Some hunters found out the hard way about a new checking strategy by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
Instead of major roadblocks, the DWR is opting for satellite stations set up randomly around the state. Long-time checking stations in Daniels and Spanish Fork canyons, for example, are gone. Instead, smaller roadblocks were set up in places like Currant Creek, Blacksmith Fork and Ogden Canyon.It also set up two cooperative checking stations, at Levan and Scipio, with other enforcement agencies.
The results at these two stations was a mix of violations ranging from drugs to horse ownership.
Overall, however, law enforcement groups were surprised and encouraged by the small number of infractions. Officers checked 2,204 vehicles, accounting for more than 6,000 hunters.
According to Ray Remund, information officer for the DWR, "Only 201 citations were issued, and of those only 66 were wildlife violations, mostly for failure to tag a deer or removing evidence of sex. Also, not all of the violations were connected with the deer hunt. We issued some to fishermen and some to upland game hunters."
Last year the division set up a similar roadblock near Echo, and in nearly one out of every four vehicles checked, an individual was cited. In two days, 180 wildlife citations were issued.
Along with DWR personnel, officers from the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation, Utah Highway Patrol, Utah Agriculture Department, and deputies from Juab and Millard counties were involved.
According to Remund, 48 citations were issued for driving violations and alcohol or drug statutes; 13 hunters were cited for failure to have proof of ownership of horses; and 84 tickets were issued for off-highway vehicle violations.
Craig Miya of the DWR's law enforcement office said the officers found "only about a 2 percent or 3 percent violation rate. We feel pretty good about it right now, but the deer hunt still runs into next week."
But, for the first weekend, Miya said, "the violations just were not there. We had some success on the positive end this time. We're hoping hunters are doing a better job of policing themselves. Maybe we're winning."
At other checking stations, reports were similar. That is, most of the wildlife violations involved transporting and deer and removing evidence of sex.
Under new wildlife laws, the persons that shot and tagged the deer, must also transport the animal to the locker.
Also, under Utah wildlife laws, hunters must leave evidence of the sex of the animals on a part of the carcass. This is to prove that under buck-only hunting that the hunter did, in fact, shoot a buck. Or, in the case where a hunter has a doe permit, shot a doe.