Deer and elk hunt season changes put on hold, some areas face cutbacks
Members of the Utah Wildlife Board want hunters to see more buck deer during Utah's general hunts. That goal has led the Division of Wildlife Resources to put on hold big game hunting ideas it has shared with hunters over the past several months.
Instead, the DWR will present some new ideas. The goal of these ideas is to increase the number of bucks per 100 does on Utah's general-season units. To increase the number of bucks per 100 does, fewer people would be allowed to hunt in some areas of the state.
The discussion that led to the changes happened at the board's Sept. 22 executive work meeting. You can read the minutes of the meeting at www.wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/board-minutes.html. The minutes should be available by Oct. 7.
The DWR is still working out the details of the new idea, but the idea would likely involve the Wildlife Board amending Utah's statewide deer management plan. Those amendments would likely raise the average number of bucks per 100 does that DWR biologists must manage for.
Instead of an average of 15 bucks per 100 does, biologists would likely have to manage general-season areas so an average of 18 bucks per 100 does was found after the fall hunting seasons were over.
Two ideas to reach that goal have emerged so far.
Under a proposal the DWR is formulating, general deer hunting would likely continue in the five deer hunting regions Utah currently has. If the number of bucks per 100 does fell below preset levels on units or subunits within the regions, however, hunting on those specific units would be allowed only on a limited basis.
A second idea that's been proposed would likely result in the regions being divided into smaller units. All hunters-archery, muzzleloader and rifle-would be allowed to hunt on only one of up to 29 smaller units in the state.
Both ideas have one thing in common-fewer hunters would be allowed to hunt in some areas of the state.
"All of the details should be worked out by the end of October," says Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR.
Once the proposals have been finalized, residents can read the proposals at www.wildlife.utah.gov. After reading the proposals residents can provide their comments at Regional Advisory Council meetings in November.
They can also provide your comments directly to RAC members via e-mail.
Members of the Wildlife Board will decide which option to approve when they meet Dec. 2 in Salt Lake City.