Info: Utah DWR offers new opportunities for big game hunters

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New Opportunities for Big Game Hunters

Wildlife Board approves changes for 2015 hunts

New hunts for mule deer—and longer hunting seasons for elk and mountain goats—await hunters in Utah next fall.

Justin Shannon, big game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says giving hunters more chances to hunt was one of the major things DWR biologists wanted to do for 2015. “The changes the board approved will have little effect on deer, elk or mountain goat populations in Utah,” he says. “But they will provide some great opportunities for our sportsman.”

All of the changes the Utah Wildlife Board approved at its Dec. 1 meeting will be available in the 2015 Utah Big Game Application Guidebook. The free guidebook should be available atwww.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks by Dec. 15.

Starting Jan. 29, you can apply for a 2015 big game hunting permit at www.wildlife.utah.gov.

Late-season limited-entry deer hunt

After the general rifle buck deer hunt is over, a few lucky muzzleloader hunters will have a chance to hunt on one of six general-season deer units.

The six units—Chalk Creek/East Canyon/Morgan-South Rich (Unit 4/5/6) and Kamas (Unit 7) in northern Utah; Nine Mile (Unit 11) in east-central Utah; and Southwest Desert (Unit 20), Zion (Unit 29) and Pine Valley (Unit 30) in southwestern Utah—are managed for 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does.

Each unit has more bucks than the objective calls for, so there are plenty of bucks to hunt.

“This change will give a small number of limited-entry muzzleloader hunters a great late-season opportunity to hunt deer,” Shannon says. “And it won’t affect the number of bucks on the units much at all.”

The hunt will run the same days the general muzzleloader elk hunt is held: Oct. 28 to Nov. 5.

Since the hunt is a limited-entry hunt, you’ll lose your limited-entry bonus points if you draw a permit for the hunt. Also, a muzzleloader is the only firearm you can use. Rifles will not be allowed.

Limited chance to hunt all three deer seasons

Another change will allow a small number of deer hunters to hunt all three seasons—archery, muzzleloader and rifle—on the limited-entry or premium limited-entry unit they drew a permit for.

In the past, this multi-season hunting opportunity was available only to a small number of elk and black bear hunters. “We wanted to give limited-entry deer hunters the same chance,” Shannon says.

About three percent of the limited-entry and premium limited-entry deer permits offered in 2015 will give hunters this opportunity.

Three more days to hunt elk

If you obtain a limited-entry muzzleloader elk permit, you’ll have three additional days to hunt. The limited-entry muzzleloader elk hunt runs Sept. 21 – Oct. 2.

Longer mountain goat hunt

Mountain goat hunters will also have more time afield.

In the past, Utah’s once-in-a-lifetime mountain goat hunt ended in mid-October on most units. During the 2015 season, the hunt will end anywhere from late October to late November. The ending dates vary by unit.

Urban archery deer hunt in Cache County

To lessen the number of deer that are living in urban areas in Cache County, an archery-only urban deer hunt will be held.

The hunt will happen mostly on private land in an area that includes the towns of Clarkston, Trenton, Wellsville and Mendon. The hunt runs Sept. 12 – Nov. 30.