Big Change Awaits Utah’s Deer Hunters


If you're going to apply for a 2017 Utah general season buck deer permit, please be aware of changes to the state's preference point system.

DWR Press Release

You can apply for a hunting permit starting Jan. 26

If you’re among the thousands of deer hunters waiting for a chance to apply for a 2017 Utah deer hunting permit, the Division of Wildlife Resources wants to make you aware of a major change.

The change involves preference points. If you apply for a general-season deer hunting permit, but don’t draw one, you receive a preference point. The points you receive increase the chance you’ll draw a general-season deer hunting permit in the near future.

Judi Tutorow, wildlife licensing coordinator for the DWR, says the Utah Wildlife Board—a panel of seven citizens appointed by the governor—recently made some changes to the preference point system. The system has been in place since 2009.

“Before you apply for a permit,” she says, “you need to be aware of the changes.”

The following are the changes the board approved:

·         If you draw any of your general-season deer hunt choices—first, second, third, fourth or fifth choice—you’ll lose your preference points.

In the past, hunters lost their preference points only if they drew their first choice.

·         The first choice that each hunter lists will be considered before the second choice of applicants is considered.

In the past, all of the choices for those with the maximum number of preference points—their first, second, third, fourth and fifth choices—were considered before considering the first choice of those with fewer preference points. If hunters with the maximum number of preference points didn’t draw their first choice—but did draw one of their remaining choices—they received a hunting permit, received a preference point for not drawing their first choice and got to keep all of the preference points they’d accrued.

“That’s changed,” Tutorow says. “Now the first choice of everyone who applied will be considered before considering the second choice of those with the highest number of preference points.”

Learn more

You can learn more about the preference point change by reading pages 28 and 29 of the 2017 Utah Big Game Application Guidebook. The free guidebook is available at

You can apply for a Utah deer hunting permit starting Jan. 26 at

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