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Utah Wildlife Board greenlights big game hunting changes for 2024

By Staff | Dec 6, 2023

DWR biologists are recommending a slight increase in the number of general season buck deer permits available for hunts in Utah this fall.

The Utah Wildlife Board, in a public meeting last week, approved significant changes to big game hunting regulations set to take effect in 2024. Among the approved modifications are alterations to weapon technology allowances and the implementation of mandatory harvest reporting for general-season deer and elk hunts. The decisions were met with considerations for wildlife conservation, hunting traditions, and the effective management of species.

Changes to archery and muzzleloader technology

The Utah Wildlife Board, in response to the growing use of new technology in hunting, formed a technology committee in January 2022. After extensive deliberations and stakeholder input, the board approved changes effective in 2024:

  • Removal of length restrictions on arrows and bolts for airgun, archery, and crossbow hunting.
  • Prohibition of scopes stronger than 1x power on muzzleloaders for all muzzleloader hunts, excluding any-legal-weapon hunts.

Harvest survey requirements

In a move aimed at gathering essential data for wildlife management, the board mandated harvest reporting for general-season buck deer and bull elk hunts, starting in 2024. This requirement applies to various hunts, including general-season buck deer, dedicated hunter buck deer, youth general-season buck deer, general-season archery elk, spike bull elk, multi-season spike bull elk, any bull elk, and youth general-season elk. The reporting window for permit holders is set at 30 days after the hunting season concludes, with penalties for non-compliance.

Changes to pronghorn translocation aites

Concerns over severe winter conditions and extreme drought impacting pronghorn populations led to the approval of changes in translocation sites. The board sanctioned the relocation of pronghorn from thriving areas to those adversely affected, with eight new pronghorn units added to the list of potential translocation sites.

Dedicated Hunter Program amendments

In a bid to streamline the Dedicated Hunter Program, the board approved administrative changes, including the redistribution of minimum service hour requirements, revisions for one-year extensions, and a shift to online reporting for non-harvest on a hunt.

Changes to CWMU and LOA permits, rules and committee members

The Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit (CWMU) program, facilitating hunting opportunities on private lands, saw the approval of seven new CWMUs and adjustments to 78 renewals. Additionally, changes were sanctioned for the Landowner Association (LOA) program, allowing special drawings for non-enrolled landowners and introducing a general-season landowner permit.

Hunt Structure Research Study

A proposal for a research study on deer-hunting strategies in southern Utah was referred to the mule deer committee for further evaluation, emphasizing the board’s commitment to informed decision-making.

Other items

The board extended the timeline for transitioning the West Desert, Deep Creek elk hunting unit and made adjustments to bison hunting on the Book Cliffs, Little Creek/South hunting unit due to unusual animal movements in 2023. Clerical corrections to the Collection, Importation, and Possession of Animals rule were also approved.

For a comprehensive view of the meeting, the public can access the Utah Department of Natural Resources YouTube channel. The decisions made reflect the board’s dedication to effective wildlife management and the preservation of Utah’s hunting traditions.


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