Cougars Hurting Utah Deer Numbers
The DWR will propose increasing the total number of cougars to be taken on 33 harvest objective units in Utah. Coupled with the number of cougars taken on 20 limited-entry units, the increase will likely result in 470 to 500 cougars being taken by hunters during the 2003 - 2004 season. That's a 20 percent increase from the 418 taken last season.

"Mule deer, especially in eastern Utah, are struggling because of the drought and deteriorating range conditions," said Craig McLaughlin, mammals coordinator for the DWR. "Controlling the number of cougars that prey on them is one thing we can do to try and help the herds. We're also concerned about the impact cougars have on bighorn sheep, particularly small bands of sheep that have been transplanted into new areas."

The DWR is proposing that a total of 445 cougars be taken on the 33 harvest objective units. Last season's quota was 297 cougars. About 66 percent of the total quota is usually reached, so the 445 target should result in about 295 cougars being taken on the harvest objective units this season.

The DWR is also proposing that a total of 316 permits be offered for the state's 20 limited-entry units. That's a decrease of 46 permits from the 362 permits offered last season. Sixty percent of the hunters who draw a limited-entry permit are usually successful in taking a cougar, so a total of 190 cougars should be taken on these units.
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