Scouting Around
Wyoming — Question

Is it legal to clean my pheasants and ducks in the field?

Yes, it is legal to take care of the majority of processing tasks while in the field. However, be aware that enough evidence must be left on the processed carcass to identify the species and sex of the bird. For pheasants this means the feathered head, a feathered wing or leg must be left attached. For ducks, the feathered wing or feathered head is enough to identify species and sex.

Utah — 2001 Sportsman Permit Applications

Applications for some of next year's most prized Utah big game hunting permits — 2001Sportsman permits — will be available by November 3.

Only Utah residents may apply for Sportsman permits. One Sportsman Permit is offered for each of the following species: Desert bighorn ram, buck deer, buck pronghorn, bull elk, bull moose, hunter's choice bison and hunter's choice Rocky Mountain goat.

The 2001 Sportsman Permit hunt runs September 1 - December 31, 2001. Hunters are allowed to hunt on any unit open for the respective species, except the Pilot Mountain Unit.

"The long season dates and ability to hunt every open hunting unit in the state but one make Sportsman Permits a highly prized item," said Nancy Hutchings, wildlife licensing specialist for the Division of Wildlife Resources.

By November 3, Sportsman Permit applications will be available from more than 380 hunting and fishing license agents statewide; Division of Wildlife Resources offices in Ogden, Salt Lake City, Springville, Vernal, Price and Cedar City; and the Division's Internet web site at

To be entered in the Sportsman Permit Draw, applications must be received through the mail no later than 5 p.m. on November 22. Hunters are reminded that it will take a few days for their application to arrive through the mail and to mail it as far in advance of the November 22 date as possible, Hutchings said.

Hutchings also reminds hunters that a $5 nonrefundable handling fee is required for each species for which a hunter applies.

Results of the Sportsman Permit Draw will be posted December 11, at Division offices in Ogden, Salt Lake City, Springville, Vernal, Price and Cedar City, and on the Division's Internet web site at

Beginning December 13, draw results also will be posted at the Lee Kay Center for Hunter Education, 6000 W. 2100 S. in Salt Lake City. Beginning December 14, draw results will be posted at the Cache Valley Hunter Education Center, 2851 W. 200 N. in Logan.

Successful applicants also will be notified by letter.

Those with questions may call their nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office, or the Division's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.

Utah — History In Wings

During the grouse season, biologists place barrels at strategic locations to collect wings from the birds taken by hunters.

While hunters know the biologists are gathering information, few understand just how much history is recorded in the wings.

"We can gain a surprising amount of data from wings," said Charlie Greenwood, wildlife biologist with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. "While we do get some trend data by recording how many are in each barrel, it isn't a reliable source of information on actual numbers of birds, or birds taken. When we collect these wings, we are gaining information on the health and structure of the population. The coloring, length of certain feathers and molting pattern can tell us the bird's species, age, sex and reproductive history for the last year."

First, the biologists use color and pattern to sort the wings by species and then by the sex within a species. In the UDWR's Northeastern Region, biologists can expect to find three species: Sage, blue and ruffed grouse.

Once the biologists determine species and sex, they look for age and reproductive history.

"Grouse feathers are molted in a given pattern," Greenwood said. "Some feathers will be new and some will be worn and faded. The shape of the feather also changes. Juvenile flight feathers have sharp tips while adult feathers are more rounded. We can further differentiate the age of the chick by looking at the length of feathers and which feathers have recently molted or been replaced. New feathers follow a set pattern of emergence, so we can tell just how many weeks old the chick is. Yearling or adult status can also be determined by noting the size of the wing and which feathers have molted.

"Finally, we can determine if the females had successfully hatched a brood of chicks. A female that hatches her chicks will follow a different feather replacement pattern than a female that isn't successful."

The final result is that biologists gain data on the population structure of the birds in a given area. The percentage of young-of-the-year, yearlings and adults gives a good indication of the reproduction effort and survival. Biologists can then compare this information to that gained in previous years to obtain a snapshot of the health of the population.

So, if you're a grouse hunter and see a wing barrel, please be sure to donate. The biologists need the information stored on the wing.

"Everything from trash, fish guts and even rattlesnakes have been found in the barrels!" Greenwood said. "We prefer one wing from each grouse only!"

Arizona — Toddler Bitten By Coyote

A 22-month-old east Mesa, Arizona child was treated and released from a Valley hospital last night after he was bitten by a coyote that entered his home through an open door. The child was taken to a Valley hospital were he was treated for puncture wounds to his right shoulder and given the first in a series of post-exposure rabies prophylaxis.

About 8 p.m., a coyote entered the home of an east Mesa family and bit the child. The child's father had just returned home with the boy when the incident took place. Coping with an armload as he entered the home, he left the door open behind him. He set the child on the floor and stepped into an adjacent room. He had only just entered the other room when he heard his son cry out. Immediately returning to investigate, he found a coyote grasping his child and attempting to remove him from the house. The animal fled at the sight of the father and disappeared out the door. The child was then rushed to a hospital for treatment.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department responded to the report, but the animal had departed the area by the time of their arrival. Game and Fish then contacted the Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services for assistance in locating the offending animal. Approximately 16 hours later, during the search, the father killed an adult female coyote on the property. The animal was taken to Arizona Department of Health Services for rabies testing. Arizona Game and Fish will continue to work with Wildlife Services to assess the situation and monitor coyotes in the immediate area. All suspected animals will be submitted to the State Lab for rabies testing.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department emphasizes the rarity of this type of incident. Coyotes prey on rodents, rabbits and other small mammals; humans are not considered a part of the coyote's diet. Coyotes are, however, opportunists and quick to exploit advantageous situations. People who live in areas frequented by coyotes should keep an eye on small pets and small children.

While investigating the incident, the Arizona Game and Fish Department received information that coyotes have been frequenting the area and residents may be feeding them. The Department reminds the public that feeding wildlife often leads to wildlife/ human conflicts and often results in the destruction of the habituated animals. Coyotes and other animals are often quick to associate humans with food and become increasingly bold and troublesome.

Idaho — Pheasant Stocking Increases

Fish and Game will plant about twice as many birds on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) this fall compared to past years.

Planting operations began last week. Schedules for planting birds are not publicized by the department. The pheasant planting program was increased to more than 14,000 birds on WMAs this fall to accommodate public demand.

Pheasants will be planted twice a week, with stocking tapering off as the end of the seasons approach. The limit is two per day at WMAs where the pheasant permit is required.

Prospects for hunting naturally reared ringnecks appear about average in most of southern Idaho this fall; slightly improved in southeast Idaho. Pheasant hunting has declined in most of southern Idaho since the early 1980s because development and changes in agricultural practices have radically reduced the amount of good pheasant habitat.

Pheasant season began October 21. The season ends December 31 in the west and north and November 30 in eastern counties.

Hunting pheasants on WMAs where they are stocked requires a permit costing $21.50 in addition to a hunting license. The fee helps offset the cost of planting game farm birds. This fee covers six birds but additional permits may be purchased.

Pheasants are planted at eight WMAs across southern Idaho. Those are Fort Boise, Payette River, Montour, C.J. Strike, Sterling, Market Lake, Mud Lake and Cartier. WMA guides are available at Fish and Game offices.

Idaho — All Stop At Check Stations
by Phil Cooper, Regional Wildlife Educator

Idaho sportsmen take pride in their knowledge of hunting and fishing techniques and safety practices, but there is one basic rule that is sometimes overlooked. According to Idaho Code, "all sportsmen must stop at Fish & Game check stations." The law does not require only those with fish or game to stop, it says "all sportsmen" who have been hunting or fishing are required to stop.

Each year, many sportsmen fail to stop at check stations when they were not
successful on that specific trip. They see the signs, but think the instructions don't apply to them and continue on their way. Occasionally, citations are issued for the failure to stop. A close reading of the check station signs say "all sportsmen, with or without game must stop."

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game runs two types of check stations. These include wildlife management check stations and enforcement check stations. Both types are important, and sportsmen must heed all signs relating to these stations.

Management check stations usually rely on voluntary compliance from sportsmen, but are often neglected by those in a hurry to get home. It is important that hunters stop and give biologists information relating to the trip they are returning from. According to Wildlife Manager Jim Hayden, "The check stations serve as a helpful immediate measure of how the season is going. The information provides us the short-term ability to compare hunter success to previous years." Final season success and harvest figures are derived from the mandatory checks on some species and telephone surveys.

Sportsmen driving on less traveled roads may also encounter impromptu check stations that stop all vehicles and divert hunters or anglers aside to answer additional questions. These check stations may be set up by conservation officers at any time of the day or night, and are intended to enforce Idaho wildlife laws and orders.

When at a check station, hunters and anglers are asked a series of questions about how many occupants of the vehicle were hunting or fishing, where (big game unit), and how many animals have been harvested. At a check station, you are required by law to produce all fish or game in possession for inspection.

In areas where Fish and Game has received complaints of spotlighting or other game violations, conservation officers on occasion place lifelike specimens of deer, elk, and other game species that are being focused on by poachers. The use of such tools has been upheld in the court systems across the country as a valid and legitimate method of apprehending violators, and has aided officers in reducing illegal activities in specific locations. Many of the citations issued are for violations including spotlighting, shooting from a vehicle, or shooting across the road. The penalties for shooting a simulated animal are the same as if it were an actual game animal.

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