Elk NetworkUtah Mulls 2018 Elk Hunt Changes

General | October 31, 2017

Seeking to reduce hunter crowding and provide more hunting opportunity, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is considering some changes to the 2018 big game general rifle season. It includes possibly allowing bull elk hunters to hunt archery, rifle and muzzleloader seasons.

“Almost all of the requests we receive from big game hunters have a common theme: we’d like more opportunity to hunt big game,” said Covy Jones, DWR big game coordinator. “We’ve examined how the state’s big game populations are doing and the current hunt structure we have. We think we’ve found some innovative ways to meet the requests of hunters without negatively affecting the herds.”

Here are the recommendations:

  • In addition to the regular general rifle buck deer hunt, hold an early-season rifle buck deer hunt on 10 general deer hunting units in the state. The early-season hunt would happen in mid-October. Holding an early-season hunt would significantly reduce hunter crowding in some areas by splitting the general rifle hunt into two separate hunts.
  • Hold a late-season limited-entry muzzleloader buck deer hunt on general deer hunting units that are meeting their buck-to-doe objectives. The hunt would happen in early November.
  • Give bull elk hunters a chance to hunt all three seasons — archery, rifle and muzzleloader — on the state’s spike-only and any-bull general elk hunting units.
  • Hold a special “cactus buck-only” hunt on the famed Paunsaugunt premium limited entry unit in southwestern Utah. (“Cactus bucks” are buck deer that typically can’t reproduce and aren’t contributing to the overall population.)

Hunters are urged to provide public input. Go here to see the list of times/locations of Regional Advisory Council meetings.

(Photo source: Jim Shuler/Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)