Utah – From a Deer Hunter’s POV

Posted: 08/30/2012 in Archery, Hunting, Legal, News, Regulations, Whitetail Deer
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This is an ongoing series looking at each state from the point of view of a nonresident hunter trying to find information about deer hunting, the basic explanation is HERE.


Is the information easy to find?

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Hunting page is at the top of the search results.

Grade: A

Website: is it easy to use and understand?

There is a lot of information available on the Utah DWR hunting website, and the information is wonderfully organized.   For big game hunters, the go-to document is the Utah Big Game Application Guidebook PDF.  Normally difficult to deal with, this PDF is well written, with an information flow that the user will be able to use to find information in a specific sequence that will widen their knowledge of opportunities and regulations in Utah. The text, format, and language used is easy to read and in plain English, without the usual bureaucrat-speak that can make this sort of regulatory handbook confusing.  License fees are available from the License, Permits and Miscellaneous Fees page, and seasons are listed on the Buck Deer table page that is accessible from the Hunt Tables, Maps and Boundaries page.

Utah also provides a Frequently Asked Questions page that is, again, outstanding.

Grade: A

Does the state hold a lottery system for non-residents or are over the counter licenses available?

From the Utah Big Game Application Guidebook, all big game licenses are buy drawing, though in July left over permits are available on a first-come, first serve basis.  There are MANY different applications and types of licenses, including the 3 year “Dedicated Hunter” program which, while still a drawing, guarantees hunting for three years provided the hunter completes an ethics class and agrees to other stipulations.  Utah does utilize a preference point program, with the grace period being three years between applications to maintain any preference points collected.

Grade: B

How much does it cost to hunt, and is there a short term license available?

Resident hunting licenses in Utah are priced at $26.00, with general deer season tags priced at $40.00.  Nonresident hunting licenses are $65.00,   nonresident deer permits are $268.00, which includes an annual fishing license. There are many different options on the license page, 18 different options for nonresidents alone.

The options are nice, however it feels as though micromanagement is creeping into this system. There is no short term license in this system, and the $65.00 hunting license is required to apply for big game permits according to the Big Game Application Guidebook (page 8).

* Hunting and combination licenses are valid for 365 days from the day you buy them. Combination licenses allow you to fish, hunt small game and apply for big game and other hunting permits.

Grade: C

Are the hunting seasons easy to find and laid out in a logical manner?

Hunting seasons can be found using the Hunt Tables, Maps and Boundaries page, select the species from the links in the center of the page. Finding the seasons is easy, and they are formatted logically, however there appear to be over a hundred different entries.  What makes the list usable is the fact that the header on each column is sortable, therefore if the hunter has drawn a permit for Hunt number 1000, sorting the list by hunt numbers, then clicking 1000 will bring up the specific page for that hunt, including a Google Earth map.

Despite having an incredible number of specific hunts, this information is professionally organized and very easy to use.

Grade: A

Is public hunting available, if so, are the rules different? If the rules are different, are they easy to understand?

From the Hunt Tables, Maps and Boundaries page, users can follow the link to the list of Cooperative Wildlife Management Units.  From the list, select any entry, such as Blue Creek CWMU, and a Google Earth map loads along with contact information for the CMWU operator. Below the map is a massive amount of information, which at this point is devoid of data since Utah has just implemented this system. In future years, these statistics will be invaluable.

Grade: A

Are there major issues in hunting this state as a non-resident?

Chronic Wasting Disease is present in Utah, information can be found on the Disease Issues and Mule Deer page.

CWD was first detected in Utah in 2002. In the fourteen years since the DWR began CWD surveillance, 54 mule deer and one elk have tested positive for the disease. CWD has been found in three specific areas of central, northeastern and southeastern Utah.

No other issues were found in a quick search.

Grade: B

Summary: Final Grade B+

The Utah DWR seems to be at the beginning of a major micromanagement program, however their web services have certainly managed to not only keep up, but master the information in a manner that users will be able to leverage the web site to aid in planning a trip with little difficulty.  The prices are somewhat reasonable, but having to purchase a license to apply for a drawing is a bit of a stretch.

States CompletedAlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelaware,

FloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndiana, IowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMaryland

MassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew Hampshire

New JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvania,

Rhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennessee,


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