Utah’s big-game lottery jackpot is fast approaching, as applications for the state’s most prized hunting permits will be accepted starting next week.
Only Utah residents may apply for 2012 sportsman permits from Nov. 1 through Nov. 23. The odds of drawing one, however, are long because only one is available for each of the following species: Desert bighorn ram, Rocky Mountain bighorn ram, buck deer, buck pronghorn, bull elk, bull moose, hunter’s choice bison and hunter’s choice Rocky Mountain goat.
Sportsman permits are also offered for three species that are not classified as big game: Black bear, cougar and wild turkey.
For those who draw a sportsman permit, hunting dates can vary — but in most cases, they’re longer than the regular season dates. Permit holders can also hunt on almost any unit in Utah that’s open to the species they draw a permit for.
Judi Tutorow, wildlife licensing coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, said sportsman permits are a rare opportunity — but someone has to win.
“If you’re one of the lucky hunters who draws one, you’ll have plenty of days and plenty of areas to hunt,” she said.
Applications for sportsman permits will be accepted starting Nov. 1 at www.wildlife.utah.gov. Applications must be submitted no later than 11 p.m. on Nov. 23.
Draw results will be posted on the website by Dec. 1. Winners will also receive a letter in the mail.
Nov. 1 is also the date that permits to hunt cougars on harvest-objective units go on sale. The harvest-objective hunt is designed to keep cougar populations at levels deemed ideal by DWR biologists.
Tutorow said there are three major differences between harvest-objective units and limited-entry units: The number of permits that can be sold for a harvest-objective unit isn’t limited; harvest-objective permits can be bought online or over-the-counter; and the hunt on a harvest-objective unit can close before the season ends.
Utah has nine cougar management areas, each with several individual units. Once hunters take the number of cougars biologists want taken on the management area, the hunt on all of the units in the area will close.
The season can also close early if hunters take too many female cougars.
Harvest-objective permits are not available to those who already have a limited-entry cougar permit.
Before each hunting trip, call 1-888-668-5466 or visit www.wildlife.utah.gov to verify that a given area is still open to hunting. The phone line and the website are updated by noon with information for the following day.