SALT LAKE CITY — Biologists with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources say Utah’s cougar population is doing well and are recommending hunters be allowed to take 653 during the upcoming season.
This past season, hunters had the chance to take 581 cougars, but only 456 were killed.
Darren DeBloois, game mammals coordinator for the division, said in a statement the number of females and the number of adults in a cougar population are the key factors in keeping the population healthy and strong.
“A male cougar will breed with several females,” he said, “so keeping plenty of females in the population is important. The number of adults is also important. A healthy population will have plenty of adults. If the number of adults starts to decline, we know the overall number of cougars in the population is declining, too.”
Utah’s Cougar Management Plan provides guidelines that help ensure the state has a healthy and stable cougar population. The two major guidelines are the number of female cougars hunters take — compared to the number of males — and the number of cougars taken that are 5 years of age or older.
The plan says not more than 40 percent of the cougars hunters take can be females. And at least 15 percent of the cougars taken must be 5 years of age or older.
During the 2017–18 season, 32 percent of the cougars taken were females, and 16 percent of the cougars taken were 5 or older.
All of the biologists’ cougar and bobcat hunting latest recommendations are available at wildlife.utah.gov/meeting-agendas.html.
After hunters have reviewed the proposals, they are encouraged to share their thoughts with Regional Advisory Council members at an upcoming meeting or by sending an email.
Dates, times and locations for the Regional Advisory Council meetings are as follows:
• Northern region, Wednesday, July 25, 6 p.m., Brigham City Community Center, 24 N. 300 West, Brigham City
• Central region, Thursday, July 26, 6:30 p.m., Springville Library, 45 S. Main, Springville
• Southern region, Tuesday, July 31, 7 p.m., Sevier School District Office, 180 E. 600 North, Richfield
• Southeastern region, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 6:30 p.m., John Wesley Powell Museum, 1765 E. Main, Green River
• Northeastern region, Thursday, Aug. 2, 6:30 p.m., DWR office, 318 N. Vernal Ave., Vernal
Comments may be sent by email. A list of advisory council members emails is available at wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/rac-members.html.