Archery Hunt Less Than Two Weeks Away; General Season Soon After
The general season buck deer archery hunt and the general spike and any bull elk archery hunts are going to be here in less than two weeks. These are the first big game hunts for the fall season (though it likely won't feel much like fall).
Not long after that the general seasons for elk and buck deer hunting will be on us, and it will be time for outdoors-men and hunters who were fortunate enough to draw out for the hunt to begin the opportunity to harvest for the year.
But this last winter was not kind to the deer herd in the Beehive state, and because of that the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has been adjusting the amount of hunting permits for this year.
The current deer management plan includes an objective to have 404,000 deer across Utah, and the 2022 postseason population estimate is 335,000 deer in the state. While hunting bucks doesn’t impact the total population growth rate, the DWR has decreased permits for the last several years.
The deer hunting this fall will vary, depending on which areas of the state people are hunting.
The deer populations in Cache, Weber, Summit and Morgan counties were hit pretty hard by the severe winter conditions and had lower survival rates of adult doe deer and fawns in those areas. The low survival in those hunting units will result in fewer buck deer — especially yearling bucks — being available for hunters in those areas this fall.
But for those of us in Southern Utah, the news is much better. Southern Utah had more favorable conditions this winter, which resulted in above-average deer survival rates and great habitat conditions this spring and summer. Hunters here in the southern part of the state should see a lot of huntable yearling bucks, as well as some older age class bucks in their hunting units.
Elk are impacted differently by drought and severe winter conditions because survival of adults typically remains high, although pregnancy rates have been shown to decline during extreme drought conditions. The current statewide elk management plan includes an objective to have 80,000 elk across Utah — the 2022 postseason population estimate is 82,960 elk in the state.
The DWR also advises hunters that they should also note that many areas of Utah have more abundant water sources this year — due to the record-breaking snowfall — so deer and elk will likely be more spread out on the landscape, making them more difficult to locate and pattern. As a result, hunting near water sources may not be as effective this year because there are more water sources available than usual.
All in all, hunters here in southern Utah should be able to enjoy a successful harvesting opportunity this fall.