Elk NetworkUtah Proposes New Cow Elk Hunts, Reduction in Deer Permits

General | March 26, 2021

Below is a news release from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologists recommended a decrease in the number of general-season permits for the 2021 deer hunt and are asking for the public’s feedback on that recommendation and a variety of other big game proposals.

Why the recommendations are being made

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 and surveys), and also assess the previous year’s harvest data from the deer and elk hunts. That data is factored in with current habitat and environmental conditions across the state before the 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.”

DWR biologists are recommending a total of 74,775 general-season deer hunting permits, which is a 4,900-permit decrease from the previous year. Of the 29 total deer hunting units across the state, 16 are being recommended for decreased permit numbers from the previous year.

“The number of permits we’re proposing for 2021 will help us achieve or maintain the objectives detailed in Utah’s mule deer management plan for harvest size, animal quality and hunting opportunity,” Jones said. “The biology and herd health of our wildlife come first when making hunting permit recommendations.”

New antlerless hunts

DWR biologists are also recommending adding two new doe deer hunts to address damage to agricultural areas caused by deer, as well as other urban deer issues within Price and Oak City. Ten new cow elk hunts are also being proposed, as well as a new doe pronghorn hunt.

“Antlerless deer hunts are designed to reduce depredation on private lands, tackle urban deer issues, address chronic wasting disease hot spot areas, and to help slow the decline of range conditions,” Jones said.

Go here to see a breakdown of the proposed quotas and other details.

(Photo source:  Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)