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APPLICATION STRATEGY 2021: Utah Sheep, Moose, Goat & Bison

UTAH'S 2021 BIGHORN SHEEP, MOOSE, MOUNTAIN GOAT, AND BISON APPLICATION OVERVIEW

Jump to: NEW FOR 2021 State Info Draw System R. Bighorn Breakdown D. Bighorn Breakdown Moose Breakdown Goat Breakdown Bison Breakdown

Note: The application deadline for all Utah species is March 4, 2021 at 11 p.m. MST. Applicants who want to purchase bonus points only have until March 18, 2021 at 11 p.m. MST. You may apply online here.


New for 2021

  • Fee increases for nonresident hunters: License, permit and application fees for hunters who are not Utah residents increased on July 1, 2020 and continue into 2021. Read more here.
  • Deployed active duty military residents can purchase bonus and preference points even if they miss the application deadline and the hunting license fee will be waived.
  • New bison hunt: Book Cliffs, Wild Horse Bench hunter’s choice that runs Aug. 2 to Jan. 31, 2022.
  • New resident only desert bighorn sheep archery hunt: San Rafael/Dirty Devil that runs Dec. 25 to Jan. 16, 2022.
  • New resident only rocky mountain bighorn sheep archery hunt: Fillmore/Oak Creek that runs Nov. 20 to Dec. 12, 2021.

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 Species Profiles to access historical and statistical data to help you find trophy areas.

Utah State Profile Rocky Bighorn Profile Desert Bighorn Profile Shiras Moose Profile Mountain Goat Profile Bison Profile Draw Odds Filtering 2.0 goHUNT MAPS

Important dates and information

  • The deadline to apply is March 4, 2021 at 11 p.m. MST. Apply online here.
  • The bonus point/preference point only purchase and application withdrawal deadline is March 18, 2021 at 11 p.m. MST.
  • 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 for two consecutive years on one license. You do not need an active hunting license to hunt, just to apply.
  • Moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat and bison draws utilize a modified bonus point system.
  • 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.
  • If you draw a permit and hunt for bull moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat or bison, you can no longer apply for that species again. Those are once-in-a-lifetime permits whether you harvest or not.


Applying for a state you've never hunted before can be daunting but we are here to make it easy. In the video above, Trail goes over some of the most commonly asked questions when applying in Utah.

Fees and permit costs

Utah once-in-a-lifetime fees for 2021

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)
$29 youth (17 and under)
$72 adult (18 and older)
365-day hunt/fish combo license $20 youth (14 to 17)
$38 adult (18 to 64)
$29 adult (65 and older)
$33 youth (17 and under)
$98 adult (18 and older)
Application fee per species $10 $15
Desert and Rocky bighorn sheep $513 $2,200
Shiras moose $413 $2,200
Rocky Mountain goat $413 $2,200
Bison $413 $2,200

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

The draw system 

Understanding the draw

Utah issues 10% of their draw permits to nonresidents. Once-in-a-lifetime hunts are allocated through a modified bonus point system. Half of the permits for each hunt are given to applicants who apply with the most bonus points. The other half are allocated through a random draw with weight given to the number of points you have. Essentially, the more points you have, the more chances you get in the drawing. If there is an odd number of permits, the bulk go to high point holders. If there is one permit only, it will be randomly drawn. 

Applicants who are unsuccessful in the draw will get a point for each species they applied for. You can apply for a point only if you do not wish to apply for a hunt. Only apply for a point only if you cannot afford the permit or the time off to hunt should you draw. With a portion of the permits being randomly drawn, you always have some chance of drawing.

Most once-in-a-lifetime hunts will only have one permit allocated to nonresidents. As such, it will be randomly allocated and is not guaranteed to the high point applicant.

Hunt choices

Utah allows applicants to enter one hunt choice for once-in-a-lifetime species. If you draw a permit and hunt, then your accumulated points will be purged. Residents can only apply for one of the following: moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat or bison. Nonresidents can apply for all of those species.

Group applications

Group applications are not permitted for moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat or bison.

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

Note that if you draw a limited entry deer, elk or antelope permit, your moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat and/or bison application will not be considered in the draw. You cannot draw both a limited entry permit and a once-in-a-lifetime permit in the same year.

Bonus point system

For all species, the maximum point amount is 28 for 2021; however, there are some species that no longer have applicants at that level. Below are the high point holders for applicants that either purchased a point or applied.

Bonus point system

Species Resident Nonresident
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep 28 (1 applicant) 24 (1 applicant)
Desert bighorn sheep 26 (9 applicants) 28 (16 applicant)
Moose 27 (3 applicants) 27 (1 applicant)
Mountain goat 26 (2 applicants) 23 (1 applicant)
Bison 27 (1 applicant) 28 (1 applicant)

 

 Once-in-a-lifetime permits in 2020*

Species Residents Nonresidents Total permits
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep 59 5 64
Desert bighorn sheep 73 5 78
Shiras moose 98 7 105
Rocky mountain goat 109 9 118
Bison 99 13 112

*Utah won't set their 2021 allocations until May, which is after the application deadline.
**Does not include resident Cooperative Wildlife Management Units (CWMU) moose permits.

Utah's 2021 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep breakdown

The largest populations occur in the Nine Mile, Box Elder/Newfoundland Mountains and the Book Cliffs units. Populations are generally stable in these areas while trophy potential is average. Utah isn’t known to produce book rams, but any unit can provide a high success hunt and a chance at a mature ram.

All Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep hunts 2021

Unit Trophy
Potential
Harvest
success
Resident
permits
(2020)
Nonresident
permits
(2020)
Book Cliffs, South 175"+ 83% 4 1
Box Elder, Newfoundland Mtn
(early)
155"+ 89% 6 2
Box Elder, Newfoundland Mtn
(late)
155"+ 75% 8 0
Box Elder, Newfoundland Mtn
(archery)
155"+ 75% 4 0
Central Mtns, Nebo 170"+ NA 2 0
Fillmore, Oak Creek (early) 165"+ 100% 7 0
Fillmore, Oak Creek (late) 165"+ 100% 6 1
Fillmore, Oak Creek (archery) 165"+ New hunt New hunt 0
Nine Mile & Gray Canyon 170"+ 100% 4 1
Nine Mile, Jack Creek 175”+ 100% 4 0
North Slope, Three Corners-Bare-Top 160”+ 100% 2 0
North Slope, Summit/West Daggett 160”+ 100% 3 0
Oquirrh-Stansbury, West 165”+ 100% 5 0
Wasatch Mtns, West 170"+ 100% 3 0

*Permit numbers will be set at the May big game board meeting.

Managing points and expectations

2021 maximum points for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep

Residents: 28
Nonresidents: 24

Utah limited entry Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep points going into the 2021 draw

Points Resident Nonresident
1 1,331 2,356
2 893 2,000
3 782 1,634
4 811 1,457
5 581 1,034
6 563 1,016
7 481 984
8 410 865
9 408 923
10 363 931
11 297 1,077
12 299 2,169
13 260 356
14 226 195
15 206 109
16 160 72
17 136 77
18 122 158
19 98 13
20 71 6
21 47 5
22 25 4
23 18 0
24 4 1
25 2 0
26 1 0
27 0 0
28 1 0

UTAH RESIDENT LIMITED ENTRY ROCKY BIGHORN POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2021 DRAW

UTAH NONRESIDENT LIMITED ENTRY ROCKY BIGHORN POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2021 DRAW

Residents can apply for one the 14 hunts. Nonresidents can apply for one of four hunts, which are indicated in the table above. If there is a bonus point permit available for nonresidents in 202,1 it’s most likely going to be in the Box Elder, Newfoundland Mtn unit.

Find your draw odds

I have 0 to 17 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep points. What can I expect?

Residents

The Box Elder, Newfoundland Mtn archery hunt had 68% odds with 17 points. The Oquirrh-Stansbury, West had had 22% odds at the 17-point level. It’s likely that both of those hunts will require 18+ points going into the 2021 draw. If you have zero to 17 bonus points, these hunts have the best random odds. The Fillmore, Oak Creek does have a new archery hunt available this year.

Nonresidents 

Nonresident applicants can choose from the Book Cliffs, South, Box Elder/Newfoundland Mtn, Nine Mile & Gray Canyon or the Fillmore, Oak Creek. At least one permit is likely available for each one of those hunts. The Box Elder, Newfoundland Mtn hunt may have two permits, one of which would go to the maximum point holder in the 22- to 24-point range. Random odds are mostly less than .2% through the entire point range for all hunts. The Book Cliffs and Nine Mile units have the best trophy qualities of those units.

Find your resident Rocky bighorn sheep draw odds with 0 points here

Find your nonresident Rocky bighorn sheep draw odds with 0 points here

I have 18 to 28 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep points. What can I expect?

Residents

The Box Elder/Newfoundland Mtn archery and the Oquirrh-Stansbury, West both had 100% odds with 18 bonus points. At 19 points, the Fillmore, Oak Creek early hunt had 100% odds. Moving to 20 points, the Central Mtns, Nebo and the Box Elder/Newfoundland Mtn late hunts were available. Applicants with 21 points were able to draw the Box Elder/Newfoundland Mtn early hunt, Fillmore, Oak Creek late hunt and the Wasatch Mtns, West hunt. The Nine Mile/Jack Creek, North Slope, Summit/West Daggett and North Slope, Three Corners-Bare Top were good options with 22 points. The Book Cliffs, South required 24 points.

Nonresidents 

The Box Elder/Newfoundland Mtn hunt had one bonus point permit available in 2020 that required 22 points to draw. The other hunt options had less than .3% odds throughout the point range and two of the three hunts have random odds of less than .1%. The Book Cliffs, South and the Nine Mile & Gray Canyon have the best trophy potential.

Find your resident Rocky bighorn sheep draw odds with 20 points here

Find your nonresident Rocky bighorn sheep draw odds with 20 points here


Utah's 2021 desert bighorn sheep breakdown

The largest herds exist within the Zion, Kaiparowits, East and West and the San Rafael, North and South. The other herds are smaller and hunting opportunities are managed accordingly.

All desert bighorn sheep hunts 2021

Unit Trophy
Potential
Harvest
success
Resident
permits
(2020)
Nonresident
permits
(2020)
Henry Mountains 150"+ 100% 5 0
Kaiparowits, East 165"+ 100% 8 1
Kaiparowits, Escalante 160"+ 100% 5 0
Kaiparowits, West 165"+ 100% 10 1
La Sal, Potash/South Cisco 150"+ 100% 5 0
Pine Valley, Virgin River 165"+ N/A 2 0
Pine Valley, Beaver Dam 165"+ 100% 3 0
San Juan, Lockhart 150"+ 100% 2 0
San Juan, North 150"+ N/A 2 0
San Juan, San Juan River 150"+ N/A 1 0
San Juan, South 150"+ 35% 2 0
San Rafael, Dirty Devil 160"+ 100% 6 0
San Rafael, Dirty Devil
(archery)
160"+ New hunt New hunt 0
San Rafael, North 150"+ 100% 9 2
San Rafael, South 150"+ 100% 6 0
Zion (early) 170”+ 100% 2 1
Zion (late) 170”+ 100% 3 0

*New hunts and tag numbers will be set at the May big game board meeting.

Managing points and expectations

2021 max points for desert bighorn sheep

Residents: 26
Nonresidents: 28

Utah limited entry eesert bighorn sheep points going into the 2021 draw

Points Resident Nonresident
1 1,427 2,285
2 925 1,934
3 872 1,606
4 865 1,172
5 529 1,082
6 511 964
7 473 897
8 426 789
9 369 807
10 390 859
11 359 928
12 328 1,471
13 332 433
14 317 411
15 344 354
16 296 379
17 276 341
18 236 249
19 215 226
20 173 196
21 184 165
22 114 96
23 99 49
24 48 52
25 18 51
26 9 39
27 0 28
28 0 16

UTAH RESIDENT LIMITED ENTRY DESERT BIGHORN POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2021 DRAW

UTAH NONRESIDENT LIMITED ENTRY DESERT BIGHORN POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2021 DRAW

Find your draw odds

I have 0 to 21 desert bighorn points. What can I expect?

Residents

From zero to 20 bonus points, applicants were only in the running for random permits and the best odds were for the San Juan/San Juan River. The rest of the units had random odds that are generally between .01% and 3%. At 21 points, the Henry Mtns and the San Juan, North hunts were available. The San Juan, Lockhart and Kaiparowits, Escalante units had 51% odds with 21 points as well.

Nonresidents

There are four hunts available for nonresidents — one of which had one bonus point permit available. The San Juan/South unit bonus point permit was drawn with 27 points. All other hunts had one random permit, which had odds of less than .2% through the entire point range.

Find your resident Desert bighorn sheep draw odds with 0 points here

Find your nonresident Desert bighorn sheep draw odds with 0 points here

I have 22 to 28 desert bighorn points. What can I expect?

Residents

With 22 points, the Pine Valley, Beaver Dam, San Juan, Lockhart, the San Juan/Dirty Devil and the Kaiparowits, Escalante were all available. At 23 to 24 points, the La Sal, Potash/South Cisco, San Juan, South and San Juan, North were good options. The Kaiparowits, East was the best hunt with 24 points. The best three hunts — the Zion early, Zion late and the Kaiparowits, West — will all require 25 to 26 points.

Nonresidents 

The San Juan/South unit had one bonus point permit in 2020 and it required 27 points. It will likely require 27 to 28 to be considered for that permit in 2021. All other hunts had random odds of less than .2% throughout the entire point range. The best trophy potential is in the Zion and Kaiparowits, West units.

FIND YOUR RESIDENT DESERT BIGHORN SHEEP DRAW ODDS WITH 22 POINTS HERE

FIND YOUR NONRESIDENT DESERT BIGHORN SHEEP DRAW ODDS WITH 22 POINTS HERE


Utah's 2021 Shiras moose breakdown

The largest herds in the state occur along the Wasatch Front, the Cache and the North Slope and Summit in the Uintas.

Utah bull moose hunts for 2020

Unit Harvest
success
Resident
permits
(2020)
Nonresident
permits
(2020)
Cache 100% 11 1
Chalk Creek 100% 3 0
East Canyon* 100% 3 0
East Canyon, Morgan-Summit* 100% 3 0
Kamas 67% 3 0
Morgan-South Rich* 50% 5 0
North Slope, Summit 100% 13 1
North Slope, Three Corners/West Daggett 100% 5 1
Ogden* 86% 12 1
South Slope, Diamond Mtn/Vernal 100% 2 0
South Slope/Yellowstone 75% 4 0
Wasatch Mtns/Central Mtns 90% 34 3

*Units are mostly private land.

Many are not aware that there are many CWMU hunts with permits available for residents to draw. Nonresidents may not apply for CWMU permits, but it’s likely that there are bull moose landowner tags available for purchase on some of these properties. See the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) guidebook for more information on CWMU hunts.


Managing points and expectations

2021 max points for Shiras moose

Residents: 27
Nonresidents: 27

Utah limited entry moose points going into the 2021 draw

Points Resident Nonresident
1 3,587 2,084
2 2,933 1,766
3 2,470 1,396
4 2,582 1,263
5 1,869 915
6 1,688 825
7 1,580 786
8 1,423 726
9 1,302 780
10 1,220 738
11 1,226 863
12 1,229 1,711
13 1,175 323
14 1,092 300
15 1,065 214
16 1,061 169
17 1,004 145
18 982 142
19 942 135
20 842 114
21 702 111
22 615 61
23 466 33
24 310 17
25 76 4
26 17 3
27 3 1

UTAH RESIDENT LIMITED ENTRY MOOSE POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2021 DRAW

UTAH NONRESIDENT LIMITED ENTRY MOOSE POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2021 DRAW

Find your draw odds

I have 0 to 23 moose points. What can I expect?

Residents

As a resident, if you are considering applying for moose as your once-in-a-lifetime species, we would strongly recommend that you review the number of applicants in the system and apply for one of the other species. There are significantly more applicants in the system for moose. 

Unfortunately, from zero to 22 points, the odds of drawing a permit were less than 1% for every hunt except one: Morgan-South Rich, which had 41% odds. With 23 points, applicants are still likely to be a year behind the bottom end of the curve; however, they should review these units: East Canyon/Morgan-Summit, Kamas, Morgan-South Rich and the South Slope, Yellowstone.

Nonresidents

The Wasatch Mtns/Central Mtns had 33% odds at 23 points. That is, once again, likely to creep, but it is worth a longer look. The other hunts all had odds of less than .3% through the entire point range.

Find your resident moose draw odds with 0 points here

Find your nonresident moose draw odds with 0 points here

I have 24 to 27 moose points. What can I expect?

Residents

With 24 points, applicants should explore the Morgan-South Rich, East Canyon, Kamas, North Slope, Three Corners/West Daggett, South Slope, Diamond Mt/Vernal and the South Slope, Yellowstone. With 25 to 26 points, applicants might explore the Cache, Chalk Creek, North Slope, Summit, Ogden and Wasatch Mtns/Central Mtns

The trophy potential is best in the Cache and North Slope/Summit.

Nonresidents

Only one hunt had bonus point permits: Wasatch Mtns/Central Mtns. That unit had two bonus point permits, which were allocated at 23 points. Those will require 24+ points in 2021. All other hunts had odds that are .01% to .3% throughout the entire bonus point range.

FIND YOUR RESIDENT MOOSE DRAW ODDS WITH 24 POINTS HERE

FIND YOUR NONRESIDENT MOOSE DRAW ODDS WITH 24 POINTS HERE


Utah's 2021 Rocky Mountain goat breakdown

The highest populations of mountain goats occur on the Uintas/Central, Unitas/West, Beaver and Central Mtns/Nebo units. Trophy potential is average throughout the state. Utah is not producing the trophy billies in the numbers it once was. Most notably, the Willard Peak unit has tanked in terms of population and trophy potential and it will not offer a nonresident permit in 2021. Beaver, Central Mtns/Nebo and, perhaps, the Unitas/West and Uintas/Central units have the best potential; however, once again, trophy potential is not what it was and we would not recommend looking solely at those units for the absolute best trophy potential. 

Beaver, Ogden, Willard Peak, Mt Dutton and La Sal, La Sal Mtns area have easier access; the Uintas units are more of your traditional backpack wilderness style mountain goat hunt. Once again, there will be no nanny only permits available for any unit in 2021.

All Utah mountain goat hunts for 2021

Unit Harvest
success
Resident
permits
(2020)
Nonresident
permits
(2020)
Beaver (early) 90% 8 2
Beaver (late) 100% 10 0
Central Mountains, Nebo (archery) 78% 8 1
Central Mountains, Nebo 90% 11 1
Chalk Creek/Kamas, Uintas 91% 11 1
La Sal, La Sal Mtns 100% 6 1
Mt Dutton 100% 2 0
North Slope/South Slope,
High Uintas Central
(archery)
75% 4 0
North Slope/South Slope,
High Uintas Central
90% 9 1
North Slope/South Slope,
High Uintas East
67% 3 0
North Slope/South Slope,
High Uintas Leidy Peak
100% 3 0
North Slope/South Slope,
High Uintas West
91% 19 1
Ogden, Willard Peak 57% 3 1 (no tag 2021)
Wasatch Mtns, Box Elder Peak 100% 2 0
Wasatch Mountains, Lone Peak 100% 3 0
Wasatch Mountains, Provo Peak 100% 3 0
Wasatch Mountains, Timpanogos 100% 4 0

*There will be a nonresident permit on the La Sal, La Sal Mtns in 2020 to go along with the other seven hunts that offered a permit(s) last year.

Managing points and expectations

2021 max points for mountain goat

Residents: 26
Nonresidents: 23

Utah limited entry mountain goat points going into the 2021 draw

Points Resident Nonresident
1 1,123 1,802
2 1,000 1,601
3 847 1,304
4 1,007 1,231
5 708 879
6 640 826
7 665 798
8 505 711
9 421 728
10 409 754
11 405 869
12 334 1,561
13 301 164
14 308 127
15 239 132
16 170 88
17 175 53
18 124 32
19 63 41
20 54 41
21 47 29
22 14 13
23 4 1
24 2 0
25 0 0
25 2 0

UTAH RESIDENT LIMITED ENTRY MOUNTAIN GOAT POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2021 DRAW

UTAH NONRESIDENT LIMITED ENTRY MOUNTAIN GOAT POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2021 DRAW

Find your draw odds

I have 0 to 14 mountain goat points. What can I expect?

Residents

At the 14 bonus point level, the North Slope/South Slope, High Uintas Central archery hunts had 100% odds. The Central Mtns/Nebo archery hunt had 53% odds at 14. It’s interesting to note that the Nebo archery hunt dates have been pushed back some in 2021, ending Oct. 3. This may put some snow on the ground toward the end of that hunt and offer a trophy hide that has a bit better hair. All other hunts had random odds that are in the .5% to 4% range.

Nonresidents 

No available hunts within this range had odds better than .45%. Apply for a hunt with a random permit and hope for some luck!

Find your resident mountain goat draw odds with 0 points here

Find your nonresident mountain goat draw odds with 0 points here

I have 15 to 25 mountain goat points. What can I expect?

Residents

The Central Mtns/Nebo archery hunt had 100% odds at 15 points. With 16 points, the North Slope/South Slope, High Uintas East had 100% odds and the North Slope/South Slope, High Uintas Central had 33% odds. Applicants at 17 points had a few more hunts to think about, including the La Sal, La Sal Mtns, North Slope/South Slope, High Uintas Leidy Peak and North Slope/South Slope, High Uintas West. With 18 points, the Central Mtns, Nebo, and Chalk Creek/Kamas, Uintas were available. 

The Ogden, Willard Peak, Wasatch Mtns, Lone Peak, Wasatch Mtns, Provo Peak required 19 points. Mt Dutton, Wasatch Mtns, Box Elder Peak and Wasatch Mtns, Timpanogos required 20 bonus points. 

Beaver early and late hunt will require 22 to 23 points.

Nonresidents 

Beaver was the only unit that offered a bonus point permit and it will require 22+ points. As previously indicated, all other hunts at every point level had odds of less than 1%.

FIND YOUR RESIDENT MOUNTAIN GOAT DRAW ODDS WITH 20 POINTS HERE

FIND YOUR NONRESIDENT MOUNTAIN GOAT DRAW ODDS WITH 20 POINTS HERE


Utah's 2021 bison breakdown

Utah is among the very few states that offer hunts for free-range bison. Bison inhabit the Henry Mountains, Book Cliffs and Antelope Island. Utah offers hunts for cow only or hunter’s choice as well as an early archery hunt on the Book Cliffs this year. The hunts also vary by date with the Henry Mountains hunts being pushed back in 2021 to as late as they have ever been. Typically, the later the hunt, the more challenging it can be due to weather and hunting pressure. The late archery hunts (resident only) on the Henry Mountains could be challenging this year given cold weather, snow and bison that have been rifle-hunted since November. 

We have also received a few questions about the over-the-counter (OTC) bison hunt in the Nine Mile/Range Creek unit. This hunt opened in 2020. The unit does not have a management plan for bison, but there continues to be a fair number that migrate late in the fall and winter from adjacent reservation lands. The area is extremely remote with the primary access an 84-mile float trip through Desolation Canyon, which requires a permit. Rumor is that river permits are already sold out for the season dates in 2021. There may be additional access to Range Creek via a mountain pass, which can be impassable in winter conditions. Another option is accessed via land administered by the Utah Museum of Natural History; however, they offer no vehicle access, a limited number of walk-in access permits and close all access after Dec. 1.

In addition, something to consider is that if you buy one of these OTC bison permits, any bison points you have accrued will be purged and you are no longer allowed to apply for the draw hunts. You can purchase the OTC bison permit again year after year until you fill your permit, provided the UDWR continues with the hunt into the future. For those willing to do a lot of research and obtain a float permit in 2022 or further into the future, it could be a real adventure. It’s estimated that approximately 60 bison have already been harvested in 2020.

All Utah bison hunts for 2021

Unit Harvest success Resident
permits
(2020)
Nonresident
permits
(2020)
Antelope Island 100% 2 0
Book Cliffs (archery) -- 5 0
Book Cliffs 100% 7 0
Book Cliffs, Bitter Creek/South -- 8 0
Book Cliffs
(cow only)
-- 4 0
Book Cliffs, Little Creek Roadless 100% 13 2
Book Cliffs, Little Creek Roadless
cow only)
-- 13 2
Book Cliffs, Wild Horse Bench 100% 9 1
Henry Mtns
(early)
77% 4 1
Henry Mtns
(mid)
44% 3 1
Henry Mtns
(late)
60% 5 1
Henry Mtns
(cow only - early)
-- 10 1
Henry Mtns
(cow only - late)
-- 7 1
Henry Mtns
(archery)
78% 2 1

Managing points and expectations

2021 maximum points for bison

Residents: 27
Nonresidents: 28

Utah limited entry bison points going into the 2021 draw

Points Resident Nonresident
1 3,279 2,101
2 2,373 1,805
3 1,904 1,285
4 1,753 1,204
5 1,156 842
6 890 745
7 762 660
8 671 608
9 579 579
10 488 568
11 499 669
12 490 1,208
13 409 127
14 354 102
15 304 86
16 282 66
17 255 66
18 288 83
19 246 52
20 229 37
21 229 40
22 191 51
23 131 21
24 84 16
25 30 9
26 14 1
27 1 0
28 0608 1

UTAH RESIDENT LIMITED ENTRY BISON POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2021 DRAW

UTAH NONRESIDENT LIMITED ENTRY BISON POINT TOTALS GOING INTO THE 2021 DRAW

Find your draw odds

I have 0 to 15 bison points. What can I expect?

Residents

Within this range, the best options are the cow bison hunts. The Book Cliffs hunt and the Henry Mtns December hunt both had 100% odds at 15 points. The Henry Mtns January hunt had 100% odds at 13 points. The best option for low point applicants is the Book Cliff/Little Creek Roadless cow hunt, which had 100% with six points. The Roadless area has a healthy population and the chances of success are good, but you will likely need packstock. 

The bull bison hunts all have low odds of drawing. The best odds were for the Book Cliff/Little Creek Roadless at 6.5% with 15 points.

Nonresidents

The Book Cliff/Little Creek Roadless cow only hunt was drawn at 13+ points. This area would require packstock, but the chances at success are very good. Applicants have very low odds of drawing an “any bison” permit, meaning the bull bison permits are very tough to draw. The random odds within this range were all lower than .5%.

Find your resident bison draw odds with 0 points here

Find your nonresident bison draw odds with 0 points here

I have 16 to 26 bison points. What can I expect?

Residents

All of the cow bison hunts were available with 15 points last year. If you have 16 points, the Book Cliffs and Henry Mtns December hunts are great options. 

Applicants did not get into contention for a bull bison permit until they reached the 20-point level. The Book Cliffs archery hunt required 20 points while the Henry Mtns archery hunt had 34% odds at 21 and was guaranteed with 22. The Book Cliff/Little Creek Roadless bull bison hunt is a good option for 21 to 22 points. The Book Cliffs, Wild Horse Bench hunt is much longer this year and, for hunters who have ample time to hunt it, can be a very good option with 22 to 23 points. Moving to 23 to 24 points, applicants might consider the Henry Mtns mid and late-season hunts. The Book Cliffs, Bitter Creek/South is another good hunt with 23 to 24 points. The early Book Cliffs, Henry Mtns and Antelope Island hunts will all require 26+ points.

Nonresidents

There was one “any bison” hunt that offered enough nonresident permits to have one allocated in the bonus point draw. The Book Cliff/Little Creek Roadless hunt had one bonus point permit that required 23 points. All other bull hunts had less than 1% odds through the entire point range. 

 

FIND YOUR RESIDENT BISON DRAW ODDS WITH 20 POINTS HERE

FIND YOUR NONRESIDENT BISON DRAW ODDS WITH 20 POINTS HERE

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