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Time To Apply In Utah

February 6, 2009.

Utah is currently accepting big game applications, with a deadline of February 26th at 11pm MT.

Utah has a wide range of world-class opportunity, including desert sheep, rocky mountain bighorns, mountain goat, moose, antelope, mule deer, bison, and elk. A great example of Utah's potential is the new world record elk taken during the 2008 season.

Some regulation changes for 2009 make applying in Utah more tempting than ever. If you've been on the fence about applying in Utah, this is the year to decide whether to commit or not.

Historically, nonresidents were allowed to apply for one "once-in-a-lifetime" species (desert sheep, rocky mountain bighorn, goat, bison, moose) and either deer, elk, or pronghorn. Since you only had to submit the $10 application fee up front, it was always very tempting to apply in Utah, even if drawing a tag was a long shot.

In 2008, Utah implemented a requirement that a $65 hunting license must be purchased in order to apply. Still faced with long odds, the added $65 expense made Utah a little less attractive.

In 2009, Utah has made another very significant change. Starting this year, nonresidents are allowed to apply for and accumulate bonus points towards all species. Paying for the $65 license is much less painful when it allows you to get your name in the hat for 8 different highly-coveted licenses.

The odds are still tough. Sheep odds, for example, are well over 1 in 1,000. But Utah does have a bonus point system, and if you build points over a number of years, you start to have a more realistic shot of drawing at least one tag someday. Pronghorn is a realistic goal, and Utah offers a lot of outstanding elk tags. And there's always that chance that you'll get lucky and draw one of those 1 in 1,000 tags.

If you think you might ever want to try to draw a premier tag in Utah, make sure you start applying and building points this year. Otherwise, you'll be behind the other nonresidents who started taking advantage of Utah's new opportunity this year. Bonus point inflation is going to pick up the pace in Utah this year.

Note that Utah has had a bonus point system in place for about 15 years, so there are going to be lots of guys ahead of you. For details on bonus point counts, see UDWR's website. But if you want to apply, this is the year to commit.

Go to the website of the Utah Division of Wildlife resources to get your copy of the application booklet.

To apply online: https://www.sci-nevada.com/webutapps/index.asp

Results of the 2009 drawings will be available April 30.

I have submitted my eight apps in Utah, mostly for world-class hunts with really long odds. I'll keep track of my applications (and all the subsequent rejections) on the Hunt The West homepage.

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