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APPLICATION STRATEGY 2019: Utah Elk and Antelope

2019 Utah elk and antelope application strategy article

Utah's 2019 elk and antelope application overview

Jump to: New for 2019 State Information Draw System Elk Breakdown Antelope Breakdown

There is no doubt that Utah is an outstanding elk state. It offers tons of public land, good elk populations and, most notably, quality trophy class bulls. In essence, Utah is a popular state for elk hunters and the odds of drawing a tag reflect that. There is no way to sugar coat it: limited entry elk tags are hard to come by in Utah, but for those lucky enough to draw, the hunting is almost unmatched. Applying is relatively inexpensive and there is a random aspect to the draw. Literally any applicant could draw, whether they have zero points or 25.

Utah is not widely known as leading destination for antelope hunting, but it does boast healthy huntable populations with relatively good trophy potential. Similar to most hunts, antelope tags are not easy to draw, but, if you are a nonresident already applying for other species, it makes sense to have your application in the mix.

For us, Utah is a must apply state for elk and antelope. Within this article, we will break down everything you need to know to know how and where to apply.

Note: The application deadline for all Utah species is March 7, 2019 at 11 p.m. MST. Applicants wishing to purchase preference and/or bonus points only have until March 21, 2019 at 11 p.m. MST. You may apply online here.



Why Utah for elk and antelope

Draw system

Utah has a hybrid system where half of the limited entry permits for each hunt are given to the applicants that apply with the most points. The other half are randomly allocated, though, and, if there is an odd number, the bulk will be randomly allocated. More on that below, but every applicant has a chance in the draw as long as there is a tag!

Trophy bulls

Utah produces big bulls every year, including a few that will tip the magical 400” mark. The quality is likely not what it was ten or so years ago, but it’s still really good. Almost every unit in the state will regularly produce 330” class bulls.

Public land

Utah is one of the most public land do-it-yourself (DIY) friendly states in the West. Just shy of two-thirds of the state is federally-owned publicly-accessible land. State land encompasses another significant portion of the state and is also open to hunting. If you desire the freedom to roam and hunt on your own, Utah is a hunter’s paradise.

Season structure

To some, Utah might appear to have a slightly odd season structure. Very few opportunities exist to rifle hunt elk in the rut, but Utah offers that hunt in almost every unit. It’s debatable on whether it’s a good thing on the grand scale, but, if you want a chance to hunt and harvest a trophy bull, these hunts are about as good as it gets. Utah also offers archery, muzzleloader, some October mid-season hunts and late season November post-rut hunts. They also offer a less talked about premium hunt where the luckiest hunters can hunt all seasons until they have filled their tag. We talk a lot about elk—and rightly so—but it’s also worth noting that the antelope hunts occur throughout the rut. The archery, muzzleloader and rifle hunters should all get a crack during that time-frame.

Western States with elk over 400" all time - 2019 (Utah app)



New for 2019

  • The any weapon spike elk hunt will be allowed once again on the Monroe Unit. It had been closed to spike rifle hunters for a few years to increase bull recruitment into the population. The bull:cow ratio is once again within a desirable range and quality on the top end should not be impacted—at least for a handful of years.
  • Season dates change slightly every year. Check them carefully before applying for hunts. Most notably are the 2019 dates for the limited entry archery elk hunts: Aug. 17 to Sept. 13. The end date of that hunt normally does not yield a good rut hunt.
  • There are slight boundary changes for the San Rafael, North antelope hunt, but it should not impact the quality of the hunt overall.
  • There is a new South Slope, Bonanza/Diamond Mountain muzzleloader antelope hunt.
  • There is a new Nine Mile, Anthro-Myton Bench muzzleloader antelope hunt.
  • There is an archery permit available for nonresidents in the La Sal/Potash/South Cisco Unit.
  • Last year, we added antlerless elk, doe antelope and other female species to our stand alone draw odds. INSIDERS can access those odds by hovering over the INSIDER icon, selecting the “Draw Odds” link, then selecting Utah, then your residency. After that, you can scroll toward the bottom of the species list to find antlerless elk and doe antelope.


State information

To view important information and an overview of 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

  • The deadline to apply is March 7, 2019 at 11 p.m. MST.
  • Apply online here.
  • The bonus point/preference point only purchase and application withdrawal deadline is March 21, 2019 at 11 p.m. MST.
  • You may apply online or by calling or visiting any Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) office.
  • Results will be emailed or available online on or shortly before May 30, 2019.
  • Hunters must have a valid hunting or combination hunting/fishing license to apply.
  • Hunting licenses are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. If you time it correctly you can apply two consecutive years on one license. You do not need an active hunting license to hunt, just to apply.
  • Applicants must be 12 years old by Dec 31, 2019 to apply and hunt in Utah.
  • Hunters born after Dec 31, 1965, must have taken an approved hunter’s education course.
  • Withdrawing or correcting an application is allowed before the application deadline. Corrections are made by withdrawing an application and submitting a new one. Be aware: you will be charged the $10 application fee again to make adjustments and reapply.
  • Nonresidents may apply and build bonus points for all available species.
  • Residents may only apply for one limited entry species: elk, antelope or deer. They may also apply for one once-in-a-lifetime species: moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat or bison. They can also apply for general season deer and the dedicated hunter program if they are not already enrolled.
  • If you are unsuccessful in the limited entry elk and/or antelope draw, you will be awarded a bonus point for each species.
  • The hunting license and application fees are non-refundable.
  • A drawn permit may be returned back to the UDWR prior to the season starting and they will reinstate your points and give you one for that year’s application. If you surrender it 30 days prior to the hunt start date they will refund the cost of the permit also.
  • 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.

Fees and permit costs

Utah elk and antelope fees 2019

Item Resident fees Nonresident fees
365-day hunting license $11 youth (13 and under)
$16 youth (14 to 17)
$34 adult (18 to 64)
$25 adult (65 and older)
$25 youth (17 and under)
$65 adult (18 and older)
365-day hunt/fish combination license $20 youth (14 to 17)
$38 adult (18 to 64)
$29 adult (65 and older)
$29 youth (17 and under)
$85 adult (18 and older)
Application fee per species $10 $10
Limited entry elk $285 $800
Multi-season limited entry elk $513 $1,505
Limited entry antelope $55 $293

Note: Applicants only need to buy either a hunting license or combination hunting/fishinglicence to apply. Applicants will not be charged the cost of the permit unless they are successful in the draw.

Snowpack in Utah

Following on the heels of one of the driest winters in the past 30 years, the entire state is over 100% of normal snowpack already. It’s shaping up to be a very good water year and, consequently, the antler growth should reflect that, which is great news because the 2018 crop of bucks and bulls likely did not reach their full potential. If spring snow/rain are good through the months of March, April and May, antler growth could be be exceptional in 2019.

2019

Utah February 2019 Snow water equivalent map

Utah Snow Water Equivalent as of Feb. 17, 2019. Source: Natural Resources Conservation Service Utah

2018

Utah snow water equivalent percent of normal February 2018

Utah Snow Water Equivalent as of Feb. 5, 2018. Source: Natural Resources Conservation Service Utah


The draw system

Understanding the draw

It’s important to understand how the draw system works. Doing so will help you with your application strategy. First, every applicant must buy a hunting or combination licence to apply. That license is valid 365 days from the date of purchase. If you time your application correctly you can apply for two years on the same licence. For example, you could buy the license close to the deadline on one year, apply for hunts; then apply the next year as soon as the draw opens. You do not need a valid hunting license to hunt. The permit you draw becomes the only valid permit that you need.

Point system

Utah limited entry elk and antelope utilize a bonus point system. Utah has a draw system where 50% of the permits for any given hunt are given to the applicants with the most bonus points. The other half are randomly drawn with respect given to the number of bonus point you have. If there is an odd number of permits available, the bulk will be randomly allocated. For example, if there are three permits, two will be randomly drawn. Every bonus point you have is essentially the number of times your name goes into the draw. Statistically, the more points you have, the better the odds of drawing.

How do you get a bonus point? Applicants get a bonus point when they apply and are unsuccessful in the draw. You can also buy a bonus point if you do not want to be considered in the draw. You can only obtain one point per year per species. The only reason that an applicant should not apply for a hunt is if they cannot afford the permit or the time to hunt should they draw it. With a portion of the permits being randomly allocated, you should apply.

Permit allocation breakdown

Utah issues 10% of their draw permits to nonresidents. Below is an example of the permit split for the Plateau, Fishlake/Thousand Lakes archery elk hunt.

  • Total permits: 48
    • Resident total permits: 44 (90%)
    • Nonresident total permits: 4 (10%)
  • Resident bonus point permits: 22
    • Resident random permits: 22
  • Nonresident bonus point permits: 2
    • Nonresident random permits: 2

Hunt choices

Applicants can select two hunt choices when applying for limited entry hunts. Every applicant’s first choice is considered before moving to anyone's second choice. It is extremely rare for a limited entry permit to be drawn as a second choice. In recent years, the very few hunts that could be drawn as a second choice are not hunts we would advise applicants to apply for unless they have a guide/outfitter lined up for those areas. If you draw a permit as a second choice, you will lose all accumulated points.

Group applications

Up to four applicants can apply for limited entry hunts on one application. Nonresidents and residents can apply together. The group application goes into the draw as one single application. If that application is successful in the draw, all applicants will receive a permit provided there are enough permits available for all applicants in the group. For example, if a group of four applies together and there are only two permits available for that hunt, the application will be rejected. Also, if nonresidents and residents apply together there must be enough nonresident permits to accommodate the number of nonresidents on the application; otherwise, it will be rejected.

Bonus points for groups are added together and divided by the number of applicants in the group and rounded down to the whole number. For example, a group of three applicants with five, seven, and four would go into the draw with five points (5+7+4=16/3=5.3333 rounded down to 5).

Unlocking Utah’s system

Utah does not allow applicants to draw multiple limited entry tags in the same draw/year. You also cannot draw a limited entry and a once-in-a-lifetime (moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, bison) permit in the same year. The draw order may impact your strategy. For example, let's say you have enough points to draw both a once-in-a-lifetime mountain goat permit and an antelope permit. You would in that situation draw the antelope permit and your mountain goat application will not even be considered.

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 a species, perhaps don’t shoot yourself in the foot by applying for and drawing a less desirable permit and, subsequently, taking your name out of the tag you really want.

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, Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit (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 (bighorn 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


Utah's 2019 elk breakdown

Elk inhabit most areas of the state. Populations statewide are slightly up from the previous two years. Statewide, the number of elk is just shy of 81,000, which is over the 78,215 objective. Winter conditions have been favorable. Snowpack and moisture have been very good and most of the state has not experienced prolonged freezing temperatures. Survivability should be good, provided Utah does not get late-season deep snows and freezing temperatures.

Utah elk populations by unit

Utah manages their elk herds by individual units. Each unit has a desired age class objective for harvested bulls. Age class is determined by analyzing teeth from bulls harvested each year. The average age over a three year period guides the number of permits offered. If the plan remains the same and the three years’ average is within the desired range, permit numbers remain the same. If the average age is lower, permits are decreased; higher average age means permits are increased. Each limited entry elk hunter has to complete a harvest survey. Limited entry elk hunters will also be provided a packet to submit a tooth and asked to return one from their harvested animal. UDWR reports that they typically receive a statistically significant number of samples to evaluate age class objectives. Obviously, the older the age class objective, the bigger the bulls and, subsequently, the tougher the draw odds. The age class objectives for each limited entry unit can be found in the table below; the three years averaged are 2015 to 2017. The 2018 data is not yet available.

Utah elk populations by unit - 2019

Utah bull elk age objective 7.5 to 8 years

Unit 2017 average age Three year average age
Beaver 8 7.5
Plateau/Boulder 7.3 7.6
Book Cliffs/Little Creek 7.1 7.3
Fillmore/Pahvant 7.9 7.9
San Juan 7.4 7.9
West Desert 6.4 6.5

 

Utah bull elk age objective 6.5 to 7 years

Unit 2017 average age Three year average age
Book Cliffs/Bitter Creek 6.2 7.2
Cache South 5 5.1
Central Mtns/Nebo 5.8 5.7
Monroe 6.4 7.3
Mt. Dutton 6.1 6
Panguitch Lake 5.1 5.5
South Slope/Diamond Mtn. 7 7.2
Southwest Desert 6.3 7

 

Utah bull elk age objective 5.5 to 6 years

Unit 2017 average age Three year average age
Central Mtns/Manti 6 6.1
La Sal/Dolores Triangle NA NA
La Sal/La Sal Mtns 5 NA
Nine Mile/Anthro 5.7 6.2
North Slope/Three Corners 5 5.3
Oquirrh/Stansbury 4.4 5.1
Plateau/Fishlake 6 6
Wasatch 6.4 6.6

 

Utah bull elk age objective 4.5 to 5 years

Unit 2017 average age Three year average age
Box Elder/Grouse Creek 5.2 5.5
Box Elder/Pilot 6.7 6.4
Cache/Meadowville 4.9 4.8
Cache/North 4.3 4.3
Paunsaugunt 4.5 4.8

Utah’s limited entry elk hunting seasons

Archery: Aug. 17 to Sept. 13, 2019

Utah’s archery season is primarily a pre-rut hunt and, for the most part, bowhunters should not plan on a prime rut style hunt. During the early portions of the hunt, bulls are mostly still in summer range and in small bachelor herds and temperatures are often very warm. In early September the bulls will begin to move, roaming for cows and skirting the larger cow/calf herds. During the last few days of the hunt, bulls may be rutting and bugling. Plan on mostly spot and stalk and ambush-style hunting. A couple of benefits with applying for an archery hunt are that you get the first crack at bulls and the odds of drawing are often better than the other choices.

Any legal weapon early rifle: Sept. 14 to 22, 2019

These hunts are tough to draw and have very long odds for the most part. It’s easy to understand why: lucky tag holders have the opportunity to hunt the heart of the rut with a rifle. Harvest success rates are typically very high and the opportunity to look over and harvest a great bull is good.

Muzzleloader: Sept. 23 to Oct. 4, 2019

The muzzleloader hunt takes place right after the early rifle. During many years, this hunt can be the best rut hunt, especially if the temperatures are high and August/September were dry months. Utah also allows hunters to hunt with a modern muzzleloader setup, including in-line ignition and magnified scopes. Hunters are also not required to wear hunter orange. This can be a fun run and gun type of hunt. Harvest success rates are normally very good.

Any legal weapon mid-season: Oct. 5 to 17, 2019

There are eight units that offer these mid-season rifle hunts. They are being utilized to offer more people the opportunity to hunt and, hopefully, chip away at the early rifle season point creep. The rut is mostly over by the time this hunt occurs, but it’s not uncommon to still hear bulls bugling periodically. For the most part, the herd bulls are going to be transitioning to winter range and can be tough to consistently find. These hunts have had better odds than the early rifle hunt. Another major consideration: these hunts occur alongside the over-the-counter (OTC) rifle spike hunt and, in most of the units, the hunting pressure can be very high. That could be a hindrance or help; it all depends on how you look at it. Ponder on it.

Any legal weapon late: Nov. 9 to Nov. 17, 2019

The late rifle hunt can be very good and, in some units, it could even be a better hunt than the early rifle hunt. Typically, the bulls have moved into their winter range and are going to be easier to consistently find. Bulls are often going to search out more remote, rough pockets with good feed in an attempt to put on body weight lost during the rut. Consider units that have a good age class and are glassable. Topography and open terrain can improve the odds of seeing and harvesting a better bull. During some years, bulls can have broken antlers during the late hunt.   

Multi-season: All seasons until the permit is filled

Utah offers a limited number of these types of permits and the odds are tough and rightfully so. Hunters can hunt all limited entry seasons until they have harvested a bull. They have to hunt during the set dates and with the respective weapons, but these permits allow a hunter to be very selective. There are three units that offer nonresidents opportunities for these permits: the Central Mtn/Manti, Plateau, Fishlake/Thousand Lakes and the Wasatch Mtns.

The goHUNT hit list units for Utah elk

There is no secret to where the biggest bulls in the state are normally harvested. Those bulls are regularly coming from the units that are managed for the highest age class objective. The San Juan, Beaver/East, Plateau/Boulder and Book Cliffs Roadless (to a slightly lesser extent) are the best trophy units in the state. Those four units are your best bets if you are looking for a bull in the 370”+ range. It’s not that all hunters will harvest a bull of that caliber, but every year a few bulls are available in those units.

Genetics are good throughout the state and the feed should be excellent during the 2019 antler development season. A big bull (350”+) can be found in many of the other units, including those that are not managed for the older age classes. Consider more remote or tough to access units or units where habitat conditions (ie. recent burns) may yield exceptional feed.

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

Unit Trophy
Potential
Trophy potential
trending
Public land
%
Beaver, East 380”+ Up 88%
Fillmore, Pahvant 380"+ Down 75%
Plateau, Boulder/Kaiparowits 380"+ No change 97%
San Juan 380"+ No change 91%
Book Cliffs, Little Creek 370"+ Down 100%
Monroe 370"+ No change 75%
Mt. Dutton 360"+ Up 88%
Panguitch Lake 360"+ Up 80%
Southwest Desert 350"+ Down 90%
Central Mtns/Manti 350"+ No change 74%
Central Mtns/Nebo 350"+ No change 49%
West Desert/Deep Creek 350"+ Down 85%
North Slope/Three Corners 350"+ No change 95%

 

  • Trophy trending is a general consensus based on age class data and opinions of hunters/guides/biologists. Each unit can still offer that caliber of bull, but they may be more or less readily available as in years past.
  • Nonresidents should note that several of the very best units will only offer one nonresident permit and, if there is one permit, it will be randomly allocated. A nonresident applying for a hunt like the Fillmore/Pahvant muzzleloader will never be guaranteed a permit as long as there is only one.

 

How to uncover hidden gem elk units

One of the most common misunderstandings about Utah is how hard it actually is to get one of the top tier permits. We all want to have the chance to hunt the caliber of bulls that Utah is famous for, but are you willing to apply and possibly never get a chance to hunt? Or would you be willing to hunt a less desirable unit or season and hunt a smaller caliber of bull? Those are questions hunters should ask themselves. Consider your objectives and then utilize the draw odds and options within Filtering 2.0 to explore the hunts that make sense for you.

A quick example: the Wasatch Mtns unit is one of the state’s largest elk herds. The trophy potential is good, but, given the number of elk and the nature of the public/private land, there will always be a few bigger bulls available. For nonresidents, it required 12 points for an archery permit, 17 points for the early rifle, 13 points for the mid-season rifle, 14 points for the muzzleloader and 14 for the late rifle. That is a four-year difference between the early rifle hunt and the mid-season rifle hunt that occurs within two weeks of each other. There are reasons for that, but those types of hunts are worth some research and thought. What we are alluding to is that applicants should explore units and season dates. Consider that some units may provide a very good late hunt or muzzleloader hunt and could be drawn more easily. Consider that there are units that are not often talked about that have a few bigger bulls and, if you can muster the time to scout or perhaps hire a guide, you could pull a rabbit out of a hat.

Utah’s OTC any bull, spike bull, and antlerless elk hunts—what are they all about?

Any bull

Utah has 18 OTC any bull units. You can easily find and research those by using Filtering 2.0 and selecting the “Elk, Over the Counter” link. Any bull elk permits can be purchased from any authorized dealer or online beginning July 16. You may purchase an archery, any weapon or a muzzleloader permit. Also, there will be multi-season any bull permits available, which will allow a hunter to hunt all three hunts. An any bull permit will allow you to hunt any of the any bull units in the state. Utah's any bull units do not offer a high-quality hunt. Most units either have low numbers of elk or a decent number of elk and the land is mostly privately owned. Out of the any bull units, the North Slope, Summit/West Daggett and South Slope, Bonanza/Vernal/Yellowstone, Nine Mile/Range Creek in northeast Utah and the Zion Unit in southern Utah offer the best hunts. Overall, for a nonresident, there are far better OTC hunting opportunities in the neighboring states of Colorado and Idaho.

Spike elk

We often get asked about the OTC spike elk hunting opportunities in Utah. Utah offers OTC archery, any weapon, muzzleloader permits and multi-season permits. Utah uses spike elk hunting to keep the bull:cow ratios within desired levels while still maintaining and offering older age class bulls to the hunters who draw limited entry permits. An OTC spike elk permit allows the hunter to hunt and harvest a spike elk on any of the limited entry units. Harvest success is typically in the 20% range for these hunts. Hunting spikes on a limited entry unit for a couple of years prior to drawing a limited entry big bull tag can help you get to know the area and learn elk behavior.

Cow elk

Utah also offers cow elk hunting permits that are allocated through a draw that occurs in June. The antlerless elk hunting regulations typically come out it May. The antlerless elk draw functions on a preference point system, meaning the applicants with the most points that apply for any given hunt will draw the permits. We provide the odds for antlerless elk. Those can be found within the standalone draw odds, Utah section, near the bottom of the species list. The antlerless elk and bull elk draws are completely separate; points are not impacted.

Find your resident antlerless elk draw odds here

Find your nonresident antlerless elk draw odds here

Extended archery elk opportunities

An additional OTC opportunity is the extended archery hunt on the Wasatch Front and the Uintah Basin. If you purchase an OTC general archery permit, you may hunt and harvest either-sex on an any bull unit or a spike or cow/calf on spike units. If you have not filled your permit, or if you simply want to hunt the extended units, you may do so from Aug. 17 to Dec. 15, 2019. If you plan to hunt the extended archery elk hunt 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.


Boone & Crockett (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. Data provided below courtesy of the Boone and Crockett Club.

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
Garfield 7 Mt Dutton, Panguitch Lake, Paunsaugunt, Plateau/Boulder/Kaiparowits, Beaver
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
Box Elder 3 Box Elder, Grouse Creek
Iron 3 Beaver, East, Southwest Desert, Mt Dutton
Rich 3 Cache, SouthCache, Meadowville
Millard 3 Southwest DesertWest Desert/Deep CreekFillmore/Pahvant, Beaver
Uintah 3 South Slope/Diamond Mtn, Nine Mile, Anthro, Book Cliffs, Bitter Creek/South

Map of Utah's typical elk B&C all time entries 2019

Top B&C typical elk locations since 2015 - Utah 2019 app strategy

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
Wayne 1 Plateau, Fishlake/Thousand Lakes, Plateau, Boulder/Kaiparowits

Map of Utah's nontypical elk B&C all time entries 2019

Top B&C nontypical elk locations since 2015 - Utah 2019 app strategy


Managing points and expectations

2019 maximum bonus points for elk: 26

UTAH RESIDENT LIMITED ENTRY BULL ELK POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2019 DRAW

UTAH NONRESIDENT LIMITED ENTRY BULL ELK POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2019 DRAW

UTAH LIMITED ENTRY BULL ELK POINTS GOING INTO THE 2019 DRAW

Find your draw odds

I have 0 elk points. What can I expect?

Residents and nonresidents that have never applied have a chance to draw. If you apply for the first time you’ll have one chance in the draw. For nonresidents, there has to be at least one permit available for the hunt you apply for, but as long as that is the case you have a chance to draw. However, odds for the vast majority of the hunts are less than 1%. As noted, applicants should still apply for a hunt. Do not apply for a point only unless you cannot afford the cost or time to hunt. You never know when you might draw.

A couple of strategies:

1) Find the best hunts/units in the state and take a swing for the fences approach knowing that odds are long; however, should you draw, you will have one of the best hunts in the West.

2) Review the odds and apply for the hunt with the best odds that still meets your objectives.

For example, the Cache/Meadowville unit does not make sense for 99.9% of the applicants, but, if you have done some homework and hired a guide, it might be worth it. Another example: the Paunsaugunt archery hunt had 10% odds with zero points for residents. Review the unit profile and other statistics to see if that is a hunt that can meet your expectations.

Find your resident elk draw odds with 0 points here

Find your nonresident elk draw odds with 0 points here

What can I do with 3 to 6 elk points?

Residents

Archery hunts in all of the following units would be worth reviewing: Cache/North, La Sal/La Sal Mtns, Nine Mile/Anthro, Oquirrh/Stansbury, Paunsaugunt, Wasatch Mtns, West Desert/Deep Creek, and Central Mtns/Manti. Muzzleloader hunts on the Paunsaugunt and Wasatch would also be worth considering. Just make sure that your expectations are realistic if you apply for one of these hunts.

Find your resident elk draw odds with 6 points here

Nonresidents

A nonresident in this point range should utilize a similar strategy as applicants with 0 points. Either apply for a great hunt and cross your fingers or look at the hunts and consider those with better odds. The best units worth considering in this range in terms of odds are Oquirh/Stansbury, Cache/South and Wasatch archery, Oquirh/Stansbury muzzleloader, and Nine Mile/Anthro late rifle. Once again, make sure these hunts will meet your expectations.

Find your nonresident elk draw odds with 6 points here

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

Residents

The only archery hunts that could not be drawn with 10 points were the Beaver/East, Fillmore/Pahvant, Monroe, Plateau/Boulder and San Juan. Those are going to take 16 or more points. Muzzleloader hunts on the Cache/North, La Sal/La Sal Mtns, Oquirrh/Stansbury, Paunsaugunt, and Wasatch Mtns are all good. Both Paunsaugunt early rifle hunts and the Cache North and South, Central Mtn/Manti, La Sal/La Sal Mtns and Paunsaugunt late rifle hunts are worth looking at.

Find your resident elk draw odds with 10 points here

Nonresidents

Nonresidents in this point range are still very limited on good options. The best hunts with odds greater than 10% might be the Cache/South and Wasatch archery. The Paunsaugunt archery permit had 100% odds; however, be aware that this is a tough hunt for an average bull. Most of the other hunt options fall between 1% and 8%.

Find your nonresident elk draw odds with 10 points here

What can I expect with 15 plus elk points?

Residents

Applicants that have been applying for this long are well acquainted with the draw system and application options. The best archery elk units are worth considering as are many of the muzzleloader hunts. In our opinion, the best hunts available with 15 points are Plateau/Boulder, Beaver/East and Monroe for archery. The muzzleloader hunts in the Book Cliffs and Plateau/Fishlake and Central Mtns/Manti are also interesting options. Early rifle hunts in on the La Sal/La Sal Mtns, Central Mtns/Manti and Nebo, and Plateau/Fishlake are good options if you need to harvest a bull. The Southwest Desert late rifle hunt is also a good option.

If you have more than 15, we would encourage you to review the odds for the hunts you are hoping to draw to see if the wait is going to be worth it. There are several good hunts available.

Find your resident elk draw odds with 15 points here

Nonresidents

With 15 points, the most intriguing hunts are the archery Central Mtns/Manti and Plateau/Fishlake. The Wasatch muzzleloader, Cache/South early rifle, Wasatch and Plateau/Fishlake mid-season rifle, and the Wasatch and Central Mtns/Manti late rifle hunts are also good. If you have more than 15 points, remember that many of the best hunts only have one nonresident permit available and, when that it the case, that permit will always be randomly allocated. You may never draw that permit you’ve been hoping for.

Use the Draw Odds, Filtering 2.0 and the Unit Profiles to research and find the hunt that works best for you.

Find your nonresident elk draw odds with 15 points here



Utah's 2019 antelope breakdown

Utah is not a top tier destination for trophy antelope and should be viewed as more of an opportunistic state. If you are a nonresident that is already applying for other species, it’s worth the $10 to apply for an antelope permit also. Once again, with some random permits, it’s worth applying. For residents, there are far better antelope hunting opportunities in states like Wyoming or New Mexico. If you are on a waiting period after having drawn another species, antelope is a good option. If not, it makes more sense to apply and build points for limited entry elk or deer. Or, if you an antelope nut, by all means, apply!

For those applying, perhaps the biggest news for Utah antelope hunting is that there may be a few more permits available this year. The actual permit numbers are not set until well after the draw deadline has closed, in late April, but we have heard that there may be a few more permits available. The increase is due to healthy and thriving herds and studies that suggest that trophy potential for bucks tops out at an earlier age than previously thought. With those two considerations, it lends itself to increased opportunity. Overall, for residents, the odds of drawing an antelope permit are very good. For nonresidents, the odds are significantly worse. The opportunity for nonresidents to apply for all species in this case actually negatively impacts the odds, but, still, it’s an opportunity to apply and possibly draw.

Overall, Utah has a good population of antelope, tons of public land and can offer a fun hunt.

Current antelope herd condition

Over the past few years, Utah has boasted their highest antelope populations ever. The number of antelope taken peaked in 2017 with 2,397 total antelope harvested. The statewide population is approximately 17,000. Utah has had good moisture this winter and temperatures that should not negatively impact adult or fawn survival. Going into 2019, populations should be stable to growing once again. The largest populations in the state occur in Plateau, San Rafael/North, Southwest Desert and the South Slope/Bonanza/Diamond Mtn. Any unit in the state can offer a good hunt. Utah does a relatively good job of managing the hunting pressure for the size of each respective herd. Utah is not likely to be the state that will provide you a record buck, but it can offer a good chance for success on a nice buck.

The seasons

Utah offers archery, any weapon (rifle) and muzzleloader hunts. Interestingly, many of the archery hunts have much higher success rates than you might imagine. The early season dates make sitting water a great method of hunting. In addition, a lot of Utah’s units contain enough topography and vegetation that spot and stalk hunting can be effective. The rifle hunts are great hunts with great rut dates and harvest success rates are often close to 100%. Muzzleloader hunts are steadily becoming more popular and the state has once again added a few new muzzleloader hunts in the Nine Mile/Anthro-Myton Bench and South Slope/Bonanza/Diamond Mountain. The muzzleloader hunt takes place after the archery and rifle hunt; however, a decent number of the better bucks are going to have already been harvested. Muzzleloader hunts are still good hunts, but that is worth keeping in mind if you are looking for a trophy buck.

The goHUNT hit list units for Utah antelope

A trophy buck could pop up in a lot of units, but there is a handful that continually provides a better chance at a record book buck. The best units have been the San Rafael/North and the Book Cliffs/South. There are a few others that have produced bigger bucks including the Southwest Desert, Nine Mile/Anthro-Myton Bench, Book Cliff/Bitter Creek and the La Sal/Potash/South Cisco. Box Elder County in northwestern Utah has also produced a decent number of trophy bucks although private/public land may be worth some research before you apply in these areas.

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

Unit Trophy
Potential
Harvest
success
Buck:doe
ratio
Public land
%
San Rafael, North 80"+ Archery: 82%
Muzzleloader: 100%
Rifle: 100%
73:100 86%
Book Cliffs, South 80"+ Archery: 57%
Rifle: 97%
61:100 96%
Beaver 75"+ Archery: 100%
Rifle: 100%
NA 80%
Book Cliffs, Bitter Creek 75"+ Archery: 100%
Rifle: 100%
43:100 59%
Fillmore, Oak Creek South 75"+ Archery: 67%
Rifle: 100%
36:100 67%
Mt. Dutton/Paunsaugunt,
Johns Valley
75"+ Archery: 100%
Rifle: 97%
31:100 87%
Nine Mile, Anthro-Myton Beach 75"+ Archery: 100%
Rifle: 100%
42:100 66%
Southwest Desert 75"+ Archery: 91%
Muzzleloader: 73%
Rifle: 91%
37:100 90%
West Desert, Riverbed 75"+ Archery: 75%
Rifle: 100%
72:100 89%
West Desert, Snake Valley 75"+ Archery: 75%
Rifle: 95%
61:100 95%

Boone & Crockett (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. Data provided below courtesy of the Boone and Crockett Club.

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

County No. of
entries
Units found
within county
Box Elder 6 Box Elder/ Pilot Mtn, Box Elder/ Snowville, Box Elder/ Promontory
Carbon 6 Nine Mile/ Range Creek, San Rafael/North, Nine Mile/Anthro-Myton Bench
Emery 4 Nine Mile/ Range Creek, San Rafael/ North, San Rafael/ Desert
Millard 3 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
Utah 1 West Desert, Rush Valley
Wayne   San Rafael, Desert, Plateau, Parker Mtn

Map of Utah's antelope B&C all time entries 2019

How to uncover hidden antelope units

For residents, the hidden gems are in the archery and muzzleloader hunts. For example, consider that the La Sal/Potash/South Cisco archery hunt could have been drawn with two bonus points and harvest success was 100%. On the flip side, the rifle hunt required five bonus points and harvest success was 88%. The harvest success for the rifle hunt has been 100%, but, then again, so has the archery for the past two years.

Hunters who prefer to use a firearm should consider the muzzleloader hunts. Similar to the archery hunts, odds are much better than the rifle hunts. Also, remember that Utah allows the use of in-line muzzleloaders and magnified scopes.

Nonresidents have significantly worse odds than residents and there are really no hidden gems per se. Nonresidents can review the odds, harvest success rates and apply for the hunts that best meet your objectives. If you are really only concerned with having an opportunity at a trophy buck, the options are limited. You could select from the units within the hit list above or plan on intensively scouting one of the mid-tier units.

Doe antelope opportunity

Utah offers doe antelope hunting opportunities in most units. INSIDERs should take note that we offer draw odds for doe antelope hunts. You can find those on the standalone draw odds page. Utah has a preference point system for doe antelope where the applicants with the most points draw the permits. Most units can be drawn with one or two preference points. If you want to do a doe antelope hunt in Utah, plan on applying during the June antlerless/doe draw. This is a separate draw from the regular big game draw. Points are separate and will not be impacted.

Find your resident doe antelope draw odds here

Find your nonresident doe antelope draw odds here



Managing points and expectations

2019 maximum bonus points for antelope: 21

UTAH RESIDENT ANTELOPE POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2019 DRAW

UTAH NONRESIDENT ANTELOPE POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2019 DRAW

UTAH ANTELOPE POINTS GOING INTO THE 2019 DRAW

Find your draw odds

I have 0 antelope points. What can I expect?

Residents

With no points, residents have good odds for many of the archery and muzzleloader antelope hunts. The only two hunts that had 100% odds were the archery Box Elder/Promontory and Box Elder/Snowville hunts. Be aware that private land can be an issue. Some of the best options are likely the Book Cliffs/South and La Sal/Potash/South Cisco archery hunts. Both of those had good odds. If you are looking for a firearm hunt, consider the Southwest Desert muzzleloader hunt.

Find your resident antelope draw odds with 0 points here

Nonresidents

Nonresidents should decide what their goal is for an antelope hunt. If your goal is to try to harvest a 75”+ buck then you should only focus on those trophy units that have a nonresident permit available. The odds are dismal pretty much across the board, but, then again, for the $10 application fee, you have some chance. Review the odds, pick your weapon and apply!

Find your nonresident antelope draw odds with 0 points here

What can I do with 3 to 6 antelope points?

Residents

With six bonus points, all archery hunts could have been drawn except for one and it was not the best unit. There are several rifle hunts that could also have been drawn and all four muzzleloader hunts in 2018 had 100% odds with six points. Within this range, some of the best options are likely the archery hunts on the San Rafael/North, Book Cliff/South, muzzleloader hunts on the San Rafael/North, Southwest Desert and the rifle hunts on the La Sal/Potash/South Cisco, Nine Mile/Anthro/Myton Bench and the Book Cliff units.

Find your resident antelope draw odds with 6 points here

Nonresidents

Once again, nonresidents should apply for a top tier trophy unit and cross their fingers or consider the odds and try for a hunt with better odds like the Pine Valley or Nine Mile/Anthro/Myton Bench archery hunts.

Find your nonresident antelope draw odds with 6 points here

What can I expect with 7 to 10 antelope points?

Residents

With 10 points almost every hunt could be drawn. The only exceptions are the West Desert/Snake Valley, West Desert/Riverbed and West Desert/Rush Valley rifle hunts. There are so many good hunt options within this range. Use the Draw Odds, Trophy Potential, and Unit Profiles to find the best hunt for you.

Find your resident antelope draw odds with 10 points here

Nonresidents

Nonresidents might consider that if there are not at least two permits that one will never go to the highest point holder. So, if you want to draw a permit, be sure to review the odds and look for units that have 100% odds at higher point levels. This will let you know which units typically have a bonus point permit. However, there are some good hunts at the top end of this point range. The better options are likely the Fillmore/Oak Creek South, La Sal/Potash/South Cisco, Nine Mile/Anthro/Myton Bench rifle hunts and the Southwest Desert muzzleloader. Use the Draw Odds, Trophy Potential, and Unit Profiles to find the best hunt for you.

Find your nonresident antelope draw odds with 10 points here

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