Utah (ABC4 News) – The Utah Wildlife Board approved a few changes to the 2021 big game hunts during its virtual meeting on Thursday.
According to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, DWR, the Utah Wildlife Board approved modifying the current elk management plan to allow for 17,500 any-bull elk permits for the 2021 hunting season, rather than the unlimited number of permits that DWR biologists had proposed.
An unlimited number of any-bull elk permits for youth, which do not count toward the 17,500 quotas was also approved. New permits allow hunters to harvest a bull elk on designated any-bull hunting units, using a muzzleloader or any legal weapon. The number of spike bull elk permits were not changed and will still be capped at 15,000 permits statewide, officials add.
“We proposed increasing the number of any-bull elk permits after in-depth discussions with the elk committee who wrote the statewide elk management plan. It’s a way to expand hunting opportunities for families, strengthen ties to Utah’s hunting heritage and provide a challenge for hunters, since this is not an easy hunt,” DWR Big Game Coordinator Covy Jones said.
Several hunt changes for other big game species were also approved by the board, including the following:
- Deer: Changed the limited-entry High Uintas hunt to an early season any legal weapon hunt
- Pronghorn: Five new hunts, including three muzzleloader, one archery and one any legal weapon hunt
- Bison: Continuing the Henry Mountains hunter’s choice archery hunt with a date change and a boundary change for one hunting unit
- Rocky Mountain and desert bighorn sheep: One new hunt and two discontinued hunts, including discontinuing the desert bighorn sheep archery hunt in the Zion Unit. However, it was approved that that archery hunt would be relocated to a different unit in the state.
The wildlife board approved the following dates for the 2021 general-season deer hunts:
- Archery: Aug. 21-Sept. 17, 2021
- Muzzleloader: Sept. 29-Oct. 7, 2021
- Any weapon (early): Oct. 13-17, 2021
- Any weapon: Oct. 23-31, 2021
Thursday’s virtual meeting also discussed changes to regional deer management plans, other approved big game hunting changes, DWR named an interim director, approved changes to waterfowl hunting, and changes to the number of conservation and expo permits.
Watch Thursday’s wildlife board meeting on the Utah Department of Natural Resources YouTube channel.