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WILDLIFE IN THEIR SIGHTS

On August 4, HUPC asked the Northern Regional Advisory Council of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) to end cougar hunting on the Uintas, create a refuge there for an unhunted population, pare the state's six month cougar chase and kill seasons back to one month to give kittens a chance to grow up, eliminate the use of radio telemetry on hounds set on cougar's tracks... in general, offer cougars a "fair chase," not the "seek and destroy" practice of houndsmen.

The RAC's response? "Next speaker, please."

Shocking? No, just another year of democracy in action at the public input stage of wildlife management in Utah.

That night UDWR not only casually eliminated its red flagging of a hunting unit when over 40% of the kill is female (no longer relevant, according to the agency's Allan Clark), but scoffed at our criticism that the agency provided no data to the RAC to justify open trapping of Utah's marten, weasel, ringtail cats, muskrat, red, kit and grey fox, beaver, badger, mink, skunk, raccoon, coyotes... but who's counting, right?

Why not attend the next Utah Wildlife Board meeting and see the cavalier way in which that body determines the fate of Utah's cougar and "furbearers" a word emblematic of what those critters mean to the managers. If one is not a hunter, her voice is meaningless to these councils, no matter what they profess. It is a dangerous game they play.

Margaret Pettis


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