ST. GEORGE — A number of Utah elk and deer archery hunts begin Aug. 17. Here’s what hunters should expect for the upcoming hunts and some tips to help them be successful.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologists estimate that there are just over 370,000 mule deer in Utah, which is about 100,000 more deer than were in the state in 2011.
“Over the last three years, we’ve had the highest deer numbers in Utah in 25 years,” DWR big game coordinator Covy Jones said. “We have more bucks on the statewide landscape currently than we’ve ever had. A lot of that is due to good habitat work and climate.”
There are an estimated 80,000 elk currently in Utah. The DWR management plan involves managing for just over 79,000 elk, and are currently at their objective for elk statewide.
“Hunters who are targeting bull elk and buck mule deer should expect some of the best antler growth they have ever seen,” Jones said. “It’s been a great year for deer and elk. With the wet spring, habitat has flourished, providing the necessary nutrition for antler growth. Hunters are set up to have a very memorable year.”
The DWR recommends staying away from roadways in order to have a successful hunt.
“Elk avoid roads, so especially when you are hunting elk, get off the road,” Jones said. “Get out and do some hiking and scout to see where these animals are before the hunt begins.”
During this time of the year, does and bucks are not often seen together. If a lot of does are in an area, it’s a sign that a buck will not be nearby and hunters should move to a different location. Does have to care for their fawns and typically prefer areas where there is water and gentle terrain, such as rolling aspen groves.
“Hunting should be fun, and you should enjoy it,” Jones said. “It’s a great time to see Utah’s amazing wildlife. If you aren’t having fun and making memories, you are doing something wrong. Get outdoors this fall and enjoy the great state we live in.”
Another tip for hunters is to know the direction of the wind. That way adjustments can be made to prevent human scent from reaching the animals before getting within range. As the sun heats the ground, the wind direction changes. For example, wind almost always blows up canyons in the morning and down canyons in the afternoon.
Hunters should also be prepared for any weather and should always have a first aid kit and plenty of water with them.
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