One of the hottest hunts of the year, the rifle buck deer hunt, begins this Saturday, Oct. 22 with many hunters hoping to capture the deer that they may not have been able to during the muzzle loader hunt.
This hunting season, according to the Utah Division of Wildlife resources, will see more than 65,000 hunters take the fields for the 2011 hunt, an ever growing number as the hunt gets more popular.
“We look forward to this all year,” said Robert Gallo, a resident of South Weber. “My son and I have gone in the past several years, ever since he got a license to hunt.
“It’s the best time and we’ve hopefully picked out a good spot to hunt this season.”
The biggest advantage hunters have this time of year is the drop in temperatures. Many of the participants in the muzzle loader hunt weren’t able to capture as many deer, due to the weather still being on the warmer side.
But colder temperatures and good hunting spots should lead to the shooting of more deer, according to big game coordinator Anis Aoude.
“That need to feed gets the deer moving and puts them in places where hunters can see them,” he said. “I think a drop in temperature would really help the hunt.”
Aoude also added that the deer are more comfortable moving around in the colder temperatures thanks to them growing thicker, heavier coats. In temperatures that go below 40 degrees, the deer are very comfortable.
The best news hunters like to hear is the large number of deer that are available to hunt during the season. This year, unlike last year, will see plenty of deer roaming around for the hunters to take down thanks to the winter season of 2010.
“Even though the state received a lot of snow, temperatures across most of Utah were mild enough that the snow melted quickly on the lower elevation areas where the deer spend the winter,” said Aoude. “Most of the fawns that were born in 2010 made it through the winter,” he says. “These deer will be available to hunters as yearling bucks this fall.”
Every fall after all the hunts are over, DWR biologists hit the fields to conduct deer surveys in order to count the number of bucks per 100 does. In 2010, the number of bucks per 100 does in northern hunting areas was 22, up four from the 2009 numbers.
Central and northeastern areas also showed a growth, rising from 16 to 18 in central Utah while rising from 15 to 18 in the northeastern area.
The southeastern and southern hunting areas have seen a decrease in numbers, with the biggest fall coming in the southern region (from 18 to 16 in 2010).
Each of the five hunting regions in Utah (northern, central, northeastern, southeastern and southern) will have reports available on DWR’s website. For the most up-to-date information available on the region residents plan on hunting, visit DWR’s website at wildlife.utah.gov.