Utah Changes Rifle Season to Five Days

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For most hunters, Utah's most popular hunt—the general rifle buck deer hunt—will be shorter in 2010.

By a 4-to-2 vote, the Utah Wildlife Board approved a recommendation to shorten Utah's general rifle buck deer hunt from nine days to five days for hunters who are 19 years of age or older on Aug. 21. (Aug. 21 is the first day of the state's 2010 general archery buck deer hunt.)

Hunters who are 18 years of age or younger on Aug. 21 can hunt for nine days.

The following are the dates the board approved:

  • Hunter age Season dates
  • 19 years of age or older Oct. 23–27, 2010
  • 18 years of age or younger Oct. 23–31, 2010

Also, on five units where buck-to-doe ratios are lower than 15 bucks per 100 does—the Cache; Ogden; Oquirrh-Stansbury; South Slope, Vernal; and Monroe units—the rifle hunt will run for three days:

  • Hunter age Season dates
  • All ages Oct. 23–25, 2010

The Division of Wildlife Resources had recommended to the board a nine-day rifle hunt for all hunters in the state, regardless of their age.

The only exception the DWR recommended to the nine-day hunt was limiting the hunt to five days on the five units that have buck-to-doe ratios that are below 15 bucks per 100 does.

The board did approve a DWR proposal to allow general archery hunters to hunt across the state during the entire general archery season in 2010. (In 2009, general archery hunters had to choose which region they wanted to hunt in during the first two weeks of the hunt.)

All of the changes the board approved at its Dec. 3 meeting will be available in the 2010 Utah Big Game Guidebook. The guidebook should be available at wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks by late December.

Archery hunting across Utah

For years, hunters in southern Utah have expressed concerns about how crowded the area appears to be during the general archery buck deer hunt.

To gather information about the number of archers who hunt in each region, last year the DWR recommended, and the board approved, a change for the 2009 season: archery hunters would have to choose which region they wanted to hunt in during the first two weeks of the hunt.

Based on the regions hunters chose, and the acres of public land that have deer habitat, the DWR has determined that the Southern Region is actually the least crowded region in the state. "The data shows that archery hunters are not the main reason the Southern Region seems crowded during the archery hunt," says Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR.

The data Aoude is referring to is available at wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings/info/09-11-08.pdf.

Aoude says southern Utah is a very popular place to camp and hike in late summer. That may be the main reason the Southern Region seems crowded during the archery hunt. "We don't feel we should restrict and penalize archery hunters because other people enjoy being in the woods too," he says.

Aoude says archers can be part of the crowding in the region, but that situation isn't unique to the Southern Region—it happens in every region in Utah. "There are certain areas in every region that are popular and draw a lot of hunters," he says.

A committee helped the DWR draft its statewide archery recommendation. The committee included three archery hunters from southern Utah, two members of the Utah Bowhunter's Association, two members of Bowhunters of Utah and Bill Fenimore, a member of the Utah Wildlife Board.

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