MDF & SFW Raise Funds for Utah State Parks & Recreation Wildlife Programs

MDF & SFW Raise Funds for Utah State Parks & Recreation Wildlife Programs

Mule Deer Foundation
Mule Deer Foundation

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah –-( The Mule Deer Foundation and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife presented a check for $283,500 to the Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation for wildlife habitat improvement and management work on Antelope Island State Park which is located in the Great Salt Lake.

The funds were raised from the auction of a Mule Deer tag and a California Bighorn Sheep tag to be hunted on the Island this fall.

The tags were auctioned last February at the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo (WHCE) held in Salt Lake City.

The Mule Deer Tag sold for $265,000 and the Sheep tag sold for $50,000. The WHCE retains ten percent of the sale price.

Mule deer have not been hunted on Antelope Island for more than 30 years. Bighorn Sheep have not previously been hunted on the Island. The bighorn sheep were transplanted to the Island in 1997 by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. The sheep herd has served as a source of transplant animals for the West Desert area of Utah.

The most visible Island resident is the bison. “From bison and bighorn sheep, to mule deer and pronghorn, all island wildlife will benefit from this generous gift,” said Director Mary Tullius, Utah State Parks and Recreation.

Mike Styler, Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources said, “This is a prime example of sportsmen reinvesting in habitat, and in this case the recipient is a great state park. Because of one deer and one bighorn sheep tag, we will have more than $280,000 invested directly into habitat work.”

Byron Bateman, President of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife said, “The $283,500 raised at this year’s Expo is a win/win for Utah State Parks and the bighorn sheep and mule deer that live on Antelope Island with 100% of the money going directly to projects to benefit both species.”

State Park budgets have been reduced in recent years resulting in layoffs and some parks potentially being shut down. The auctioning of these special tags will bring much needed funds to help maintain and improve wildlife habitat on the Island that wouldn’t be available due to the budget cuts.

“We are glad we can help fund wildlife projects on Antelope Island during these difficult economic times,” said Miles Moretti, President and CEO of the Mule Deer Foundation. “This is a great example of a public/private partnership finding innovative ways to provide funding for the Park.”

In addition to the two auction tags, a public drawing was held for one deer and one sheep tag. The hunts will take place in November.

About MDF ( The Mule Deer Foundation is one of the key conservation groups in North America working to restore, improve and protect mule deer, black-tailed deer and their habitat. With a focus on science and program efficiency, MDF has raised millions of dollars and put countless man-hours on the ground for mission-critical projects. MDF acknowledges regulated hunting as a viable management component and is committed to recruitment and retention of youth into the shooting sports and conservation. Visit the MDF Web site or call 1-888-375-DEER.

About SFW ( Headquartered in North Salt Lake, Utah, SFW is a charitable, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. The mission of SFW is to promote the protection and enhancement of wildlife habitat, assist in providing quality wildlife management programs, educating the public about the role hunters play in wildlife conservation, and perpetuating the family tradition of hunting and fishing. Visit the SFW Web site or call 801-936-1386.