The Utah Division of Wildlife Board is proposing to reduce the number of deer permits issued to rifle hunters and increase the number of permits for archers and muzzleloader hunters. Less deer would be taken allowing for a greater number of trophy bucks for the future.
Last year, 71,00 permits were issued for rifle and muzzleloader hunters. This year’s proposal would cap rifle hunter permits at 51,900, but also allow for 17,300 muzzleloader permits. Archery permits would increase from 16,000 to 17,300.
At a meeting in December 2011, members of the Utah Wildlife Board split Utah’s five general-season hunting regions into 30 smaller units. They also gave Division of Wildlife Resources biologists some flexibility regarding the number of bucks per 100 does that each of the 30 units will be managed for.
The number of bucks per 100 does is important because it determines the number of hunting permits that can be offered. Reducing the number of hunters is the best way to raise the number of bucks per 100 does. Reducing the number of hunters reduces the number of bucks that are taken during the hunting season.
The end result of a higher buck-to-doe ratio is fewer hunters in the field, but more bucks for those who hunt. Fewer permits have to be cut to keep a buck-to-doe ratio at a lower level. More hunters can hunt. But those who hunt will probably see fewer bucks.
For 2012, the DWR is recommending that 14 of Utah’s 30 general deer hunting units be managed for 15 to 17 bucks per 100 does.
The DWR is recommending that the remaining 16 units be managed for 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does.
Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR, says the 14 units biologists would like to manage for a lower buck-todoe ratio provide good access to lots of public land.
“Units that are mostly private land, or units that have pubic land that’s difficult to access,” he says, “would be managed for 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does.”
If a higher buck-to-doe ratio was approved, more permits would have to be cut. For example, if all of the 30 units were managed for a minimum of 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does, the number of permits would probably be cut from a total of 87,000 in 2011 to about 80,000 for 2012.
A Web page that provides more information about buckto- doe ratios and the DWR’s recommendations is available online.
In addition to general buck deer permit recommendations, you can also get information about all of the DWR’s big game permit proposals for 2012.
A public meeting to discuss deer permit proposals for those in the Central Region will be held on Tuesday, April 17 at the Springville Public Library, 45 S. Main in Springville.