Utah has an excellent variety of big game. Bison, mountain goat, mule deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, Shiras moose, three kinds of wild sheep. Hunters must draw permits to pursue all species but elk. Some elk tags are sold over the counter, and deer tags in most general season units can be drawn the first year a hunter applies. The state has had many record-book mule deer and elk in the past 20 years, mostly in limited-tag areas or on private ranches. The world record non typical elk was taken in 2008 in one of the units where tags are limited, locally known as a limited-entry unit. A few trophy-size bucks and bulls are taken every year in general units, but hunting pressure is heavy enough that few animals get old enough to reach trophy size. Utah has separate archery, muzzleloader and rifle (any weapon) seasons for deer, elk and antelope.
The state has had record book entries from Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, bison and Shiras moose and is one of the few states with desert bighorn sheep. Nonresidents are allocated 10% of tags in each unit as long as at least 10 tags are available. The state’s Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit program limits tags on enrolled ranches but offers extended seasons that allow for uncrowded hunting as well as the chance to hunt elk and deer during the rut. Hunters who apply for limited-entry permits receive bonus points for each unsuccessful application, giving them an additional chance to draw in future lottery drawings. Half the tags in limited-entry units are allocated to hunters who have more bonus points than other hunter, ensuring that hunters who have been faithful in applying year after year eventually get to hunt, although a hunter beginning now might never live long enough to reach maximum bonus-point status. Residents may apply for sportsman’s tags, one for each species. With a few exceptions, holders may hunt any open unit during an extended season. The state issues to some landowners transferable vouchers that allow the holder to bypass the drawing and buy an elk, deer, pronghorn or moose tag.
|Resident (13 years old or younger)||$11||NA|
|Resident (14-17 years old)||$16||$20|
|Resident (18-64 years old)||$34||$38|
|Resident (65 years old or older)||$25||$29|
|Nonresident (17 years old or younger)||$25||$29|
|Nonresident (18 years old or older)||$65||$85|
|Deer (general season)||$40||$268|
|Deer (limited entry)||$80||$468|
|Deer (premium limited entry)||$168||$568|
|Deer (multi-season limited entry)||$145||$845|
|Deer (multi-season premium limited entry)||$305||$1,025|
|Deer (CWMU limited entry)||$80||$468|
|Deer (CWMU premium limited entry)||$168||$568|
|Deer (management buck)||$80||$468|
|Deer (dedicated hunter)||$195||$1,047|
|Elk (limited entry or CWMU)||$285||$800|
|Elk (multi-season limited entry)||$513||$1,505|
|Pronghorn (limited entry or CWMU)||$55||$293|
|Sheep (desert or Rocky Mountain bighorn)||$513||$1,518|
|Bison (Antelope Island)||$1,110||$2,615|
|Application period opens||January 25|
|Application deadline||March 7|
|Bonus point application deadline||March 21|
|Preference point application deadline||March 21|
|Application withdrawal deadline||March 21|
|Drawing results||May 31|
|Minimum hunting age||12 years old|
|Hunter education||Required for anyone born on or after Dec. 31, 1965|
|Hunter orange||400 square inches required on head, chest and back if hunting where a centerfire rifle hunt is taking place|
Getting a nonresident tag
- Draw a tag in the public draw
- Buy a landowner voucher
Applicants may select three hunt choices when applying for limited-entry or general season tags. The state considers all applicants first hunt choices before considering any applicant’s second choice. As a result, no highly desirable tags are given to hunters who seek the tag as a second or third choice. Nonresidents receive 10% of tags for each hunt choice when at least 10 tags are offered.
A hunter who applies for, but does not receive a limited-entry tag receives a bonus point. A hunter also may apply for a bonus point without applying for a tag. The state issues 50% of limited-entry tags to hunters with more bonus points than other applicants.
Hunters must have a valid hunting or combination hunting-and-fishing license to apply for tags. Hunting licenses are valid for 365 days from date of purchase. If a hunting license expires before the season for which a tag is valid, the owner must buy a new hunting license before hunting.
Credit cards are accepted (Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover, as well as prepaid cards). Applicants are charged a nonrefundable $10 fee for each species application or each bonus or preference point application. Cards must be valid through June. Hunters are not charged for tag fees unless they draw tags.
Withdrawing or correcting an online application is allowed before the application deadline. Corrections must be made online.
- Each applicant has two choices
- Every applicant's first choice is considered before a second choice is considered
- Very seldom is a hunter's second choice considered
Group applications are allowed in Utah for multi-season premium limited-entry, premium limited-entry, multi-season limited-entry, limited-entry, general-season deer and resident CWMU deer, elk or pronghorn permits. Group applications are not accepted for management buck deer hunts. Up to four people can apply together as a group. To apply as a group, every member of the group must be entered in the same application session. You can't add people to a group once you submit your application. You may, however, withdraw individuals from a group application after it has been submitted. If you enter the draw as a group, then you are all entered on the same application. This means that once the application is drawn, everyone in the group will receive a permit and, conversely, no one will draw if that single application is not selected.
If you enter the drawing as a group, each member of the group will have their points added, averaged and rounded down. For example, suppose two hunters are applying as a group and one member has seven bonus points and the other member has two. Their points will be averaged, 4.5, and then rounded down to four.
Residents and nonresidents can apply together in a group; however, some hunts may not have enough nonresident permits for your group size, which could make your group unsuccessful in the drawing. Consider the following examples:
• Your group is made up of one resident and two nonresidents. If there is only one nonresident permit available, your group can't draw the permit.
• Your group is made up of one resident and one nonresident. There are lots of resident permits and one nonresident permit. Because of the drawing process, the one nonresident permit will be issued randomly after the bonus point round. This means that there is almost no chance of this group drawing the permit. Look for a hunt that has at least two nonresident permits.
An individual applicant who applied and was successfully drawn with a group cannot surrender their permits and regain their bonus points if the entire group does not also surrender their permits. All permits must be surrendered to the UDWR more than 30 days before the start of the season for which the permit is valid.
- Landowner vouchers are issued to landowners in some units
- Vouchers are issued for elk, deer, pronghorn and moose permits
- Landowner vouchers are transferable
- If you draw a sheep, moose, bison or mountain goat permit, you may not apply again
- If you draw a limited-entry elk permit, you may not apply again for five years
- If you draw a limited-entry buck deer or buck antelope permit, you may not apply again for two years
- Hunters under waiting periods may buy tags that are left over after drawings, but new waiting periods then begin
Archery: Hunters may not use crossbows during the archery seasons. Bows must have a minimum draw weight of 40 pounds. Only broadheads wider than ⅞ inch are legal. Arrows must be at least 20 inches long and weigh at least 300 grains.
Muzzleloader: Muzzleloaders must be a minimum of .40 caliber. For deer and antelope hunting bullets must weigh at least 130 grains and sabot bullets at least 170 grains. For hunting elk, moose, sheep or mountain goats a bullet must weigh at least 210 grains and sabot bullets must weigh at least 240 grains. Only black powder or black powder substitute is legal smokeless powder is prohibited. Propellent and projectile may not be bonded together.
Modern firearms: During any weapon seasons, centerfire rifles, handguns and shotguns are legal. Centerfire rifle ammunition must have expanding bullets. Shotguns must be at least 20 gauge and must shoot slugs or buckshot no smaller than 00 buck. Handguns must be at least .24 caliber and must shoot expanding bullets. Ammunition must develop at least 500 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle for hunting deer or antelope. Ammunition must develop at least 500 foot pounds of energy at 100 yards to be legal for hunting other big game species.
Returning tags/transferring tags
Hunters may exchange general season buck deer tags and general season elk tags, but there are restrictions. Tags must be for the same species and sex. Deer tags can be exchanged for one in a different unit if one is available. Elk tags can be exchanged for tags authorizing different weapons. You may exchange a spike elk tag for an any-bull tag if one is available, and vice versa.
Youth hunters (younger than 18 years old on July 31 of the hunting year) may hunt during archery, muzzleloader and rifle seasons if they draw a general season rifle deer permit. Youth hunters who draw an archery or muzzleloader permit are restricted to those seasons.