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Utah mule deer buck
Photo credit: Kelly Cox

Deer hunting opportunities in Utah just got better. Thanks to healthy and growing mule deer herds, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is recommending adding 2,250 more permits for the 2015 season.

Mild winters, highway fencing and underpasses, and DWR's long-term habitat projects and predator control have helped increase the deer population. Positive survey results after the 2014 hunts show an average of 21 bucks for every 100 does for general-season units that are mostly public land. Biologists also note a 22,000 deer increase from the prior year’s totals and estimate that the current total number of deer within the state is at 355,600. Tracking collar data also shows that 84% of the does and 82% of the fawns survived during 2014. 

“Those are great survival rates,” DWR big game coordinator Justin Shannon said in a news release. “There’s no question that mule deer populations are growing in Utah. We’re really excited. Utah’s deer herds are in the best shape they’ve been in since the early 1990s.”

Along with the additional 2,250 general–season hunt permits, officials are also recommending a total of 1,068 limited-entry deer permits, up from 811 in 2014. Most of the additional permits will be for a new high-country mule deer buck hunt in Unit 8a that will be held from Oct. 3 to 15.

“Starting the season that early should get hunters into the area before the bucks leave,” says Shannon.

Public feedback is welcome on the proposed increase in deer hunting permits. Comments can be emailed to the Regional Advisory Council or made in person during the public meetings.

Total number of permits biologists are recommending:

Species

2014

2015

General buck deer 84,800 87,050
Premium limited-entry deer 183 184
Management buck deer 49 46
Doe 410 625
General any bull elk 14,300 14,300
Youth any bull elk 300 500
Late-season youth any bull elk 20 15
General spike bull elk 15,000 15,000
Limited entry bull elk 2,842 2,938
Cow elk 16,715 14,985
Buck antelope 781 804
Doe antelope 699 644
Bull moose 67 65
Cow moose 0 0
Bison 91 80
Desert bighorn sheep 40 41
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep 38 37
Mountain goat 108 107

Source: KSL.com

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