Elk hunters should find good hunting opportunities in southeastern Utah
|Elk hunting is expected to be good in the southeastern region of Utah for the 2005 hunting season.|
Spike elk hunting in the southeastern region of Utah in 2005 is expected to be very good.
Calf production was slightly above normal last year and with the open winter, there should be increased numbers of spike elk.
However, hunters should be cautious, because with the increased precipitation and corresponding forage production, many yearlings may have two-points on each side and not be legal game.
The following is what hunters may expect in each unit:
Range Creek (11b) - Any bull on north sub-unit and private lands on south sub-unit, limited entry on public lands on south sub-unit. The population is estimated to be about 35 percent above the management objective, but still, slightly less than in the past three years.
Limited entry permits were increased slightly because of an additional late season rifle hunt. Any bull hunting will be about the same as in years past. It will be good for those with access to private lands, but very difficult for those trying to hunt the checkerboard parcels of public land on the north sub-unit.
San Rafael (12) - Any bull, north of I-70. This is a very small, transient elk population of less than 50 animals. Lucky hunters may find some bulls in pinyon-juniper areas. This is a very difficult hunt.
LaSal Mountain (13a) - Spike only, limited entry. Elk population has declined, due to drought and increased antlerless elk permits. However, average age of limited entry bulls has increased. Increased permits by seven due to lowering the age objective, added late season hunt and high average age of bulls harvested. Spike hunting should be good due to increased production.
Delores Triangle (13b) - Limited entry. Limited entry permits kept at same level (3) as in past years. Weather permitting, hunt success should be high.
San Juan (14) - Limited entry. Population is near objective of 1300 animals. Permits for bulls increased by 14 permits due to high average age of harvested bulls and lowering age objective. Hunters who drew a permit should have an excellent hunt.
Henry Mountains (15) - Any Bull. Very low population, about 30 animals, in a very rugged and remote area. Any hunters willing to ascend 2000 vertical feet on steep granite slopes may be lucky enough to see an elk. If not, they can enjoy the incredible view. This hunt has had low success in the past.
Central Mountains, Manti (16bc) - Spike only, Limited entry. Elk population is at 73 percent of objective due to drought and increased antlerless elk harvest. Increased calf production the past two years has resulted in a slightly increasing herd. The number of spikes should be up this year.
Hunting conditions will vary from excellent to difficult, depending on weather conditions. Limited entry permits increased by 22 permits (9 percent) in 2005 because the average age of harvest bulls, at almost 6.5 years old, exceeded the objective of 4.5.
Limited entry hunters should have the hunt of a lifetime, although the late-season rifle hunt will be a new experience.