WILDLIFE

Several wildlife-related bills get approval from Gov. Cox.

Mar 27, 2023, 6:30 PM | Updated: 6:42 pm

One of the bills passed in the most recent legislative session will allow for the Loa Fish Hatchery...

One of the bills passed in the most recent legislative session will allow for the Loa Fish Hatchery to be rebuild. That will help with the production and stocking of fish throughout the state. It was one several wild-life-related bills to become law. Photo credit: Mark Hadley.

SALT LAKE CITY — Several wildlife-related bills passed in the most recent legislative session was signed into law by Utah Gov. Spencer Cox. Here is a few to be aware of.

Funding to rebuild Loa Fish Hatchery

Under the New Fiscal Year Supplemental Appropriations Act, or S. B. 2, Utah received $56.8 million to rebuild the Loa Fish Hatchery. It was closed in 2014 after it was discovered that it was infested by the New Zealand mud snail, which is an invasive species.

Originally built in 1936, the state was forced to close down the hatchery to avoid the spread of the mud snail. 

Historically, the Loa Fish Hatchery had the ability to produce the most trout of any fishery in the state. According to a news release, its closure has put a strain on fish production and stocking throughout the state.

Other wildlife-related bills – Aquatic Invasive Space Species

S.B. 112 made a couple of administrative changes to boating fees around the state. Previously, boaters could make their boating registration fee and their aquatic invasive species fee as one payment. 

This bill require boat registration to be paid through the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles. And then make a second and payment for the aquatic invasive species fee.

This bill was passed as a way to address fee-collection issues, according to the DWR news release. 

Hunting Menting Amendments

H.B. 237 allows an immediate family member to participate in an limited-entry or a once-in-a-lifetime hunt if a mentor passes away before the hunt. 

Such hunts can take years to successfully draw out for in Utah.

This law takes effect on May 3, 2023.

Electronic Stamp Designation

H.B. 341 now allows the DWR to sell duck stamps online at the DWR website. This was done to make the transaction more convenient for hunters. 

In the past, duck stamps could only be purchased from a local post office, license agents or by phone. 

Federal duck stamps provide funding for wildlife conservation around the country.

Wildlife Related Amendments

H.B. 469 makes a few rule changes to wildlife. This law will go into effect on May 3, 2023. 

  • Mountain Lion hunting: This bill will allow for year-round hunting of mountain lions with just a hunting or combination license, according to the news release. It will now allow for trapping of mountain lions. However, mountain lions are still considered to be protected wildlife.
  • Trail camera use: Trail cameras are not allowed on public lands between July 31 and Dec. 31. 
  • Hunting with air rifles: The bill will allow hunters to air rifles in turkey hunts. They can also be used in hunting for cottontail rabits and snowshoe hares. 
  • Regulating hunting guides: According to the news release, this makes it easier to understand when the Division of Professional Licensing is to refuse to issue, refuse to renew, or revoke a registration related to hunting guides.
  • Wildlife Land and Water Acquisition Program: The bill allows for the creation of this program and $1 million annually in funding to help the DWR to help protect wildlife populations. 
  • Increase in fees: The non-resident application fee will be increased by $1. Additionally, the Dedicated Hunter buyout hours moves to $40 per hour.

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Several wildlife-related bills get approval from Gov. Cox.