Elk Shot In Round Valley: DWR Says It's Legal, City Says No Hunting On City Property

Jan 10, 2020

Credit Mountain Trails Foundation

According to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, hunting is legal in Round Valley. Park City code prohibits hunting on city owned property.

KPCW prvides this report showing the bureaucratic contradictions of legal hunting jurisdiction on city property.

When two cow elk were shot in the city-owned Round Valley open space late in December, the Utah DWR and Park City Municipal issued a flurry of statements identifying a variety of interpretations of the hunting law. In Thursday’s city council public input session, Mountain Trails Foundation Director Charlie Sturgis asked for city council to act.

“It’s time to stop hunting on city lands. It's time to make sure that the type of hunting incident that occurred last week with one elk shot and killed and one elk shot and ran away, that this type of shooting in an area where we see hundreds of thousands of user days, is insane to let that continue to happen."

The governor of Utah appoints a Wildlife board which has jurisdiction over municipalities to determine allowable hunting regions throughout the state. The DWR has determined the two elk were taken legally under their rules and regulations.

Sturgis told the council that enforceable hunting laws must be put in place by the city and he urged the council to direct staff to get it done once and for all.

“I Know it’s going up against some old culture but the amount of traffic in an area like Round Valley, the amount of traffic we're seeing in Bonanza Flat, potentially in Treasure Hill, all these areas in one sense are open to hunting despite what we think as citizens. So, I think it's time to really real that puppy in.”

Park City Council member Steve Joyce in his interview with KPCW says it may be very difficult to enforce no hunting on city-owned property.

“We need to go do some work on this and understand what we can do better than we’ve done so far. I don't know that we can do better than we’ve done so far. I don’t know whether there’s simple things like posting more no hunting signs on our property.  Would that help?  Certainly, trying to push for the enforcement when things do go wrong. You know, I don’t know that we’re going to be able 100%, especially when we get up to things like Bonanza Flat where enforcement, long history of what's going on up there, it's going to take a while. It's the right objective. Charlie was dead on with what he was asking us to do and I'm not sure how we go about doing it yet.”

According to Sturgis, the DWR has identified the person who shot the elk. He said city laws prohibit trespassing and discharging a firearm on city-owned property.

“The elk that was shot, the person did have a tag. The second elk is kind of an unexplainable. I think the statement was that he didn't know he had shot the elk which is not exactly good hunting etiquette. There could be some potential still for enforcing a trespass or also shooting within 600 feet or discharging a firearm in city limits. There. could be some other things that maybe could take it up with the hunter."

KPCW is waiting for a response from City Attorney Mark Harrington. A call was made to the Chair of the Utah Wildlife Board Byron Bateman and no response has been received as of this report.