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Utah Wildlife Board decreases deer permits for 2022 hunting season

You can apply for a 2019 sportsman permit starting Oct. 24. If you draw the permit for buck deer, you'll have plenty of days and plenty of places to find the animal of your dreams.
Mike Keller, courtesy Utah Divis
Buck Mule Deer

With several years of drought in Utah and declining herd numbers, Utah Wildlife Resources will allocate fewer general season buck deer tags.

Of the 29 hunting regions in Utah,13 have declining deer populations. That’s led the agency to reduce hunting of the animals in some areas.

Utah’s largest hunt is the general season buck hunt, which allocated 74,025 mule deer tags last year. This year, it drops by 950 tags to 73,075.

The northern region, which includes Summit and Wasatch counties, is not experiencing declines in deer populations this year.

Five new antlerless elk hunts were also approved, and a new doe pronghorn hunt.

The antlerless applications for deer and elk are open from May 26 to June 16.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Big Game Manager Colby Jones said the agency biologists use a variety of calculations to determine deer herd populations.

Jones said that last spring, fawn survival was low due to the drought in northern Utah. In the late summer and fall, the monsoon rain in the northern region helped fatten deer as winter approached.

“This last year in December of 2021, really fat deer-- came in. Fat [deer] survive better. Fat deer produce bigger fawns. Over-winter survival, this year in 2022, has been exceptional for the fawns that made it through that drought portion, and with adult deer, things are looking good.”

If deer are causing damage to private lands, the wildlife board may allow additional hunting. Smith said in general, landowners are tolerant of migratory deer and elk.

“When those local populations start to build, the ones that never leave their property, and that does happen at times, we'll set up specific antlerless hunts to help address those concerns. And in the long run, it forms better partnerships, and it helps landowners be more tolerable of migratory deer that go from down in the valleys up to the mountains and back down to the valleys.”

Jones said the area near Myton in the Uintah Basin is experiencing a chronic wasting disease break out among deer. The Wildlife Resource Board added a new hunt to address the disease hot spot. The agency recommends any deer harvested in that area be tested for the wasting disease.

Find the entire Wildlife Management Board meeting here.

KPCW reporter Carolyn Murray covers Summit and Wasatch County School Districts. She also reports on wildlife and environmental stories, along with breaking news. Carolyn has been in town since the mid ‘80s and raised two daughters in Park City.