DWR seeks public feedback on research study that will impact five units in southern Utah
Oct 25, 2023, 2:49 PM
(Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is seeking the public’s feedback on a serious of changes that it is proposing to big game hunting in the state. The proposed changes are part of a new research study by the DWR.
While the changes wouldn’t go into effect until 2024, they will directly impact five hunting units in southern Utah.
The DWR further states that mandatory harvest reporting is also a proposed change.
Research on hunting structure
The DWR, as part of feedback from the public, is recommending using different hunting strategies on the five units in the southern part of the state.
According to a news release from the DWR, the reason for the study is to know whether hunting restrictions based on weapon technology, season length and antler points can help hunter opportunity and satisfaction around the state.
“Based on public feedback and opinion surveys, we have learned that the majority of deer hunters want to hunt on a regular basis, but also want to have an opportunity to harvest a mature buck when they hunt,” said DWR Big Game Projects Coordinator Kent Hersey. “They also want the DWR to be flexible with trying new hunt structures.”
The DWR says the research study would last three years, ending in 2027. The results would then be examined before possibly being put into the 2029 Utah deer management plan.
The following are included in the proposed changes by the DWR:
- Antler point restrictions: On the Pine Valley hunting unit, an antler point restriction of at least four points on one side would be implemented.
- Shortened season dates: On the Beaver and the Southwest Desert hunting units, hunting seasons would be limited to a two-week archery hunt, five-day muzzleloader and a five-day any legal weapon hunt.
- Restrictions of weapons: On the Mt. Dutton hunting unit, weapon restrictions that were recently approved will be implemented for all deer units in this area.
- Combination of all three hunting strategies: The Boulder/Kaiparowits hunting unit, will have an implementation of antler point restrictions, shortened hunting dates and weapon restrictions.
Harvest survey amendments
The DWR says for the last 20 years mandatory harvest reporting has been required for all limited-entry big game hunts. The reporting was extended to all antlerless hunts in 2023. The DWR is now proposing mandatory harvest reporting for all of the general big game hunts. This comes as a result as feedback from residents around the state.
This will include the following hunts:
- Buck deer – general season
- Buck deer – dedicated hunter
- Buck deer – youth general season
- Archery elk – general season
- Spike bull elk
- Spike bull elk – multi-season
- Any bull elk
- Elk – youth general-season
Under the proposal, hunters would have 30 days, following the end of their hunt, to report the result of their hunt. Those who don’t comply could be excluded from the following year’s big game and antlerless applications. If a hunter, reports to the DWR late, they would be required to pay a $50 fine to be eligible for next season’s big game and antlerless applications.