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Three new laws impact Utah hunters and landowners

Apr 7, 2022, 4:08 PM
Utah hunters...
Utah hunters will have three new laws to keep in mind during hunting season. Photo credit: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

SALT LAKE CITY — Three of the bills signed into law by Utah Gov. Spencer Cox will impact the activities of hunters and landowners that deal with wildlife in Utah.

Donating wild game meat

H.B. 142 allows hunters to donate wild game meat to either local food banks or other non-profit organizations, with restrictions. According to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, if a licensed hunter wishes to donate wild game meat, it must have been harvested legally and can only be donated to the food bank or charity. Hunters cannot sell the meat.

To qualify for donation:

  • the meat must have been harvested from animals that were in good health,
  • the animal must have been field-dressed immediately after harvest, and
  • the animal must be processed by a custom meat processor as soon as possible after harvest.

Road-kill animals cannot be donated to local organizations.

The DWR said that H.B. 142 also created an account where people can donate money to those who process the meat so that they can be compensated for their time and services.

Hunting with an air bow in Utah

S.B. 205 allows wildlife officials to begin the process of determining which other wildlife species can be hunted with an air bow in the state. Currently, hunters can only use an air bow for big game species in Utah. 

S.B. 205 directs the Utah Wildlife Board to determine which other species can be hunted with an air bow. And, it clarifies what kind of air bow can be used, specifically:

  • the bow must be a pre-charged pneumatic air bow that uses compressed air released from a chamber built into the bow,
  • it should be pressurized at a minimum of 2,000 pounds per square inch from an external high-compression source, such as a hand pump, compressor, or scuba tank.

S.B. 205 charges the DWR with reviewing the funding that’s currently available for regulating hunting with air bows and to report back to lawmakers by November 2024.

H.B. 62, big game amendments

H.B. 62 provides guidelines to landowners about actions they can take if wildlife damages crops, forage used by livestock, or their fences or irrigation equipment. With H.B. 62, there are clear guidelines about whether landowners can kill big game animals that caused the damage.

The law also provides limits on how big game hunters in Utah can use hunting guides and outfitters.

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Three new laws impact Utah hunters and landowners