The Future of Wildlife™

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SFW Draws Justin Bergeman as 2017 Heaton Ranch Deer Hunt Winner

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)

Posted in Featured, SFW News

U.S. Secretary Ryan Zinke Visits Utah Monuments

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.

Posted in Featured, Lands, SFW In Action, SFW News

President Trump Signs National Monuments Review Order

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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Posted in Featured, Game Management & Legislation, SFW In Action, SFW News

UPDATE: Bountiful Urban Deer Translocation

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%

Release Sites
• 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)

Release Sites
• 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)

Telemetry/Movements
• 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.

Capture Costs
• 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

Posted in Featured, SFW In Action, SFW News

Day One: Interior Secretary Zinke Signs Orders to Expand Access to Public Lands

Orders Strengthen America’s Outdoor Heritage & Restore Opportunities for Sportsmen and Anglers.

WASHINGTON – On his first day on duty, Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (pronounced ZINK-ee) issued two secretarial orders, which expand access to public lands and increase hunting, fishing, and recreation opportunities nationwide. These orders deliver on promises made by both President Donald J. Trump and Secretary Zinke to expand access to America’s public lands. The action was hailed by representatives from sportsmen, conservation, and recreation organizations.

“Outdoor recreation is about both our heritage and our economy. Between hunting, fishing, motorized recreation, camping and more, the industry generates thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity,” said Zinke. “Over the past eight years however, hunting, and recreation enthusiasts have seen trails closed and dramatic decreases in access to public lands across the board. It worries me to think about hunting and fishing becoming activities for the land-owning elite. This package of secretarial orders will expand access for outdoor enthusiasts and also make sure the community’s voice is heard.”

The two secretarial orders include:

Secretarial Order 3346 advances conservation stewardship, improves game and habitat management, and increases outdoor recreation opportunities by directing bureaus and agencies to immediately identify areas where recreation and fishing can be expanded. The order also requests input from the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council and Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council to provide recommendations on enhancing and expanding access on public lands and improving habitat for fish and wildlife.

Secretarial Order 3347 overturns the recent ban lead ammunition and fish tackle used on Fish and Wildlife Service lands, waters, and facilities. The order highlights the need for additional review and consultation with local stakeholders.

Secretary Zinke was joined by Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife Founder Don Peay, representatives from the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Boone and Crockett Club, Wild Sheep Foundation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, National Rifle Association, Safari Club, National Wild Turkey Foundation, Archery Trade Association, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, American Recreation Council, Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited and National Marine Manufacturers Association.

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Posted in Featured

2017 Western Hunting & Conservation Expo Continues To Break Records

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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Posted in Featured, SFW News

SFW States Position on Public Lands

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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Posted in Featured, Game Management & Legislation, Lands, SFW News

SFW Volunteers Get Out for Northern Utah Mule Deer

On the Ground

It was barely 10 degrees on an early Friday morning in January when SFW answered the call from Utah Division of Wildlife biologists and DWR Director Greg Sheehan to help feed mule deer in northern Utah. That’s because Winter 2016-17 has already dished out some of the harshest conditions in nearly 10 years – and mule deer in the northern reaches of the state are facing the brunt of it.

“DWR biologists have been monitoring deer and winter range conditions across Utah closely this winter,” Director Sheehan said. “Weather in the Bear Lake Valley is an anomaly compared to other locations in the state. Although weather has been severe across parts of Utah this winter, the Bear Lake area is the only location where emergency deer feeding needs to happen recently. We’re prepared to feed deer in other locations, though, if the need arises. These deer are exhausted, confused and without options. They need help.”

DWR biologists and the deer got the help needed from SFW. Board Member Kurt Wood, SFW Cache Chapter Chairman Jason Lundahl, SFW member Travis Hobbs of Garden City and others met DWR personnel in the dark of 6 am the morning after a 30-inch snow fall and extended periods of below freezing temperatures.

“One person in particular — Travis Hobbs — has been a tremendous help,” Sheehan says. “Travis owns a construction business in Garden City. He’s letting us store 12 tons of specially designed pellets in his warehouse. And he and his employees are donating their time and their heavy equipment to clear snow out of areas so we can spread pellets for the deer to eat. We simply couldn’t do what we’re doing without their help.”

This is the first time emergency deer feeding has been needed in Utah since 2008, according to Justin Dolling, Northern Region Supervisor for the DWR.

“We are feeding the deer a specially formulated pellet that meets the unique nutritional needs and digestive systems deer have,” Dolling said. “The specially formulated pellet is specially formulated to give deer the correct balance of energy and protein the animals need. Products other than this pellet can actually hurt the deer. We appreciate the concern many folks have about deer in Utah this winter, but we strongly discourage people from feeding deer on their own.”

Posted in Featured, SFW News

Words on Wildlife

2016 was a banner year for big Mule deer in the state of Utah; several large bucks were taken on general units that will rival any buck taken on Utah’s world-renowned Paunsaugunt and Henry Mountains. Not only were there big bucks taken, but also as a whole hunters reported seeing more bucks and more deer in general.

What’s been the difference? How did it happen? I don’t believe you can point to any one thing and say, “This is the only reason.” Honestly, the star’s had to align to produce what we hunters saw this year, and they did. No doubt our deer have been the beneficiaries of several mild winters. Without high winter mortality, Mule deer herds can rebound quickly. But to say the DWR and Sportsmen have not played a role in this recovery would simply not be true. I am a firm believer we have all made a difference from the Mule Deer Protection Act, habitat projects made possible with Conservation Permit funds, multiple transplants in all regions of the state. and the direction the Statewide Mule Deer Plan have all contributed to changing the course that Mule deer were heading in our great state of Utah.

We live in a great state. From Blue Ribbon Fishery’s to abundant Big Game and multiple Upland Game and Waterfowl opportunity’s – Utah has it all. SFW is not a single species organization. We are involved in all aspects of our great hunting and fishing heritage.

I want to thank all of you personally for the years of service and support. SFW has grown into the highly effective wildlife conservation organization it is because of you. I am honored and humbled to serve you in this capacity.

Thank You!
Sincerely,


Troy Justensen
SFW President

Posted in Featured, SFW News

SFW Opposes President Obama’s Bears Ears Monument Designation

Fellow SFW Members,

Over the last 30 years, we sportsmen have worked hard alongside the Utah Division of Wildlife to restore populations of elk, desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, wild turkey, black bear, cougar and other species in the region now encompassed by the newly designated Bears Ears Monument.  These game species are now thriving and provide some of the highest quality hunting opportunities found in all of North America.

The creation of this monument was dictated by lame duck President Obama as he vacationed in Hawaii and is a prime example of why the majority of the people in 3,081 counties across America voted for Donald Trump while only a mere 300 counties voted for Hillary Clinton. Listen to the voice of the local people who love, make a living from and care so personally for the lands and natural resources in our own back yard – far more so than any outsider groups funded in LA or New York. And for the few who might still wonder why Donald Trump, Jr. was asked to speak at the 2016 Western Hunting and Conservation Expo – need more be said?

SFW recognizes the designation of the Bears Ears Monument as a serious threat to Utahns’ and the native people of the region’s way of life and ability to live and pursue traditions that have been enjoyed by their ancestors for centuries.

SFW and its Founder Don Peay will work with Utah Governor Herbert, the entire Utah delegation, the Trump Administration, Big Game Forever and other sportsmen networks across America to do all that is possible to reverse and/or limit the effects of the Bears Ears Monument, including:

  1. Reverse the designation and maintain the lands as “multiple use”
  2. Dramatically reduce the acreage in official monument designations
  3. Ensure that wildlife habitat restoration, state wildlife management of all species, including transplants and predator control, and hunting and fishing and trapping are protected as part of this unique place thus protecting sportsmen dollars that have been the catalyst for restoring the region to its current magnificent condition.

We will work until we achieve the best possible for sportsmen and all Utahns! Stay tuned for updates in early 2017.

Posted in Editorial, Featured, Lands, SFW News

Our Mission

"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".