Contact: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Inter-Mountain Western States Coordinator
On November 3, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) released an article describing proposed regulation changes to big game and waterfowl hunting, in addition to the Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit program (CWMU) for 2021 and encouraging the public to submit comments.
DWR biologists are proposing to modify the current elk management plan to allow for an unlimited number of any-bull elk permits for the 2021 hunting season, in addition to adding new limited-entry elk hunts on five different hunting units throughout the state and new general-season elk hunting units. Such recommendations were made after the DWR consulted with the committee responsible for the statewide elk management plan, consisting of representatives from the DWR, Brigham Young University wildlife researchers, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, Utah Farm Bureau, private landowners, sportsmen and other members of the public.
As a result of an ongoing statewide deer-survival study looking at deer mortality and overall health of unit populations, the DWR has been able to gain a better understanding of limiting factors and unit population carrying capacity. Therefore, the DWR is recommending changes to overall population objectives for several deer units, specifically six units have a proposed increase, 14 units propose no changes and 18 units have a proposed decrease. Statewide, the DWR is proposing a reduction in the mule deer population objective from 454,100 to 403,800 for 2021.
Other Big Game
Several new hunts are being proposed for other big game species, including:
- Deer: One new any legal weapon hunt
- Pronghorn: Five new hunts, including three muzzleloader, one archery and one any legal weapon hunt
- Bison: One new hunt and a boundary change for one hunting unit
- Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep: One new hunt and boundary changes in two hunting unit
The DWR is also recommending additional rule changes for waterfowl hunting on two management areas. The proposed changes would:
- Allow permanent blinds on the Willard Spur WMA with agency permission
- Require hunters to use only non-toxic ammunition when hunting at the Willard Spur WMA
- Create a retrieval zone around the Farmington Bay WMA rest area
Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit Program
The Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit program (CWMU) allocates hunting permits to private landowners who then provide hunting opportunities to public and private hunters. The CWMU program in Utah has opened more than 2 million acres of private land to the public for hunting. For 2021, the DWR is recommending approving five new CWMUs, bringing the total number of CWMUs to 126.
For additional information or to comment on the proposed 2021 hunting regulation changes, please visit the online portal. The public comment period ends on Thursday, November 26, 2020.
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