The Utah Wildlife Board approved a decrease in the number of general-season permits for the 2021 deer hunt. At the same time, it voted to increase general bull elk tags from 1,500 to 1,750. It also slightly increased the number of available antlerless elk tags and limited-entry bull tags.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologists recommended the overall decrease in deer permit numbers to the Regional Advisory Councils and to the wildlife board. The DWR manages deer, elk and other wildlife in accordance with approved management plans in order to help maintain healthy wildlife populations across the state. DWR biologists evaluate the health of deer populations throughout the year (through GPS collaring efforts, surveys, and research projects), and also assess the previous year’s harvest data from the deer and elk hunts. That information is factored in with current habitat and environmental conditions across the state before hunting permit recommendations are made for the upcoming hunting seasons.
The current management plan includes an objective to have just over 400,000 deer across Utah — there are currently an estimated 314,850 deer in the state.
“We’ve had a few drought years in Utah recently, which has a significant impact on the survival rates of deer,” DWR Big Game Coordinator Covy Jones said. “In Utah, we have the longest range-trend study in the Western U.S., and we’ve seen that having suitable habitat is crucial for maintaining or growing wildlife populations. And drought conditions can really negatively impact that habitat, which in turn affects our wildlife species.”
Go here to see a breakdown of the numbers.
(Photo source: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)