If you like to hunt deer, get ready—some major changes are happening in Utah in 2012.

Approved by the Utah Wildlife Board in December 2011, the changes are the biggest deer hunting changes seen in the state in almost 20 years.

30 Hunting Units

The biggest change is the amount of area you’ll be able to hunt during the state’s 2012 general seasons:

  • In the past, rifle and muzzleloader hunters have hunted in five large regions.  And archery hunters could hunt anywhere in Utah that was open to general deer hunting.
  • In 2012, all general season hunters—archery, rifle and muzzleloader—will be hunting in smaller areas called units.

Utah’s five regions have been split into 30 smaller units for the 2012 hunt.

Same Season Dates

It might take time to get used to hunting in one of 30 smaller units.  But one change should be easy to adapt to.  Instead of having different season dates in different areas, the Division of Wildlife Resources is recommending that all 30 units have the same season dates.

At a series of upcoming public meetings, DWR biologists will recommend that general deer hunting seasons run the following number of days on each of Utah’s 30 general season deer hunting units:

Hunt                            Number of days

Rifle                               9

Muzzleloader             9

Archery                       28

More Buck Deer

Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR, says in the past, the rifle hunt has been as short as three days in various parts of the large regions.  The number of days was reduced to try to reduce the number of bucks hunters took in areas that didn’t have many bucks.

“Having smaller hunting units will allow us to fine tune the number of hunting permits available for each unit,” Aoude says.  “Reducing the number of hunters by reducing the number of permits is the best way to reduce the number of bucks that are taken during the hunting season.”

And limiting the number of bucks hunters take will be important in 2012—at their December 2011 meeting, members of the Wildlife Board raised the minimum number of bucks they want biologists to see after the hunting seasons are over in the fall.

In the past, the goal was a minimum of 15 bucks per 100 does after the hunting seasons were over.  Starting in 2012, the goal is 18 bucks per 100 does.

The number of general buck deer hunting permits for Utah’s 2012 hunts will be determined by the Wildlife Board at a meeting in May 2012.

Elk, Mountain Goat and Bison

In addition to making season dates the same for deer, DWR biologists are also recommending some elk, mountain goat and bison hunting changes.

Starting Oct. 31, you can see all of the big game hunting changes the DWR is recommending for 2012 at www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings.

Learn More, Share your Ideas

After you’ve reviewed the ideas at www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings, you can let your Regional Advisory Council members know your thoughts by attending your upcoming RAC meeting or by sending an email to them.

RAC chairmen will share the input they receive with members of the Utah Wildlife Board.  The board will meet in Salt Lake City on Dec. 1 to approve rules for Utah’s 2012 big game hunting seasons.

Dates, times and locations for the RAC meetings are as follows:

Northern Region               Southeastern Region

Nov. 9                                                             Nov. 16
6 p.m.                                                              6:30 p.m.
Weber State University                           John Wesley Powell Museum
Shepherd Union Building,                      1765 E. Main St.
Rooms 404A and 404B                            Green River
3848 Harrison Blvd.
Ogden

Central Region                 Northeastern Region

Nov. 10                                                             Nov. 17
6:30 p.m.                                                         6:30 p.m.
Springville Junior High School               Bingham Entrepreneurship and Energy
165 S. 700 E.                                                  Research Center
Springville                                                       320 N. 2000 W.
Vernal

Southern Region
Nov. 15
6 p.m.
Richfield High School
510 W. 100 S.
Richfield

Email

You can also provide your comments to your RAC via email.  Email addresses for your RAC members are available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings.

The group each RAC member represents (sportsman, non-consumptive, etc.) is listed under each person’s email address.  You should direct your email to the people on the RAC who represent your interest.

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