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Hunting in Utah and beating the crowds

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) reported that 60,000+ hunters hit the backcountry armed and ready for the general season rifle deer hunt this year (Oct. 21st - 29th). That's more than a lot of countries' standing armies combined. That's a lot of hunters - all in one state.

Many would consider that to be a pretty crowded 9 days of hunting. Fortunately, so does the DWR. As they report:

"[DWR] biologists are recommending new and innovative approaches that would reduce hunter crowding during Utah's 2018 general rifle buck deer hunt."

Covy Jones, the DWR Big-game coordinator explains that the proposed changes are simply a result of the biologists listening to the hunters who have to navigate through the crowds. The trend has been consistent as hunters continue to petition the DWR for more opportunities to hunt. This has led the DWR to find those potential opportunities while still maintaining proper and effective conservation efforts.

Jones affirms, "We think we've found some innovative ways to meet the requests of hunters without negatively affecting the herds."


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Early general-season rifle deer hunt

One of the propositions being discussed is an early general-season rifle deer hunt:

"In addition to the regular general rifle buck deer hunt, hold an early-season rifle buck deer hunt on 10 general deer hunting units in the state. The early-season hunt would happen in mid-October. Holding an early-season hunt would significantly reduce hunter crowding in some areas by splitting the general rifle hunt into two separate hunts."

Ultimately, this would offer up more total time to hunt in a segmented process. Such a split in the general rifle deer season would appear to have a significant impact on the issues of overcrowding.

Jones explains, "Holding an early hunt would shift some of the hunters out of the regular hunt and into the earlier hunt. And that means fewer hunters would be in the field during the regular hunt."

The proposed 10 units lined-up for the early-season are as follows:

  • Kamas, Chalk Creek, East Canyon and Morgan/South Rich (northern Utah)

  • Nine Mile (southeastern Utah)

  • Fillmore, Fishlake, Panguitch Lake, Pine Valley and Zion (south-central/southwestern Utah)

At this point, it seems like a win-win. There's a few other items on the board that the DWR is looking into for 2018. You can get more information regarding these other recommendations along with dates and locations to follow along with the discussion, as well as view what else is on the chalkboard related to big-game hunting in the state of Utah here.