Utah Increases Number of Big Game Permits

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The number of permits offered for most of Utah's big game hunts has increased this year.

There are a few exceptions to the increase, though. But even one of the decreases is good news for hunters.

At their March 31 meeting, members of the Utah Wildlife Board approved fewer permits to hunt cow bison on the Henry Mountains. Offering fewer permits will allow the bison herd on the unit to start building to a new management objective.

Permit numbers

The following chart shows the number of permits that were available in 2009 and the number the board approved for 2010:

2009 2010
General season buck deer 94,000 94,000
Premium limited entry deer 173 179
Limited-entry deer 1,021 1,034
Management buck deer 60 95
Limited-entry bull elk 2,737 2,976
Pronghorn antelope 992 1,035
Moose 147 139
Bison 170 39
Rocky Mountain goat 104 111
Desert bighorn sheep 37 45
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep 24 31

Fewer bison permits

It's time to start increasing the number of bison on the Henry Mountains in southeastern Utah. To help that happen, the board approved fewer cow bison hunting permits for the unit this fall.

Two types of bison permits are offered for the Henry Mountains. Most of the permits allow hunters to take either a bull bison or a cow bison. Others allow hunters to take only a cow.

"A management plan was approved for the Henry's in August 2007," says Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "One of the objectives in the plan limits the number of adult bison on the unit to not more than 305 adults after the 2010 hunting season is over."

The plan allows that number to increase to not more than 315 adults after the 2011 season is over and not more than 325 after the 2012 season.

Using information from aerial surveys, harvest data from the 2009 hunt and range studies of habitat on the Henry Mountains, biologists feel it's safe to start increasing the number of bison on the unit to the 305 adult objective.

And right now should be a good time to do that. Aoude says the DWR and its partners have spent more than $1 million on habitat work on the Henry's over the past three years alone. More than 8,000 acres of habitat has been improved. And water sources have been developed across the unit.

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