Hunters who want to apply for an antlerless deer, elk, pronghorn or moose permit for hunts in Utah this fall will have to use a computer.
For the first time ever, the Division of Wildlife Resources will not accept paper applications for antlerless permits.
Hunters will also have more permits to apply for. At their April 26 meeting in Salt Lake City, members of the Utah Wildlife Board raised the number of doe deer, cow elk and cow moose permits that will be available for hunts this fall.
This year will also be the first year that 12- and 13-year-olds can apply for an antlerless deer, elk or pronghorn permit (cow moose permits are considered limited entry permits, and 12- and 13-year-olds may not apply for them).
Hunters who are 11 years old, but who will turn 12 by Dec. 31 can also apply for an antlerless permit. They may not hunt until the day they turn 12, however.
Hunters can start applying for antlerless permits at 8 a.m. on May 23.
Applications must be received through the DWR's Web site (www.wildlife.utah.gov) no later than 11 p.m. on June 19.
Judi Tutorow, wildlife licensing coordinator for the DWR, said applying online provides hunters with several benefits.
"Receiving applications only through the Internet will allow us to process the applications faster," she said. "And that means we can let hunters know sooner if they drew a permit."
Hunters will know by June 29 whether they drew a permit. That's only 10 days after the end of the application period and almost a month earlier than last year.
Receiving applications online will also allow the DWR to get permits into the hands of hunters before the hunts start.
Some of the antlerless hunts begin on Aug. 1. In the past, the time it took to process paper applications meant the DWR couldn't post the results until the end of July. Because of the late posting date, the agency couldn't offer permits that weren't taken in the draw until the first week in August. By then, some of the hunts had already started.
"This change will allow us to start selling permits on July 26, before any of the hunts begin," Tutorow said.
Applying online also helps hunters two additional ways: it's almost impossible to make a mistake on the online application, and hunters won't have to wait for a refund because a $5 nonrefundable handling fee is the only fee they'll have to pay when they apply.
The DWR received more than 28,500 antlerless applications last year. Of those, about 2,900 were paper applications. "Every year, fewer and fewer hunters are applying with a paper application," Tutorow said.
If you have questions about applying online, please visit the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office. Computers are available at each office, and the staff at each office can help you through the process.
You can also receive assistance by calling the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.
The board increased the number of permits for doe deer from 1,080 to 1,705 in 2007. Cow elk permits were increased from 4,999 to 7,881. In 2006, the division allowed 63 cow moose. That number increased to 89 for the 2007 hunt. And the number of doe pronghorn increased from 587 to 347.
Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR, said good weather and intense habitat improvement projects over the past few years are starting to pay off for Utah's big game herds. "The state's big game animals are doing well," he said. "Over the past few years, much of the state has enjoyed mild winters and wet springs and summers. These conditions really help animals."
Aoude said during a mild winter, fewer animals die. And a wet spring provides good vegetation for does and cows.
"Good vegetation in the spring helps does and cows produce more milk for their young. That helps them raise strong and healthy fawns and calves," Aoude said. "Good summer rains also provide plenty of vegetation for the fawns and calves, which helps them grow quicker before fall and winter arrive."
For more information, call the Price DWR office at 636-0260 or the Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.