For those that hunt spike bull elk with a rifle or mature bull elk with a bow, they might find themselves hunting some extra days in Utah next fall.
At their Nov. 29 meeting in Salt Lake City, members of the Utah Wildlife Board returned the state's general rifle spike bull elk hunt to a 13-day hunt. They also added five days to Utah's limited entry archery bull elk hunt.
One change the board did not approve was adding four days to the general rifle buck deer hunt in the southeastern and southern regions. The hunts in the two regions will still be five-day hunts this fall.
All of the rules the board members approved will be available in Utah's 2008 Big Game Guidebook. The guidebook should be available at the Division of Wildlife Resources' Web site (www.wildlife.utah.gov) by mid-December.
Basically hunters will have more time to hunt spike bull elk after board members returned Utah's general spike bull elk rifle hunt to a 13-day season. It's been nine days long for the past few years.
The general spike bull elk rifle hunt will run Oct. 4 -16. Those are the same season dates Utah's any bull elk rifle hunt will run.
"The length of the spike bull elk hunt was shortened a few years ago when the age objective for bulls taken on limited entry units was lowered on most of the units," Aoude says. "Lowering the objective allows more permits to be issued and more bulls to be taken. The idea behind shortening the season was to save more spike bulls so they could grow into mature bulls."
Since that time, Aoude says the age objective on most of the elk units has been raised. Raising the objective means fewer bulls will be taken.
Even if there was a need to protect spike bulls, Aoude says keeping the season at nine days wouldn't make much of a difference.
"The elk situation is the same as the deer situation," he says. "Even though the season has been lengthened by four days, most hunters won't take advantage of the extra days."
Aoude says hunters who hunt nine-day elk seasons in Utah hunt an average of five days. That number increases to five-and-a-half days when the season is 13 days long.
Utah's general archery elk hunt will start five days earlier this next summer. The early start will provide limited entry bull elk hunters with five extra days of hunting.
Here's what the board approved.
The general archery elk hunt will still be 23 days long, but it will begin five days earlier. The general archery elk hunt begins Aug. 16, which is the same day the general archery buck deer hunt begins.
Starting the general archery elk hunt five days earlier means it will end five days earlier. Those extra five days will be given to limited entry archery elk hunters. That will increase the length of the limited entry archery elk hunt to 28 days without taking any days away from general archery elk hunters.
The Utah Bowman's Association recommended the change.