Area Hunters Asked To Help With Wildlife Conservation
Hunters on the Zion Unit are once again being asked to help an endangered species. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in conjunction with the Peregrine Fund are asking hunters to stop at checkpoints where they can demonstrate their efforts to help California condors.
And by stopping at the checkpoints, hunters will also be eligible to win a prize.
During October, the DWR operates check stations where hunters who take actions to help condors can enter to win one of five $800 gift cards donated by The Peregrine Fund for outdoor equipment. After stopping at a check station, big game hunters must either show the non-lead ammunition they used during their hunts or provide proof they removed all the remains of their harvested animals from the field.
Started in 2011, the Hunters Helping Condors program launched in Utah to help recover these enormous birds. California condors were listed in 1967 under the precursor to the Endangered Species Act, and by 1982, only 23 were left in the world (one of which was in captivity).
Due to the steep decline of the population, the remaining wild condors were captured and held in captivity for safekeeping, which gave rise to a tremendously successful captive breeding program that has allowed for reintroduction of the endangered birds back to the wild. The population now numbers more than 500 birds, with over half of those flying free in the wild. There are currently 95 condors in the wild Arizona / Utah population.
This effort demonstrates one of the ways that hunters can lead the way in wildlife conservation.
Prior to each hunting season, the DWR issues a coupon to hunters who draw an any-legal weapon big game permit for the Zion Unit in southern Utah, where California condors can be found. That coupon allows the hunters to obtain free, or heavily discounted, non-lead ammunition.
This year one checkpoint will be located at the intersection of Yellowjacket Road and Hancock Road. This is about 3.25 miles north of the entrance Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. The other checkpoint will be located on state Highway 14 in Cedar Canyon about a half a mile east of Canyon Park and three quarters of a mile west of Rusty's Ranch House.
Both checkpoints will be open from 11AM to dusk.