Officials target buck hunting permit numbers

(Photo courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)
Utah wildlife officials are currently in the process of deciding how many...
Story by Standard-Examiner staff
April 11, 2012
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OGDEN — Because of a new management plan adopted late last year, wildlife officials in Utah are recommending a small reduction in the total number of permits issued to hunt buck deer in the state this fall.

At a meeting last December, the Utah Wildlife Board decided to split Utah’s five general-season hunting regions into 30 smaller units, giving Division of Wildlife Resources biologists more flexibility regarding the number of bucks per 100 does that each of the units will be managed for.

The buck-to-doe ratio, the key factor in determining the health and viability of deer populations in the state, varies from one region to another. Biologists work to increase the ratio in areas where the population may be in jeopardy by issuing fewer permits, while decreasing it in regions where overpopulation is causing unsustainable damage to wildlife habitat by selling more permits.

For 2012, the DWR is recommending that 14 of Utah’s 30 general deer hunting units be managed with a goal of having 15 to 17 bucks per 100 does. The goal on the remaining 16 units is 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does. A higher target ratio means fewer permits on a given unit, but better chances of bagging a buck for those who get the chance to hunt on those units.

Last year, a total of 87,000 buck permits were issued, including 16,000 archery permits and 71,000 for rifle and muzzleloader hunters. The proposal for this year includes 17,300 archery permits and 69,200 rifle and muzzleloader permits, for a total of 86,500.

Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR, said the 14 units biologists would like to manage for a lower buck-to-doe ratio provide good access to lots of public land. In Northern Utah, those include the Box Elder and Cache units.

“Units that are mostly private land, or units that have public land that’s difficult to access, would be managed for 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does,” Aoude said. The Ogden and Morgan units are among those.

A website that provides more information about buck-to-doe ratios and the DWR’s recommendations is available at http://go.usa.gov/E9U. In addition to general buck deer permit recommendations, the site has information about all of the big-game permit proposals for 2012.

The Utah Wildlife Board will meet in Salt Lake City on May 3 to approve final numbers for this fall’s hunts. In the meantime, the public is invited to share input at a series of Regional Advisory Council meetings over the next week, as well as through email.

The last of the meetings will be held at 6 p.m. next Wednesday (April 18) at the Brigham City Community Center, 24 N. 300 West, Brigham City. Email addresses for local council members are available at http://go.usa.gov/IMk.

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