Help Stop the Utah Crow Hunt – Part II

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Stop the Utah Crow Hunt

Calling CrowCalling Crow

This is a follow up on my post from yesterday titled “Help Stop the Utah Crow Hunt” and deals with the codes of the Division of Wildlife Resources and Wildlife Board. I have made bold the sections of this code that I feel need to be addressed or that I have questions about.

Utah Code – Title 23 – Chapter 14 – Division of Wildlife Resources and Wildlife Board

23-14-3. Powers of division to determine facts — Policy-making powers of Wildlife Board.

(1) The Division of Wildlife Resources may determine the facts relevant to the wildlife resources of this state.

(2) (a) Upon a determination of these facts, the Wildlife Board shall establish the policies best designed to accomplish the purposes and fulfill the intent of all laws pertaining to wildlife and the preservation, protection, conservation, perpetuation, introduction, and management of wildlife.

(b) In establishing policy, the Wildlife Board shall:

(i) recognize that wildlife and its habitat are an essential part of a healthy, productive environment;
(ii) recognize the impact of wildlife on man, his economic activities, private property rights, and local economies;
(iii) seek to balance the habitat requirements of wildlife with the social and economic activities of man;
(iv) recognize the social and economic values of wildlife, including fishing, hunting, and other uses; and
(v) seek to maintain wildlife on a sustainable basis.

(c)
(i) The Wildlife Board shall consider the recommendations of the regional advisory councils established in Section 23-14-2.6.
(ii) If a regional advisory council recommends a position or action to the Wildlife Board, and the Wildlife Board rejects the recommendation, the Wildlife Board shall provide a written explanation to the regional advisory council.

(3) No authority conferred upon the Wildlife Board by this title shall supersede the administrative authority of the executive director of the Department of Natural Resources or the director of the Division of Wildlife Resources.

Amended by Chapter 211, 1995 General Session

I have added my own thoughts and notations below the items I highlighted above by making them bold.

23-14-3. Powers of division to determine facts — Policy-making powers of Wildlife Board:

Where are the facts? Where is the science? Where is the data that a study would provide?

(2) (a) Upon a determination of these facts:

What facts? No facts were presented, the information shared so far has been anecdotal. No official complaints of depredation have been addressed that include names, dates and how much damage was done to the crop. Was it ten peaches or 100? Failure to disclose that information makes the alleged depredation appear to be nothing more the hearsay.

Wildlife Board shall establish the policies best designed to accomplish the purposes and fulfill the intent of all laws pertaining to wildlife and the preservation, protection, conservation, perpetuation, introduction, and management of wildlife:

What policies were best designed by the Wildlife Board to accomplish the preservation, protection, conservation, perpetuation and management of Utah’s crow population when there have been no scientific studies done on the crow population, counts of nesting birds, nestlings that survive and fledge? Does the Wildlife Board understand that in Utah we have resident and migratory crows that are only here during a few weeks in winter? That the number of crows we see swells when those migratory birds are here. That during the proposed hunting dates resident crows will be the only crows around because the large flocks of migratory crows don’t arrive until after the first season closes?

(i) recognize that wildlife and its habitat are an essential part of a healthy, productive environment;

Crows; much the same as any other bird species, are an essential part of a healthy, productive environment. In addition they are carrion eaters which helps to clean up the environment.

(iv) recognize the social and economic values of wildlife, including fishing, hunting, and other uses; and:

Has the Wildlife Board fully recognized the social and economic value of bird watching, photography, wildlife watching and how all bird species fit into those values including the American Crow?

(v) seek to maintain wildlife on a sustainable basis.

How can this board seek to maintain crows on a sustainable basis when there are no studies that give an official number for the crow population, for the number of nests in Utah, the number of eggs in the nest and the number of young that survive? How can they say the number of crows is increasing without those studies? How much the crow population has increased in Utah at this point is merely an uninformed assumption or worse yet, a guess.

We need facts, data, studies and science not misinformation, assumptions and vagueness about alleged crop and livestock depredation complaints.

There are 71.1 million wildlife watchers in the U.S. who spend $55 billion dollars each year in the pursuit of wildlife activities. A portion of those wildlife watchers are people from out of state and country who come to Utah to view and photograph birds including our crows. And they spend money which in turn helps the economy.

The members of the Utah Wildlife Board should be aware that the number of wildlife watchers, birders, nature photographers, cyclists, hikers and people in general who enjoy and participate in outdoor activities are increasing and that our voices count and will get stronger as our numbers rise.

So far we have not seen the science, the data or the actual complaints about crows. Perhaps it is time for the Utah Wildlife Board to “be on the right side of history” and make informed decisions now about hunting crows in Utah instead of basing them on non-scientific assumptions, guesses and hearsay.

I think we should expect more from the Utah Wildlife Board than that.

Mia

Utah residents who want to comment but can not attend the hearing scheduled for July 29, 2014 from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm in the Department of Natural Resources Auditorium please send your comments to Staci Coons; UDWR Wildlife Coordinator, by email at [email protected], by phone at 801-538-4718 or by FAX at 801-538-4709. Please indicate that you are a Utah resident.

Out of state viewers who want to let the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources know how you feel about the Utah Crow Hunt why not contact them and let them know how you feel about this unethical hunt at [email protected]. Let them know you will spend your money elsewhere.

9 Comments

  1. Grace Dunklee Cohen July 15, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Great work, Mia! I just got back from shooting in Colorado and have finally caught up on your posts. Since I’m an out-of-UT-Stater, I sent a note just now to Division of Wildlife Resources and Wildlife Board and cc’d Staci. I pasted her auto-reply message below. It looks like you got through and they have scheduled a public comment session! Unfortunately, I cannot attend, but hope everyone who can will make the effort to show up and speak out!

    I attended a conservation training program put on by Sierra Club years ago and they said that the most effective thing a person can do to help effect change is to SPEAK UP – contacting elected officials and agencies (with cc to Letters to the Editor in local and regional newspapers and other public forums). Since then I do speak up and speak out and it really does make a difference. Every voice counts!

    Staci Coons ([email protected])
    1:26 PM
    To: Grace Dunklee Cohen
    [email protected]

    I will be out of the office until Monday, July 21, 2014. I will be checking emails periodically and will get back to you as soon as I can.

    If you are emailing me concerning the recent American Crow issue please note that the Wildlife Board will be taking public comment on Tuesday, July 29 beginning at 10:00 am in the Department of Natural Resources Auditorium (1594 W. North Temple).

    Thank you

    Staci

  2. Utahbooklover July 11, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Thanks for this follow-up Mia. I found this bit from a newsletter from 2001 “Growing Wild — Utah’s Cleaver Crows and Company” from the wild.utah.gov site, FYI:

    Negative attitudes towards crows and ravens persisted well into the 20th century and still exist today. Ravens, and especially crows, known to take eggs of waterfowl, were unjustly blamed for declines in populations of ducks. For example, in 1932, the magazine Field and Stream issued a form letter which stated, “If you have been following the reports from Canada you know that practically everyone competent to judge is convinced that the greatest destroyer of North American wildfowl is the crow.” Soon after, article after article vilifying the crow as the evil scoundrel respon- sible for game shortages appeared in various sporting magazines. In the 1940s large roosts were often bombed killing thousands of crows, in the 1960s Bert Popowski’s Varmint and Crow Hunter’s Bible was very popular and in an 1985 article in Fur-Fish-Game magazine, the author concludes that crow hunting is a “sure cure for cabin fever.”

    In 1972, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was amended to include ravens and crows, but most states still list crows as a legal “game” bird. They are treated differently than other game birds though in that there is usually no bag limit and they can be shot not only in the fall but also in the spring during all but the peak of the breeding season. Ironically it is illegal to tamper with the nest of a crow or raven, and researchers who wish to take these birds for scientific studies must get state and federal permits. Having a pet crow or raven is also strictly against the law.

  3. Elephant's Child July 11, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    ‘recognize the social and economic values of wildlife, including fishing, hunting, and other uses;’
    I HATE to see the value of wildlife summarised in this way. And shudder to think that one way to value it is to kill it. Hiss and spit and repeat.
    Good luck Mia.

  4. Chris Rohrer July 11, 2014 at 11:41 am

    All great points. But it comes down to one sick thing. The need to shoot a gun and kill something. Like the Badger culls in some parts of Britain, this is a terrible idea.

  5. Patty Chadwick July 11, 2014 at 8:54 am

    SICK!!!

  6. Bob Bushell July 11, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Nice one Mia.

  7. steven kessel July 11, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Are any organizations currently involved with this issue — the National Audobon Society, Friends of Wildlife, etc? Getting one of these entities involved and in opposition to the proposed hunt might carry a considerable amount of weight.

  8. Sarah Mayhew July 11, 2014 at 6:48 am

    Good letter. I don’t suppose you will get a response. But, if you do let us know. Perhaps a phone call would be more effective. They can just read the letter then toss it. But, if you are talking to them you might get some answers. Thank you for taking the initiative!

Comments are closed.