Utah –-(Ammoland.com)- As the number of big game animals in Utah increases, so do possibilities for sportsmen and sportswomen in the state.
Biologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources are recommending several new big game opportunities for 2017. They include additional management buck deer hunts on the famed Henry Mountains hunting unit in southeastern Utah, a first-ever mountain goat hunt on Mount Dutton in south-central Utah and more chances to hunt deer with muzzleloaders after the general rifle hunt is over.
Biologists will share their ideas at an upcoming series of public meetings. See all of the proposed changes.
Learn more, share your ideas
After you’ve reviewed the ideas, you can let your Regional Advisory Council members know your thoughts by attending your upcoming RAC meeting or by sending an email to them.
RAC chairmen will share the input they receive with members of the Utah Wildlife Board. The board will meet in Salt Lake City on Dec. 9 to approve rules for Utah’s 2017 big game hunts.
Dates, times and locations for the RAC meetings are as follows:
You can also provide your comments to the members of your RAC via email.
The group each RAC member represents (sportsman, non-consumptive, etc.) is listed under each person’s email address. You should direct your email to the people on the RAC who represent your interest.
The following are among changes biologists are recommending:
Management buck deer hunt
Some of the biggest mule deer in the country live on the Henry Mountains in southeastern Utah. And there are lots of them. So many, in fact, that biologists are concerned that the number of bucks might affect the long-term health of the herd.
“Last year,” says DWR Big Game Coordinator Justin Shannon, “the buck-to-doe ratio on the unit was 65 bucks per 100 does. The number of bucks needs to be closer to 40 to 55 bucks per 100 does, which is the objective for the unit. If we don’t reduce the number of bucks, they’ll start competing with each other, and with the does, for food. Competition among deer can have negative effects on body condition, deer survival and antler growth.”
To reduce the number of bucks — and still protect the largest bucks in the herd — biologists are recommending a management buck deer hunt. The hunt would be open only to archery and muzzleloader hunters. Rifle hunting would not be allowed. Only bucks with three or fewer antler points, on at least one of their antlers, could be taken.
“Management hunts allow us to give more hunters a chance to hunt world-class units like the Henry’s while still protecting the largest bucks on the units,” Shannon says.
New mountain goat hunt
Biologists are also proposing a new mountain goat hunt. The hunt would happen on Mount Dutton in south-central Utah.
Shannon says mountain goats traveled to Mouth Dutton from the neighboring Tushar Mountains. DWR biologists have also transplanted mountain goats to Mount Dutton. Shannon says the mountain goat population on Mount Dutton is doing really well, and he’s comfortable allowing hunters to take a few animals.
More muzzleloader deer hunts
If you enjoy hunting deer with a muzzleloader, you might have more chances in 2017. Biologists are recommending three additional late-season limited-entry buck deer hunts. The hunts would happen at the beginning of November. The late-season hunts would take place on three general season deer units: Ogden in northern Utah, Mount Dutton in south-central Utah and Plateau, Fishlake in southwestern Utah.
If late-season muzzleloader hunts were approved for the three units, Utah would have 14 general season deer hunting units on which late-season limited-entry muzzleloader deer hunts were offered.
“The buck-to-doe ratio, on all three units, is exceeding 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does,” Shannon says. “We’re comfortable allowing some muzzleloader hunters to hunt these units once the general rifle hunt is over.”
Because the number of bucks per 100 does has dropped a bit on the Plateau, Boulder/Kaiparowits unit, biologists are recommending discontinuing the late-season limited-entry muzzleloader deer hunt on that unit.
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