At a recent wildlife board meeting on Nov. 30th, the Utah Wildlife Board approved a few changes to upcoming hunting seasons in Utah. Here are the approved changes:
- Split Deer season into 2 seasons in nine units. The early season will be 5 days long and coincide with the general elk hunt and will run from October 10 – 14.
- Utah will now allow elk hunters to hunt all 3 seasons (Archery, Muzzle-loader, Any-Weapon) on Utah’s spike-only and the “Any Bull” general season hunts.
- They will also add a “cactus buck” management hunt on the Paunsaugunt unit in southern Utah. (Cactus bucks are unable to reproduce, stay in velvet for odd times of the year, and are often not targeted by hunters).
To see more information and more details and comments, visit: https://wildlife.utah.gov/wildlife-news/2136-new-chances-to-hunt-deer-and-elk.html
A little more information:
Split rifle seasons work to spread pressure and cause fewer hunter interactions. The key to making split season effective, is to keep license/tag allocations constant. This typically won’t improve harvest, but will spread the pressure out over time, so hunters in these units should be able to get away from the crowds a little bit better. It will be interesting to see the effect it has in these 9 initial units. The other thing about this hunt is that it will run during the same time period as the general elk hunt, and will allow hunters with both tags, to pursue both animals during their hunt. This could be very attractive to hunters of both species, and will likely alter draw odds for the later hunts on these same units.
Adding management hunts to trophy units is a great way to provide opportunity without impacting trophy quality, which is likely why they implemented this cactus buck hunt on the Paunsaugunt. This will allow bucks who don’t contribute re-productively to the herd to be removed and replaced by more viable deer. Adding hunts like this often provides more opportunity and spreads applications from other units to the management hunts.