservation mission,” said Mule Deer Foundation President/CEO, Miles Moretti. “There were a lot of great activities during this year’s Hunt Expo, but the true testament to the importance of the show to the region’s sportsmen and women was having Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke there to launch his department’s new initiative for big game corridors and winter range.”
New in 2018 was the Great Salt Lake Waterfowl Calling Championships held throughout Saturday during the show. Duck and goose calls filled the halls of the Salt Palace Convention Center as 76 competitors from Utah, California and nearly every other western state and from as far away as Nebraska, Minnesota and Kansas competed for more than $10 thousand in cash and prizes.
“It’s always bittersweet when Hunt Expo closes; our staff and partners have worked so hard to make the show a success and we know everyone who came through the doors enjoyed themselves,” Justensen commented. “Our team is already working to put together next year’s show, so if you haven’t come to Hunt Expo yet, you need to make it a top priority for 2019!”
Next year’s Western Hunting & Conservation Expo will be held February 14-17, 2019 in the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Information about this year’s Hunt Expo and details about next year’s show will be posted on the WHCE website at www.huntexpo.com.
WASHINGTON – Nov. 8, 2017 –– U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced the creation of the International Wildlife Conservation Council. The Council will provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary of the Interior. It will focus on increased public awareness domestically regarding conservation, wildlife law enforcement, and economic benefits that result from U.S. citizens traveling abroad to hunt.
“Built on the backs of hunters and anglers, the American conservation model proves to be the example for all nations to follow for wildlife and habitat conservation,” Secretary Zinke said. “The conservation and long-term health of big game crosses international boundaries. This council will provide important insight into the ways that American sportsmen and women benefit international conservation from boosting economies and creating hundreds of jobs to enhancing wildlife conservation.”
The Council will advise the Secretary of the Interior on the benefits that international recreational hunting has on foreign wildlife and habitat conservation, anti-poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking programs, and other ways in which international hunting benefits human populations in these areas.
The duties of the Council will be solely advisory and will include, but not be limited to:
• Develop a plan for public engagement and education on the benefits of international hunting.
• Review and make recommendations for changes, when needed, on all Federal programs, and/or regulations, to ensure support of hunting as:
– An enhancement to foreign wildlife conservation and survival;
– An effective tool to combat illegal trafficking and poaching;
– An economic engine and job-creating force for local communities.
• Develop strategies to benefit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s permit office in receiving timely country data and information so as to remove barriers that impact consulting with range states.
• Recommend removal of barriers to the importation into the United States of legally hunted wildlife.
• Ongoing review of import suspension/bans and provide recommendations that seek to resume the legal trade of those items, where appropriate.
• Review seizure and forfeiture actions/practices and provide recommendations to regulations that will lead to a reduction of unwarranted actions.
• Review the Endangered Species Act’s foreign listed species and interaction with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, with the goal of eliminating regulatory duplications.
• Recommend streamlining/expedite process of import permits.
You may submit comments and/or nominations by any of the following methods:
• Mail or hand-carry nominations to Joshua Winchell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Refuge System, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803; or Email nominations to: firstname.lastname@example.org; or submit them online.
This link to the Federal Register explains how people can apply: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/11/08/2017-24328/international-wildlife-conservation-council-establishment-request-for-nominations
The Council will meet approximately two times annually, and at such other times as designated by the Designated Federal Officer. The Council will terminate 2 years from the date the Charter is filed, unless, prior to that date, it is renewed in accordance with the provisions of Section 14 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).
The Council will not meet or take any action without a valid current charter. The Council is established in furtherance of 43 U.S.C. 1457, the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 (16 U.S.C. §§ 742a-742j), and other Acts applicable to specific bureaus. This Council is regulated by the FACA, as amended, 5 U.S.C. Appendix 2.
Meet SFW’s newest additions, some 2,000 two-day-old chukar chicks. These little babies are currently being raised by SFW members at brood facilities in Richfield County. When mature this fall, the birds will be released on public lands in Paiute, Garfield and Sevier Counties. These chukar chicks, a large portion of the brood facilities, and the costs to raise the birds are funded with $5 application fee funds that were generated during the 2017 Western Hunting and Conservation Expo (www.huntexpo.com).
Greg Sheehan, the Director of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, has been appointed as the Acting Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and will become a Deputy Director to the Senate-confirmed Director to be named later. This announcement was made by the Department of Interior.
“This is very exciting news for every sportsmen in America,” said SFW Founder Don Peay. “The USFWS can play a substantial role in the conservation of land, water and wildlife.”
Mr. Sheehan brings 25 years of wildlife management experience as well as exceptional leadership and managerial skills to the Department. He was appointed Director of Utah Wildlife Resources in 2012 and has worked to recover and expand Utah big game and other species and their habitats including mule deer, sage grouse, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, wild turkey and many native fish species.
Troy Justensen, CEO of SFW added, “It is exciting to now have such an avid, passionate hunter and angler in this position. Greg will be committed to getting the most out of the USFWS to help state game and fish agencies produce abundant game and fish. We could not be more pleased.”
Dave Woodhouse, Chairman of the SFW Board, said, “I don’t think sportsmen in the Midwest or east coast understand the role the USFWS has in western states’ big game hunting. Greg will be a tremendous welcome change that will benefit western states big game herds, waterfowl populations and strengthen the USFWS’s partnerships with sportsmen.”
Kevin Pritchett, Vice Chair of the SFW Board, and owner of King’s Camo, said, “The multi-billion dollar hunting and fishing industry depends on strong national leadership for conservation as well as pro-hunting and fishing agendas. Greg will be an incredible breath of fresh air to America’s sportsmen who contribute more than $1.1 billion to conservation annually through excise taxes on our outdoor gear.”
Utah’s abundant big game herds of Mule Deer, Elk, Bison, Moose, Mountain Goats, Desert Bighorn and Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep, cougar, antelope and bear are world-renowned for their abundance and quality. These herds are the anchor for the hugely successful Western Hunting and Conservation Expo attended each year by more than 45,000 sportsmen from 17 countries.
Don Peay added, “Greg has played a huge role in building and maintaining these herds, and understanding the conservation benefits of having strong partnerships with conservation groups, industry, and sportsmen. While he will be missed here in Utah, we look forward to his influence on a higher playing field in the coming years.”
Mr. Sheehan is accomplished and skilled at solving wildlife and landowner conflicts, bringing diverse sportsman’s groups together, and engaging the broader public to meet the challenges of modern day wildlife management. Greg has supported the release of species that haven’t been common on the landscape in decades to get citizens engaged and back in the outdoors enjoying wildlife. He encourages pheasant and chukar releases, youth recruitment days, walk-in access properties, birding programs, local community fisheries and the development of a new nature center on the shores of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and an MBA.
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SFW’s final banquet fundraiser of the 2017 season was held in Kamas, Utah last Saturday night. The highlight of the evening was when Justin Bergeman’s name was drawn from among 17 names. Those 17 included one winner from each of SFW’s other banquet events held between mid-January and late May. Justin was the winner from the SFW San Juan/Blanding Chapter banquet. We congratulate Justin on the spectacular mule deer hunt he will experience this fall on one of the top mule deer units in the world. 200-inch+ trophies are common on the Heaton Ranch.
(Above is Lynn Shakespear, SFW’s 2016 Heaton Ranch Deer Tag Winner)
By Presidential Executive Order, requested by the Utah Legislature and secured by U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is now in Utah for four days to tour the Grand Staircase and Bears Ears Monuments.
Sunday night, Sec. Zinke held a 30-minute private meeting with SFW Founder Don Peay to learn of the significant wildlife conservation efforts, status of wildlife populations, and hunting opportunities found in this incredible 3.2 million acres of land. Sec. Zinke is himself an avid hunter from Montana.
Twenty-five years ago, these areas were nearly void of all wildlife, and the two deer units – the San Juan and Paunsaugunt deer herds – were closed to hunting due to the extremely low buck deer populations found there. Today these units are teaming with incredible herds of elk, mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, cougar, bear, antelope, wild turkey and other species. These results are attributed directly to the sportsmen conservation funding, sacrifices and investments of hunters-conservationists and professional work done by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and Bureau of Land Management partners.
There are 51,007 hunters who apply for hunts each year in these two units. That generates $29 million in economic activity, including $10 million of wildlife resources, and millions more for private landowners and conservation activities that keep these lands and herds healthy.
During a dinner at the Utah State Capital with state business and political leaders, Governor Herbert specifically recognized the efforts of SFW in helping the state restore and manage these species. No other conservation group was mentioned.
The great concern for all sportsmen is this: Every Utah National Park started out as a Monument, and the is NO HUNTING in National Parks.
Kevin Pritchett Vice Chair of the SFW Board said this: “These areas are very special to us, we have a lot of on-the-ground conservation efforts, and they are places where our children and many of our friends’ children bagged their first wild turkey.”
Chris Carling SFW VP of Marketing added, “My dad flew F-15 fighter jets for the US Air Force. However, one of the highlights of his life was bagging a 408-inch bugging bull elk with all of his sons and grandsons at his side in the Bears Ears area.”
SFW President Troy Justensen said, “The Paunsaugunt deer herd is one of the best herds in the world, and what happens in the Grand Staircase has dramatic impacts on that deer herd and hunting on the Paunsaugunt.”
Randy Johnson, a Director of the Full Curl Society said, “Some of the best Desert Bighorn sheep herds and sheep hunting in the world are found within these monument Areas. They must be preserved as a hunting heritage for our children and grandchildren.”
Sec. Zinke also learned of Utah’s massive 1.5 million acre Utah Watershed Restoration Initiative, and Utah’s many innovative conservation programs that have lead to robust herds and world-class hunting opportunities for all.
President Trump signed an Antiquities Act Executive Order this morning demanding a review of national monuments.
Today during a White House press conference, President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review the designation of tens of millions of acres of land as “national monuments”. This action could restore multiple use protections on millions of acres of lands in Utah and other states, including the Grand Staircase and Bears Ears national monuments of southern Utah.
President Trump made it clear that the power was coming back to the local people and communities. Secretary Zinke, who is an avid Sportsmen, was at the signing. Today’s event will lead to a visit from Secretary Zinke to Utah to tour the national monuments. Zinke promises to provide a preliminary review with a specific recommendation on the Bears Ears within 45 days.
Utah’s entire delegation was also present during the signing, including U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, Governor Gary Herbert, Congressmen Chris Stewart and Rob Bishop also attended. Senator Hatch, particularly, was singled out by President Trump for “his relentless efforts to restore power to the people”.
Don Peay SFW founder said, “The Western United States land and wildlife management is all about politics, public laws and policies. In our collective efforts we have given the small towns and sportsmen and ranchers a voice – a voice now being heard even in the White House.”
Tony Chavira and Tiffany Kimmerle, Co-Chairmen of SFW’s San Juan County Chapter, have spent their lives living, working and recreating throughout southern Utah. Both are encouraged by the action and commented, “It’s the local communities, ranchers and residents of San Juan and Kane counties that are affected most by the designation of these national monuments but our voices of concern over it have scarcely been heard. It is so gratifying to know we have a president who cares enough to listen to reason and address the federal government overreach that these monuments represent.”
The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes the president to declare federal lands as monuments and restrict how the lands can be used. Far too often, national monuments turn into National Parks, which eliminates hunting opportunities.
The language in President Trump’s order reads:
“The Antiquities Act Executive Order directs the Department of the Interior to review prior monument designations and suggest legislative changes or modifications to the monument proclamations,” the order’s language says.
SFW expects more exciting announcements from Washington in the coming weeks that will benefit sportsmen and wildlife in substantial ways.
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The Bountiful Urban Deer Translocation Project is headed by Channing Howard, Urban Wildlife Biologist with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. SFW is proud to have been the organization that proposed and initiated this pioneering project that is proving that translocating mule deer can be viable and indeed is successful. Many thanks to the SFW Beaver Utah Chapter for their foresight and initiative. SFW proudly stands at the DWR’s side and with its partner wildlife conservation organizations and higher education institutions as mule deer translocation research continues breaking new ground in wildlife management.
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Project background/goals: Mule deer populations have been under population objectives throughout much of Utah but in contrast, numbers have increased in urban and suburban areas. These resident urban deer create conflicts with humans including damaging landscaping and gardens, causing deer-vehicle collisions and are considered a general nuisance. Traditional urban deer management has included special public hunts or sharpshooters; however, these methods often have limited use within high-density municipalities due to firearm ordinances and perceptions about safety. As a result, Utah DWR, with USU, SFW and MDF, initiated a trap and translocate project to determine its efficacy as a potential management tool to reduce urban herds while supplementing declining wild herds.
Project goals include determining annual survival rate for deer at each release site and comparing with other translocation and survival studies; administering a survey questionnaire to determine public perceptions of urban deer pre-and post-treatment; assess the change in deer-vehicle collisions in the city; calculate the cost per deer using varied capture methods and assess body condition of captured urban deer. Cause of death will not be studied in this project, but other studies results will be taken into consideration.
November 13, 2014 – March 4, 2015
DWR with the help of SFW and its member volunteers trapped and relocated 211 mule deer from Bountiful, Utah.
• 100 adults fitted with radio collars (77 females) or ear tag transmitters (23 bucks)
– Trap site mortality 1.9% (4); transport mortality 0%
• Big Wash, Duchesne County
– 99 deer released in Big Wash
– 48 radio marked deer
• Raft River Mountains, Box Elder County
– 94 deer released in Raft River Mountains
– 52 radio marked deer
• East Canyon WMA, Morgan County (Not part of survival study)
– 14 deer released in East Canyon WMA
December 1, 2015 – February 18, 2016
DWR with the help of SFW and its member volunteers trapped and relocated 265 mule deer from Bountiful, Utah.
• 117 adults fitted with radio collars (77 does) or ear tag transmitters (23 males)
– Trap site mortality 2.6% (7); transport mortality 0.4% (1)
• Big Wash, Duchesne County
– 94 deer released in Big Wash
– 58 radio marked deer
• Raft River Mountains, Box Elder County
– 93 deer released in Raft River Mountains
– 59 radio marked deer
• Manti, Emery County (Not part of survival study)
– 69 deer released on the Manti
– 59 radio marked deer (10 with 3-month transmitters)
• East Canyon WMA, Morgan County (Not part of survival study)
– 2 deer released in East Canyon WMA (no radios)
• Raft River
– Deer have migrated back to winter range including some that summered in Idaho
– No tagged or radio collared deer reported harvested this year
• Big Wash
– Deer also making large movements and have been found north along Starvation Reservoir and just south of Roosevelt and west near Strawberry Reservoir
– Report of two deer harvested by a hunters near Roosevelt, including a doe that was in the extended archery area
• Deer will continue to be monitored up to two years post release
Sample Sizes and Fates for Bountiful Captures
Public Perception Survey
• Cross-sectional and longitudinal telephone survey of general attitudes towards deer, perceived problems and beliefs about management options
• 14 questions, added 15th in 2016 – Season of deer problems
• December 2014 – Pre-Translocation Survey
– 488 completed surveys
• November 2016 – Post-Translocation Survey
– 707 completed surveys
– 245 resampled
– 462 new respondents
• Damage to gardens and landscaping and vehicle collisions were viewed as the most serious problems caused by the deer.
• The majority of residents across sample groups believed trap and relocation was the most acceptable management solution.
• Compared to 2014, respondents to the 2016 survey provided weaker support for statements that there are too many deer in the city and that management action must be taken.
• Created a template for cities to use to estimate costs
• Cost per deer most dependent on some fixed costs (ex: radio collars) and variable costs (ex: number of personnel and pay rate, miles to release site)
• First cost estimates for the Bountiful project FY2015 and FY2016
– $242-282 per deer
11-Month Apparent Survival Estimates for RR & BW Combined
• Adult females from all years tracking other Utah wild deer translocation projects
• Male survival lower possibly due to:
– Small sample size
– Different energetic needs
– Hunting allowed in study areas
Other Interesting Facts:
• All translocated urban deer tested for CWD returned negative results for all capture years and locations
– 214 CWD samples taken, no positives
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End of 2017 Season Update
Salt Lake City, Utah: After four days of a busy show floor and successful evening auctions, the 2017 Western Hunting & Conservation Expo (WHCE) closed its doors Sunday afternoon Feb. 19, 2017. The show, hosted by Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and the Mule Deer Foundation and sponsored by Ammo & More and ACI, has become the biggest consumer sport show designed for the western big game hunter. Now in its 11th year, the WHCE has continued to exceed expectations with 46,000 attendees walking the exhibit halls and raising over $6 million for wildlife conservation efforts.
“Once again the Western Hunting & Conservation Expo is proving what wildlife conservation can achieve,” said Troy Justensen, president of Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife. “Hunters from nearly every state attend the expo, apply for the 200 permits and purchase auction items are contributing in a very real way to Utah wildlife conservation and one of the most successful events of its kind on the planet. We are proud of how this show has grown over the last decade, and hunters can rest assured that we will continue to build and improve the event.”
Mule Deer Foundation President/CEO Miles Moretti added, “The Western Hunting & Conservation Expo continues to grow every year, and this year was no exception. We had 46,000 attendees come through the show which is great for our exhibitors who were busy the whole show. Exhibitors frequently told us this was their best show of the year. With many of them already signed up for booth space in the 2018 show, we can unequivocally say that Hunt Expo is a resounding success.”
The evening events drew large crowds who took part in the banquets and auctions as well as listened to keynote speakers John Wayne Walding and Kim Rhode; Saturday night’s banquet was sold out with more than 1,700 people in attendance. The auctions featured over 140 items up for bid including governor’s tags, limited edition firearms and artwork, and much more. Top auction items this year included the Antelope Island mule deer tag that sold for $250,000 and the Arizona statewide mule deer tag that sold for $280,000. Combined with other incredible once-in-a-lifetime hunts, the auctions raised more than $4 million and 93 percent of those funds will be dedicated to habitat and conservation programs on the ground. In addition, attendees had the opportunity to enter drawings for 200 special big game tags offered by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources for just $5 a tag. Those funds quickly add up, and are dedicated toward conservation and mission accomplishment for Utah Division of Wildlife Resources as well as MDF and SFW.
The traffic through the show floor was steady and broke records each day throughout the four-day show. The 2017 WHCE boasted an exhibit hall of over 400,000 square feet, an increase of 70,000 square feet from the previous year. The show featured top-quality outdoor manufacturers and retailers, incredible taxidermy, and first-rate guides and outfitters. Throughout the course of the weekend, attendees browsed some of the latest gear available on the market and could book their dream hunting experience. The WHCE is a family-friendly event and that was obvious with the many children of all ages walking the show floor proudly sporting their M.U.L.E.Y. antlers. Every child had the opportunity to participate in the Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience (YWCE), trying their hand at shooting, archery, fly tying, wildlife identification, and much more. Throughout the course of the weekend over 5,000 youth went through the YWCE and had a chance to enter their names into a drawing for either a hunting gear package or a guided Utah deer hunt donated by Majestic Valley Outfitters.
The 2018 Western Hunting & Conservation Expo will run from February 8-11, 2018 and it is expected to be even larger than this year’s event. Mark your calendar for next year’s event and stay up to date on planning through the WHCE website at www.huntexpo.com.
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Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife (SFW) issued the following position regarding public lands:
Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife (SFW) is opposed to the sale of any public land. SFW believes there is room for improved correlation and joint efforts between state and federal agencies in the management of public land but that the sale of these public lands is not in the best interests of wildlife, sportsmen or local communities. SFW believes that the public lands of the Western U.S. are the lifeblood of our way of life, and that public access and the multiple use of these lands must be maintained. Our way of life depends on these lands remaining open and accessible. Our public lands are the very center of our outdoor and hunting heritage. SFW believes that without our public lands, we would have little hope for a future of hunting and wildlife conservation. SFW is committed to fight to keep public lands open with abundant wildlife for all to enjoy.
Additionally, SFW restates it long-standing support for land management that:
– remains open to public access
– protects wild and remote places, and the wildlife that depend on it
– works toward producing abundant big game, upland game and aquatic species
– provides for state fish and game agencies to manage all wildlife within state borders, including big game, upland game, fisheries and predators
– ensures opportunities for habitat restoration, “Healthy Land Initiative” opportunities and watershed enhancement and protection
SFW’s Mission Statement – The mission of SFW is to promote the protection and enhancement of wildlife habitat, assist in providing quality wildlife management programs, educating the public about the role hunters play in wildlife conservation, and perpetuating the family tradition of hunting and fishing.
Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable wildlife conservation organization headquartered in northern Utah. SFW has funded more than $13.5 million in Utah Wildlife and Habitat Enhancement projects since 2001. For more information about SFW and wildlife conservation projects throughout the state, visit www.SFW.net.
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