Utah decreases number of general season deer permits for 2022 season
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 deer||74,025||73,075|
|Premium limited-entry deer||184||184|
|Management buck deer (including "cactus" bucks)||45||45|
|Handgun, archery, muzzleloader, and|
shotgun (HAMS) limited-entry buck deer hunts
|General any bull elk||17,500||17,500 for adults (unlimited for youth)|
|General spike bull elk||15,000||15,000|
|Youth any bull elk||500||500|
|Limited-entry bull elk||2,990||3,070|
|Desert bighorn sheep||81||71|
|Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep||67||57|
|Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep ewe hunt||10||5|
How will these changes impact your 2022 season plans?