The general-season buck deer archery hunt and the general spike and any-bull elk archery hunts are the first big game hunts of Utah’s fall season beginning August 19. According to Faith Jolley with DWR, archery hunts usually involve the need to be closer to your target. Due to this, many hunters will climb into trees to hunt their prey.
If you will be participating in the hunt the DWR suggests several safety tips as well as how to prepare effectively for the upcoming hunt.
While archery hunting doesn’t involve firearms, it does present some unique risks that hunters should be aware of.
Tree stand safety – Be aware of your stand’s weight restrictions. Be sure to wear a safety harness and use haul lines to carry equipment into your stand. Hunters should also remember that it is illegal to build a tree stand on land managed by the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management. Only portable stands can be used in those areas.
Don’t leave your arrows uncovered – Broadhead arrows are extremely sharp. Holding one in your hand or nocked in your bow can be extremely dangerous in cases of stumbles or drops. According to Jolley, hunters accidentally injure themselves on arrows every year.
Know your target – Always be aware of your target and the range you are comfortable shooting. Also, always be aware of what is behind your target to prevent accidentally shooting an unintended target.
When getting ready for the season hunters need to be aware of area restrictions and best hunting practices. Here are a few tips archery hunters should know before heading into the field.
Check your equipment – Make sure your equipment is in good shape and your arrow’s spline, or stiffness of the arrow’s shaft, match your bow’s draw weight.
Carefully sharpen your broadhead arrows – Arrows should be sharp to be effective, practice caution when sharpening them.
Practice shooting as much as possible – Use the same broadheads you will be using in the field to practice, so you become familiar with them. Visit public shooting ranges for opportunities to become familiar with your equipment and test its safety.
Get permission – Always have permission from landowners to hunt on private land or use private land to access public areas. Obtain written permission or find other options.
Know the boundaries – Do advance scouting and know your area. Make sure you know the boundaries of the unit you are hunting.
Be careful in popular outdoor areas and follow all laws – Make sure you’re well beyond the minimum distances you must maintain from roads and dwellings. Many local municipalities have restrictions on the discharging of firearms or the use of archery equipment within city limits. Please know and understand those restrictions.
Take the DWR’s bowhunter education class – While you are not required to take this course to bow hunt in Utah, it is a helpful resource for beginners and experienced hunters alike. It teaches bowhunting safety, ethics, hunting methods, and more. You can take the course online or in an instructor-led class. Learn more about the class on the DWR website.
Know the rules in the Big Game Field Regulations Guidebook
Make sure you are familiar with all the rules before you go hunting. You can get a free copy of the 2023 Utah Big Game Field Regulations Guidebook at any DWR office or on the DWR website.