Several months ago, the Utah Wildlife Board directed the state’s wildlife agency to give big game hunters more hunting options to choose from and reduce crowding among hunters who are in the field.
The ideas the Division of Wildlife Resources has come up with wouldn’t be implemented until the 2011 hunts. But the changes are big enough that the DWR wants to get the ideas out now so there’s plenty of time for public comment.
Rules for the 2011 hunts will not be approved until November 2010.
“The ideas we’ve come up with would give hunters some new options,” said Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR.
The first idea would keep the number of general rifle buck deer permits the same as it is now (no more than 97,000 permits), but it would split Utah’s general rifle deer hunt into two hunts. Each hunt would be nine days long, just like the hunt is now, but hunters could choose to participate in an early hunt or a late hunt.
The early hunt would be held at the start of October. The late hunt would happen at the end of October.
“You’d still be able to hunt the same number of days you can hunt now, but you’d have fewer hunters in the field with you,” Aoude says.
Another idea would let hunters hunt deer and elk at the same time. The DWR is considering holding the general rifle buck deer hunt and the general rifle bull elk hunt on the same days.
“This change would allow you to hunt deer and elk at the same time,” Aoude said. “But you wouldn’t have to do that. If you wanted, you could obtain a deer permit to hunt during either the early or the late season, and also obtain an elk permit to hunt during the season when you’re not hunting deer.”
In addition to holding the rifle deer and elk hunts at the same time, the DWR is considering holding Utah’s general muzzleloader deer and muzzleloader elk hunts at the same time too.
The general muzzleloader deer and elk season would be held in the middle of October, between the two rifle hunts.
A third idea is to start all of Utah’s big game hunts on the same calendar days every year. For example, if Aug. 21 was chosen as the day to start the general archery elk hunt, the season would start on Aug. 21 every year, even if Aug. 21 didn’t fall on a Saturday.
The only exception would be if a start date fell on a Sunday. Then the season would probably begin on the proceeding Saturday.
The public can provide comments about these ideas to the Regional Advisory Council (RAC) via e-mail. E-mail addresses for RAC members are available online at www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings.
The group each RAC member represents (sportsman, non-consumptive, etc.) is listed under each person’s e-mail address. Direct your e-mail to the people on the RAC who represent your interest.