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DWR reminds the public: do not disturb wildlife

golf bag chases elk
A remote-controlled golf bag charges on a herd of elk at Park Meadows Country Club.

As migration patterns bring herds of elk into local neighborhoods this fall, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources reminds residents that it’s against Utah law to intentionally disturb wildlife.

A video posted recently to Facebook by a Park City resident shows a remote-controlled golf bag driving toward a herd of elk on the Park Meadows golf course. While the bag succeeded in clearing the fairway, DWR spokesperson Faith Jolley says it shouldn’t be repeated because it’s a form of wildlife harassment.

“Anytime somebody is intentionally trying to chase wildlife or get them to run or harassing them, that is illegal activity. This can include chasing them with a vehicle or some kind of other motorized toy, and also drones. So, all of those activities are illegal in the state of Utah.”

Park Meadows General Manager Damon Rodgers says elk are frequent guests at Park Meadows, and golfers should skip the hole when they’re blocking the way.

“Our maintenance guys are used to them being here, and our golfers are too, so they usually just try to work around them. I mean, they’re elk, you’re not gonna move them.”

Jolley says even in urban settings, and even if people are concerned for an animal’s safety, they shouldn’t take matters into their own hands. To avoid unsafe situations for people and wildlife, they should instead report the situation to the DWR.

Jolley says that intentionally harassing wildlife is a class-B misdemeanor.

For more information on the DWR and how to contact a wildlife professional, visit wildlife.utah.gov.

Ben Lasseter reports for KPCW in Wasatch County. Before moving to Heber City, Ben worked in Manti as a general assignment newspaper reporter and editor.