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Utah proposes new mule deer management plan

Utah proposes new mule deer management plan

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As the current Utah mule deer management plan expires, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) is working on a new plan that would apply to the next seven years. The proposed plan changes how mule deer are managed within the state and includes other amendments to how tags are drawn, the Herald-Journal reports.

“Mule deer are the most popular species to hunt in Utah. This entire management plan was developed using extensive research and was designed to maintain healthy deer populations throughout Utah and to provide expanded opportunities for hunting and wildlife viewing across the state,” said UDWR big game coordinator Covy Jones. “We truly value wildlife and want Utahns to have input on how they are managed, as well.”

The new plan would be in place from December 2019 to December 2026.

Here’s the breakdown of the main changes to the plan, according to the Herald-Journal:

  • Biologists will be able to make recommendations each year for target mule deer population objectives. This would change the number of buck permits every year.
  • Biologists would be able to update specific unit plans “to set realistic and attainable population objectives” for every unit in the state, using herd health and range conditions to determine each objective.
  • Officials would evaluate areas for “new extended archery hunt units” to add more hunting opportunities.

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  • Officials would continue to manage general season hunting at a ratio of 15 to 17 bucks per 100 does for 11 units; 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does for 18 units. 
  • Officials would maintain the limited-entry units with the same 25 to 35 bucks per 100 does on seven of the units.
  • Hunting seasons would be similar to years past with “one additional day on the late-season limited-entry muzzleloader unit.” These seasons include a 28-day archery season; five-day early any weapon season for some units; nine days for any weapon and regular and late muzzleloader seasons. 

There will also be changes to “allow for less forfeited permits and more opportunities” and chronic wasting disease strategy to keep the disease from spreading across the state, according to the Herald-Journal.

The new plan also includes chronic wasting disease strategy to keep the disease from spreading across the state. The Utah Wildlife Board will vote on it during their meeting in Salt Lake City on Dec. 5.

UDWR is currently accepting public comments on the plan, which is available HERE

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