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Utah asks for public feedback on 2019 big game hunts

Utah Antelope

Photo credit: Dreamstime

Healthy herds equal more permits for several big game species in Utah. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) has proposed several changes for the 2019 big game hunts and, now, it’s time for the public to comment. One of the main changes for the upcoming season is the proposed increase in opportunity for doe deer and buck and doe antelope thanks to strong populations of both across the state.

“There is always an opportunity vs. quality debate when it comes to managing wildlife, but for us, biology and the health of the herd always come first,” said Covy Jones, UDWR big game coordinator.  “As a result, plans are an essential part of effective wildlife management.”

According to UDWR biologists, there were approximately 372,500 deer in the state as of 2018, which shows a slight population increase.

“The increase was primarily due to the growth of deer populations in the central and northern portions of the state,” said Jones. “The total statewide deer population increased by about 8,850 animals.”

Antelope are also faring well thanks to the state’s management plan, which was revised in the fall of 2017. State biologist want to add 115 doe antelope permits—and several more doe antelope hunts—and 180 more buck antelope permits to the 2019. The increased buck permits are a result of poor survival rates for older animals (according to the agency—less than 80%). This is the second consecutive year that UDWR has increased buck antelope permits.

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“Due to the lower survival rates and because most of their horn growth occurs by two years of age, it doesn't make sense to manage for older animals,” said Jones. “Now that we are managing for younger animals, we can offer more hunting opportunities this fall, while still providing a quality opportunity for hunters.”

UDWR is also proposing some new hunts to help manage doe deer, cow elk and doe antelope populations: five new doe deer hunts “to help address declining range conditions in certain parts of the state and to help reduce deer depredation on private lands” along with 18 new cow elk hunts and eight new doe antelope hunts.

Here’s a breakdown of permit changes for the 2019 big game season:

Permit changes for 2019

Hunt 2018 2019
General-season buck deer 90,650 90,450
Premium limited-entry deer 184 184
Management buck deer (including "cactus" buck) 71 74
Limited-entry deer 1,133 1,144
Doe deer 1,955 2,720
General any bull elk 15,000 15,000
General spike bull elk 15,000 15,000
Cow elk 10,753 9,635
Youth any bull elk 500 500
Limited-entry bull elk 2,876 2,951
Buck pronghorn 883 1,061
Doe pronghorn 645 760
Bull moose 84 97
Cow moose 34 38
Bison 254 223
Bison (archery only) 20 21
Desert bighorn sheep 56 69
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep 39 56
Mountain goat 121 126

If you want to comment on the proposed changes, you can email your Regional Advisory Council member or attend one of the meeting scheduled in April. Email address for RAC members can be found here. Public meetings will be held as follows:

  • Central Region: April 9 at 6 p.m. at the Public Library at 45 S. Main St. in Springville
  • Northern Region: April 10 at 6 p.m. at the Weber County Commission building at 2380 Washington Blvd. #240 in Ogden
  • Southern Region: April 16 at 5 p.m. at Beaver High School at 195 E. Center St. in Beaver
  • Southeastern Region: April 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the John Wesley Powell Museum at 1765 E. Main St. in Green River
  • Northeastern Region: April 18 at 5:30 p.m. at the DWR Northeastern Region Office at 318 N. Vernal Ave. in Vernal

3 Comments

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Christopher S. - posted 2 months ago on 04-27-2019 12:34:46 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

You can comment all you want at RAC meetings. Their decisions were made long before this token show of "public input".

Matthew C. - posted 3 months ago on 04-16-2019 06:59:54 pm

Having grown up in southern Utah I am 100% in agreement with Justin Z.’s comment

Justin Z. - posted 3 months ago on 04-08-2019 07:00:57 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

Ah, yes, time for the Utah DWR to hold a circus where they let us peasants vent while ultimately changing nothing. The UT DWR is an inherently corrupt organization in bed with Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW). Hell, Randy Newberg called SFW a pox on the western hunting world and said he was glad to see the state's corrupt practices have yet to spill over to neighboring states. I was upset with the DWR for years as they allocated more and more tags to the guide/auction process but really wrote them off after the news broke of rampant corruption with the Western Hunt Expo. I love Utah, it's a real shame the UT DWR has run the public hunting opportunities into the ground. They've gotten a taste of the profits that can come from selling the public's assets (i.e. general tag allocations), they know exactly what they are doing and I can't imagine this "reallocation" of tags will change anything. They're throwing crumbs to appease the masses.