Hunting in Utah may not have had the same reputation for excellence over the years as some of the surrounding states. But don’t be fooled. Reality and reputation are two different things. The reality is that hunting in Utah is equal to or better than most of those more-reputable states.
For example, if you love to hunt elk, or even photograph them, Utah is the place for the biggest elk on the planet. In 2008, Utah produced the new Boone and Crockett Club world record non-typical elk. Yes, the largest antler rack ever recorded. From 2000 to 2006, elk hunting in Utah produced more record-book bulls than any other state!
There are more mule deer in Utah than any other big game animal. And mule deer hunting in Utah is big business. Because trophy mule deer are one of the most alluring game species in North America. And, yes, there still are trophy mule deer in Utah.
Utah provides marvelous opportunities for hunting a variety of game. And equally fantastic opportunities to watch and photograph that same wildlife. More than 600 species – mammals, birds, fishes, reptiles and amphibians – are found in Utah.
What Can You Hunt in Utah?
As mentioned above, mule deer and elk hunting in Utah is exceptional. You’ll also find:
- pronghorn antelope
- sage grouse
- forest grouse
- chukar partridge
- mourning dove
- wild turkeys
And on a limited or once-in-a-lifetime basis:
- desert bighorn sheep
- Rocky Mountain goats
Hunting is allowed in most of the public areas of the state. But, of course, not in national parks, national monuments, or state parks.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) manages hunting in Utah. Proclamations are set each year and spell out everything you need to know about any hunt you may be interested in. It is imperative you check each year’s proclamation well in advance to plan your trip ahead of time.
Licenses and Permits
Hunting for deer and elk in Utah used to accommodate anyone who wanted to buy a permit. In fact, more than 250,000 hunters enjoyed the 1988 deer hunt in Utah.
But several devastating winters ensued. And the vegetation in formerly prime hunting areas matured. Providing less forage opportunity for mule deer. For the first time ever, buck permits were capped in 1994. Since 1994, 97,000 general season buck permits in five hunting regions have been sold each year.
You can buy both resident and non-resident permits for general hunts on a first-come, first-served basis from any licensed dealer statewide. As well as from DWR offices and on the internet.
Utah offers numerous special hunts, once-in-a-lifetime hunts, and limited entry hunts. These permits are available through draw or lottery. You’ve got to check the proclamation well in advance for application deadlines and hunt details.
Seasons for all huntable species are set each year. Each year’s proclamation is a veritable encyclopedia of hunt information. For upcoming big game seasons, the proclamation is available each January. The regulations for small game are available by late August each year.