Utah's buck deer permits reduced slightly

Salt Lake City — For months now, deer hunters have wondered how many general buck deer permits will be available for Utah's 30 new deer hunting units this fall.

The board divided the 86,500 permits as follows:

Hunt                Number of permits
Archery           17,300
Rifle                 51,900
Muzzleloader  17,300

Slight reduction from 2011

The 86,500 permits the board approved are 500 fewer than the 87,000 permits available in 2011.

Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says the number of permits dropped slightly because some of the 30 units will be managed for a higher buck-to-doe ratio than biologists have managed them for in the past.

(A buck-to-doe ratio is the number of bucks per 100 does that biologists find after the hunting seasons are over in the fall.)

"The best way to increase the number of bucks per 100 does is to reduce the number of bucks that are taken during the hunting season," Aoude says.

Starting this year, biologists will manage 14 of Utah's 30 general deer hunting units for 15 to 17 bucks per 100 does.

The remaining 16 units will be managed for 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does.

Aoude says the 14 units that will be managed for a lower buck-to-doe ratio are units that provide good access to lots of public land. "Units that are mostly private land, or units that have public land that's difficult to access," he says, "are the units that we'll manage for 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does."

Other big game permits

In addition to approving general buck deer hunting permits at their May 3 meeting, members of the board also approved permits for Utah's remaining big game animals.

The following are the number of big game permits available in 2011 and the number the board approved for 2012:


Hunt                                          2011    2012
Premium limited-entry deer      179     183
Management buck deer            105     80
Limited-entry deer                     986     967
Doe deer                                   560     290
General any bull elk              14,615    14,620
Spike bull elk                         15,000    15,000
Limited-entry bull elk               2,989    2,956
Cow elk                                 12,174    12,967
Buck pronghorn                          658    665
Doe pronghorn                           467    527
Bull moose                                   93    76
Cow moose                                   0     0
Bison                                            20     60
Desert bighorn sheep                  44     41
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep   30     34
Mountain goat                            133     165

How to get a permit

How and when you can obtain a permit varies according to which big game animal you want to hunt:

  • With the exception of Utah's general bull elk hunt, applications for all of the state's hunts that involve male animals were accepted in February.
  • Results of the 2012 big game draw will be available by May 31.
  • You can apply for a doe deer, cow elk or doe pronghorn permit starting June 1.
  • Results of the 2012 antlerless draw will be available by July 11.
  • Permits to hunt during the state's general bull elk hunt will be available on a first-come, first-served basis starting July 17.
  • Hunters have already applied for general buck deer hunting permits. If any general archery or muzzleloader buck deer permits are available after this year's big game draw, the permits will be available—on a first-come, first-served basis—starting July 19.
  • Any general buck deer rifle permits that are still available after the draw will go on sale—on a first-come, first-served basis—starting July 31.
  • If the general archery season ends—but all the archery permits haven't been sold—the archery permits will be converted to muzzleloader permits.


These muzzleloader permits would be available—on a first-come, first-served basis—starting Sept. 17.
Any muzzleloader permits that are still available after the muzzleloader hunt ends would be converted to general rifle permits.

These rifle permits would be available—on a first-come, first-served basis—starting Oct. 9.
More information

For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at 801-538-4700.

Categories: Hunting News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *