In a 7 vs. 2 vote last Friday, Utah Park Service officials announced that they have extended the boundaries of this year’s elk hunt to include parts of southwestern Orem and northern Provo.
The decision largely hinged on two issues: persuading new hunters to join in helping thin the growing elk population and game dispersion over a few wide geographic areas in the former boundaries.
As a safety precaution of the decision, all persons within the new hunting areas are required to wear a bright orange cover vest. UVU administrators are urging students to purchase their vests in the bookstore to avoid a costly fine if they are sighted not wearing one.
UVU police are on high alert for poachers, making sure all hunters have licenses. Commented Sgt. Smith of the newly formed Urban brush patrol, “We don’t want anyone to be out here hunting illegally, so frequent vehicle and camp checks are a must if we’re to keep the upper hand.”
One camp near the dumpsters cited their success by gloating to some landscaping workers in the area. “If the rut is on you will need to seek out the cows to find a bull that you may want. Find their bedding areas and their food source and you will find elk. That is the key importance of scouting an area.”
Reaction to this change has been relatively muted. Some people like the idea of armed big game predators lurking in their midst, others do not, but there has been no steady stream of complaints.
Actual interaction between students and hunters has been somewhat pronounced. John Larson, a full time student, took some time during his lunch break to question a hunting party on their day’s luck. Little did he know he would be joining them for several hours out in the Quad in plain view of the classes he was missing. “I just don’t know what came over me, I guess I just got too caught up in the taste and thrill of the hunt.”
Sharing Campus with the seasons sportsmen does have it’s small annoyances. For instance, many people are returning to their cars after the day only to discover bullet holes and dents all over.
Bruce Stroud, an amateur hunter himself, found several such holes in his blue 97 Jetta after his physics class Thursday. He took the time to exercise his savvy instead of frustration and immediately identified the type of weapon used. “Its definitely a 308 Winchester; many Elk hunters like the .308 for shots that will be at 200 yards or less. Beyond that, the bullet drop will begin to pose problems a 180-grain bullet will retain over 1,200 ft/lbs of energy at 400 yards but will have dropped some 52 inches – no wonder it hit my car,” he said as he pointed over to a group of shrubs on the peak of small hill across the street.
Another small annoyance shared by all within a 12 mile radius is the constant barraging sound of gunfire. Many students are having trouble keeping concentration as shots ring through the air echoing throughout the valley.
All hikers and permanent campers in the area are urged by the Fish and Game Commission to tolerate the inconveniences as the hunters restore natural balance to the area.