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Utah archery elk and deer hunts are not far away

From the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

-- All permits to hunt during Utah's archery buck deer hunt have been taken, but archery elk permits which go on sale July 27, are unlimited in number, so there's no problem getting one.

"With unlimited archery elk permits available," says Scott Root, "hunters should consider introducing themselves to archery hunting this fall."

In addition to serving as a conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources, Root is an avid archery hunter. "Archery hunting is extremely enjoyable," he says, "if you're prepared."

Root provides some tips to help hunters prepare for this fall:

Shoot, shoot, shoot. Similar to rifle hunting, hunters have to shoot accurately to take an animal during the archery hunt. But unlike a rifle hunter, an archer must use stealth and patience to sneak within at least 50 yards of their prized target.

"A lot of frustration can result if you haven't honed your skills. You need to practice shooting until you're as accurate as you can be," he says.  Now is the time to start practicing for the August opener. "If and when a big game animal presents itself, you want to make sure you make an accurate shot."

Get written permission: For hunters who like to hunt on private property, don't wait until a few days before the hunt to get written permission from the landowner. "Get that permission now," he advises.

Hunting checklist:  Even after hunters hone shooting skills, they can still make mistakes, and many mistakes happen when hunters forget some of their equipment and try to make do without it.

"Most hunters have left their release mechanism, their range finder or appropriate clothing at home at least once in their life," Root says. "Almost any archer can share at least one frustrating story about leaving something at home."

Having an archery hunt checklist that shows all of the items you need to take on your hunt is the key to not leaving something at home. Root advises creating a personal list, or getting a head start by using one of the many checklists available online. "To find a checklist," Root says, "simply type 'Archery Hunt Checklist' in an online search engine."  

Keep the bugs away: Because Utah has received a lot of moisture this year, Root says hunters will probably encounter plenty of mosquitoes, biting deer flies and biting horse flies during the archery hunt. "Clothes designed to resist insects, or insect netting, are good options, but they can be pricey."  Also, Root added, insect repellant may leave you with more odor than a stealthy hunter wants, however, this year smelling like bug spray might be worth it.

Caring for harvested game: Warm to hot temperatures are another challenge archery hunters face. During the August archery hunt, temperatures can climb into the 90s. Some hunters aren't prepared to properly process a big game animal once they've taken it. "The meat needs to be taken care of quickly," Root says, "or it will spoil."

Learn the rules:  Check the 2011 Utah Big Game Field Regulation Guidebook. Equipment rules for the hunt (minimum pull of 40 pounds at the bow's draw; arrows must be at least 20 inches long from the tip of the arrowhead to the tip of the nock, and must weigh at least 300 grains; and arrowheads must have two or more sharp-cutting edges that cannot pass through a 7/8-inch ring) are found on page 28 of the guidebook. Pages 914 also provide good information for archery deer and elk hunters.

The free guidebook is available at wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks and from DWR offices and hunting license agents across Utah.

Trail cameras, tree stands and ATVs: For hunters who want to learn more about the wildlife in their hunting area, placing a trail camera or two in the area is a great idea, but remember not to place a camera on any national forest until one week before the hunt scheduled for that forest starts.

This law has been in effect for two or three years. Ted Hendricks, recreation manager for the Uinta National Forest, says you don't need to register your trail camera with the U.S. Forest Service at the present time. Tree stands are a popular tool for patient archery hunters, but hunters cannot build a permanent tree stand on a national forest.

Take Utah's Bowhunter Education course: Prepare for the season by taking a the Bowhunter education course which teaches the basics of archery hunting for youth and adults. Shooting Sports Coordinator Rayne Takeda says the agency is trying to offer at least one new bowhunter education course each week, from now until the archery hunts begin.

"We also offer the luxury of taking the course on our website and then spending one 6 to 7 hour field day with an instructor," she says, "reviewing course material, learning about the equipment and practicing." At the end of the field day, students take a written test and a shooting test.

Visit www.wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/huntereducation.html to learn more about the course.

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