DWR Press Release
DWR biologists recommend changes for 2018–2019 turkey hunt
Starting this fall, there might be more chances to take wild turkeys during Utah’s fall hunting season. And you might have more firearm and shot shell options to choose from.
Biologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources are recommending three major changes. Two apply only to Utah’s fall hunting season. A third applies to both the fall and the spring hunts:
- Allow hunters to buy up to three fall turkey hunting permits. Currently, those hunting in the fall may have only one fall hunting permit.
- During both the fall and spring seasons, allow hunters to use any shotgun firing BB or smaller diameter shot. Currently, hunters are required to use shotguns that range from 10 gauge to 28 gauge. And only shot sizes BB through 8 may be used.
- During the fall season only, allow hunters to hunt turkeys with rim fire firearms.
Starting April 18, all of the DWR’s turkey and upland game bird recommendations should be available at wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings.
Learn more, share your ideas
After you’ve reviewed the ideas online, you can let your Regional Advisory Council members know your thoughts by attending your upcoming RAC meeting or by sending an email to them.
RAC chairmen will share the input they receive with members of the Utah Wildlife Board. The board will meet in Salt Lake City on May 31 to approve turkey and upland game hunting rules and permits for Utah’s 2018 – 2019 season.
Dates, times and locations for the RAC meetings are as follows:
- Central Region
May 1, 6:30 p.m.
Springville Civic Center
110 S Main ST, Springville
- Northern Region
May 2, 6 p.m.
Brigham City Community Center
24 N 300 West, Brigham City
- Southern Region
May 8, 7 p.m.
Beaver High School
195 E. Center St., Beaver
- Southeastern Region
May 9, 6:30 p.m.
John Wesley Powell Museum
1765 E Main ST, Green River
- Northeastern Region
May 10, 6:30 p.m.
DWR Northeastern Region Office
318 N Vernal Ave, Vernal
You can also provide your comments to your RAC via email. Email addresses for your RAC members are available online.
The group each RAC member represents (sportsman, non-consumptive, etc.) is listed under each person’s email address. You should direct your email to the people on the RAC who represent your interest.
Fall hunt recommendations
Turkey populations, especially in parts of Cache County, have gotten large enough that the birds are coming into conflict with people. DWR biologists trapped and moved a record number of birds — 548 — from the county this past winter. Increased fall hunting is another tool that should reduce the number of birds.
“Hunting is still the best tool biologists have to manage wildlife populations, including turkeys,” Robinson says.
Biologists are recommending two changes that should increase the opportunity to take a turkey: allow hunters to have up to three fall permits and allow the use of rim fire firearms. Rim fire firearms are small caliber firearms, including the popular .22 long rifle and the .17.
“Allowing hunters to buy up to three fall turkey permits will give avid turkey hunters more chances to get into the field and hunt,” Robinson says. “And allowing hunters to use rim fire firearms might really appeal to young hunters who don’t want to shoot a shotgun.”
Gauge, shot size change
A change that would allow turkey hunters to use any shotgun, including a .410, would benefit both spring and fall hunters.
“.410 shotguns are a good option for many young, beginning hunters,” Robinson says. “We’d like to change the requirement and allow hunters to use these smaller guns.”
In addition, biologists want to allow the use of smaller shot sizes. Robinson says advances in shotgun shell design have made sizes as small as No. 9 effective for turkeys.
“Shells loaded with smaller shot sizes put out dense patterns that can be very effective in bringing a turkey down,” he says. “We’d like to give hunters the option to choose the gun and ammunition combination that works best for them and their hunting situation.”