Division of Wildlife Resources have 30,000 elk hunting permits available
By Mark Hadley
Division of Wildlife Resources
If you want to hunt bull elk in Utah this fall, it’s easy to get a permit to hunt during the general season. Just log onto www.wildlife.utah.gov, or visit a Division of Wildlife Resources office or your nearest Utah hunting license agent, and buy one.
A total of 30,000 rifle and muzzleloader permits went on sale July 11.
If you didn’t get a permit on July 11, don’t worry: it usually takes a few weeks for general elk permits to sell out. “Don’t wait too long, though,” said Lindy Varney, wildlife licensing coordinator for the DWR. “If you want to hunt elk in Utah, I’d encourage you to buy a permit as soon as you can.”
General archery elk permits are one type of elk permit that won’t sell out. They aren’t limited in number, so you’ll have no problem getting one.
General archery elk permits also went on sale July 11. They’ll be available until the extended archery elk hunt ends on Dec. 15.
Two types of units
Before you buy a rifle or muzzleloader permit, you need to decide which units you want to hunt on: any-bull units, where you’re allowed to take a bull of any size, or spike-only units, where only spike bulls may be taken.
If you buy an any-bull permit, you can hunt on all of the any-bull units in Utah. If you buy a spike-only permit, you can hunt on all of the spike-only units in the state.
While many hunters dream of taking a large, branch-antlered bull, Varney says a hunt on a spike-only unit provides several advantages.
“One of the neat things about hunting on a spike-only unit is the chance to hear and see big, mature bulls,” she said. “The spike-only hunts are held on the same areas where the limited-entry hunts are held. You can’t take a branch-antlered bull with a spike-only permit, but you can still experience the thrill of being near these big elk.”
The spike-only units are mostly public land, so you’ll have lots of places to hunt. And—just like taking a branch-antlered bull—taking a spike bull will provide you with lots of tasty, healthy meat.
If you’d rather hunt branch-antlered bulls on an any-bull unit, Justin Shannon, big game coordinator for the DWR, says two units in the Uinta Mountains—the North Slope unit and the South Slope unit—are the most popular units in the state. “Hunting any-bull units can be a challenge,” Shannon said, “but they hold some big bulls.”
A map that shows Utah’s spike-only and any-bull units is available on pages 54 and 55 of the 2017 Utah Big Game Field Regulations Guidebook. You can get the free guidebook at www.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks.
Utah Hunt Planner
As you prepare for the hunt, Shannon encourages you to visit www.wildlife.utah.gov/huntplanner. That’s the url for the agency’s Utah Hunt Planner website.
As you navigate the site, you’ll find notes from the biologists who manage the units you’re thinking about hunting, general information about the units, and safety and weather information. Information about the number of bulls on the units is also given. You’ll also find maps that show the units’ boundaries, which land is public and which is private, and the various types of elk habitat found on the units.
Shannon says DWR biologists want you to have a great experience hunting bull elk in Utah this fall. “We want you to have a successful, enjoyable time,” he says. “The experience you have is important to us. We’re hoping the information on the site will help you plan your most successful hunt yet.”
If you have questions about hunting elk in Utah, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR’s Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.
Elk Photo Courtesy of DWR