Permits to hunt bull elk in Utah now available

Bull elk in Utah, date not specified | Photo by Rich Hansen, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, St. George News

UTAH – Hunting bull elk in Utah this fall? It’s easy to get a permit to hunt during the general season. Just log onto the Division of Wildlife Resources website, visit a DWR office or your nearest Utah hunting license agent and buy one.

A total of 30,000 rifle and muzzleloader permits are on sale.

It usually takes a few weeks for general elk permits to sell out.

“Don’t wait too long, though,” Lindy Varney, wildlife licensing coordinator for the DWR, said. “If you want to hunt elk in Utah, I’d encourage you to buy a permit as soon as you can.”

General archery elk permits are one type of elk permit that won’t sell out. They aren’t limited in number.

General archery elk permits are also currently on sale. They’ll be available until the extended archery elk hunt ends on Dec. 15.

Two types of units

Before a rifle or muzzleloader permit is purchased, decide which units you want to hunt on: any-bull units, where you’re allowed to take a bull of any size, or spike-only units, where only spike bulls may be taken.

If an any-bull permit is purchased, hunting is permitted on all of the any-bull units in Utah. If a spike-only permit is purchased, hunting is allowed on all of the spike-only units in the state.

While many hunters dream of taking a large, branch-antlered bull, Varney said a hunt on a spike-only unit provides several advantages.

One of the neat things about hunting on a spike-only unit is the chance to hear and see big, mature bulls. The spike-only hunts are held on the same areas where the limited-entry hunts are held. You can’t take a branch-antlered bull with a spike-only permit, but you can still experience the thrill of being near these big elk.”

The spike-only units are mostly public land, so there are lots of places to hunt. And just like taking a branch-antlered bull, taking a spike bull will provide a lot of tasty, healthy meat.

For branch-antlered bulls on an any-bull unit, Justin Shannon, big game coordinator for the DWR, said the North Slope unit and the South Slope unit in the Uinta Mountains are the most popular units in the state.

“Hunting any-bull units can be a challenge,” Shannon said, “but they hold some big bulls.”

A map that shows Utah’s spike-only and any-bull units is available on pages 54 and 55 of the 2017 Utah Big Game Field Regulations Guidebook. Get the free guidebook by clicking here.

Utah Hunt Planner

As the hunt is prepared for, you are encouraged to visit the agency’s Utah Hunt Planner website.

Notes from the biologists who manage the units you’re thinking about hunting are there, along with general information about the units, and safety and weather information. Information about the number of bulls on the units is also given. Maps are available that show the units’ boundaries, which land is public and which is private, and the various types of elk habitat found on the units.

Shannon said DWR biologists want you to have a great experience hunting bull elk in Utah this fall.

“We want you to have a successful, enjoyable time. The experience you have is important to us. We’re hoping the information on the site will help you plan your most successful hunt yet.”

If you have questions about hunting elk in Utah, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR’s Salt Lake City office at 801-538-4700.

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