From the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
-- Offering more spike bull elk hunting permits, a few more hard-to-draw mountain goat permits and fewer buck deer permits are among ideas Division of Wildlife Resources biologists will share at upcoming public meetings.
Find all of the DWR's big game permit recommendations for this fall—including cow elk, doe deer, doe pronghorn and cow moose proposals—at http://wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/hunting/board-rac.html.
Hunters who enjoy hunting spike bull elk or mountain goats will probably like permit changes biologists are recommending for 2011.
Biologists are recommending the number of general spike bull elk permits increase from 13,750 to 15,000 for this fall's hunts. Mountain goat permits, which are once-in-a-lifetime permits that are difficult to draw, might increase from 111 to 133.
"Overall, Utah's big game animals are doing well," says Anis Aoude, big game coordinator. "There are plenty of opportunities to hunt big game in Utah."
While biologists estimate the total number of deer in Utah at more than 290,000, they're concerned about the number of fawns per 100 does, and the number of bucks per 100 does, they've seen in certain areas of the state. Also, they want to help hunters transition to deer hunting changes that will happen in Utah in 2012.
"We don't know for sure yet," says Aoude, "but the board may decide to cut general season buck deer permits by as many as 13,000 by 2012."
Rather than hit hunters with the cuts all at once, Aoude says biologists would like to start cutting permits now. "If we start now, the final cuts won't have to be as severe in 2012."
The changes will happen in 2012 because the minimum number of bucks per 100 does has been increased in Utah's deer management plan.
Instead of managing Utah's hunts so a minimum of 15 bucks per 100 does are found after the hunts are over in the fall, biologists will manage the 2012 hunts with a goal of finding at least 18 bucks per 100 does after the hunts are over.
The Utah Wildlife Board will not set permit numbers for 2012 until next year, however biologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources believe the number of hunters will have to be reduced to reach the new 18 bucks per 100 does objective.
Hunters can attend the upcoming RAC meetings or can send their messages to members by email. RAC chairmen will share the input they receive with members of the Utah Wildlife Board.
The board will meet in Salt Lake City May 5 to approve permit numbers for this fall's big game hunts.
Dates, times and locations for the RAC meetings:
Southern Region—April 12, 5 p.m., Beaver High School, 195 E. Center St., Beaver; Southeastern Region—April 13, 5 p.m., John Wesley Powell Museum, 1765 E. Main St., Green River; Northeastern Region—April 14, 5 p.m., Bingham Entrepreneurship and Energy Research Center, 320 N. Aggie Blvd. (2000 W), Vernal;
Central Region—April 19, 6:30 p.m., Springville Junior High School, 165 S 700 E, Springville; Northern Region—April 20, 6 p.m., Weber State University, Shepherd Union Building, Rooms 404 A and 404 B, 3848 Harrison Blvd., Ogden.
Email addresses for RAC members are available at http://wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/rac-members.html. The group each RAC member represents is listed under each person's email address.