Utah Cougars
The most significant change in the regulations for cougar hunting in Utah this year would be in the Mount Nebo area of central Utah, where a reintroduction of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep is scheduled this winter. To help the herd establish itself, the DWR would like to lower the number of cougars that might prey on it.

Last season, a total of 24 limited-entry permits were offered for the area. The DWR is proposing that the area be split into two subunits for the upcoming season, with 18 limited-entry permits offered for the eastern half and a harvest objective of 20 cougars set for the western half.

"The overriding goal of our cougar management plan is to maintain a healthy cougar population," McLaughlin said. "In addition, we consider human safety, economic concerns and other wildlife species.

"Predation by cougars can suppress the growth of depressed deer herds or newly introduced populations of bighorn sheep," he continued. "In those cases, we'll propose to increase the number of cougars taken in a specific area to help those big game populations grow. This is what we're recommending for the western portion of the Mount Nebo area for this upcoming season.

"Other than that area, we aren't recommending any significant increases or decreases in the number of cougars to be taken next season."

The DWR is proposing that Utah's 2002 - 2003 cougar season run December 14, 2002 to June 2, 2003 through most of the state.

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