Utah closes wildlife management areas to protect deer

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Winter isn’t over for western wildlife and, in Utah, that means an extension of closures to wildlife management areas (WMA). While initially slated to reopen on April 8, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) has extended the closure of 24 WMAs through April 30 and added more WMA closures in central Utah through the end of April, according to a press release

UDWR hopes this will help wintering deer and other big game that use these areas during this critical time as body fat reserves have depleted and spring green-up is still on the horizon. 

“While most of the deer had good body fat conditions going into winter, we're seeing variations in fawn and doe survival throughout different parts of the state, depending on the severity of the snowfall and winter conditions,” said Dax Mangus, UDWR big game coordinator. 

“Unfortunately, the deer herds in the northern areas of the state were hit pretty hard this winter, and despite our feeding efforts, we are seeing high mortality rates in some areas. In these types of conditions, big game animals are weakened and highly vulnerable to repeated, ongoing human-caused disturbances, so we'd like to prevent any unnecessary disturbances to the deer during this sensitive time of year.”

These are the WMAs closed to all public access in northern Utah through April 30:

  • Brigham Face WMA in Box Elder County
  • Coldwater Canyon WMA in Box Elder County
  • Richmond WMA in Cache County
  • Millville-Providence WMA in Cache County
  • Hardware WMA in Cache County
  • Dry Canyon Conservation Easement in Cache County
  • East Canyon WMA in Morgan County
  • Swan Creek WMA in Rich County
  • Woodruff Co-Op WMA in Rich County
  • Kamas WMA in Summit County
  • Henefer-Echo WMA in Summit County
  • Middle Fork WMA in Weber County

These are the WMAs closed to all public access in central Utah through April 30:

  • Wallsburg WMA in Wasatch County
  • Timpanogos WMA in Utah County (however, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, which cuts through the lower portion of the WMA, will still be open to public access.)
  • Dairy Fork WMA in Utah County
  • Lake Fork WMA in Utah County
  • Birdseye WMA in Utah County
  • Lasson Draw WMA in Utah County
  • Spencer Fork WMA in Utah and Sanpete counties
  • Pine Canyon Conservation Easement in Tooele County
  • Santaquin WMA in Utah and Juab counties
  • Mona Bench WMA in Juab County
  • Big Hollow WMA in Sanpete County
  • Christensen Spring WMA in Sanpete County

“These properties are public land, but they are not multiple use like many other state- and federally-owned properties,” said Eric Edley, UDWR habitat section chief. “While we would like to provide recreational opportunities on our WMAs in April, we need to protect vulnerable wildlife populations that have been impacted by the severe winter conditions.”


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