Proposed Utah bill makes changes to big game baiting, waterfowl management areas

Local Politics

UTAH (ABC4) – A proposed bill in the Utah House of Representatives would impact the way Utahns use trail cameras and hunt waterfowl.

House Bill 295, sponsored by Representative Casey Snider (R-Paradise), includes multiple wildlife modifications, including prohibiting the use of trail cameras on public land at certain times with exceptions, certain big game baiting, and the construction of permanent blinds or other hunting structures within a waterfowl management area.

According to the bill, which you can read below, trail cameras would be included under the devices the Wildlife Board can regulate.

This would not apply to placing cameras on private property or individuals “acting within the scope of the individual’s official duties.”

H.B. 295 also prohibits big game baiting, with baiting being considered “intentionally placing food or nutrient substances to manipulate the behavior of wildlife for the purpose of taking or attempting to take big game.” Bait, under this bill, does not include the use of a chemical as an attractant or mask or the use of salt, mineral blocks, or other commonly used types of livestock supplements placed in the field by agricultural producers for normal agricultural purposes or crops, natural vegetation, or other agricultural areas.

Baiting is allowed if “authorized by a certificate of registration,” which could only occur “if the division determines that baiting is necessary to alleviate substantial big game depredation on cultivated crops or to facilitate the removal of deer causing property damage within cities or towns.”

Under current legislation, ‘big game’ includes deer, elk, bighorn sheep, moose, mountain goats, pronghorn, and bison.

Proposed changes to waterfowl management areas include prohibiting a commercial hunting guide from using an area for hunting guide services or outfitter services or the transportation of an individual to another area for the purpose of providing hunting guide services or outfitter services.

H.B. 295 also prohibits an individual from constructing a permanent blind or other permanent structure used for hunting within the boundaries of a waterfowl management area. The Wildlife Board would be responsible for designating those areas.

The Wildlife Board would also be responsible for creating a permit process by which commercial hunting guides and outfitters may use waterfowl management areas with provisions outlined.

The bill, which you can read below, passed in the House by a 62-9-4 vote on Thursday. As of Friday, the bill was in the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee.

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