Utah’s DWR Proposing Statewide Changes to Elk Hunting: Report

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Getty)

Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources announced on Tuesday (October 25th) it is now proposing statewide changes to elk hunting. 

In a press release, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is proposing a new 10-year Utah Elk Management Plan. This includes several changes to elk hunting. It was noted that the current statewide elk management plan was approved in 2015 with an update in 2020. It is set to expire in December. 

“A diverse 19-person committee was convened to help create the updated elk management plan,” the agency shared. The committee included members from other state and federal agencies as well as conservation groups and academia. “This new proposed management plan would go into effect in 2023,” the agency continued. “And would guide the state’s elk management until 2032, with a mid-plan review in 2028. The plan was developed using in-depth elk research, the current status of Utah’s elk herds and also public surveys.”

The Utah DWR also said that the individual elk-management units will be revised in the new year. The proposed statewide elk management plan notably outlines a variety of goals and strategies that regard population objectives. It also includes ways to preserve and maintain habitat across the state. 

Utah DWR Shares More Details About Elk Hunting Proposal

Speaking about the proposal, DWR Big Game Coordinator, Dax Mangus, stated, “The demand of elk hunting in elk hunting in Utah has continued to grow over the years. The over-the-counter any bull elk permits sold out in 77 days, and the spike-only elk permits sold out in 84 days.”

Mangus also shared that this year, the any bull elk permits sold out in five hours, and the spike elk permits sold out in only nine hours. “We are proposing several strategies to respond to these dramatic increases in demand for general-season elk hunting opportunities, as well as find ways to address continued ‘point creep’ in the limited-entry system.”

The new proposed plan includes a few changes to elk hunting in the state. This includes adding six additional general-season hunting units to any bull elk hunt. The plan will also divide the current general-season 13-day any legal weapon and any bull hunt into two separate seven-day hunts. The agency will also issue 15,000 general-season permits for the early season any-legal-weapon any bull hunt.

There is no cap on permit numbers of the late-season any-legal-weapon any bull hunt. However, the proposal will cap multi-season any bull permits at 7,500. It will also expand the general spike hunt to the Diamond Mountain unit

Meanwhile, there are going to be limited-entry hunting changes. This means restructuring the harvest age objectives for traditional limited-entry units to include three age objectives. These are 6 ½ to 7 years old; 6 to 6 ½ years old; and 5 ½ to 6 years old. It will be adding the mid-season any legal weapon hunt on most traditional limited-entry elk units.