OUTDOORS + RECREATION

Utah Wildlife Board votes to restrict trail camera use, makes other hunting changes

Jan 4, 2022, 8:55 PM | Updated: 8:57 pm
Photo credit: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Wildlife Board voted Tuesday to restrict the use of trail cameras and other hunting-related technologies. The Board also approved a few hunting changes regarding black bears and cougars around the state during a public meeting Tuesday.

Trail camera changes

During the 2021 Utah Legislative session, HB295 was passed, which took effect in May 2021. This bill required the Utah Wildlife Board to make some rules overseeing the use of trail cameras in hunting. As a result, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) sent out a survey to roughly 14,000 hunters around the state. The survey asked for their feedback on potential changes for the Wildlife Board. 

Results from the survey showed that a majority of hunters opposed the use of transmitting trail cameras, which is cameras that transmit footage in real time.

The Wildlife Board voted to prohibit all trail cameras in harvesting or assisting in the harvesting of a big game animal between July 31 and Dec. 31.

The Wildlife Board also voted to prohibit the purchase or sale of trail camera footage. Basically, any images, footage, time and date of footage and any other information that could aid in the harvest of a big game animal is off limits.

Cougar hunting changes

In August, the Wildlife Board approved the cougar hunting permits for the next three management cycle years. The schedule for when the annual cougar rules are presented and finalized. That moves the recommendation cycle from December to July. 

This allows for time for to compile information on the previous year’s hunt, according to a DWR press release. It will also combine the cougar hunting recommendations with black bear hunting recommendations. This will allow for hunters to begin applying for both black bear and cougar hunts, starting next month.

Black bear hunting changes

The Wildlife Board approved the black bear permit numbers for the next three-year cycle period. That will take effect this year. 

Other changes included:

  • Allowing for online bait station registration
  • Do away with the harvest-objective hotline, and require hunters to check for unit closures during the cougar and black bear hunts on the DWR website

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