A simpler, fairer and more consistent approach to limited entry elk hunting in Utah in 2004 was approved by the Utah Wildlife Board at its Nov. 13 meeting in Salt Lake City.
"The thing we keep hearing from elk hunters is that the regulations are too complicated," said Jim Karpowitz, big game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "They also want the regulations to be fairer and more consistent across the board. At the same time, they don't want the quality of their hunting experience to decline."
Three major elk hunting changes were approved:
Limited entry elk permits will now be allocated on all units in a consistent way, based on weapon type - 25 percent archery, 60 percent any weapon and 15 percent muzzleloader.
"This distribution will reduce rifle elk hunting opportunities on some units and increase the number of archers and muzzleloader hunters on the units," Karpowitz said. "This will lay the groundwork for expanded limited entry elk hunting opportunities in the future, because archers and muzzleloader hunters are less successful than rifle hunters. It will also distribute hunting pressure over three hunts, which will lessen hunting pressure during the rifle hunt and provide a better experience for rifle hunters."
AR301 archery elk permits have been eliminated. These were special archery elk permits that allowed 300 archers to hunt all of the state's general any bull elk units, as well as several spike bull and limited entry units.
Archery hunters will still have plenty of opportunity, however, because the number of limited entry archery elk permits has been increased dramatically.
ML300 muzzleloader elk permits have also been eliminated, and the 1,300 ML300 permits that have been available in the past have been added to the general any bull elk permit cap.
In 2004, the any bull elk cap will be 14,300 permits. When hunters buy an any bull permit, they can choose whether they want their permit to be a rifle permit or a muzzleloader permit.