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Utah DWR guilty of permitting illegal bighorn harvest

BIghorn on snowy mountainside
Photo credits: Shutterstock

The chance at an once-in-a-lifetime bighorn sheep is a coveted rite of passage for many hunters. Yet a recent slip-up by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) has many hunters seeing red. Due to some major misinformation, Texas bodybuilder Robyn Waldrip, who was hunting with a conservation tag, was permitted to hunt bighorn sheep on Mount Nebo in Utah – a unit closed to those holding conservation tags on even-number years.

Once UDWR realized their mistake, they owned up to it, posting an apology on the agency’s page. While this may sweep the issue under the proverbial governmental rug, the outfitters involved with guiding Waldrip on her hunt are still receiving flack from hundreds of angry hunters via social media.

Wade Lemon of Wade Lemon Hunting told the Salt Lake City Tribune that his guides “memorized” the 60-page “Utah Big Game Field Regulations” pamphlet published by UDWR, noting that the section on Mount Nebo doesn’t specify what years it is closed. Lemon says, “If it's not in the proclamation, I can't read minds."

Yet, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune, the pamphlet does advises hunters to visit UDWR’s website for up-to-date rules and regulations, and, due to some investigative sleuthing, the paper uncovered that rule R657-41-2 does cover this topic at the end, stating, “Central Mountain/Nebo/Wastach West sheep unit is open to the [random draw] Sportsmen permit holder on even number years and open to the Statewide Conservation permit holder on odd number years.”

Because it is 2016 and Waldrip held a conservation tag, she shouldn’t have been permitted to hunt the unit. Regardless, the misinformation came from a UDWR employee.

As of Friday, the agency has posted the following message:

"Because the aforementioned rule affects only two people per year, we have historically opted to not include it in the guidebook. Instead, we send letters to both hunters, explaining the rule. Unfortunately, because of a personnel change this year, we cannot find proof that we sent an explanatory letter to the statewide conservation permit holder.”

Hopefully, during next year’s draw, the rules will be reviewed a bit more closely before tag holders hit the mountains.




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Elmer F. - posted 2 years ago on 01-01-2017 06:40:56 am

WOW, sounds like Colofornia.
Every decision made benefits the outfitters.
For instance, left over license sales start at 8:00 on a Tuesday. No limit. I have taken a vacation day to stand in line and saw an outfitter ahead of me buy 25 tags, no limit. I step up and they say he got the last one.

Warren L. - posted 3 years ago on 11-03-2016 08:08:31 am
Shelton, CT.

They should not allow those holding conservation tags to hunt this unit next year. open it to the draw.

Elmer F. - posted 3 years ago on 11-02-2016 04:53:15 am

Yeah, and Wade Lemon didn't know?? Riiiight......
Wildlife agencies in CO, UT, WY all cater to the outfitters.

Elmer F. - posted 3 years ago on 11-02-2016 04:51:13 am

Yeah, and Wade Lemon didn't know?? Riiiight......
Wildlife agencies in CO, UT, WY all cater to the outfitters.

Lynn G. - posted 3 years ago on 11-01-2016 07:58:34 pm
roy, utah

I don't take their word for this, it could have been done to help a special person.they manage our game to helpmake a few people wealthy

Bob L. - posted 3 years ago on 10-28-2016 02:06:17 pm

And how many read the full regs, then go check state statutes and compare? Damn few if any. UDWR screwed the pooch on this one. It's not too difficult to put that one sentence right in the app book with the season dates.

Adam H. - posted 3 years ago on 10-27-2016 10:00:53 am

Such a freaking joke. Thank you for continuing to not let this one "slide".