If you don't obtain a limited-entry cougar hunting permit this year, no problem -- you can still hunt cougars in Utah.
Permits to hunt on harvest-objective units go on sale Nov. 1.
What's a harvest-objective unit?
Judi Tutorow, wildlife licensing coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says there are three major differences between harvest-objective units and limited-entry units:
● The number of permits that can be sold for a harvest-objective unit isn't limited.
● You can buy harvest-objective permits online or over-the-counter.
● The hunt on a harvest-objective unit can close before the season ends.
(Utah has nine cougar management areas. Each area has several individual units. Once hunters take the number of cougars biologists want taken on the management area, the hunt on all of the units in the area will close.)
"For example," Tutorow says, "let's say the harvest objective for a management area is 48 cougars. The hunt on all of the units in that area will close when 48 cougars are taken on the area, even if the date when the season is supposed to end hasn't arrived yet."
The season can also close early if hunters take the number of female cougars that biologists want taken on the management area.
If an area closes early, that doesn't mean your cougar hunt is over. If the area you want to hunt closes, you can still hunt on any harvest-objective area in Utah that's still open to hunting.
Tutorow provides the following reminders:
● Utah's 2012 - 2013 cougar harvest-objective season begins Nov. 14, 2012 on some units and March 4, 2013 on others. The dates for each unit are available on pages 26 - 32 of the 2012 - 2013 Utah Cougar Guidebook.
The free guidebook is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks
. You can also get a copy at DWR offices and from hunting and fishing license agents across Utah.
● If you obtain a limited-entry cougar permit for the 2012 - 2013 season, you cannot buy a harvest-objective permit.
● Before each hunting trip on a harvest-objective unit, you must call 1-888-668-LION (5466), or visit www.wildlife.utah.gov/cougar
, to verify that the area you'd like to hunt the next day is still open to hunting. The phone line and the website are updated by noon each day with information for the following day.
For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.