60 day pintail season set and continuation of Utah's tundra

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August 13, 2002

Utah DWR

Sixty-day pintail season set and continuation of Utah's tundra swan hunt approved by Utah Wildlife Board

Salt Lake City — A split season for pintails and a closure to the taking of canvasbacks will be part of Utah's upcoming waterfowl hunting season.

Barring federal action, the state's tundra swan hunt should also proceed as planned.

At an Aug. 13 meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah Wildlife Board members were informed by Division of Wildlife Resources Waterfowl Coordinator Tom Aldrich that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has closed canvasback hunting in the United States this year. "Canvasbacks populations are down 16 percent from last year, and 14 percent from their 1955 – 2001 average," Aldrich said. "Because of the low numbers, the USFWS has closed canvasback hunting in the United States this season."

Hunters will also be limited in the number of days they can hunt pintails. "The USFWS has shortened pintail seasons across the country," Aldrich said. "In the Pacific Flyway, the pintail season will run a total of 60 days within the 107-day regular duck season."

Pintails may be taken during three different times. Hunters 12- to 15-years-old may take one pintail during the Youth Hunting Day, which will be held Sept. 28. Hunters also may take pintails at the beginning of the season, from Oct. 5 – Nov. 7, and from Dec. 25 until the season ends on Jan. 18, 2003.

Pintails may not be taken in Utah from Nov. 8 – Dec. 24.

"Having the first 34 days of the season during the Youth Hunt and at the beginning of the season is a good idea," Aldrich said. "That's when most of Utah's waterfowl hunters are in the marsh and when the drab plumage on many ducks makes identifying them the most difficult.

"Holding the last 26 days at the end of the season should also allow Christmas holiday and late season hunters a good hunting opportunity," he said.

Barring federal action, the state 's tundra swan hunt should also continue as planned. Utah's tundra swan season is scheduled for Oct. 5 – Dec. 8.

"The USFWS is defending a law suit in federal court that seeks to discontinue swan hunting," Aldrich said. "Hunters need to be aware that the court decision could occur anytime this fall, and there is some potential that swan hunting could be closed entirely when that decision is reached.

"There's also a chance that the court may rule that tundra swan hunting can continue, but that the legalized, accidental taking of trumpeter swans won't be allowed any more," he said. "If that happens, we would be required by law to issue citations to hunters who accidently take trumpeters."

The Wildlife Board recommended that the DWR continue to offer a tundra swan hunting opportunity this season, even if federal action requires a closure to the legalized take of trumpeter swans.

For more information call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office, or the Division's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.
 

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