2022 general season elk licenses will remain OTC in Utah
Last week, the Utah Wildlife Board voted to continue selling general season elk permits over-the-counter (OTC) for the 2022 season. This decision nulls the proposed move to switch the OTC permits to a one-year trial big game drawing.
“The increased demand for these permits has caused an overload to the license sales system for the past two years, which has led to slower processing times and a frustrating customer experience,” said Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) Wildlife Licensing Coordinator Lindy Varney. “Our current contracted sales system does well during the rest of the year, but these ‘sales days’ for the elk permits cause a buying rush that overloads the system a few days a year.”
According to UDWR, in 2019, the 15,000 available permits sold out in 11 days. In 2020, even though the 15,000 available permits were only sold online because of the pandemic, they sold out in eight hours. This year, the 17,500 available permits sold out in nearly 10 hours. Regardless, the wildlife board voted to keep general season Utah elk permits available for purchase online and OTC.
“We have been working with our contractor to address some of the technical issues, including pursuing a database expansion that will increase performance,” said Varney. “We are hopeful that expansion will be in place for next year's sales days and will help improve the online buying experience.”
Other changes for the upcoming 2022 big game season include:
- Continuation of the five-day extension on the archery any bull elk hunt.
- Addition of two days at the end of the youth any bull elk hunt.
- Three new hunts:
- A new late season, limited entry muzzleloader deer hunt in the South Slope, Myton Unit from Nov. 12-27. This hunt will primarily be held on private property to help control the prevalence of chronic wasting disease in this area by targeting mature bucks, which are twice as likely to contract and spread chronic wasting disease.
- An extended archery deer hunt in the Box Elder, West Bear River Unit from Sept. 17 to Nov. 30. This hunt will also primarily be held on private lands to help alleviate depredation issues.
- An antelope muzzleloader hunt in the South Slope, Vernal Unit from Sept. 28 to Oct. 6. This area has a growing population of pronghorn and already offers an archery and rifle hunt. A muzzleloader hunt would expand the weapon-type opportunities.
The board also voted in favor of having the UDWR consider using a “two-to-three-year cycle for the big game hunting season dates, rather than one year,” according to a press release. The proposal to change the maximum point permit allocation was not approved. The board voted to keep the same 50/50 allocation as years prior. Further changes included changing hunting season dates so that a bighorn sheep hunt and mountain goat hunt wouldn’t overlap with other hunts.
If you want to watch the entire meeting, click here.