Below is a news release from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
A lot of bills were passed during the 2022 legislative session, and April 1 was the deadline for Gov. Spencer Cox to sign or veto them. Here are three bills that were signed into law this legislative session that impact wildlife and outdoor recreation in Utah that you should know about.
HB142 Donation of Wild Game Meat
Hunter dressed in hunter orange, holding a rifle and a scope, posing over a harvested deer
While hunters could previously donate wild game meat from animals they harvested to individuals in need, this law now allows them to donate the meat to local food banks or other non-profit charitable organizations.
The meat must be harvested legally by a licensed hunter and can only be donated, not sold. The meat must come from animals that are in good health before they are harvested, and the animal must be field-dressed immediately after harvest and processed by a custom meat processor as soon as possible after harvest. Road-kill animals cannot be donated to local organizations.
The new law also sets up an account managed by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources where people can donate money to those who are processing the meat, in an effort to help compensate them for their time and service. Interested donors can contact the DWR and specify that the donation should go toward covering the costs of processing donated game meat.
SB205 Air Rifle Hunting Amendments
This law directs the Utah Wildlife Board to determine which wildlife species can be hunted with an air rifle in Utah and also clarifies what type of air rifle can be used. The rifle must be a pre-charged pneumatic air rifle that uses compressed air released from a chamber built into the rifle. 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.
Under this new law, the DWR was directed to review the funding available for the regulation of hunting with air rifles and to report that information to lawmakers by November 2024.
HB62 Big Game Amendments
This law amends and clarifies the actions that a landowner and the DWR can take when wildlife cause damage to cultivated crops, livestock forage, fences or irrigation equipment. It clarifies under what circumstances a landowner may kill big game animals that are causing the damage and also amends and specifies the compensation available for that damage.
The new law also sets limitations on compensating people, including hunting guides and outfitters, to locate big game animals during hunts in Utah. The law specifies that the licensed hunter cannot use more than one outfitter or hunting guide in connection with harvesting a big game animal and that the outfitter or hunting guide cannot use more than one compensated individual to locate or monitor the location of a big game animal on public land.
“We are confident that these bills, among others, will help us in our mission to effectively manage Utah’s wildlife and will provide Utah hunters with some additional opportunities,” DWR Director J Shirley said.
(Photo credit: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)