Scouting Around
Wyoming — Questions and Answers

When was Wyoming's first official hunting season?

Technically in 1875, when the territorial legislature set a big game (all species) hunting season of August 15 to January 15. Hunting was restricted to "only when necessary for human subsistence." Waste, "except the entrails, head and shanks" was prohibited, as was the commercial sale of meat and hides. No limit was set on the number of animals an individual could harvest, and there were no provisions made for enforcement.

Arizona — Predator Calling Workshop

If you have ever desired to see coyotes and other predators up close and personal, then you will want to attend the Predator Calling Seminar being conducted by the Phoenix Varmint Callers from 7-9:30 p.m. on September 6 at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 2 in Phoenix at 12851 N. 19th Avenue (between Cactus and Thunderbird).

The seminar will cover a wide range of subjects from stand selection and set-up, strategies and helpful hints, scents and cover-ups, cleaning and deodorizing yourself, safety, and calling demonstrations.

The predator calling experts will also discuss rifles, sights, scopes, shotguns and ammunition selection. This is also a great seminar for those who want to call in predators to do photography or as a watchable wildlife experience (even in urban settings).

For club members, including those who sign up the night of the seminar, there will be a novice hunt in the near future.

Utah — Leftover Permits

Hunters who didn't obtain a cow elk or doe deer permit in this year's Utah antlerless draws may still have a chance to hunt these animals this year.

A total of 1,432 cow elk permits, and 741 doe deer permits, were not sold in the draws this year. On September 1, these permits went on sale, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Both residents and nonresidents may purchase them in-person, or through the mail, from the Division of Wildlife Resources' Salt Lake City office only. The office is at 1594 W. North Temple and is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.

Hunters who would like to purchase a permit through the mail must obtain an antlerless permit application form and mail it to the Salt Lake City office. Forms are available from hunting and fishing license agents statewide, Division offices and hunter education centers and the Division's Internet web site at

A list of permits that were available on September 1 may be obtained from the Division offices and hunter education centers, and the Division's Internet web site.

Hunters who haven't obtained a doe deer permit may purchase a remaining doe deer permit.

Hunters who haven't obtained two elk permits may purchase the remaining cow elk permits. This is the fourth year hunters have been allowed to have two elk permits in Utah.

Hunters can have two elk permits in any of the following combinations:
• a bull elk permit and a cow elk permit.
• a hunter's choice permit and a cow elk permit.
• two cow elk permits.

Hunters may not obtain two bull elk permits. They also may not have a bull elk permit and a hunter's choice permit.

Utah —Chukar Releases

The Division of Wildlife Resources will release about 4,000 chukar partridge throughout Utah during the first part of September. Adult pen-reared birds will be released as part of a continuing effort to provide more hunting opportunity for Utah's upland game sportsmen.

Since the closing of the Division's last game farm in 1993, many Utah upland game hunters have expressed an interest in seeing some of their license funds used to raise game birds for release into the wild for hunting. Beginning in 1997, the Division reinstituted limited releases of chukar partridge.

The Division is not operating a game farm of its own, as was the case until 1993. Instead, birds for release are now grown by a Utah game bird producer, purchased under contract by the Division, and released into the wild.

Chukars will be released into areas of Utah where the Division has constructed new game bird water guzzlers using Habitat Authorization funds, and into areas where chukar populations have been depressed because of severe drought or winter conditions.

Over the past several years, the Division has constructed hundreds of new 350-gallon game bird and small mammal guzzlers in the best chukar habitat of Utah's desert country. Guzzlers have been installed on many west desert mountain ranges from the Utah-Idaho border to the Mohave Desert of Washington County, in the very southwestern corner of the state.

The new guzzler design allows the watering devices to be placed in the roughest, rockiest, cheatgrass-infested habitats Utah has to offer — ideal for the chukar partridge.

The new guzzlers are placed in long, narrow canyons with steep, rocky slopes, providing good escape cover for chukars. Complexes of four to six guzzlers are built about one mile apart in an area. Biologists then move down the mountain range a couple of miles and build another guzzler complex.

The idea behind the guzzler construction scheme is to place water where birds would normally look for water, and to provide enough water in an area so birds can move from day to day to forage and still be in close proximity to drinking water.

In addition to the release of pen-reared birds, the Division is trapping and relocating wild chukars from existing flocks within Utah for release in areas where populations have declined and where new guzzlers have been constructed.

Pen-reared chukars will be released during the first part of September. Many of the chukars that will be released this fall have been banded with aluminum leg bands. Hunters who harvest banded birds should phone the information to the Division at the telephone number printed on the band. Information collected from band returns will be used by biologists to assess released bird returns to the hunter's bag, survival information and dispersion of birds into preferred habitats.

Because of safety concerns for potentially overcrowding areas with hunters, and because of the sensitivity of the location of guzzler sites being used by wildlife, the Division will not provide maps of guzzler site locations or more specific release information than that listed above.

Chukars are an exotic bird, 15 inches in length and weighing 20 ounces. They are native to places like India and Afghanistan in the Middle East. The chukar partridge inhabits some of the most inhospitable habitat Utah has to offer!

Chukars are found in the barren desert areas of the state and prefer steep, rocky, arid slopes. Low-growing shrubs such as sagebrush, saltbush and cheatgrass vegetative zones below the juniper tree belt seem to be preferred. Talus and rocky slopes provide chukars with concealment and escape cover. Foods consist of grass seeds, weed seeds, buds and flowers, and new growth cheat grass in the winter.

Male and female chukars are almost identical in appearance, except that male birds will often have a "button-like" spur on the back of the leg.

The 2000 chukar season opens September 16 and runs through January 31, 2001 in some areas of Utah. Both males and females may be hunted, with a bag limit of 5 birds and a possession limit of 10.

Montana — Requests Hunters to Reschedule Hunts

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials, noting that most early September hunting in western Montana will be prohibited due to fire-danger land closures,are asking hunters to voluntarily stay home until conditions improve.

"Landowners in eastern Montana are especially concerned about the impacts an influx of hunters could have in areas of high fire danger," said FWP Director Pat Graham. "This is a time for patience, restraint and compassion. We are asking all hunters — and especially those in western Montana — to think about rescheduling early-season hunting plans until the state's dry conditions and fire-danger subsides."

For those intent on traveling to eastern Montana, Graham stressed that if they do not already have permission to hunt they should understand that obtaining access to private land in many areas in eastern Montana is going to be very difficult.

The upland game bird season was scheduled to open on Friday, September 1. Montana's archery season is set to open on Saturday, September 2. Most moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goat seasons are to open September 15.

This week the Northern Rockies Coordinating Group, a team of fire experts that evaluate the risk of wildfire, is expected to place all of eastern Montana under Level IV fire-danger restrictions. While Level IV restrictions do not prohibit hunting and other forms of outdoor recreation, the restrictions do prohibit the use of fire and certain vehicles and equipment. For instance, in Level IV zones, campfires, the use of propane stoves, as well as the use of off-road vehicles are generally prohibited.

Graham stressed that while hunting is allowed where hunters can obtain legal access, he reminded all hunters that they are required to ask for permission to hunt on private land, and that they must be prepared to prevent wildfires on public and private land. "This season, hunters must be aware of the fact that anyone responsible for starting a wildfire is liable for all damage," Graham said.

Graham asked all hunters to:
• Carry a shovel, bucket, ax, and garden-type weed sprayer full of water in all vehicles.
• Restrict camping activities to designated camping areas.
• Do not build campfires; do not use propane or gas stoves for cooking.
• Drive only on established roads. Take care to ensure that catalytic converters and mufflers are in good repair.
•Do not stop or park vehicles over grass or brush.
• Smoke only inside buildings or vehicles.

For up-to-date drought and fire information hunters can call 1-800- 472-8455, or visit FWP 's web site at: Look for the "Fire/Drought Update" on the homepage.

Idaho — Refunds and Rain Checks

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has established a process for hunting license and tag rain checks, refunds or exchanges for areas closed due to fire. Hunters who have purchased tags and who can show in good faith that they intended to hunt in an area closed by the land managing agency to all recreational activity will be eligible for a refund or exchange up until November 15. (See the basic rules for the application process after species information.) In the upcoming weeks, the Commission will consider season extensions or alterations, such as allowing Middle Fork B tag hunters to hunt the A tag elk season, which runs to the end of October.

Exchange: A deer or elk tag may be exchanged for one in another area or zone, as long as tags for that zone are available. Exchanges will only be done at Fish and Game offices, or by mail. Refund: Refunds will be processed at the Fish and Game headquarters office, Licenses Section, P.O. Box 25, Boise, ID 83707. Requests for refunds should be made on a form which Fish and Game will make available at offices and on the agency web site, or in a personal letter. Rain Check: Hunters who want to come back in the same hunt next year should mail their license and/or tag in with a letter to that effect. If the license will be used for another hunt such as upland birds, or if the hunter will hunt deer this year but is closed out of his elk zone, only the elk tag may be refunded or held for next year.

Those who have a controlled hunt permit for elk or deer where the area is closed to all recreational use are eligible for a refund of the license, permit and tag fees. If a hunter will be using the license to hunt other species, only the permit and tag fees will be refunded. Holders of deer or elk controlled hunt permits who choose a rain check for a 2001 season permit, may purchase a general hunt tag and hunt in 2000. The hunting license fee will not be refunded or exchanged for those persons exercising this option. They would have to buy a 2001 license to claim and use the rain-checked tag. The controlled hunt permit holder may mail or bring in the permit and tag to get a rain check for the same hunt next year, or exchange it for a general-season tag in the zone or area of their choice, as long as tags are available. Application and permit fees will be refunded for those hunters seeking a controlled hunt refund. Hunters who ask for a refund of a controlled hunt permit or exchange for a general season will not be required to stay out of the controlled hunt drawing next year, as would normally be the case.

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