Wildlife biologists are recommending a modest decrease in the number of permits available to hunt buck deer in Utah this fall, but they’re still looking for public input on the matter.
After surveying the herds from the ground and the air, and analyzing data collected from hunters — data that provides important information about how big game animals are doing in Utah — the biologists are ready to share their big-game hunting permit recommendations for this fall’s hunts.
Recommendations for buck deer include decreasing the number of general permits from 86,500 in 2012 to 84,600 for this fall, and lowering the number of limited-entry permits from 967 to 860.
Anis Aoude, big-game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, said two factors determine how many buck deer permits can be offered on a unit in the fall: The average number of bucks per 100 does on the unit over the past three years, and whether that number has increased, decreased or stayed the same during the three-year period.
Biologists found a little of everything on Utah’s 30 general-season units after the deer hunt was over last fall. On some units, the number of bucks per w100 does was above objective for the unit and was growing. Other units were stable, and on some units, the ratio of bucks to does was declining. Protecting buck deer on the north end of the Book Cliffs is the major reason for the recommended decrease.
But while the DWR is suggesting making fewer deer permits available this year, it is also recommending an increase in the number of permits for cow elk and both buck and doe pronghorn antelope, which have shown strong population growth in the state recently.
Biologists are suggesting an increase in cow elk permits from 14,763 in 2012 to 17,982 this year, and raising the number of pronghorn permits from 664 to 753 for bucks and from 537 to 962 for does.
You can see the biologists’ recommendations at www.wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/hunting/board-rac.html. After reviewing the recommendations, plan on sharing your ideas at an upcoming Regional Advisory Council meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. April 18 at the Brigham City Community Center, 24 N. 300 West in Brigham City. Council chairpersons will take the input they receive and share it with members of the Utah Wildlife Board when the board meets in Salt Lake City on May 2 to approve the final numbers of permits.
You can also provide your comments to your council via email. Email addresses for your RAC members are available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/rac-members.html.