Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

"Utah's Dedicated Hunter Program"

In 1995 the state of Utah implemented the Dedicated Hunter Program. The program began as an experimental project offering hunters the opportunity to hunt deer during the archery, rifle and muzzleloader seasons.

In return participants of the program would provide service hours, attend RAC meetings and agree to only harvest two deer during their three-year participation in the program. For many sportsmen this was the program they had been looking for.

It would provide them with their yearly hunting and outdoor needs, while at the same time helping the Division of Wildlife with many projects that were costing taxpayer's thousands of dollars.

The program is available to both residents and non-residents who join at least a week or so before the Bucks, Bulls and Once-in-a-lifetime draw results are posted. Upon joining the program each participant must attend a game management and associated ethics course.

Each participant of the program must donate eight hours per year for service projects throughout the state. Projects may include, seeding, tree planting, building bird traps, helping kids on free fishing day, etc.

Although participants do have the option to pay the Division additional funds and have their service hours waived, most opted to provide the service. From my personal experience participants enjoy the hours spent on the service projects.

This goes a long way in defining the general public's perception of sportsmen.

Along with service hour requirements is the agreement to attend a RAC meeting annually. RAC or Regional Advisory Council meetings take place throughout the year. Each region throughout Utah has a RAC.

The RAC's were developed in order for sportsmen to better relay their thoughts and idea's to the Wildlife Board and DWR. RAC meetings are held once per month in each region and topics are usually regarding the upcoming proclamations for the various hunted game species.

The RAC meetings are great forums for sportsmen to voice comments and concerns.

>As a participant of the Dedicated Hunter Program, a hunter must agree to only harvest two deer during their three-year participation period. By only allowing hunter's to harvest two deer during the three year period, deer numbers have a better chance of increasing.

This rule has not been a problem for many participants, because most enjoy the trade-off of being able to hunt during all three seasons. DWR studies have shown that the success ratio's for dedicated hunter's are typically much lower than that of the general permit holders.

The reason may be attributed to the fact that most dedicated hunters know that if they harvest bucks during their first two years, they'll have to sit out during the third. Many dedicated hunters also have the opportunity to be more selective about the buck they harvest, knowing that they may still have the Muzzleloader or both Muzzleloader and Rifle hunt ahead of them.

The result, more bucks survive the hunting season! The success of this program proves that for many hunter's, having the opportunity to spend more time in the field is worth only being able to take two deer through their three years of participation.

In closing I would like to say that this program is not just for those who want to hunt all the season's, but also for those who want to use it as an excuse to get out and enjoy the mountains and wildlife. I wish you all the best in all your adventures.

Click-a-Pic ... Details & Bigger Photos

Click-a-Pic ... Details & Bigger Photos

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