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Utah DWR Proposes More Permits for Most Species

March 9, 2008.

You might have a better chance at drawing a permit to hunt big game in Utah this fall.

Division of Wildlife Resources biologists are recommending an increase in the number of permits available for most species.

All of the DWR's big game proposals are available online.


"Most of Utah's big game animals are doing well," says Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR. "And that's great news for sportsmen. It means more permits can be offered this fall."

The following are among the DWR's recommendations:

Buck deer

The number of permits the state can offer for Utah's general buck deer hunts each fall is decided by two factors.

One is the state's permit cap. The cap does not allow more than 97,000 general buck deer permits to be offered each year.

The other is a requirement that deer herds have at least 15 bucks per 100 does.

A few years ago, the Utah Wildlife Board decreased buck deer permits by 1,000 permits each in both the Central and Northeastern regions. The board lowered the number of permits because the three-year buck-to-doe average in each region fell below the minimum of 15 bucks per 100 does.

Since then, the number of bucks has improved. Over the past three years, biologists have found an average of 16 bucks per 100 does in the Central Region. In the Northeastern Region, the herds have averaged 16 bucks per 100 does.

"Both regions have good numbers of bucks," Aoude says. "We'd like to give more hunters a chance to hunt these bucks by returning 1,000 permits to each of the two regions."

One region biologists do not want to add permits back to is the Northern Region.

"A lot of deer died in the Northern Region during the winter of 2007–2008," Aoude says. "Even though the three-year buck-to-doe average across the region is good, the average on two of the units — the Cache and Ogden units — is down to about 10 bucks per 100 does.

"We'd like to maintain the current number of permits to help the deer in those two units rebound faster."

Bull elk

On 26 of Utah's 28 limited entry bull elk units, hunters are taking bull elk that are older than the age objective for the units. Because the units have plenty of big bulls, biologists are proposing that the number of limited entry bull elk permits be raised this year.

The biologists are proposing 2,760 limited entry bull elk permits for 2009. That's up 13 percent from the 2,447 offered in 2008.

"There are plenty of big bulls on these units," Aoude says. "We want to give a few more hunters a chance to enjoy hunting them."

Permit recommendations

The following chart shows the number of permits that were available in 2008 and the number the DWR is recommending for 2009:

  2008 2009
General season buck deer 94,000 96,000
Premium limited-entry deer 191 188
Limited-entry deer 891 1,021
Limited-entry bull elk 2,447 2,760
Pronghorn antelope 945 1,026
Moose 184 147
Bison 172 121 or 152
Rocky Mountain goat 91 104
Desert bighorn sheep 36 37
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep 23 24

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