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You can hunt crows in Utah... but you have to eat what you kill

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A crow hunt is set in Utah in September, and hunting rules dictate that hunters must eat their catch, too. Yet wildlife enthusiasts and environmental activists attempted on Tuesday to stop the impending hunt and asked officials to review the new rule.

The Utah Wildlife Board, however, voted 3-2 allowing the forthcoming hunt to go as planned, regardless of various complaints from these activists. The plan to hunt crows, both for depredation and sports, was decided by the board in June.

Part of the board’s decision on said crow hunt, the sport hunters are also allowed to kill a maximum of 10 birds in a day, while landowners and farmers can target birds that have been causing damages to their crops.

The groups opposed to the crow hunt, however, said they do not believe that these hunters would comply with the rule that is to eat their own catch. They are likewise worried over the possibility that hunters may fail to classify black birds from other dark birds, specifically ravens that are considered protected species.

Utah officials revealed that crows have tripled in the past 12 years, so the hunt in fall was seen necessary to control the noise and clutter created by these black birds.

Environmentalists and bird enthusiasts, however, argued that there’s no sense in killing these black birds.

"This is the worst kind of wanton waste of wildlife and it's against the principles of ethical hunting," Sharon St. Joan of Kanab said.

“We'd like to see some sort of scientific study, rather than anecdotal evidence to prove this hunt is necessary and/or beneficial," Utah Birders co-founder Carl Ingwell also said to Reuters.

John Bair, board member at Utah Wildlife, though insisted that crow hunting was supported by scientific data or else the Division of Wildlife Resources wouldn’t have suggested it.

"We have wildlife in Utah because we hunt wildlife in Utah," said Bair to a crowd. "Never in our state’s history has there been an animal hunted to extinction while it was regulated under the Division of Wildlife. I have no reason to believe crow will be any different."

According to a Reuters report, the population of crows since 2002 grew by 300 percent as revealed by the state’s wildlife agency. Data from one national birding organization, however, suggest the other way around—that crows are declining in Utah.

Besides September, crow hunts will take place between December 1 and February 28 every year in Utah.

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