A public meeting to describe the improvements and areas of the refuge affected is scheduled for August 28 from 7pm to 9pm at the Box Elder High School auditorium. An informal Open House will follow on August 29 from 2pm to 8pm in the Brigham City Crystal Inn. Refuge personnel will visit personally with local residents on the new improvements.
During the 1995 hunt, the Refuge staff noticed numerous violations that tainted the shining example of high quality, fair pursuit, sportsman-like conduct that migratory bird hunters at Bear River Refuge have exhibited in past years.
Skybusting, which is the practice of shooting at high flying birds, was observed many times last year, said Al Trout, Bear River s Refuge Manager. This indiscriminate shooting ends up crippling a large number of birds, rather than the intended outcome that all sportsmen strive to achieve, which is that of clean, direct kills, with no unnecessary waste, Trout added. In addition to skybusting, shooting from the main dike road, party hunting and hunting without a permit were cited. It was believed that unless all of these issues were quickly addressed, the reputation that had gained Utah s Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge its place as one of the premier waterfowl hunting areas in the United States could be destroyed.
In considering how to once again make hunting at Bear River Refuge a quality experience, several alternatives were considered. It was the goal of those responsible for the refuge hunting program to not only address and solve these most recent problems, but to do so with as little impact as possible to the majority of hunters who observe the basic ethics practiced by sportsmen in Utah. After careful consideration, the following refuge-specific regulations were submitted for the 1996 hunting season. These regulations are in effect only on the Refuge, and do not pertain to statewide regulations.
The restriction to 10 shells per day pertains specifically to swan hunting. No shell limits are in effect for duck, goose, and pheasant hunting.
Hunters are reminded that, unlike the State, Fish and Wildlife Service guidelines require that all firearms must be completely unloaded, including the magazine, and cased or dismantled when hunters are in the vehicle or while on principal Refuge roads (the tour route) and parking sites.
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