Utah considers changes to elk tag allocation

Utah considers changes to elk tag allocation
Photo credit: Shutterstock

If you were planning on buying one of Utah’s general season elk tags, you might have to rethink your strategy next year. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) is considering moving general season elk permits to its big game drawing for one year, according to a press release. The decision behind this change is the increased demand and interest in elk hunting. Previously, any interested hunter could purchase a general season elk tag online or over-the-counter.

“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 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 causes a buying rush that overloads the system a few days a year. We have been working with our contractor to address some of the technical issues, including pursuing a database capability expansion.”

Specifically, the bull elk and spike bull elk permits have increased in popularity over the last three years with the 15,000 permits sold out in 11 days in 2019, eight hours in 2020 and in 10 hours in 2021, according to the agency.

The hope is that by moving these tags to the draw, it will eliminate some of the issues. The change would only be for a one-year trial period. 

“During this one-year trial period, we will assess the pros and cons of the current system compared to including the permits in the big game drawing,” said Varney. “We will also work with the statewide elk committee to improve the permit process. Then, we will recommend a long-term solution in 2022 that we hope will alleviate the issues our customers have experienced in recent years.”

UDWR will hold a series of public meetings to discuss this proposal along with other proposed changes on the following dates at these locations:

  • Central Utah RAC meeting: Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. at the DWR Springville Office at 1115 N. Main St. in Springville. (Online comments must be submitted by Nov. 4 at 11:59 p.m.)
  • Northern Utah RAC meeting: Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. at the Weber County Commission Chambers at 2380 Washington Blvd. #240 in Ogden. (Online comments must be submitted by Nov. 4 at 11:59 p.m.)
  • Southern Utah RAC meeting: Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. at the Hunter Conference Center, Charles Hunter Room at Southern Utah University at 405 W. University Blvd. in Cedar City. (Online comments must be submitted by Nov. 11 at 11:59 p.m.)
  • Southeastern Utah RAC meeting: Nov. 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the John Wesley Powell Museum at 1765 E. Main St. in Green River. (Online comments must be submitted by Nov. 11 at 11:59 p.m.)
  • Northeastern Utah RAC meeting: Nov. 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the DWR Vernal Office at 318 N. Vernal Ave. (Online comments must be submitted by Nov. 11 at 11:59 p.m.)
  • Utah Wildlife Board meeting: Dec. 2 at 9 a.m. at the Eccles Wildlife Education Center at 1157 South Waterfowl Way in Farmington. (Online comments must be submitted by Nov. 22 at 11:59 p.m.)

If you are unable to attend and still want to weigh in on the topic, you can do so online here.


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