Utah decreases number of general season deer permits for 2022 season

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If you were planning on hunting mule deer in Utah this fall, you should know that there will be fewer opportunities. Last week, the Utah Wildlife Board announced a decrease in the number of available general season deer permits for the 2022 season, citing drought and declining mule deer numbers as the reasons behind the change.

“We’ve had several years of drought and are still facing ongoing extreme drought conditions statewide, which has a significant impact on the survival rates of deer,” said Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) Big Game Coordinator Covy Jones. “We currently have more demand for deer hunting in Utah than we have the supply for. While it is antlerless deer permits, not buck permits, that impact deer population numbers, we are recommending a decrease for both types of permits. We use the data and management plans to make proactive recommendations to achieve healthier herds.”

The state’s current management plan objective calls for over 400,000 deer. The current count is about 305,700, according to the agency. Because of this drop, the total number of general season deer permits available will be 73,075 (a 950-permit decrease compared to 2021). The change will impact 13 of the 29 deer hunting units across the state.

“The number of permits we recommended for 2022 will help us achieve or maintain the objectives detailed in Utah’s mule deer management plan for harvest size, animal quality and hunting opportunity,” said Jones.

While there will be fewer general deer tags, there will be one new antlerless deer hunt, five new antlerless elk hunts and one new doe antelope hunt to help with other issues like agricultural damage, disease and habitat degradation.

“Antlerless deer hunts are designed to reduce depredation on private lands, tackle urban deer issues, address chronic wasting disease hotspot areas, and to help slow the decline of range conditions,” said Jones.

Here’s the approved big game permit breakdown:

Approved Big Game Permits 

General-season buck deer74,02573,075
Premium limited-entry deer184184
Management buck deer (including "cactus" bucks)4545
Handgun, archery, muzzleloader, and
shotgun (HAMS) limited-entry buck deer hunts
Limited-entry deer1,0701,020
Antlerless deer935635
General any bull elk17,50017,500 for adults (unlimited for youth)
General spike bull elk15,00015,000
Antlerless elk8,2857,948
Youth any bull elk500500
Limited-entry bull elk2,9903,070
Buck pronghorn1,1731,249
Doe pronghorn404278
Bull moose112110
Antlerless moose1518
Desert bighorn sheep8171
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep6757
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep ewe hunt105
Mountain goat120104

How will these changes impact your 2022 season plans?


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