Wildlife officials try to buck the trend of hunter overcrowding

Date and location of photo unspecified | Photo by Brent Stettler, courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Wildlife officials are offering proposals for future hunts that could reduce hunter crowding while also creating more flexibility and opportunity for deer and elk hunters, according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

DWR biologists have listened to hunters’ requests and recommended changes to the 2018 hunting seasons.

“Almost all of the requests we receive from big-game hunters have a common theme: we’d like more opportunity to hunt big game,” said Covy Jones, big-game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources.

DWR officials said they believe the proposals can meet hunters’ requests without negatively affecting herds.

DWR’s major big-game hunting recommendations include:

  • Have an early-season rifle buck hunt in mid-October and create two separate rifle buck hunts as a way to help ease hunter crowding.
  • Hold an early November, late-season, limited-entry muzzleloader buck-deer hunt.
  • Give elk hunters the opportunity to hunt during archery, rifle and muzzleloader seasons.
  • Hold a special “cactus buck only” hunt.

Cactus bucks are buck deer that have malformed antlers and typically can’t reproduce and aren’t contributing to the overall population. Because of this, biologists do not see their being taken as a negative impact to the deer population. 

Cactus bucks exist in very few places in Utah with the exception of the Paunsaugunt premium limited-entry unit in Southern Utah.

DWR biologists would like to give more hunters a chance to hunt these deer, according to the agency.

“Offering a cactus buck-only hunt would allow more people to hunt this amazing unit and take bucks hunters aren’t currently taking,” Jones said.

A permit to hunt bull elk during one of the three general seasons costs Utah residents $50. A permit to hunt bull elk during all three general seasons would cost $150.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

 

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