Hunters in southern Utah are once again being asked to help save the endangered California Condor by stopping at check stations where the hunters can enter to win a prize by using non-lead ammunition for the fall big game hunt. Hunters can also qualify by removing all big game remains from the field when hunting with lead ammunition. Lead poisoning is the leading cause of death for free flying condors on Utah and Arizona.

Endangered But On The Comeback

In 2011, the Hunters Helping Condors program launched in Utah to help recover the species. California Condors were listed in 1967 under the Endangered Species Act. By 1982 there were only 22 of these birds left in the world. Due to the steep population decline, all the remaining wild condors were captured and then left in captivity for safekeeping. That opened the way for a successful captive breeding program that allowed for a reintroduction of the birds back in to the wild. The current population is now over 500, with 114 condors in the wild Arizona/Utah population.

Free Ammo

Ahead of each hunting season the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources issues coupons to hunters who draw any legal weapon big game permit in the Zion Unit (southern Utah), which allows those hunters to receive free or deeply discounted non-lead ammunition. California Condors are found within the Zion Unit.

Check In And Win

During October, the DWR will have check stations where hunters who take action to help preserve the California Condor can enter to win one of five $800 gift cards for outdoor equipment. Those gift cards have been donated by the Peregrine Fund. Hunters stop at the check stations to show that they have used non-lead ammunition, or that the have removed all the remains of any big game that they have harvested from the field.

Courtesy Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Courtesy Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

One point will be at the intersection of Yellowjacket and Hancock Road. This checkpoint will be open October 12th, the 15th through 16th, 22nd through 25th and 29th through 30th. The other area checkpoint will be on State Route 14 approximately one half mile east of Canyon Park, This checkpoint will be open October 8th through 9th, 12th, 15th through 16th, 22nd through 24th and 29th through 30th. Hours at both checkpoints will be from 11am to dusk.

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