Utah’s general archery buck deer hunt, the first major hunt of the year in Utah, starts on Saturday — and because of this year’s weather, the deer should be plentiful and concentrated around water sources.
Deer herds on many units are doing well. Lots of fawns were born in 2011, and most of them survived the mild winter of 2011-2012. Good numbers of young bucks should be available on many of the state’s 30 general-season units.
It’s been hot and dry across the state this summer. On many units, finding water will be the key to finding the deer.
This year is the first year general archery hunters will be limited to hunting on one of 30 new deer hunting units in Utah. For the past several years, archery hunters have been allowed to hunt statewide.
On the Box Elder unit, fawn numbers in 2011 were excellent at around 70 fawns per 100 does. This past winter was dry, and most of the fawns made it through the winter. With more than 40 percent of the bucks classified as three points or better, plenty of mature bucks should be available to hunters. The dry conditions have reduced the amount of water and plants available to the deer. Fewer fawns have been born this year, but fawn production is still average for the unit.
On the Cache and Ogden units, plenty of fawns survived the winter, so more yearling bucks should be available. Deer are using summer ranges in areas with mixed conifer. Look for bucks in the mornings and evenings as they move from open meadows and hillsides to areas with cover.
The Ogden unit has large blocks of private property, so be sure to get permission in advance to hunt on private lands.
On the Morgan/South Rich and East Canyon units, the overall number of deer on each unit is still below population objectives. Expect the hunt on each unit to be similar to the last few years. These units also consist of largely private property, so plan accordingly.
The hunting outlook for the Chalk Creek unit is good this year. Biologists are seeing more young bucks throughout the area. The total number of deer is slightly below the unit’s population objective, but the number of bucks per 100 does is still high. Dry summer conditions have distributed deer at higher elevations, often near a water source. To find success, do lots of scouting, and look for deer in remote locations.
On the Kamas unit, try hunting in the backcountry, away from major roads and trails.
Also, while hunting this fall, remember to restrict all-terrain vehicle use to designated roads and trails. Violators can lose the privilege to use ATVs on public lands in Utah.