Some major big game hunting changes—including splitting Utah into 30 general deer hunting units—have happened in Utah in the past two years.

2013 should be a lot quieter.

The following are the major changes Division of Wildlife Resources biologists are recommending for Utah’s 2013 big game hunts:

  • Guaranteeing those who are 18 years of age or younger a chance to hunt during Utah’s general archery buck deer hunt.

If young hunters didn’t draw an archery, muzzleloader or rifle deer permit in the big game draw, they could buy a youth general archery deer permit, for the unit of their choice, starting in July.

Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR, says having youth archery permits would not take opportunities away from adult hunters.  “The youth permits would be additional permits offered above the regular archery permit cap,” he says.

Youth archery permits were not available in 2012.  They were available in 2011, though.  About 450 youth took advantage of the opportunity and bought a permit that year.

  • Changing two limited-entry units—the Fillmore, Oak Creek South unit and the portion of the Beaver unit that’s west of Interstate 15—to general any-bull elk units.

Aoude says neither unit has great elk habitat.  And most of the elk on the two areas are found on private land.  “For those reasons,” he says, “the units don’t give hunters the type of hunting experience most of them want on a limited-entry unit.”

Image courtesy Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

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