Become an INSIDER to gain access to this article

Join now

APPLICATION STRATEGY 2017: Utah Elk and Antelope

Bugling bull in the fall

Utah's elk and antelope application overview

Jump to: New for 2017 State Information Draw System Elk Breakdown Antelope Breakdown

Utah still offers those fortunate enough to draw a permit one of the best elk hunting opportunities in the West. What makes Utah such a great elk state? Quality habitat, good moisture, time proven genetics, age class and vast amounts of public land. Every year, people chase that magical 400" number and although there are a small number of 400” bulls taken in Utah, that is definitely not the norm. The great thing about Utah is it's still one of the best trophy elk states in the west with every limited entry unit in the state having the potential to produce 330” plus bulls! Although permits can be hard to draw and odds are even harder for some of the more well-known units, there's always hope and it’s always worth applying.

Note: The application deadline for Utah limited entry elk and antelope is March 2 by 11:00 MST. You can apply online or by phoning any Division Office.



Why Utah for elk and antelope

Huge bulls

Every limited entry unit in the state has the potential to produce 330” plus bulls and several units regularly produce 380” plus bulls!

There’s always a chance to draw

Draw odds for the premier elk units are notoriously tough. Yet, with Utah’s draw system, every single applicant has at least some chance. For a breakdown at using our standalone draw odds and some examples of point creep and the breakpoint, you can read this article here.

Long season dates

The archery hunt for elk begins mid-August and is almost a month long but misses most of the peak rut. The any legal weapon (rifle) hunt is your best bet to hit the rut for a phenomenal hunt. In the West, the chance to hunt bugling bulls is a rarity for rifle hunters. The muzzleloader hunt will open just after the any legal weapon hunt on September 27 and the bulls are still likely to be rutting.

Don’t forget about the late season any weapon hunts, occurring in mid-November. These late season hunts generally have better draw odds than the early any legal weapon hunt. Utah has a very limited amount of multi-season permits, which allow the tag holder to hunt EVERY limited entry season for that unit. Don't forget about the small amount of OTC or extended archery opportunities in Utah.

Plenty of accessible public land

Utah is a great state for the public land DIY or guided hunter. Many of the best trophy elk and antelope hunting opportunities occur on accessible federal and state managed lands.



New for 2017

  • Shed hunting closure statewide until April 1. Read more here.
  • Youth hunters can apply for limited entry and once-in-a-lifetime hunts at an earlier age. The youth must turn 12 years old by Dec. 31, 2017.
  • Updated application page website.
    • Changes to make the process easier to use.
  • New limited-entry any legal weapon bull elk hunts
    • These hunts overlap the general season spike elk hunts. The goal of these hunts is to move some of the permits out of the early rifle hunt, where demand for the permits is highest and place them in a hunt that might provide better draw odds.
  • New antelope hunts

Permit start and end dates

  • The biggest problem in Utah tends to be the difficult archery elk season dates. In 2016 the archery elk hunt ended on September 16 and for 2017, the season will end a day sooner on September 15. Most years the archery hunt is already over before the peak of the elk rut. 


State information

To view important information and an overview of the Utah’s rules/regulations, the draw system and bonus points, tag and license fees and an interactive boundary line map, check out our State Profile. You can also view the Utah Elk Profile and Antelope Profile to access historical and statistical data to help you find trophy areas.

Utah State Profile Elk Profile Antelope Profile Draw Odds Filtering 2.0

Important dates and information

  • Deadline to apply is March 2, 2017 at 11 p.m. MST.
  • Bonus point and preference point applications will be accepted up to March 16, 11 p.m. MST.
  • You can apply online or by calling or visiting a UDWR office.
  • Results will be emailed or available online on or before May 31, 2017.
  • Hunters must have a valid hunting or combination hunting and fishing license to apply for tags. Hunting licenses are valid for 365 days from date of purchase.
  • Withdrawing or correcting an application is allowed before the application deadline. Corrections must be made online. Be aware: you will be charged the $10 application fee again to make adjustments.
  • If you are unsuccessful in the draw, then you will be awarded a bonus point for that species.
  • Nonresidents are allocated 10% of tags in each unit as long as at least 10 tags are available.
  • Nonresidents may apply for and build points for all available species.
  • Residents may only apply for one limited entry species: elk, deer, or antelope.
  • An individual who draws a Limited Entry elk or antelope permit may surrender it back to the UDWR prior to the season starting. If surrendered prior to opening day, you will receive your bonus points back.
  • If you draw a Limited Entry elk permit, you may not apply again for five years.
  • If you draw a Limited Entry antelope permit, you may not apply again for two years.

Snowpack in Utah

Utah snow water equivalent percent of normal Feb. 23 2017

Snowpack in all areas of Utah are well above average, although a few areas are decreasing at a fast rate.



The draw system

Understanding the draw

It’s important to understand how Utah’s draw process works and some key aspects of it before you apply. You must have a valid 365 day hunting license to apply for any big game hunts. That can be purchased online as a “hunting license” or as a “combo” which includes a fishing license. Since the license is good for 365 days from the date of purchase, you could potentially buy one license every other year by timing your application. If you draw a permit, you must have a valid license to hunt; one could be purchased at that time. Utah’s draw system gives 50% of the available permits for any given hunt to the individuals with the most bonus points; the other 50% are assigned in a random draw. If only one permit or an odd number of permits are available, the greater part of those will go through the random draw. So, essentially, every applicant has a chance to draw a tag of a lifetime. 

Utah’s draw process is complex, but perhaps not as hard to understand as other states. Applicants can select two hunt choices when applying for limited entry tags. The state considers all applicants’ first hunt choices before considering any applicant’s second choice. Due to the amount of applicants for each tag, it is very rare that a second choice is ever considered. For every year you apply for a bonus point only or are unsuccessful in the draw, you will receive one bonus point for that species. Remember that residents can apply for only one limited entry species (deer, elk, or antelope) and one once-in-a-lifetime species (bison, bighorn sheep, moose, or mountain goat). Nonresidents can apply for all species that they are interested in. Half of all the permits for any given hunt are guaranteed for the applicants with the most bonus points. The other half of the permits are allocated through random draw. If an odd number of permits are available, the larger amount goes to random draw.

Here’s why that matters

If you are applying for a hunt where there is only one permit available (resident or nonresident), that permit is going in the random draw. Granted, statically, your odds of drawing that tag increase with more points, but there is no guarantee you will ever draw that permit.

This is why it’s important to look at the previous year’s permit allocations and applicant breakdowns that can be found on our Unit Profiles and our Draw Odds page to evaluate your chances. If there is another unit that matches your trophy potential, harvest success, or whatever criteria you desire from a hunt and it has more permits available and could at least eventually guarantee you a permit, perhaps it’s worth some consideration.

Example: Plateau, Boulder/Kaiparowits - muzzleloader

Example showing random draw process in Utah

There was one nonresident permit available for the Plateau, Boulder/Kaiparowits - muzzleloader hunt. The permit went in a random drawing to an individual with one bonus point even though there were lots of other applicants with more bonus points. For the random permit draw process, each applicant is assigned a randomly generated number for each bonus point they have. The applicant with the lowest generated random number will draw the permit. So, in essence the more bonus points you have, the better your odds, but even the guy applying the first year has a chance.

Unlocking Utah’s system

Utah’s draw goes in the following order from first to last:

  1. Buck deer (multi-season premium limited entry, premium limited entry, multi-season limited entry, limited entry, CWMU and management buck deer)
  2. Bull elk (multi-season limited entry, limited entry and CWMU)
  3. Buck antelope (limited entry and CWMU)
  4. Once-in-a-lifetime species (sheep, moose, mountain goat and bison)
  5. General buck deer (lifetime license holders)
  6. General buck deer (dedicated hunters)
  7. General buck deer (youth)
  8. General buck deer
  9. Youth any bull elk

The order in which the draw happens is important to consider because Utah does not allow you to draw two limited entry/once-in-a-lifetime tags in the same year.

For example, let’s say you applied for a limited entry bull elk permit and a once-in-a-lifetime mountain goat permit. If you were successful in drawing the bull elk permit, then your application for mountain goat would be removed from the system before the draw even happens. That is because the bull elk draw occurs before the once-in-a-lifetime species draws.

We recommend that you review your bonus points, draw odds and develop a strategy. If you are close to that maximum bonus point spot for drawing a once-in-a-lifetime tag, perhaps don’t shoot yourself in the foot by applying for and drawing an easier bull elk permit and, subsequently, taking your name out of the once-in-a-lifetime drawing. For more information on applying as a group, visit the Utah State Profile.

Podcast listening

Podcast episode to hear more information on the elk application with Jay Scott Outdoors.

Episode 247 - Utah Elk Unit Breakdown and Where to Apply with Ryan Carter

Jay talks about each Utah elk unit and where the best place is to apply with Ryan Carter of DC Outfitters. They discuss the best archery, muzzleloader, early rifle and late rifle units as well as general season spike and cow hunts. You can find the podcast index for all of the episodes on Jay's website,  iTunes and on PodBean.



Utah's 2017 elk breakdown
 

Shawna Hinkins with a giant late season elk taken with wade lemon hunting
Shawna Hinkins with a giant 2016 late season elk taken with Wade Lemon Hunting — A goHUNT Business Member

Current elk herd condition

The current snowpack in 2016/2017 has been well above normal. This won’t affect elk as much as other species in Utah, but it should still be on everyone's minds. Increased moisture will be great for spring growth.

We don’t foresee the winter to heavily impact the body conditions of elk. Utah is also getting plenty of snowfall at lower elevations. This snowfall is perfect for enhancing the grasslands and sage habitats. Also, elk populations are at or above objective in almost every unit.

UTAH STATEWIDE ELK HERD POPULATION ESTIMATES (2006-2014)

The goHUNT hit list units for Utah elk

Any limited entry unit in Utah is capable of providing a chance at a 330” or better bull, and in fact, some units a 350” bull are not out of the question. A lot of the units in Utah are managed for an older age class objective and have seen relatively few changes in tag allocations over the past 10 or so years. Among the best are Beaver/East, Plateau, Boulder/Kaiparowits, San Juan, Fillmore/Pahvant, and Monroe. These are obviously the most difficult units to draw.

Among others, a few units that are known to produce great bulls include West Desert, Deep Creek, Book Cliffs/Little Creek, Mount Dutton, and Panguitch Lake. Any unit can produce a giant bull, but, certainly, some units have more of those top end bulls.

Top hunt units to consider for 350” or better bulls
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
Potential
3 year
avg. age class
Beaver, East 380”+ 7.1
Fillmore, Pahvant 380"+ 7.3
Plateau, Boulder/Kaiparowits 380"+ 7.6
San Juan 380"+ 7.6
Monroe 380"+ 6.7
La Sal, La Sal Mtns 370"+ 6.4
Mt Dutton 370"+ 5.8
Book Cliffs, Little Creek 360"+ 7.4
North Slope, Three Corners 360"+ 6.1
Panguitch Lake 360"+ 5.8
Southwest Desert 360"+ 7.5
Central Mtns, Nebo 350"+ 5.9
Central Mtns, Manti 350"+ 6.2
Nine Mile, Anthro 350"+ 5.6
Paunsaugunt 350"+ 5.6
West Desert, Deep Creek 350"+ 6.8

 


 

How to uncover hidden gem elk units
 

Mechelle Dawson muzzleloader bull elk taken with Gone Hunting Outfitters
Mechelle Dawson's 2016 muzzleloader bull taken with Gone Hunting Outfitters — A goHUNT Business Member

There are almost no secrets in Utah’s elk units, but there are other areas/seasons that have better odds and still allow a chance at taking a mature bull scoring greater than 330”. Utilize our Filtering 2.0 tools and manipulate the Trophy Potential to explore each unit's potential. Beyond that, customize your search and click on a specific unit to access the Unit Profile in order to gain the greatest resource available to thoroughly learn an area. Our Utah elk Species Profile is another great way to determine other units and regions of the state to consider. Within the Species Profile you will find a table showing the top Boone and Crockett producing units over the years for both typical and nontypical bulls. The trophy potential exists in just about every unit in Utah. Look for a way to improve your odds by accessing more remote country, hunting seasons outside of the rut, or improving your abilities with primitive weapons.

Utah’s OTC any bull units, what are they all about?

Utah has 18 units that have OTC any bull elk hunting opportunities. You can filter Utah elk by OTC units on Filtering 2.0 or by clicking here. OTC any bull elk units in Utah all share one thing in common: there are relatively few elk as compared to the Limited Entry units.

OTC hunt units for Utah bull elk
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
Potential
Bull:cow
ratio
Cache, East Rich 300"+ 13:100
Chalk Creek 300"+ 28:100
Nine Mile, Range Creek 300"+ 50:100
Zion 300"+ 13:100
Beaver, West NA 13:100
Box Elder, Hansel Mtn NA 28:100
East Canyon NA 42:100
Fillmore, Oak Creek NA 33:100
Henry Mtns NA NA
Kamas NA 9:100
Morgan-South Rich NA 60:100
North Slope, Summit/West Daggett NA 8:100
Ogden NA 15:100
Pine Valley NA 21:100
San Juan, Montezuma Canyon NA 47:100
San Rafael, North NA NA
South Slope, Bonanza/Vernal/Yellowstone NA 16:100
West Desert, East NA NA

NA on trophy potential = There is little-to-no trophy potential

In our opinion, there are much better OTC opportunities to hunt bulls in states like Idaho and Colorado where elk populations and trophy quality are much better in those types of units. For a resident that wants to explore OTC any bull hunting in Utah, the best two units are the North Slope, Summit/West Daggett and South Slope, Bonanza/Vernal/Yellowstone.

Extended archery elk opportunities

Another OTC possibility for branch antlered bulls is the Extended Archery hunt on the Wasatch Front and Uintah Basin. Utah has a unique extended archery season for elk. Any hunter who holds an elk permit (OTC, limited entry) in 2017 and hasn't harvested an animal, is allowed to hunt the extended season. You must also complete the required extended archery ethics course and print the certificate and keep it with you while hunting. The extended archery hunt for elk is for either sex.

Extended archery elk units

Unit Season dates
Uintah Basin Sept. 16 - Dec. 15
Wasatch Front Aug. 19 - Dec. 15


Take more elk this season

For opportunity and meat hunters, a hunter can obtain up to three elk permits in Utah with the following restrictions:

  1. a maximum of one permit can be for a bull.
  2. a maximum of one permit can be obtained through the antlerless big game draw.
  3. a maximum of two antlerless elk permits can be obtained over-the-counter (OTC).

Antlerless elk opportunity in the big game draw

UTAH ANTLERLESS ELK POINTS GOING INTO THE 2017 DRAW

 

B&C entry trends for Utah elk

Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are included if any part of the unit is found within the county.

Utah's top B&C producing
counties since 2010 for typical elk

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
San Juan 7 San Juan, La Sal/La Sal Mountains
Sevier 5 Plateau/Boulder/Kaiparowits, Beaver, East, Central Mtns/Nebo, Central Mtns/Manti,
Plateau/Fishlake/Thousand Lakes, Monroe, Fillmore/Pahvant
Sanpete 4 Central Mtns, Nebo, Central Mtns, Manti
Iron 3 Beaver, East, Southwest Desert, Mt Dutton
Rich 3 Cache, SouthCache, Meadowville

 

Utah's top B&C producing
counties since 2010 for nontypical elk

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Garfield 4 Beaver, Panguitch Lake, Paunsaugunt,
Plateau/Boulder/ Kaiparowits, Mt. Dutton
Carbon 1 Central Mtns, Manti, Nine Mile, Anthro, Wasatch Mtns
Iron 1 Beaver, East, Panguitch Lake, Southwest Desert
San Juan 1 San Juan, La Sal/La Sal Mountains
Tooele 1 Oquirrh-Stansbury, West Desert, Deep Creek, Box Elder, Pilot Mtn
TOP 10 B&C TYPICAL ELK LOCATIONS SINCE 2010
TOP 10 B&C NONTYPICAL ELK LOCATIONS SINCE 2010

 

Trending bull:cow ratio units
 

Wendy Perkes bull elk taken with Bearpaw Outfitters
Wendy Perkes' with her bull taken with Bearpaw Outfitters — A goHUNT Business Member

You have probably noticed that we provide data on bull to cow ratios for each hunt unit in Utah. Male to female ratios are a critical measuring data tool for wildlife managers and indicate the current status of the herd. A higher bull to cow ratio could indicate that a unit could have a higher availability of mature bulls compared to a unit with a lower bull to cow ratio. This doesn’t always indicate that the bulls will be the highest scoring bulls, but more bulls equates to more bulls to find and harvest. When selecting an area, or comparing several areas, take this into consideration to help your decision. For a complete understanding of male to female ratios, please refer to a recent article covering this in depth.

It’s important to understand how Utah manages their bull to cow ratios, which, in turn, will tell you something about overall herd health. In addition to the bull elk Limited Entry permits allocated through the draw, Utah uses a spike only OTC hunt on almost every limited entry unit to reduce the overall bull to cow ratio. That keeps the bull to cow ratio in check while retaining an older age class of bulls within the population for Limited Entry hunters to hunt and harvest. Because the listed bull to cow ratios are gained through postseason data and Utah harvests spikes in addition to big bulls, the ratio by and large represents a MATURE BULL TO COW ratio.

Top Utah units for bull:cow ratios

Units Bull:cow
ratio
Trophy
potential
Limited
quota
General
(OTC)
Morgan-South Rich* 60:100 NA   X
Nine Mile, Range Creek* 50:100 300"+   X
San Juan 47:100 380"+ X  
San Juan, Montezuma Canyon* 47:100 NA   X
East Canyon* 42:100 NA   X
Nine Mile, Anthro 41:100 350"+ X  
La Sal, La Sal Mtns 39:100 370"+ X  
Oquirrh-Stansbury 35:100 330"+ X  
Fillmore, Oak Creek* 33:100 NA   X
Fillmore, Pahvant 33:100 380"+ X  
Wasatch Mtns 32:100 340"+ X  

NA on trophy potential = There is little-to-no trophy potential
 

 

Managing points and expectations

2017 max bonus points for elk: 24

LIMITED ENTRY BULL ELK POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2017 DRAW

Note: For another view of the bonus point breakdown using tables, visit the Utah Elk Species Profile. The table view will allow for an easier readout of the higher point totals.

Find your draw odds

I have 0 elk points. What can I expect?

If you’re just starting to apply in Utah for elk, expect a long wait. Without a lot of bonus points, you will be mainly relying on luck. Note: every applicant has a very slight chance to draw as long as there is a permit available.

There are two main strategies to applying in Utah:

  1. Pick your dream hunt (build points) and cross your fingers that lady luck shines on you
  2. Maximize your odds to draw a random tag by picking units that offer a greater number of permits or offer better odds, i.e. archery, late season or muzzleloader

With all the options listed below with zero points, keep in mind that they might be easy to draw for a reason and if you’d rather build your points for a better hunt, it could be best to avoid applying for them.

Residents

There are a handful of options for a resident of Utah with zero points. You would be 100% to draw the Cache, Meadowville archery tag, 43% draw odds for the Paunsaugunt archery tag. Other than those two hunts, your next best chance would be Cache, North at 8.4%, La Sal, La Sal Mtns at 10% or Nine Mile, Anthro at 9.5%.

Muzzleloader and rifle odds get worse with zero points. The only real chance you have at drawing a tag with zero points is the Cache, Meadowville muzzleloader hunt at 22% draw odds or Paunsaugunt muzzleloader at 14%. You have a reasonable chance to pull the Cache, Meadowville late rifle hunt at 26% draw odds.

If you’re a resident, use this link to help find hunts that you can draw at this point level. Keep in mind that you can always select a season to narrow your view, and also adjust the minimum draw odds slider.

Nonresidents

A nonresident has a decent chance to draw the Cache, North archery tag due to the low number of applicants and you’d have a 100% chance to pulling the Cache, Meadowville archery tag. It’s interesting to note that in 2016, nonresidents had better draw odds (50% compared to 5.2%) at the Oquirrh-Stansbury archery elk tag than residents. That was entirely due to only 2 nonresidents applying for 1 tag. Keep in mind that sometimes hunts go under subscribed, so hidden gems always exist that are hard to plan for.

For muzzleloader, your only real option with decent odds is Cache, North at 14% or Cache, Meadowville at 9.6%. Again, it might be a better option to shoot for the stars and hope to pull a higher quality tag in the random draw. If you really want to hunt elk in Utah, you could try to draw the late rifle Cache, Meadowville tag. At 15% you still will need some luck, but it could be a decent option.

If you’re a nonresident, use this link to help find hunts that you can draw at this point level. Keep in mind that you can always select a season to narrow your view, and also adjust the minimum draw odds slider.

What can I do with 3 or 4 elk points?

This next tier of points won’t get you very far in Utah and you’ll still need to apply with hopes of drawing a random tag.

At this point level you have already put in some time to accrue points, so it might be your best interest to apply for the top units you’d be happy to draw and hope to pull a tag randomly.

Residents

If you’re looking to hunt this year instead of building points, a resident with four points has a reasonable chance to draw the following archery permits: Cache, Meadowville (100% draw odds), Cach, North (100% draw odds), La Sal, La Sal Mtns (100% draw odds), Nine Mile, Anthro (39% draw odds), Paunsaugunt (100% draw odds) and Wasatch Mtns (25% draw odds). Your best bet for finding opportunity in this point range is using the standalone draw odds page, entering in your point total, and then manipulating the minimum draw odds slider.

For the rifle and most muzzleloader permits, you will still have poor odds. If you find yourself in this range, consider your goals for your hunt. If you want to maximize your chance at a true giant, it might be wise to hold out and build points. If you have ample time to scout, or are willing to hire a guide, consider some of the units you could draw.

If you’re a resident, use this link to help find hunts that you can draw at this point level. Keep in mind that you can always select a season to narrow your view, and also adjust the minimum draw odds slider.

Nonresidents

Unfortunately after four years of applying, your draw odds are not that much better for elk as a nonresident.

The only real hunt you’d be able to draw for archery and muzzleloader is the Cache, North and Cache, Meadowville tag. A late rifle option would be Central Mtns, Nebo at 20% draw odds or Oquirrh-Stansbury at 17%. Keep in mind if trying to draw a hunt with better draw odds at this point level is worth it. It’s going to take many more years to pull one of the top tier units in Utah for elk.

If you’re a nonresident, use this link to help find hunts that you can draw at this point level. Keep in mind that you can always select a season to narrow your view, and also adjust the minimum draw odds slider.

What can I expect with 9, 10 or more elk points?

Residents

For residents, at 10 points, the only archery units you will have a hard time to draw are: Beaver, East, Fillmore, Pahvant, Monroe, Plateau, Boulder/Kaiparowits and San Juan. All of the other archery units you’d be able to draw.

With 10 points, there are some muzzleloader and late rifle permits within reach. Look at the odds and use the trophy potential search tool and you’ll quickly see those that rise to the top that weren’t available at lower point pools (Box Elder, Grouse Creek, Cache, South, Cache, North, Central Mtns, Nebo, La Sal, La Sal Mtns, North Slope, Three Corners, Paunsaugunt, Wasatch Mtns). Unfortunately, most early rifle tags are still out of reach except for Cache, Meadowville and Paunsaugunt.

If you’re a resident, use this link to help find hunts that you can draw at this point level. Keep in mind that you can always select a season to narrow your view, and also adjust the minimum draw odds slider.

Nonresidents

10 points still doesn’t get you very far in Utah as a nonresident. With nine or 10 points, a nonresident is not guaranteed one of the top tier units, but with 10 points you could potentially draw an archery permit on Central Mtns, Nebo, Paunsaugunt and the Wasatch Mtns. It’s still going to be a long waiting game for any of the muzzleloader permits. But with 10 points you could draw the Cache, Meadowville early rifle permit or the Plateau, Fishlake/Thousand Lakes. For late rifle you now are in the running for the Cache, South tag.

While these are all great units units, but do they meet your criteria for waiting 10 years to draw? Or should you keep saving up?

You should review the standalone Draw Odds and Filtering 2.0 tools to see if you can find a good fit for you. At this point level, the difference in draw odds between some of the best units and some of the mediocre units isn’t good enough to make them that alluring. It might be a better idea to apply for a better unit in hopes of getting the random tag of your dreams.

If you’re a nonresident, use this link to help find hunts that you can draw at this point level. Keep in mind that you can always select a season to narrow your view, and also adjust the minimum draw odds slider.



Utah's 2017 antelope breakdown
 

2016 antelope buck taken with High Top Outfitters
2016 antelope buck taken with High Top Outfitters — A goHUNT Business Member

The first hunting season in Utah was in 1945 in Daggett County, where 50 either sex permits were made available to hunters. So while this antelope hunt is relatively new, it’s still a great destination for diehard antelope hunters.

Utah might not get the recognition for antelope like other states, but if you’re someone who enjoys new scenery and wants the chance to take a good buck, Utah should be on your radar. Utah shouldn’t be used as a trophy destination, due to the low numbers of B&C bucks. Most nonresidents who are already applying for other species in Utah, might as well build points for antelope at the same time.

For residents, unless you are a die hard antelope hunter, it might be best to apply and build points for antelope after you have drawn a limited entry elk or mule deer permit and are in the mandatory waiting period.

Current antelope herd condition

Antelope populations across the state are largely stable to increasing. Antelope are relatively resilient and populations can grow quickly with good feed and water. With Utah seeing snowfall across the state even to the valley floors, that should help the lowland grasslands and sage steppe areas immensely and antelope should do very well. Trophy potential is not as good as, perhaps, Arizona, New Mexico, or Wyoming. Utah isn’t likely to produce several trophies a year, but a book buck could come from any unit. Utah is a great state to apply and build points for antelope. Plus, antelope are good hunts to get the family together and expose kids to hunting.

The seasons

Utah offers seasons for archery, muzzleloader and any legal weapon. Keep in mind that only three units have muzzleloader hunts, which are Cache/Morgan-South Rich/Ogden, Plateau, Parker Mtn, Southwest Desert.

The goHUNT hit list units for Utah antelope

The standouts for Utah’s trophy quality antelope are Book Cliffs, South and San Rafael, North. These two units are the most likely to produce those giant 80” plus bucks. If you utilize Filtering 2.0, you can see that there are a total of 15 units that could produce 75” plus bucks and many of those have relatively decent draw odds. Also, every unit in the state can produce a 70” antelope, so it’s more like an opportunity state than a trophy state. The key is to do your research and take scouting seriously.

Top units to consider for 75” or better antelope
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
Potential
Harvest
success
Book Cliffs, South 80"+ Archery: 75%
Rifle: 95%
San Rafael, North 80"+ Archery: 100%
Rifle: 100%
Beaver 75"+ Archery: 50%
Rifle: 91%
Book Cliffs, Bitter Creek 75"+ Archery: 100%
​Rifle: 100%
Fillmore, Oak Creek South 75"+ Archery: 0%
​Rifle: 100%
Mt. Dutton/Paunsaugunt, Johns Valley 75"+ Archery: 75%
​Rifle: 94%
Nine Mile, Anthro-Myton Beach 75"+ Archery: 100%
​Rifle: 96%
North Slope, Three Corners/West Daggett 75"+ Archery: 60%
​Rifle: 89%
Panguitch Lake/Zion, North 75"+ ​Rifle: 100%
Pine Valley 75"+ Archery: 100%
​Rifle: 96%
Plateau, Parker Mtn 75"+ Archery: 38%
​Rifle: 79%
Muzzleloader: 49%
South Slope, Bonanza/Diamond Mtn 75"+ Archery: 100%
​Rifle: 100%
Southwest Desert 75"+ Archery: 71%
​Rifle: 85%
Muzzleloader: 63%
West Desert, Riverbed 75"+ Archery: 100%
​Rifle: 94%
West Desert, Snake Valley 75"+ Archery: 75%
​Rifle: 94%
 

 

B&C entry trends for Utah antelope

Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are included if any part of the unit is found within the county.

Utah's top B&C producing
counties since 2010 for antelope

County No. of
entries
Units found
within county
Box Elder 4 Box Elder/ Pilot Mtn, Box Elder/ Snowville, Box Elder/ Promontory
Carbon 4 Nine Mile/ Range Creek, San Rafael/North, Nine Mile/Anthro-Myton Bench
Emery 2 Nine Mile/ Range Creek, San Rafael/ North, San Rafael/ Desert
Millard 2 Beaver, Fillmore/Oak Creek South, Southwest Desert,
West Desert/Riverbed, West Desert/Snake Valley
Beaver 1 Beaver, Southwest Desert
Iron 1 Pine Valley, Southwest Desert, Panguitch Lake/Zion, North, Beaver
Rich 1 Cache/Morgan-South Rich/Ogden
TOP 10 B&C ANTELOPE LOCATIONS SINCE 2010

Is there opportunity among Utah antelope?
 

Scott Sumrall 2016 Utah antelope taken with Wade Lemon Hunting
Scott Sumrall's 2016 Utah antelope taken with Wade Lemon Hunting - A goHUNT Business Member

Absolutely, especially for residents. They should look to the archery hunts primarily, but some of the muzzleloader hunts also have very good odds. Utah allows nonresidents to apply for all available species so you might as well apply for antelope in addition to elk, deer, and the other once-in-a-lifetime species. You may get lucky in a random draw and, even if you don’t, it doesn’t take nearly as many years to obtain a permit on maximum points.

Doe antelope opportunity in the big game draw

UTAH DOE ANTELOPE POINTS GOING INTO THE 2017 DRAW


Managing points and expectations

2017 max bonus points for antelope: 19

LIMITED ENTRY ANTELOPE POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2017 DRAW

For another view of the bonus point breakdown using tables, visit the Utah Antelope Species Profile. The table view will allow for an easier readout of the higher point totals.

Find your draw odds

I have 0 antelope points. What can I expect?

Residents

There’s not a lot of options for a resident just looking to get into the game for antelope. If you wanted to hunt this year, you could potentially draw the Plateau, Parker Mtn archery hunt (90% draw odds). Other options that provide a decent chance are Southwest Desert archery (46% draw odds) and Plateau, Parker Mtn muzzleloader (49% draw odds).

The muzzleloader odds are very good for a resident. In fact, the three units that offer a muzzy hunt have better odds with zero points than many of the archery units.

Nonresidents

Draw odds for a nonresident with zero point is slim to none and a many more years of bonus points will be needed. The highest draw odds with zero points would be Plateau, Parker Mtn archery and muzzleloader, both are only 5.8% draw odds which isn’t anything to get excited about. With zero points, you should shoot for the stars and hope to get lucky in the random draw while you try to build up points.

What can I do with 3 or 4 antelope points?

Residents

A resident with four points has great draw odds for almost any archery or muzzleloader hunt. The top archery picks at this point level would Southwest Desert, Beaver, Book Cliffs, South, Pine Valley, and San Rafael, North. Every muzzleloader antelope hunt is likely to be drawn to a resident with four points, except for Cache/Morgan-South Rich/Ogden which jumped a full point due to point creep. Some of the better rifle hunts will take a few more points to be in the bonus point permit pool. Box Elder, Promontory, Pine Valley and San Juan, Hatch Point offer the best odds to resident rifle hunters in this point range.

If you’re a resident, use this link to help find hunts that you can draw at this point level. Keep in mind that you can always select a season to narrow your view, and also adjust the minimum draw odds slider.

Nonresidents

Nonresidents in this point range that want a good chance to hunt should look at the archery or muzzleloader hunt on the Plateau, Parker Mtn. If you can wait and continue to build points, we would suggest you apply for the best permit that fits your criteria and hope for a randomly draw tag. For a rifle hunt at four points, your highest chance to draw is going to be applying for Nine Mile, Anthro-Myton Bench at 12% odds.

If you’re a nonresident, use this link to help find hunts that you can draw at this point level. Keep in mind that you can always select a season to narrow your view, and also adjust the minimum draw odds slider.

What can I expect with 9, 10 or more antelope points?

Residents

Residents with this many points can draw pretty much any hunt/weapon that they apply for with 10 points. If you’re a diehard antelope hunter, then it's fully understandable that you could hold out for one of these top tier units, but for the individual that will apply for other states like Wyoming, New Mexico, or Arizona, our suggestion would be to cash in prior to building this many points and put those applications into other species in Utah like mule deer or elk with much better trophy potential. The other alternative would be to build points for antelope in between your waiting periods for elk and deer and, eventually, hunt one of the premier units/hunts.

Nonresidents

A lot of the antelope hunts in Utah only offer one permit to nonresidents, which means that permit is going in a random draw. If you have nine or 10 points, then your odds are certainly better for drawing those permits, but you will not be guaranteed. If you don’t mind just buying points or applying every year without drawing, then apply for the best units. If you want to increase you chance to draw, look for the units with greater numbers of permits and monitor the units that are offering a permit to the maximum point holder. Research what those units are in Filtering 2.0 and Draw Odds.

Comments

50 States for 50 Bucks
Save 25% During Our Flash Sale!
Get Hunting Gear for Less