Below is a news release from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
After receiving feedback from the elk committee, which consists of DWR representatives and other organizations — including Brigham Young University wildlife researchers, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Utah Farm Bureau — as well as private landowners, sportsmen and other members of the public, DWR biologists are recommending several changes to the 2021 elk hunts. These changes include a proposal to modify the current elk management plan to allow for an unlimited number of any-bull elk permits for the 2021 hunting season.
“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.
In recent years, the general-season any-bull elk permits have been limited to 15,000 statewide. These permits allow hunters to harvest a bull elk on designated any-bull hunting units, using a muzzleloader or any legal weapon. This recommendation to remove the limit on any-bull elk permits will not affect spike bull elk, which will still be capped at 15,000 permits statewide.
DWR biologists also recommend adding new limited-entry elk hunts on five different hunting units throughout the state, as well as some hunting unit boundary changes and new general-season elk hunting units.
Several new hunts are being proposed for other big game species, including the following:
- Deer: One new any legal weapon hunt
- Pronghorn: Five new hunts, including three muzzleloader, one archery and one any legal weapon hunt
- Bison: One new hunt and a boundary change for one hunting unit
- Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep: One new hunt and boundary changes in two hunting units
A rule change is also being recommended for the Dedicated Hunter program, which would limit the number of dedicated hunter permits available in the big game drawing to the following:
- A maximum of one resident and one non-resident permit, if 15% of the total annual general-season buck deer quota for each unit is met or exceeded
The DWR is also proposing the following dates for the 2021 general-season deer hunts:
- Archery: Aug. 21–Sept. 17, 2021
- Muzzleloader: Sept. 29–Oct. 7, 2021
- Any weapon (early): Oct. 13–17, 2021
- Any weapon: Oct. 23–31, 2021
(Photo source: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)