With populations on the rise, the Utah Wildlife Board recently approved the addition of more than 4,000 general buck deer permits for the fall of 2016.  The state also has approved a cow elk hunt, offering over 12,000 permits to private land hunters.

With the total number of deer in Utah increasing for the fourth consecutive year and the fact that the state is seeing the number of bucks, compared to does, at its highest levels in decades, biologists recommended 90,675 general buck deer permits.

total-number-of-permits-for-2016-big-game-hunts-in-Utah
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Total number of permits the board approved for Utah’s 2016 big game hunts.

“The total number of deer in the state is the highest it’s been since the 1980s,” Justin Shannon, big game coordinator for the Utah DWR said in a release. “And a good percentage of those deer are bucks. The average buck-to-doe ratio across Utah — on general season units that are made up mostly of public land — is 23 bucks per 100 does.”

Elk populations are budding across Utah as well, with biologists estimating the population to be nearing 80,000. Hunters and landowners however, are citing that the elk are not evenly distributed, particularly during hunting seasons.

“When elk are not evenly distributed on a unit,” Shannon says, “it can frustrate both hunters and private landowners. The elk leave the public land, and not many hunters have access to them. We need to ‘retrain’ elk to stay on public land by limiting the refuge areas they have on private property. Providing private landowners with additional tools, to help control elk on their property, is the key to making that happen.”

In an attempt to slow hunting pressure on public lands and increase the harvest on private lands, the state’s offering of over 12,000 private lands only permits hopes to solve the problem and push the elk around a bit.

Before any hunter is able to purchase a private lands only permit, they are required to produce written permission from the landowner.

Feature Image:  Scott Root/Utah Division of Wildlife Resources