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Utah DWR announces 2021 big game recommendations

Utah DWR announces 2021 big game recommendations

The Utah Division of Wildlife has recently announced several recommendations for changes to the big game rules in 2021 as well as proposed season dates. These changes range from new hunts to quota changes along with the normal litany of boundary changes.

The DWR is seeking public comment on the proposals that are to be discussed at RAC board meetings in the coming months. The public comment period opens on November 3rd for each of the five regional meetings. 

Public comments can be submitted through an online form.

  • Central Utah RAC meeting: Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. (Public comments must be submitted by Nov. 7 at 11:59 p.m.)
  • Northern Utah RAC meeting: Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. (Public comments must be submitted by Nov. 9 at 11:59 p.m.)
  • Southern Utah RAC meeting: Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. (Public comments must be submitted by Nov. 14 at 11:59 p.m.)
  • Southeastern Utah RAC meeting: Nov. 18 at 6:30 p.m. (Public comments must be submitted by Nov. 15 at 11:59 p.m.)
  • Northeastern Utah RAC meeting: Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m. (Public comments must be submitted by Nov. 16 at 11:59 p.m.)
  • Utah Wildlife Board meeting: Dec. 3 at 9 a.m. (Public comments must be submitted by Nov. 26 at 11:59 p.m.)

You can read about all of the proposed changes and view video presentations on each proposal here.


Proposed changes for deer

For 2021 the DWR has proposed one new general-season any legal weapon hunt with the most notable changes being in the deer management plan. Several proposed changes have been recommended that would ultimately decrease the statewide deer population objective from 454,100 to 403,800 animals. These large decreases in the number of units may cause a drop in available permits but this will not be fully known until the total tag numbers are released after the drawing deadline.

Recommended new hunts

Hunt name

Season type

2021 dates

NR permits available

North Slope Any Legal Weapon Oct 13 - Oct 17 Yes

Recommended hunts to discontinue

Hunt name

Season type

Hunt code

Henry Mtns Any Legal Weapon
(Management)
DB1009
Henry Mtns Archery
(Management)
DB1051
Henry Mtns Muzzleloader
(Management)
DB1052
North Slope, Summit Any Legal Weapon DB1021

2021 proposed deer management changes

Unit

Current objective

New objective

Box Elder 20,000 20,000
Cache 25,000 25,000
Ogden 11,000 11,000
Morgan-South Rich 18,000 16,000
East Canyon 13,500 13,500
Chalk Creek 10,500 12,000
Kamas 8,000 8,000
North Slope 10,000 10,000
South Slope, Yellowstone 13,000 11,000
South Slope, Diamond Mtn/Vernal 15,000 13,000
Book Cliffs 15,000 9,000
Nine Mile 8,500 8,500
San Rafael 1,000 No objective
La Sal, La Sal Mtns 13,000 8,000
La Sal, Dolores Triangle 5,100 3,100
San Juan, Abajo 13,500 13,500
San Juan, Elk Ridge 5,600 1,000
Henry Mtns 2,700 2,700
Central Mtns, Manti 38,000 28,000
Central Mtns, Nebo 22,600 14,000
Wasatch Mtns, West 22,600 22,600
Wasatch Mtns, Currant Creek 20,000 17,000
Wasatch Mtns, Avintaquin 5,000 4,000
Oquirrh-Stansbury 11,600 11,600
West Desert 11,200 11,200
Southwest Desert 4,000 3,500
Fillmore, Pahvant 12,000 7,600
Fillmore, Oak Creek 2,500 2,000
Beaver 13,000 14,000
Monroe 7,500 7,000
Mt. Dutton 2,700 3,200
Plateau, Fishlake 10,000 7,000
Plateau, Thousand Lakes 3,000 1,400
Plateau, Boulder/Kaiparowtis 12,000 8,500
Paunsaugunt 6,500 6,500
Panguitch Lake 10,000 11,000
Zion 15,500 19,100
Pine Valley 16,000 19,500
Total 454,100 403,800

The proposals from the DWR can be found here.


Proposed changes for elk

Several proposed changes are on deck for elk one of which includes a proposal to modify the current elk management plan to allow for an unlimited number of any-bull elk permits.

"We're making this recommendation after in-depth discussions with the elk committee who wrote the statewide elk management plan. It's a way to expand hunting opportunities for families, strengthen ties to Utah's hunting heritage and provide a challenge for hunters since this is not an easy hunt," DWR Big Game Coordinator Covy Jones said.

Traditionally, the general-season any bull elk permits have been limited to a total of 15,000 permits statewide. This proposal would remove the limit on any bull permits but will not affect spike elk permits which will still be capped to 15,000 statewide. 

Recommended new hunts

Hunt name

Season type

2021 dates

NR permits available

Box Elder, Pilot Mtn Archery Aug 21 - Sep 10 No
Cache, North Archery Sep 1 - Sep 30 Yes
Oquirrh-Stansbury, West Archery Sep 1 - Sep 30 Yes
Plateau, Barney Top/Kaiparowits Archery Sep 1 - Sep 30 Yes
West Desert, Deep Creek Archery Sep 1 - Sep 30 Yes
Cache, North HAMS Oct 1 - Nov 15 Yes
Oquirrh-Stansbury, West HAMS Oct 1 - Nov 15 Yes
Plateau, Barney Top/Kaiparowits HAMS Oct 1 - Nov 15 Yes
West Desert, Deep Creek HAMS Oct 1 - Nov 15 Yes

Recommended boundary changes

Unit name

Plateau, Boulder
Southwest Desert, South
Box Elder, Grouse Creek

Recommended hunts to discontinue

Hunt name

Season type

Hunt code

Cache, North Archery EB3004
Nine Mile, Anthro Archery EB3012
Oquirrh-Stansbury Archery EB3014
West Desert, Deep Creek Archery EB3023
Cache, North Any Legal Weapon EB3034
Nine Mile, Anthro Any Legal Weapon EB3051
Oquirrh-Stansbury Any Legal Weapon EB3054
West Desert, Deep Creek Any Legal Weapon EB3074
West Desert, Deep Creek Any Legal Weapon EB3075
Cache, North Any Legal Weapon EB3035
Nine Mile, Anthro Any Legal Weapon EB3052
Oquirrh-Stansbury Any Legal Weapon EB3055
West Desert, Deep Creek Any Legal Weapon EB3076
Cache, North Muzzleloader EB3082
Nine Mile, Anthro Muzzleloader EB3090
Oquirrh-Stansbury Muzzleloader EB3092
West Desert, Deep Creek Muzzleloader EB3101
Cache, North Multi-Season EB3106
Nine Mile, Anthro Multi-Season EB3114
Oquirrh-Stansbury Multi-Season EB3116
West Desert, Deep Creek Multi-Season EB3125

The proposals from the DWR can be found here.


Proposed changes for antelope

For 2021 several new hunts were proposed for antelope in Utah along with a few that were removed. No major changes have been proposed or made at this point.

Recommended new hunts

Hunt name

Season type

2021 dates

NR permits available

Plateau, Highlands Archery Aug 21 - Sep 17 No
Fillmore, Oak Creek South Muzzleloader Sep 29 - Oct 7 Yes
North Slope, Three Corners/West Daggett Muzzleloader Sep 29 - Oct 7 Yes
Plateau, Highlands Muzzleloader Sep 29 - Oct 7 No
Plateau, Highlands Any Legal Weapon Sep 18 - Sep 2 No

Recommended hunts to discontinue

Hunt name

Season type

Hunt code

Plateau, Parker Mtn Archery PB5333
Plateau, Parker Mtn Muzzleloader PB5335
Plateau, Parker Mtn Any Legal Weapon PB5334

The proposals from the DWR can be found here.


Proposed changes for Bighorn Sheep and Bison

Among the once-in-a-lifetime species there are both hunt changes and boundary changes being proposed for Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, Desert Bighorn Sheep, and Bison.

Recommended new hunts - Bison

Hunt name

Season type

2021 dates

NR permits available?

Book Cliffs, Wild Horse Bench Any Legal Weapon Aug 1, 2021 - Jan 31, 2022 Yes

Recommended hunts to discontinue - Bison

Hunt name

Season type

Hunt code

Book Cliffs, Bitter Creek/South - Cow Any Legal Weapon BI6522
Henry Mtns Archery BI6509
Henry Mtns - Cow Archery BI6515

Recommended new hunts - Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

Hunt name

Season type

2021 dates

NR permits available

Fillmore, Oak Creek Archery Nov 20 - Dec 12 No

Recommended hunts to discontinue - Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

Hunt name

Season type

Hunt code

Box Elder, Pilot Mtn Any Legal Weapon RS6702

Recommended boundary changes - RMBHS

Unit name

North Slope, Three Corners-Bare Top
North Slope, Summit/West Daggett

Recommended hunts to discontinue - Desert Bighorn Sheep

Hunt name

Season type

Hunt code

Zion Archery DS6619

The proposals from the DWR can be found here.

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