DWR Makes Recommendations For 2023 General Hunts
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has made its recommendations for the number of general season deer hunting permits.
For the fifth consecutive year, DWR is recommending a decrease in the number of those permits. Biologists with the agency are recommending a total 71,600 permits in the state for the upcoming hunt, which is a decrease of 1,474 permits compared to last season.
One area that bucks the trend is here in our Southern Utah region where DWR is recommending an increase of 3,275 permits from last year, a nearly 28% increase. Of the 31 total deer hunting units in the state, 10 are being recommended for decreased permit numbers from the year before.
The biggest decrease in recommended permits is in the Northern Utah Region, where biologists are recommending a decrease of 4,800 permits – about a 20% decrease.
The current Deer Management Plan has a target of having 404,000 deer in the state. The latest estimate has the Utah deer herd sitting at 335,000.
The DWR manages deer, elk and other wildlife in the state based on approved management plans. Some of the factors biologists also use are the buck to doe ratio, current herd estimates, data from GPS collars, hunter harvest rates from the previous season and habitat and environmental conditions across the state. While most of the deer had good body fat heading in to the winter season, the fawn and doe survival varied through different parts of the state, depending on the severity of snowfall.
Because elk are impacted differently by drought and severe winter weather, survival of adults remains high. Pregnancy rates, however, have been shown to decline during extreme drought conditions. The current state management plan for the elk herd in Utah calls to have 80,000 elk across the state. There is currently an estimated 82,960 elk here in Utah. Based on the DWR, biologists are recommending a slight increase in the number of public draw bulk elk permits for the 2023 hunts.
Public meetings are held throughout the state to allow interested parties to make comment on the proposed changes, along with other DWR policies. The Regional Advisory Council meeting for the southern region will be held on April 18th at 6pm in the Cedar Breaks room at the Sharwan Smith Student Center on the campus of Southern Utah University.