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Utah proposes changes for 2018 season


Utah Mule Deer
Photo credit: Dreamstime

There may be more hunting opportunity in Utah in 2018. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) biologists have made some recommendations for next year’s season that would create additional opportunity for deer and elk as well as help reduce hunter crowding.

“Almost all of the requests we receive from big game hunters have a common theme: we’d like more opportunity to hunt big game,” Covy Jones, UDWR big game coordinator, said in a press release. “We’ve examined how the state's big game populations are doing and the current hunt structure we have. We think we’ve found some innovative ways to meet the requests of hunters without negatively affecting the herds.”

Here are UDWR’s 2018 recommendations:

  • Adding an early-season rifle buck deer hunt on 10 general deer hunting units in Oct. 10-14. This would include the Kamas, Chalk Creek, East Canyon and Morgan/South Rich units in northern Utah, the Nine Mile Unit in southeaster Utah and the Fillmore, Fishlake, Panguitch Lake, Pine Valley and Zion units in south-central and southwestern Utah, reports. Jones says that holding two separate hunts would help with the hunter crowding during general season.
  • Holding a late-season limited-entry muzzleloader buck deer hunt in early November to help specific units meet buck-to-doe ratios. This would expand to cover all general season deer hunting units.
  • Allow elk hunting during all three seasons – archery, rifle and muzzleloader – in spike-only and any-bull general elk hunting units.
  • Add a special “cactus buck-only” hunt on the Paunsaugunt premium limited entry unit in southwestern Utah.

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“Offering a cactus buck-only hunt would allow more people to hunt this amazing unit and take bucks hunters aren’t currently taking,” Jones told “Cactus bucks typically can’t reproduce, so taking these bucks would not have a negative effect on the population.”

For a complete list of big game recommendations, click here. Once you review the recommendations, you can either attend a Regional Advisory Council meeting or email your council member directly.


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Trail K. - posted 1 year ago on 10-31-2017 12:11:05 pm
goHUNT Team

@ Nathan F

There are indeed enough "cactus" bucks to offer a legitimate hunt. Although there can be multiple causes, in talking with the biologist it sounds as if a virus/disease affects this herd more than others, resulting in a good number of bucks that cannot reproduce and have irregular "cactus" antler growth. Numbers vary depending on who you talk to, but I have close friends that spend alot of time on the Pauns and several have suggested that one out of every 15 to 20 bucks is this way. Regardless, there are a good number and I suspect that hunter success will be very high.

Nathan F. - posted 1 year ago on 10-31-2017 08:30:10 am
Midland, TX

Are there enough "Cactus" bucks running around in the Paunsaugunt to make that a legitimate hunt or would that just be an opportunity to take your rifle for a walk and a photo op to look at giant deer that you wont ever pull a tag for?