The time to decide how many buck deer permits will be available for hunts in Utah this fall is almost here.
At a meeting in December 2011, members of the Utah Wildlife Board split Utah's five general-season hunting regions into 30 smaller units.
They also gave Division of Wildlife Resources biologists some flexibility regarding the number of bucks per 100 does that each of the 30 units will be managed for.
The number of bucks per 100 does is important because it determines the number of hunting permits that can be offered:
Reducing the number of hunters is the best way to raise the number of bucks per 100 does. Reducing the number of hunters reduces the number of bucks that are taken during the hunting season. The end result of a higher buck-to-doe ratio is fewer hunters in the field, but more bucks for those who hunt.
Fewer permits have to be cut to keep a buck-to-doe ratio at a lower level. More hunters can hunt. But those who hunt will probably see fewer bucks.
For 2012, the DWR is recommending that 14 of Utah's 30 general deer hunting units be managed for 15 to 17 bucks per 100 does.
The DWR is recommending that the remaining 16 units be managed for 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does.
Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR, says the 14 units biologists would like to manage for a lower buck-to-doe ratio provide good access to lots of public land.
"Units that are mostly private land, or units that have pubic land that's difficult to access," he says, "would be managed for 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does."
To see the difference between the permits that were available in 2011 and the permits that would be available under the DWR's recommendation, here's the total number of general buck deer hunting permits in 2011: 2011 Archery
16,000 Rifle and muzzleloader
71,000 ______ Total
87,000 Here's the number of permits that would be available in 2012 if the DWR's recommendation is approved: 2012 Archery
If a higher buck-to-doe ratio was approved, more permits would have to be cut. For example, if all of the 30 units were managed for a minimum of 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does, the number of permits would probably be cut from a total of 87,000 in 2011 to about 80,000 for 2012.
A Web page that provides more information about buck-to-doe ratios and the DWR's recommendations is available at http://go.usa.gov/E9U.
In addition to general buck deer permit recommendations, at http://go.usa.gov/E9U, you can also get information about all of the DWR's big game permit proposals for 2012.
After you've reviewed the ideas at http://go.usa.gov/E9U, you can let your Regional Advisory Council members know your thoughts by attending your upcoming RAC meeting or by sending an email to them.
RAC chairmen will share the input they receive with members of the Utah Wildlife Board. The board will meet in Salt Lake City on May 3 to approve permits for this fall's big game hunts.
The RAC meeting for the Southeastern Region will be held April 11 at 5 p.m. in the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center on the USU campus in Price.
You can also provide your comments to your RAC via email. Email addresses for your RAC members are available at http://go.usa.gov/IMk.
The group each RAC member represents (sportsman, non-consumptive, etc.) is listed under each person's email address. You should direct your email to the people on the RAC who represent your interest.