DWR Press Release
Utah Wildlife Board approves rules for 2017 hunts
Salt Lake City — More chances to hunt big game animals in Utah await hunters in 2017.
At their Dec. 9 meeting, members of the Utah Wildlife Board—a panel of seven citizens appointed by the governor—approved some new opportunities. The opportunities include additional management buck deer hunts on the famed Henry Mountains hunting unit in southeastern Utah, a first-ever mountain goat hunt on Mount Dutton in south-central Utah, more chances to hunt deer with muzzleloaders after the general rifle hunt is over and special archery-only mountain goat and bison hunts.
You can see all of the changes the board approved in the 2017 Utah Big Game Application Guidebook. The free guidebook should be available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks by early January.
Management buck deer hunt
Some of the biggest mule deer in the country live on the Henry Mountains in southeastern Utah. And there are lots of them.
“Last year,” says Division of Wildlife Resources Big Game Coordinator Justin Shannon, “the buck-to-doe ratio on the unit was 65 bucks per 100 does. The number of bucks needs to be closer to 40 to 55 bucks per 100 does, which is the objective for the unit. If we don’t reduce the number of bucks, they’ll start competing with each other, and with the does, for resources. Competition among deer can have negative effects on body condition, deer survival and antler growth.”
To reduce the number of bucks—and still protect the largest bucks in the herd—the board approved a DWR recommendation to hold additional management buck deer hunts on the unit. The hunts are open only to archery and muzzleloader hunters. Also, the only bucks hunters can take are those that have three or fewer antler points on at least one of their antlers.
“Management hunts allow us to give more hunters a chance to hunt world-class units like the Henry’s while still protecting the largest bucks on the units,” Shannon says.
New mountain goat hunt
Members of the board also approved a new mountain goat hunt. The hunt will happen on Mount Dutton in south-central Utah.
Shannon says mountain goats traveled to Mouth Dutton from the neighboring Tushar Mountains. DWR biologists have also transplanted mountain goats to Mount Dutton. Shannon says the mountain goat population on Mount Dutton is doing really well, and the population can sustain having hunters take a few animals from it.
More muzzleloader deer hunts
If you enjoy hunting deer with a muzzleloader, more chances will be available in 2017. Biologists recommended—and the board approved—three additional late-season limited-entry buck deer hunts. The hunts will happen, at the beginning of November, on three general season deer units: Ogden in northern Utah, Mount Dutton in south-central Utah and Plateau, Fishlake in south-central Utah.
“The buck-to-doe ratio, on all three units, is higher than 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does,” Shannon says. “We’re comfortable allowing a limited number of muzzleloader hunters to hunt these units once the general rifle hunt is over.”
Late-season limited-entry muzzleloader deer hunts are now offered on 15 general season deer hunting units in Utah.
New hunts for archery hunters
Two new archery hunting opportunities—one for mountain goats and one for bison—will be available in eastern Utah in 2017.
The archery-only mountain goat hunt on the North Slope/South Slope/High Uintas Central unit runs Aug. 19 – Sept. 10. Billy or nanny goats can be taken.
On the Henry Mountains unit, archery hunters can take a bull bison or a cow bison. The season runs Oct. 6 – 20.
Because mountain goats and bison are once-in-a-lifetime big game species in Utah, if you draw a permit for one of the hunts, the archery hunt will be the only opportunity you’ll have in your life to hunt that species in the state.
Applying for the hunts
Applications for the 2017 big game hunts will be accepted at www.wildlife.utah.gov starting Jan. 26. If you have questions, please call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR’s Salt Lake City office at 801-538-4700.