Rep. Noel proposes hunting deer and bighorn sheep on Antelope Island

As a means of generating new revenue, Rep. Mike Noel has announced he will propose hunting permits for deer and bighorn sheep on Antelope Island State Park. The announcement came during a budget hearing of the Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee, This was the same meeting at which Senator Buttars made a controversial proposal to privatize state parks (h/t Glen Warchol, Salt Lake Crawler).

Earlier in the hearing, Noel commented on the losses experienced by state parks and wondered “are we ever going to make money on parks?”

Noel suggests that selling two tags each for deer and bighorn sheep will generate revenue of about $250 thousand for the state parks,

Well, the condition that we’re in right now with the funding and things, we could sure use the ongoing revenue of a coupla $150 thousand, may be even more, might even be as high as $500 thousand, some of these state-wide tags have sold for $200 thousand.

Utah Parks Superintendent Mary Tullius responded that in numerous public surveys, people have not supported hunting on the island except for biological reasons, such as overpopulation or disease. The bighorn herds were put out there as nursery herds. Recreational hunting was never an intent.

I just want to alert the committee as we make this tomorrow, I’m going to make a motion to do that, cause I think we could use the money and I don’t’ see any reason why we shouldn’t, we’ve already got bison being hunted out there

If we got two tags for deer and two for goats, we could bring in $300 thousand to 400 thousand a year, seems like a pretty good deal to me. And put at a time when there’s not a lot of people out there, a very controlled situation. Anyway, thank you very much, ‘preciate it.

I am not sure I understand how two tags can generate the kind of money Noel suggests. I checked Utah’s website for hunting Licenses, Permits and Fees. A license to hunt bison on Antelope Island goes for $1,105 for residents, and $1,513 for non-residents. I wasn’t able to determine how many licenses were granted in a year for this hunt.

I’ll admit I’m not a hunter, so maybe I don’t understand how many animals may be taken with one tag. Perhaps I’m not doing the math correctly, but I fail to see how offering two tags each of these animals on Antelope Island will produce even a small fraction of the amount stated by Noel.

Antelope Island is a unique and popular recreation area. Easily accessed from Antelope Drive in Davis County, It attracts large numbers of families, bicyclists, bird and animal enthusiasts, photographers, boaters, and just plain sight-seers. It’s hard to imagine, even if the revenue projections are correct, being able to conduct a hunt in a way that wouldn’t impact regular public use.

Audio of the hearing is available here: See the file for February 8, 2010, 2:00 pm.

Cross-posted at Davis County Democrats and at


2 Responses

  1. I do NOT support this hunt. This is the lazy way out Utah! Please re-examine the spending. There are other ways to raise money. Start tours to go and see the beauty, create more beauty, it could be an island people desire to see. Hold fund raisers.

    I am reading the gatering and horrific slaughter of Utah Wild Horses, culling of deer in Davis County, hunting the wolves, and this. Not due to starvation, over population or illness. Just bad politics.
    Why is Utah Gov. killing the very beauty many people come here to see.

  2. Just to clarify 2 tags will sell for $200 to $400 thousand plus, that’s 1 Sheep and 1 Deer! Mule Deer and Sheep tags are among the most coveted tags in the state. If you sell one of each I’m positive that will bring in over $200 thousand, which I might add is sorely needed to help support our struggling state parks. Just this past year the owner of a chain of sandwich shops in Champaign, Ill., paid $245,000 for a bighorn sheep hunting tag. The Utah Governor’s mule deer tag went for $205k! That’s just to 2 examples of many. As a lover of Antelope Island I have done my research on this issue and I can say with out hesitation that I support the proposal. “If you want to protect the Bald Eagle make it a game bird because hunters have proven to be the best Conservationists” This is just to help make a point (no one seriously wants to hunt bald eagles) that groups like Sportsman for fish and wildlife, Mule Deer Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited and others do more for wildlife individually than other Environment and Conservation groups put together. This is a simple reality and with this information I don’t know how you could justify not wanting the state to move forward with 2 to 4 additional hunts on the island. The wildlife managers themselves have said the hunts will have no real impact on the herds. To me it seems like people just have a problem with hunting, and are not really considering whether or not it makes good sense for the state and the island.

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