Didn’t Draw Out For The Big Game Hunt? You Still Have Options
So, it wasn't your year, and you didn't draw out for the upcoming big game hunt here in Utah. Well, before you put away your hunting equipment for the year, the Division of Wildlife Resources has a suggestion for you. Why not do some upland game hunting? Most upland game hunts in Utah are open to anyone who has a valid Utah hunting license. So, if you can't bag that buck, what are your options? Here's some species DWR says to attempt to harvest.
Despite the ongoing drought, DWR is reporting that dove numbers are similar, or even larger than last year. Mourning Doves are likely to be found near agricultural grain fields as well as areas with an abundance of Sunflowers. Also, doves need a lot of water, so hunting near areas of good water sources will likely yield more opportunities to find doves. White-winged doves are more rare in Utah, but can occasionally be found here in the southwest portion of the state. Morning and White-winged doves are migratory birds protected by federal law, and because of that you need a Harvest Information Program number which you can apply for on the DWR website.
Southern Utah is the best bet for finding Band-Tailed pigeons in the state, and are most likely to be found in forested areas. You do need a permit to hunt these pigeons, but the permits are free and, again, are available on the DWR website. You also need a HIP number for this.
There are several species of grouse in the state. For greater sage-grouse and sharp-tailed grouse you need a special permit, and the time to get that permit ended in July. But, you can still hunt dusky and ruffled grouse this fall with just a hunting or combination hunting/fishing license. You can find dusky grouse in the Zion, Pine Valley and the southwest desert areas. The Beaver and Fillmore areas also both have healthy populations of dusky grouse. During surveys, DWR biologists have observed good-sized broods on the Monroe and Fish Lake mountains. Hunters should expect similar or improved grouse numbers from last year.
Partridge (chukar and gray)
Biologists from DWR are estimating chukar populations are higher in northern Utah this year, but have seen a decrease here in the south. For hunting chukar in our region, the DWR is suggesting mountain ranges in Washington, Beaver and Millard Counties, and foothills on the west side of the Monroe Mountains and west of Filmore. For the Gray Partridge, it's likely you'll need to plan a trip to northern Utah, as most of the population is found in the western part of Box Elder County.
To add an extra challenge to your upland game hunt, consider doing the Upland Game Slam. Hunters complete a slam by harvesting the required amount of the target species. There are currently eight different slams that hunters can participate in. Each one is designed to give you an extra challenge while you're hunting, as well as the opportunity to earn a commemorative, collectible coin. The entry fee is $20 for hunters 18 years of age or older, or $10 for hunters 17 years of age or younger.
The DWR reminds hunters that if you want to hunt on private land you must obtain permission from the landowner before you hunt.
So, even if you can't harvest that 14 point buck this year, there are still plenty of hunting opportunities for you, so have fun! By the way, how many people like to hunt here in Utah? Keep scrolling to find out!