LOCAL NEWS

Several wildlife-related bills passed into law during 2024 legislative session

Mar 27, 2024, 1:05 PM | Updated: 1:16 pm

A new law is changing the amount of hunter orange that an individual is required to wear during spe...

A new law is changing the amount of hunter orange that an individual is required to wear during specific hunting seasons.(Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

(Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

SALT LAKE CITY A number of wildlife management-related bills have been signed into law by Gov. Spencer Cox, following the completion of the 2024 Utah Legislature.

On Wednesday, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources provided a list of a few of the new laws that residents should know about.

Wildlife Hunting Amendments

In HB222, there is a change in the amount of hunter orange that an individual is required to wear during specific hunting seasons. In the past, hunters were required by law to wear a minimum of 400 square inches of hunter orange during specific hunting seasons. Under the new law, anyone hunting big game must wear hunter orange on the exterior, so that it can be seen. This includes at least one of the following: hat, shirt, jacket, coat, vest or sweater.

This change also gives the DWR authority to require other individuals, such as hikers, campers and other recreational users to wear hunter orange. In such instances, the individuals would only be required to wear hunter orange if visiting a wildlife management area during a big game hunt.

This law takes effect on May 1.

Wildlife Amendments

In HB382, numerous wildlife-related changes are made. Those changes include the following:

  • New development:  Under this change, individuals who are involved in new development around the state are considered to be infringing on wildlife habitat that is already existiting. Therefore, those people may not qualify for a wildlife damage or nuisance claim against the state.
  • Limiting the taking of antlers or horns: This allows for the Utah Wildlife Board to create a season for the gathering of antlers and horns for both nonresidents and residents.
  • Taxidermist and butcher tags: In this portion of the law, a butcher may not receive the carcass of a protected animal, unless it is properly tagged or has a valid donation slip. Taxidermists are required to keep records of wildlife they keep for three years, including a date of when the animal was received and a license number in relation to that animal.

The law also creates clarification in a number of other aspects, including enforcement of other laws, trespassing, accounts and fees and tagging requirements.

This law goes into effect on July 1.

New Fiscal Year Supplemental Appropriations Act

HB2 allows for a one-time $8.5 million appropriation for the purchase of private property in Morgan County. The property is 2,600 acres in size, with most of the property to be included in the DWR’s East Canyon Wildlife Management Area.

It will help provide additional habitat for big game wildlife and sage grouse in the area, according to the DWR.

Additionally, this law will also allow for a one-time $2 million appropriation to be used toward the Endangered Species Mitigation Fund. These funds will be used toward conservation efforts to help prevent native speices from being listed on the Endangered Species Act.

Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Amendments

HB469 will create the Division of Law Enforcement, which will be a new division under the Department of Natural Resources. The new division will include officers and rangers from the DWR, Utah State Parks, Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation and Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

The new division will begin Jan. 1, 2025.

 

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Several wildlife-related bills passed into law during 2024 legislative session