Hunting in Utah may not have had the same reputation for excellence over the years as some of the surrounding states.
But don’t be fooled. Reality and reputation are two different things. The reality is that hunting in Utah is equal to or better than any of those supposedly more-reputable states.
For example, if you love to hunt elk, or even photograph them, Utah is the place for the biggest elk on the planet.
In 2008, Utah produced the new Boone and Crockett Club world record non-typical elk . Yes, the largest antler rack ever recorded. From 2000 to 2006, elk hunting in Utah produced more record-book bulls than any other state!
There are more mule deer in Utah than any other big game animal. And deer hunting in Utah is big business. Because trophy mule deer are one of the most alluring game species in North America. And, yes, there still are trophy mule deer in Utah.
Hunting in Utah provides marvelous opportunities to go after a variety of game. And equally fantastic opportunities to watch and photograph that same wildlife. More than 600 species - mammals, birds, fishes, reptiles and amphibians – are found in Utah.
As mentioned above, mule deer and elk hunting in Utah is exceptional. You’ll also find:
And on a limited or once-in-a-lifetime basis:
Hunting is allowed in most of the public areas of the state. But, of course, not in national parks, national monuments, or state parks.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) manages hunting in Utah. Proclamations are set each year and spell out everything you need to know about any hunt you may be interested in.
It is imperative you check each year’s proclamation well in advance to plan your trip ahead of time.
The DWR divides Utah up into five regions for purposes of describing hunt boundaries. But in terms of geography and types of wildlife, you’ll find that the state can pretty much be split into a northern and southern half.
The Wasatch-Cache National Forest is one of the most rewarding hunting areas in the state for deer, elk, and moose. In fact, throughout most of the mountain areas and National Forests of northern Utah, you’ll find an abundance of mule deer and elk.
In the far northeast corner of the state, in the Crawford Mountains east of Randolph – near the Wyoming border - you’ll find excellent pronghorn antelope hunting.
Along the Bear River, you’ll find a tremendous variety of waterfowl in large numbers. If you like hunting for upland game birds, this is also a primo area.
And in the mountains east of Ogden, you’ll find deer, elk, pheasant, ducks, geese, swans, sage grouse, forest grouse, chukkar partridges, and mourning doves.
For game not found in great numbers, there are the yearly draws for once-in-a-lifetime hunts. For bison. Desert bighorn. Moose. And Rocky Mountain goats.
A sizeable number of moose make the north slope of the Uinta Mountains - east of the Salt Lake Valley – their home.
There are some other great hunting areas in the eastern section of northern Utah. The Diamond Mountain area northeast of Vernal and the Book Cliffs southeast of Vernal have historically been great areas for big game hunting. Deer, elk, and antelope.
Also near Vernal is one of the state’s best areas for pheasant and sage grouse hunting.
You’ll find far different terrain in southern Utah and a different type of challenge.
The Desert Lake Waterfowl Management Area - about 15 miles (24 km) - south of Price is vital wetland habitat for migrating waterfowl. And a prime hunting area near the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry.
In the Henry Mountains south of Hanksville, roam the country’s only free-ranging huntable buffalo herd. Huntable only as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If you are lucky enough to draw out.
Trophy elk wander The Boulder Mountains north of Boulder and Escalante. And in the mountains southeast of Marysvale. This area is where many of the record bulls are now coming out of.
The southern region of Utah offers excellent deer hunting throughout. The Colorado Plateau dominates the geography offering a variety of prime deer habitat.
Much of the landscape of Southeastern Utah is rugged and inhospitable. And one of the few areas anywhere in the country where desert bighorn sheep are hunted. But only by limited permit.
Hunting in Utah for deer and elk used to accommodate anyone who wanted to buy a permit. In fact, more than 250,000 hunters enjoyed the 1988 deer hunt in Utah.
But several devastating winters ensued. And the vegetation in formerly prime hunting areas matured. Providing less forage opportunity for mule deer.
For the first time ever, buck permits were capped in 1994. Since 1994, 97,000 general season buck permits in five hunting regions have been sold each year.
You can buy both resident and non-resident permits for general hunts on a first-come, first-served basis from any licensed dealer statewide. As well as from DWR offices and on the internet.
Utah offers numerous special hunts, once-in-a-lifetime hunts, and limited entry hunts. These permits are available through draw or lottery. You’ve got to check the proclamation well in advance for application deadlines and hunt details.
Seasons for all huntable species are set each year. Each year’s proclamation is a veritable encyclopedia of hunt information.
For upcoming big game seasons,the proclamation is available each January. The regulations for small game are available by late August each year.
For more information on hunting in Utah, contact:
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
1594 W. North Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah 84116
Click here for a proclamation of Utah Rules & Regulations:
Are You A Hunter?
Do you love the outdoors? Have you hunted in Utah before?
Then you already know there are few things as enjoyable as sitting around a campfire, sharing hunting stories with friends and family!
Telling your hunting story and showing photos of your Utah hunt gives others the chance to experience a little bit of your hunt. People with whom you share your story get a lot of joy out of it. And it also adds to their knowledge of the outdoors and hunting especially in Utah.
Show YOUR KNOWLEDGE to friends who share your passion!
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