SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The U.S. Forest Service is asking hunters in Utah to “tread lightly” this season.

Starting this weekend, hunters will head outdoors for the 2023 general elk hunt. Then later in the month, they will begin the general deer hunt, starting Oct. 21.

The message from the Forest Service warns those using off-highway vehicles, such as four-wheelers, dirt bikes, etc. to travel only where motorized vehicles are permitted.

“Stay on designated routes. Under no circumstances are motorized vehicles allowed off designated roads and trails, not even to retrieve game,” the Forest Service states.

Additionally, officials say to avoid streams, lakeshores, meadows, muddy roads, trails, and steep hillsides. Those out hunting should also note that roads and trails are subject to close early due to weather conditions.

“Hunters and other users may be asked to leave these areas in the event of an early closure,” a release states. Officials say to also be aware of planned prescribed burns that may occur near general hunting areas.

Hunters are also asked to learn to recognize potentially dangerous situations. “Know when to turn around. Always carry in your vehicle a tow strap, proper tire chains and a shovel. Remember, you may be held responsible for any resource damage that occurs while removing a vehicle,” the release states.

Here is a checklist for hunters to be aware of, provided by the U.S. Forest Service:

  • Be adequately prepared for weather conditions to change.
  • Carry waterproof matches, extra food, water, first-aid-kit, flashlight, map, compass, whistle, extra clothing (rain gear-cold weather gear), and a cell phone, if available.
  • Leave a trip itinerary with family or friends and have a check-in/check-out plan.
  • Remember to wear orange attire that is visible.
  • Watch out for additional foot traffic on roadways. Hunters will often use roads to walk to and from hunting areas and camps.

Additionally, if you plan to use livestock on National Forest System lands, “remember you are permitted to use only certified weed free straw, hay, or pellets, to help prevent the spread of noxious weeds,” the release states.

Check with your local Forest Service office to find current road, trail, campground, and weather conditions. A list of local Utah offices can be found here.