Utah DWR announces 2021 big game recommendations

Utah DWR announces 2021 big game recommendations

The Utah Division of Wildlife has recently announced several recommendations for changes to the big game rules in 2021 as well as proposed season dates. These changes range from new hunts to quota changes along with the normal litany of boundary changes.

The DWR is seeking public comment on the proposals that are to be discussed at RAC board meetings in the coming months. The public comment period opens on November 3rd for each of the five regional meetings. 

Public comments can be submitted through an online form.

  • Central Utah RAC meeting: Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. (Public comments must be submitted by Nov. 7 at 11:59 p.m.)
  • Northern Utah RAC meeting: Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. (Public comments must be submitted by Nov. 9 at 11:59 p.m.)
  • Southern Utah RAC meeting: Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. (Public comments must be submitted by Nov. 14 at 11:59 p.m.)
  • Southeastern Utah RAC meeting: Nov. 18 at 6:30 p.m. (Public comments must be submitted by Nov. 15 at 11:59 p.m.)
  • Northeastern Utah RAC meeting: Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m. (Public comments must be submitted by Nov. 16 at 11:59 p.m.)
  • Utah Wildlife Board meeting: Dec. 3 at 9 a.m. (Public comments must be submitted by Nov. 26 at 11:59 p.m.)

You can read about all of the proposed changes and view video presentations on each proposal here.


Proposed changes for deer

For 2021 the DWR has proposed one new general-season any legal weapon hunt with the most notable changes being in the deer management plan. Several proposed changes have been recommended that would ultimately decrease the statewide deer population objective from 454,100 to 403,800 animals. These large decreases in the number of units may cause a drop in available permits but this will not be fully known until the total tag numbers are released after the drawing deadline.

Recommended new hunts

Hunt name

Season type

2021 dates

NR permits available

North SlopeAny Legal WeaponOct 13 - Oct 17Yes

Recommended hunts to discontinue

Hunt name

Season type

Hunt code

Henry MtnsAny Legal Weapon
(Management)
DB1009
Henry MtnsArchery
(Management)
DB1051
Henry MtnsMuzzleloader
(Management)
DB1052
North Slope, SummitAny Legal WeaponDB1021

2021 proposed deer management changes

Unit

Current objective

New objective

Objective change
Box Elder20,00020,000Same
Cache25,00025,000Same
Ogden11,00011,000Same
Morgan-South Rich18,00016,000Lower
East Canyon13,50013,500Same
Chalk Creek10,50012,000Higher
Kamas8,0008,000Same
North Slope10,00010,000Same
South Slope, Yellowstone13,00011,000Lower
South Slope, Diamond Mtn/Vernal15,00013,000Lower
Book Cliffs15,0009,000Lower
Nine Mile8,5008,500Same
San Rafael1,000No objectiveNA
La Sal, La Sal Mtns13,0008,000Lower
La Sal, Dolores Triangle5,1003,100Lower
San Juan, Abajo13,50013,500Same
San Juan, Elk Ridge5,6001,000Lower
Henry Mtns2,7002,700Same
Central Mtns, Manti38,00028,000Lower
Central Mtns, Nebo22,60014,000Lower
Wasatch Mtns, West22,60022,600Same
Wasatch Mtns, Currant Creek20,00017,000Lower
Wasatch Mtns, Avintaquin5,0004,000Lower
Oquirrh-Stansbury11,60011,600Same
West Desert11,20011,200Same
Southwest Desert4,0003,500Lower
Fillmore, Pahvant12,0007,600Lower
Fillmore, Oak Creek2,5002,000Lower
Beaver13,00014,000Higher
Monroe7,5007,000Lower
Mt. Dutton2,7003,200Higher
Plateau, Fishlake10,0007,000Lower
Plateau, Thousand Lakes3,0001,400Lower
Plateau, Boulder/Kaiparowtis12,0008,500Lower
Paunsaugunt6,5006,500Same
Panguitch Lake10,00011,000Higher
Zion15,50019,100Higher
Pine Valley16,00019,500Higher
Total454,100403,800 

The proposals from the DWR can be found here.


Proposed changes for elk

Several proposed changes are on deck for elk one of which includes a proposal to modify the current elk management plan to allow for an unlimited number of any-bull elk permits.

"We're making this recommendation after in-depth discussions with the elk committee who wrote the statewide elk management plan. It's a way to expand hunting opportunities for families, strengthen ties to Utah's hunting heritage and provide a challenge for hunters since this is not an easy hunt," DWR Big Game Coordinator Covy Jones said.

Traditionally, the general-season any bull elk permits have been limited to a total of 15,000 permits statewide. This proposal would remove the limit on any bull permits but will not affect spike elk permits which will still be capped to 15,000 statewide. 

Recommended new hunts

Hunt name

Season type

2021 dates

NR permits available

Box Elder, Pilot MtnArcheryAug 21 - Sep 10No
Cache, NorthArcherySep 1 - Sep 30Yes
Oquirrh-Stansbury, WestArcherySep 1 - Sep 30Yes
Plateau, Barney Top/KaiparowitsArcherySep 1 - Sep 30Yes
West Desert, Deep CreekArcherySep 1 - Sep 30Yes
Cache, NorthHAMSOct 1 - Nov 15Yes
Oquirrh-Stansbury, WestHAMSOct 1 - Nov 15Yes
Plateau, Barney Top/KaiparowitsHAMSOct 1 - Nov 15Yes
West Desert, Deep CreekHAMSOct 1 - Nov 15Yes

Recommended boundary changes

Unit name

Plateau, Boulder
Southwest Desert, South
Box Elder, Grouse Creek

Recommended hunts to discontinue

Hunt name

Season type

Hunt code

Cache, NorthArcheryEB3004
Nine Mile, AnthroArcheryEB3012
Oquirrh-StansburyArcheryEB3014
West Desert, Deep CreekArcheryEB3023
Cache, NorthAny Legal WeaponEB3034
Nine Mile, AnthroAny Legal WeaponEB3051
Oquirrh-StansburyAny Legal WeaponEB3054
West Desert, Deep CreekAny Legal WeaponEB3074
West Desert, Deep CreekAny Legal WeaponEB3075
Cache, NorthAny Legal WeaponEB3035
Nine Mile, AnthroAny Legal WeaponEB3052
Oquirrh-StansburyAny Legal WeaponEB3055
West Desert, Deep CreekAny Legal WeaponEB3076
Cache, NorthMuzzleloaderEB3082
Nine Mile, AnthroMuzzleloaderEB3090
Oquirrh-StansburyMuzzleloaderEB3092
West Desert, Deep CreekMuzzleloaderEB3101
Cache, NorthMulti-SeasonEB3106
Nine Mile, AnthroMulti-SeasonEB3114
Oquirrh-StansburyMulti-SeasonEB3116
West Desert, Deep CreekMulti-SeasonEB3125

The proposals from the DWR can be found here.


Proposed changes for antelope

For 2021 several new hunts were proposed for antelope in Utah along with a few that were removed. No major changes have been proposed or made at this point.

Recommended new hunts

Hunt name

Season type

2021 dates

NR permits available

Plateau, HighlandsArcheryAug 21 - Sep 17No
Fillmore, Oak Creek SouthMuzzleloaderSep 29 - Oct 7Yes
North Slope, Three Corners/West DaggettMuzzleloaderSep 29 - Oct 7Yes
Plateau, HighlandsMuzzleloaderSep 29 - Oct 7No
Plateau, HighlandsAny Legal WeaponSep 18 - Sep 2No

Recommended hunts to discontinue

Hunt name

Season type

Hunt code

Plateau, Parker MtnArcheryPB5333
Plateau, Parker MtnMuzzleloaderPB5335
Plateau, Parker MtnAny Legal WeaponPB5334

The proposals from the DWR can be found here.


Proposed changes for Bighorn Sheep and Bison

Among the once-in-a-lifetime species there are both hunt changes and boundary changes being proposed for Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, Desert Bighorn Sheep, and Bison.

Recommended new hunts - Bison

Hunt name

Season type

2021 dates

NR permits available?

Book Cliffs, Wild Horse BenchAny Legal WeaponAug 1, 2021 - Jan 31, 2022Yes

Recommended hunts to discontinue - Bison

Hunt name

Season type

Hunt code

Book Cliffs, Bitter Creek/South - CowAny Legal WeaponBI6522
Henry MtnsArcheryBI6509
Henry Mtns - CowArcheryBI6515

Recommended new hunts - Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

Hunt name

Season type

2021 dates

NR permits available

Fillmore, Oak CreekArcheryNov 20 - Dec 12No

Recommended hunts to discontinue - Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

Hunt name

Season type

Hunt code

Box Elder, Pilot MtnAny Legal WeaponRS6702

Recommended boundary changes - RMBHS

Unit name

North Slope, Three Corners-Bare Top
North Slope, Summit/West Daggett

Recommended hunts to discontinue - Desert Bighorn Sheep

Hunt name

Season type

Hunt code

ZionArcheryDS6619

The proposals from the DWR can be found here.

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