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 

Hunt 2021 2022
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
15 15
Limited-entry deer 1,070 1,020
Antlerless deer 935 635
General any bull elk 17,500 17,500 for adults (unlimited for youth)
General spike bull elk 15,000 15,000
Antlerless elk 8,285 7,948
Youth any bull elk 500 500
Limited-entry bull elk 2,990 3,070
Buck pronghorn 1,173 1,249
Doe pronghorn 404 278
Bull moose 112 110
Antlerless moose 15 18
Bison 149 158
Desert bighorn sheep 81 71
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep 67 57
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep ewe hunt 10 5
Mountain goat 120 104

How will these changes impact your 2022 season plans?

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