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Utah

Hunting

Deer Hunting Regulations

BASIC REQUIREMENTS

Are you planning to hunt big game in Utah this year? Before you apply for or obtain a permit, make sure you meet Utah’s age, hunter education, license and permit requirements.

Are you old enough?

Utah Code § 23-19-22

To hunt big game in Utah, you must be at least 12 years old.

If you are least 11 years old, you can apply for or obtain any big game permits for which you are eligible, including limited-entry and once-in-a-lifetime permits. Any 11-year-olds who apply must be 12 by Dec. 31, 2021.

Remember: You cannot hunt until you are 12 years old.

If you’re younger than 18, you can apply to participate in the Utah Hunter Mentoring Program. For details on the program, see the box on page 36 or visit wildlife.utah.gov/ mentoring.

If you’re 12 years old or older, you can also participate in the Trial Hunting Program. For details, see the box below.

Adults must accompany young hunters

Utah Code § 23-20-20

While hunting big game, a person under 16 years old must be accompanied by his or her parent, legal guardian or other responsible person who is 21 years of age or older and who has been approved by the parent or guardian.

The Division encourages adults to be familiar with hunter education guidelines or to complete the hunter education course before accompanying youth into the field.

While in the field, the youth and the adult must remain close enough for the adult to see and provide verbal assistance to the young hunter. Using electronic devices, such as walkie-talkies or cell phones, does not meet this requirement.

Have you passed hunter education?

Utah Code § 23-19-11 & Utah Admin. Rule R657-23

If you were born after Dec. 31, 1965, you must provide proof that you’ve passed a hunter education course approved by the Division before you can apply for or obtain a hunting license or a big game permit.

The only exception to this law is for indi- viduals who are participating in the Division’s Trial Hunting Program. You can find details about the program in the information box to the left or by visiting wildlife.utah.gov/trial.

Proof of hunter education

You can prove that you’ve completed hunter education by obtaining a hunter educa- tion card (called a “blue card” in Utah) or if you have a verified hunter education number on file with the Division. The number is assigned when you complete hunter education and your blue card is issued.

How to take hunter education

To get started, you should visit wildlife. utah.gov/huntereducation. You’ll see links to various traditional and online hunter educa- tion courses. Follow the instructions on the website to obtain a hunter education registra- tion certificate (required) and to register for a course online.

If you need assistance, please contact your local Division office or call 801-538-4727.

When you finish the course, your instructor will verify your course completion in the online hunter education system. At that point, you will be able to apply for or obtain permits in the Division’s hunt drawing, and your hunter education registration certificate will become your hunting license.

Approximately four to six weeks after you complete the course, you will receive your blue card by mail.

You should also keep the following in mind:

  • Hunters who are age 15 and younger must be accompanied by an adult while hunting.
  • All hunting regulations, including season dates and bag limits, will apply.
  • Hunters who are planning to hunt out of state should allow enough time for their hunter education card to arrive in the mail.

New to Utah?

If you become a Utah resident, and you’ve completed a hunter education course in another state, province or country, you must obtain a Utah blue card before you can buy a resident hunting license. You can obtain a Utah blue card at any Division office by providing proof that you’ve completed a hunter educa- tion course approved by the Division.

Do you have a license?

Utah Code §§§ 23-19-1, 23-19-22 and 23-20-3

You must have a current Utah hunting or combination (hunting and fishing) license before you can apply for any big game permits, bonus points or preference points. Licenses are available at wildlife.utah.gov and from license agents and Division offices.

As long as your license was valid on the date you submitted your big game permit application, you don’t have to purchase a new license for the actual hunt.

For example, assume that your license expires on June 21, 2021. If you applied for permits on Feb. 28, 2021, then you do not have to purchase a new license for your hunt in the fall.

New this year: Starting July 1, 2021, there will be restrictions on fishing and hunting license purchasers for nonpayment of child support. For details, see the information box on page 28.

Please keep in mind that Utah hunting and combination licenses are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. You also have the option of purchasing a multi-year license that’s valid for up to five years.

Reminder: All license, permit and appli- cation fees for nonresident hunters increased on July 1, 2020. For details, see page 9 or
visit wildlife.utah.gov/licenses/fees.html.

CHECKING FOR CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a serious—but relatively rare—disease that at- tacks the nervous system and brain of infected deer, elk and moose.

The Division has been monitoring for CWD since 1998. In that time, 131 mule deer and three elk have tested positive for CWD in Utah.

The Division conducts CWD surveillance in Utah’s deer hunt units on a rotational basis. This fall, the Division will be conducting CWD surveillance in the following units:

• Book Cliffs
• Box Elder
• Central Mtns
• Chalk Creek
• East Canyon
• Kaiparowits
• Monroe
• Morgan-South Rich • Mt Dutton
• Nine Mile
• Oquirrh-Stansbury • Plateau
• Southwest Desert
• West Desert

If you harvest a deer in one of the above units this fall, please take a few minutes to stop by a Division check station. (The exact

locations of the CWD check stations will be posted at wildlife.utah.gov/cwd closer to the 2021 hunting season.)

At the check station, we will assess the age of your deer, collect some biological informa- tion and take a small tissue sample to test for CWD.

You can find the results online within six to eight weeks at wildlife.utah.gov/cwdtesting. If your animal tests positive for CWD, we will contact you directly.

To learn more about CWD, the testing process and precautions you can take, please visit wildlife.utah.gov/cwd.

Random, mandatory testing to begin in 2021

Utah Admin. Rule R657-5-43

Random, mandatory testing for deer har- vested on certain hunting units is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2021.

We will use email and our social media channels to share more information about this process closer to hunting season. Visit wildlife. utah.gov/stay-connected.html to sign up for email updates and to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

BIG GAME HUNTS

Utah offers several different big game hunts each year. Depending on the permit you ob- tain, you could hunt deer, elk, pronghorn, bison, bighorn sheep, moose or mountain goat. The following section describes the species you can hunt, the weapons you can use and the types of permits that are available.

Buck deer hunting

Buck Deer

The following regulations apply to all of Utah’s buck deer hunts.

Hunter orange

Utah Code § 23-20-31

You are required to obey Utah’s hunter orange laws, unless your hunt is among
the exceptions. For example, archery and muzzleloader general-season deer hunters
are not required to wear hunter orange unless the other hunts occurring in the area are for general-season any legal weapon buck deer or bull elk. For additional details, see page 42.

Special restrictions

If you participate in Utah’s buck deer hunt, please keep in mind that some areas are closed to hunting or have special restrictions. For a list of those areas, see page 46.

Obtaining other deer permits

If you obtained a buck deer permit of any kind, the only other deer permit you can obtain is an antlerless deer permit. Please see page
34 for more information on antlerless deer hunts.

General-season buck deer hunts

Utah has four general-season buck deer hunts:

• Archery hunt
• Muzzleloader hunt
• Early any legal weapon (rifle) hunt • Any legal weapon (rifle) hunt

Please see wildlife.utah.gov/huntplanner for all hunt boundaries.

General-season archery buck deer hunt

Utah Admin. Rule R657-5-23

Utah’s general-season archery buck deer hunt runs from Aug. 21–Sept. 17, 2021.

If you obtained a general-season archery buck deer permit, you may use archery equip- ment to take one buck deer within the hunting unit and season dates listed on your permit.

Extended archery deer hunts

If you haven’t taken a deer by the time your archery buck hunt ends, you can continue your archery hunting in the state’s extended archery areas.

In the Herriman South Valley; Ogden; Southwest Desert, Cedar Valley; Uintah
Basin; Utah Lake; Wasatch Front and West Cache extended archery areas, you may use archery equipment to take a deer of either sex (hunter’s choice) from Sept. 18–Nov. 30, 2021.

In the Nine Mile, Green River Valley; Pine Valley, New Harmony; Sanpete Valley and South Wasatch extended archery areas, you may use archery equipment to take a deer of either sex (hunter’s choice) from Sept. 18–Oct. 15, 2021.

Before hunting any of the extended archery areas, you must complete the Division’s archery ethics course. For more information, see page 7 or visit wildlife.utah.gov/extend- edarchery.

General-seasonvmuzzleloader buck deerhunt

Utah Admin. Rule R657-5-25

Utah’s general-season muzzleloader buck deer hunt runs from Sept. 29–Oct. 7, 2021.

If you obtained a general-season muzzle- loader buck permit, you may use a muzzle- loader to take one buck deer in the hunting unit listed on your permit.

Early general-season buck deer hunts

For 2021, the Utah Wildlife Board approved early general-season any weapon buck deer hunts on the following general-season buck deer units:

  • Chalk Creek/East Canyon/Morgan-South Rich
  • Fillmore
  • Kamas
  • Nine Mile
  • North Slope (new) • Panguitch Lake
  • Pine Valley
  • Plateau, Fishlake
  • Zion

These hunts will run from Oct. 13–17, 2021. The goal of these hunts is to reduce crowding and give hunters the opportunity to hunt deer and general-season elk at the same time.

General-season any legal weapon (rifle) buck deer hunt

Utah Admin. Rule R657-5-24

The general-season any legal weapon (rifle) buck deer hunt runs from Oct. 23–31, 2021.

If you obtained a general-season any legal weapon buck permit, you may use any legal weapon to take one buck deer in the hunting unit listed on your permit. You may also choose to use a crossbow, an airgun, a draw lock or a muzzleloader.

Mandatory reporting

If you obtained a premium limited- entry, limited-entry, management buck deer, cactus buck deer, CWMU, conserva- tion, sportsman, expo or once-in-a-lifetime permit, you must complete a harvest survey questionnaire within 30 days after your hunt ends. This information is required even if you didn’t harvest an animal.

Attention limited-entry archers:

Although you do not need to submit a survey for the extended archery season, you must submit your limited-entry harvest sur- vey within 30 days of the final day of your limited-entry season.

If you harvested an animal, this is also an ideal time to return your tooth packet. Returning your tooth packet does not fulfill the harvest survey requirement.

You can report information about your hunt at wildlife.utah.gov/harvest or by call- ing 1-800-221-0659.

Reporting your hunt information is important. If you don’t report your hunt information within 30 days of the end of the hunt, you won’t be allowed to apply for a once-in-a-lifetime, premium limited-entry, limited-entry, management buck deer or CWMU permits, or bonus points in 2022.

Premium limited-entry and limited-entry buck deer hunts

Utah Admin. Rule R657-5-26

Utah’s premium limited-entry and limited- entry deer units are managed for older, bigger bucks.

A premium limited-entry buck deer permit allows you to hunt on one of the best limited- entry buck deer units in Utah—the Henry Mtns unit or the Paunsaugunt unit.

A limited-entry buck deer permit allows you to hunt on a high-quality unit that is managed for a higher buck-to-doe ratio than general-season units are managed for.

If you obtained a premium limited-entry or limited-entry buck deer permit, you may use the weapon listed on your permit to take one buck deer within the area and the season specified on your permit.

Late-season muzzleloader deer hunts

For 2021, the Utah Wildlife Board approved late-season, limited-entry muzzleloader deer hunts on all general-season buck deer units.

These hunts will occur at the same time as the general muzzleloader elk hunt, running from Nov. 3–11, 2021.

Important: If you are successful in obtaining a permit for one of these hunts, you will lose your bonus points and incur a waiting period of five years.

Multi-season hunts

Multi-season hunts allow the permit holder to hunt buck deer during all three seasons (archery, muzzleloader and any legal weapon) on select limited-entry or premium limited-entry units.

If you have obtained a permit for one of these hunts, you must use the appropriate weapon type for the season.

Handgun-archery- muzzleloader-shotgun- only (HAMS) buck deer hunts

Utah Admin. Rule R657-5-48

For 2021, the Utah Wildlife Board approved three handgun-archery-muzzleloader-shot- gun-only (HAMS) hunts for buck deer. These hunts will occur from Nov. 13–28, 2021 and are considered limited-entry hunts.

If you obtained a permit for one of these hunts, you may take one buck deer in the season and unit identified on your permit.

The 2021 HAMS hunts will take place in the following units:

• Book Cliffs, Floy Canyon • Kaiparowits
• Morgan-South Rich

Important: You may not use scopes or other optics on any weapons during this hunt. You may only use the following weapons on a handgun-archery-muzzleloader-shotgun-only hunt:

Handgun

Utah Admin. Rule R657-5-9 & R657-5-48

The handgun you use must be legal for buck deer, with no attached scope. (See the Firearms and archery equipment section that begins on page 42.) The handgun must also:

  • Have no more than a single barrel 15 inches or less in length, including the chamber
  • Have a single rear handgrip without any form of any of the following:
  • A fixed, detachable or collapsible buttstock
  • An apparatus or extension behind the rear grip that’s capable of being used to steady the handgun against the body while firing
  • A vertical foregrip

Finally, the handgun can be no more than 24 inches in overall length.

Archery equipment

Utah Admin. Rule R657-5-11

The archery equipment you use must be le- gal for buck deer. (See the Firearms and archery equipment section that begins on page 42.)

Muzzleloader

Utah Admin. Rule R657-5-10

The muzzleloader you use must be legal for buck deer, with no attached scope. (See the Firearms and archery equipment section that begins on page 42.)

Shotgun

Utah Admin. Rule R657-5-8

The shotgun you use must be legal for buck deer, with no attached scope. (See the Firearms and archery equipment section that begins on page 42.)

More opportunity for archers

Limited-entry archery deer hunters who don’t harvest during the limited-entry season will be allowed to hunt the extended archery areas after completing the online extended archery course. For details, see page 7 or
visit wildlife.utah.gov/extendedarchery.

And don’t forget: You must submit your harvest survey within 30 days of the final day of your limited-entry season. You do not need to submit a survey for the extended archery season.

Management and cactus buck deer hunts

Utah Admin. Rule R657-5-46

A “management buck” is a buck deer with 3 points or less on at least one antler, above and including the first fork, but not including the eye guard. The eye guard does not count as a point. A point is a projection that’s longer than one inch, measured from its base to its tip, including damaged or broken antlers.

New this year: Management buck deer hunts on the Henry Mountains have been discontinued for the 2021 season.

Obtaining and using a management buck deer permit

Management buck deer permits are distrib- uted through the big game drawing process. If you were successful in drawing a management buck deer permit, you must complete an online orientation course before you will receive your permit. This course is also open to anyone who wants to learn more about what a management buck looks like. To take the online course, visit wildlife.utah.gov/biggame.

A management buck deer permit allows you to take one management buck deer. You must use the weapon listed on your permit to hunt within the unit and season specified on your permit.

After taking your buck deer, you must bring its head and antlers to a Division office for inspection no later than 72 hours after the date of kill.

Please keep in mind that bringing your deer to a Division office does not meet your harvest survey requirement. Visit wildlife.utah. gov/harvest and complete the harvest survey questionnaire within 30 days after the end of your hunt.

Important: If you obtained a manage- ment buck deer permit, that is the only buck deer permit you may obtain for the 2021 sea- son. You will lose your bonus points and incur a waiting period of five years.

Obtaining and using a cactus buck deer permit

Utah Admin. Rule R657-5-47

A “cactus buck” is one that still has velvet covering at least 50 percent of his antlers during the season dates set by the Wildlife Board.

There are quite a few cactus bucks on the Paunsaugunt unit and the Alton CWMU, and they have unique antler growth that many hunters find fascinating.

Cactus buck deer permits are distributed through the big game drawing process. If you drew a cactus buck permit, you may take one cactus buck deer during the season, in the area, and with the weapon type specified on the permit.

Important: If you obtained a cactus buck deer permit, that is the only buck deer permit you may obtain for the 2021 season. You will lose your bonus points and incur a waiting period of five years.

If you drew a cactus buck permit, you must also complete a mandatory harvest survey once your hunt ends, even if you did not harvest. Visit wildlife.utah.gov/harvest and complete the harvest survey questionnaire within 30 days after the end of your hunt.

If you successfully harvest a cactus buck, you must bring its head and antlers to a Divi- sion office for inspection no later than 48 hours after the date of kill.

If the buck you harvested does not meet the definition of a cactus buck listed above, you will not be allowed to keep it.

CWMU buck deer hunts

Utah Admin. Rule R657-37

Cooperative Wildlife Management Units (CWMUs) are private lands that the landowners have opened to a limited number of public and private hunters. You may not hunt buck deer on a CWMU unless you obtain a buck deer permit for that CWMU.

CWMU buck deer hunts

Utah Admin. Rule R657-37

Cooperative Wildlife Management Units (CWMUs) are private lands that the landowners have opened to a limited number of public and private hunters. You may not hunt buck deer on a CWMU unless you obtain a buck deer permit for that CWMU.

To learn more about hunting buck deer on CWMUs, visit wildlife.utah.gov/cwmu.

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