Utah Deer News

Hear big game hunter survey results August 28, 2015 Utah, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources - Utah.gov
... most of those who responded do not think hunters should be allowed to use crossbows during most of Utah's deer and elk hunts... most of the respondents do not think extremely large-caliber firearms — .50 caliber center-fire rifles should be allowed for hunting ... 

... The DWR wants to change the way Utah hunts cougars by factoring in mule deer and bighorn sheep populations when they choose how many cougars hunters will be allowed to kill each year... The Utah Director of the Humane Society of the US said killing off the predator population will not increase the prey population...

... board members voted to increase the number of cougar hunting permits from 460 to 492, starting with the 2016 hunt... the amount of suitable habitat in Utah suggests a population of 2,500 to 4,500 cougars in the state...

Cougar plan causes uproar among conservationists August 20, 2015 Utah, Standard-Examiner
... state officials will start taking populations of mule deer and bighorn sheep into account when they decide how many cougars hunters can harvest...


Logan city council holds decision on ordinance for trapping deer August 20, 2015 Utah, The Herald Journal 
... “any city that lives within 30 miles of an animal that has been tested positive for wasting disease, the city cannot approve a trap and transport program,” ... The alternative ... would then be to kill the deer ...

Logan, Deer decision should not be made hastily August 14, 2015 Utah, The Herald Journal 
... A plan is being considered to trap deer (some deer, not all deer) in Logan and relocate  ... Surrounding Cache Valley there has been a significant decline in the number of deer. It is interesting that urban deer are seen as too numerous against this larger context of deer decline. A major contributor to deer decline is human encroachment into deer habitat...

... “Right now, after the last meeting we’ve narrowed it down to the two options, which is mitigation by lethal removal or relocation of the deer to another area,” ...

DWR to host open house for deer hunters August 11, 2015 Utah, Sun Advocate
... The DWR will offer an open house in Price on Aug. 11. An open house will also be held in Castle Dale on Aug. 12 ...

... Jon Zinnel, former youth programs coordinator, has been promoted to director of operations at the MDF national headquarters in Salt Lake City. Mike Laughter, Utah regional director and assistant director of field operations has been appointed as director of field operations ...

...  "When we covered up the reflectors with a white canvas bag, basically because we just wanted to neutralize the reflectors, we found that the white canvas bag worked better than the reflectors," ... 65 percent fewer deer carcasses in the areas where they put a white cloth bag over the reflectors simply as a control for their test ...

Provo city considering urban deer hunt program July 8, 2015 Utah, Utah Valley 360
... The first step toward a deer hunt in the city was when the council passed a law prohibiting people from feeding deer and other wild animals in the city limits — a requirement of the state, said council attorney Brian Jones...  Curtis wants everyone to understand that once the hunt program starts there won’t be a point at which the city has solved the problem and can stop...

High wildlife kill rate along I-84 in Morgan County June 27, 2015 Utah, Standard-Examiner
... “One spring, the (UDOT) Region 1 maintenance crew loaded a 10-wheel dump truck with slaughtered deer, elk, and moose,” ... Cramer and her staff are trying to develop electric pavement mats to give animals a small shock and encourage them to stay away...  their hooves insulate their bodies and it doesn’t work.”  ... even with the expense, bridges and underpasses aren’t always effective ...

Moose on the loose: Researchers study health of Utah's population June 14, 2015
Daily Herald
... 120 radio-collared moose cows  ... So far, 2015 is looking like a good sign for the moose. Calving rates are greater than 60 percent so far in the study in the Wasatch group, and higher than 70 percent in the Uintas. These are good signs for Utah’s species of moose, Shiras moose ...

Trophy deer and elk poaching case adjudicated June 11, 2015 Utah, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources - Utah.gov
... During the spring of 2014, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officers began investigating the unlawful taking of a trophy buck in San Juan County... During the investigation, another incident was discovered involving three of the same individuals... The fines and restitution for both cases totaled $20,500. The men involved face potential loss of hunting privileges for 10 to 20 years...

Bountiful deer program makes progress May 29, 2015 Utah, The Davis Clipper
... teams of DNR personnel and volunteers trapped more than 200 deer in Bountiful, releasing them in other areas around the state... The deer were trapped with drop nets, which Howard said she likes because an entire family can be trapped and relocated together ...

Three deer slaughtered by motorist, police seek clues May 21, 2015 Utah, Standard-Examiner
... State wildlife officials are asking for help from the public in solving what they call a disturbing and heinous slaughter of deer... The two deer left to die were fawns, 6 to 8 months old.  The third was an equally antler-less doe, which was pregnant...

Little shrubs, big effort for habitat improvement May 5, 2015 Utah, Sun Advocate 
... volunteers planted over 5,000 shrubs at the Gordon Creek Wildlife Management Area. In years to come the shrubs will provide winter food and cover for wildlife.  The shrubs, purchased by the Mule Deer Foundation, are meant to improve habitat for deer...

2K additional permits approved for 2015 general deer hunt May 5, 2015 Utah, KSL.com
... Most of the additional permits would be for a high-country buck deer hunt on Unit 8a (the North Slope/Summit unit... DWR biologists manage 14 of Utah’s 30 general-season units for 15 to 17 bucks per 100 does. The remaining 16 units are managed for 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does, the DWR said...  to be at a statewide average of 21 bucks per 100 does is great news for Utah’s hunters ...

State wildlife managers boost hunting permit numbers May 4, 2015 Utah, Salt Lake Tribune
... The number of general season buck mule deer tags climbed to 86,550 for this fall, compared to 84,800 last year...

Logan exploring non-lethal options for urban deer herd April 24, 2015 Utah, Cache Valley Daily
...  in Bountiful. That approach is to trap and release... Petersen says that plan is the one he favors becsause he personally sees the archery hunt as "too brutal." ...

Logan considering urban deer trap-and-release program April 22, 2015 Utah, The Herald Journal 
... North Logan kicked off its winter trap-and-release program this February after much public discussion. Thirty deer were captured over about four weeks ... One male, which had been transported to Hardware Ranch, returned and was re-captured...  the public is split on a trap-and-removal program, but if offered the option of a kill program, they tend to lean toward a trap-and-release option...

... The survival rate of the deer in 2013 was fairly low at only 50 percent ... still higher than expected. In the second year, another 10 percent of the translocated deer from 2013 died, raising the mortality rate to 60 percent for the entire 2013 herd.  The 98 deer that were moved in 2014 had about 76 percent survival in their first year however, proving that translocation could potentially be a viable option ...

Mule Deer Foundation awards $25,000 to local project April 15, 2015 Utah, Plumas County Newspapers
... The Mule Deer Foundation, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, awarded a $25,000 grant to the local Mt. Hough Ranger District of the Plumas National Forest to improve habitat for mule deer...

More deer could mean more fall licenses from DWR April 10, 2015 Utah, Davisclipper
... Biologists are currently recommending that a total of 87,050 general deer permits become available for the fall hunting season. Last season there was a total of 84,800 permits ... “To be at a statewide average of 21 bucks per 100 doe is great news for Utah’s hunters,” Shannon said. “It means the herds will have plenty of bucks in them.” ...

Logan's urban deer population is becoming a growing problem April 9, 2015 Utah, Cache Valley Daily
... Petersen said he wants to work with the Division of Wildlife Resources on developing a program and also seek extensive public input because people are divided on the issue...

Hunting ranch owners should be accountable April 2, 215 Utah, The Herald Journal
... A bull elk shot last fall on Rulon Jones’ Broadmouth Canyon Hunting Ranch tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). This high fence ranch is located just south of Cache Valley... That farm-raised deer and elk are the most likely way CWD will make it to the windward side of the Wasatch Mountains in the next 10 years should make everybody stop and ponder...

... Biologists believe about 84 percent of does and 82 percent of fawns made it through 2014, helping to bolster the population.  The state wildlife agency manages 30 deer hunting units. Just over half are managed with an objective of carrying a ratio of 18 to 20 bucks for every 100 does. And 14 have a ratio goal of 15 to 17 bucks for 100 does...

Alpine residents participate in deer management survey March 30, 2015 Utah, Daily Herald
... The majority of residents who responded to a recent city survey online feel their community has a serious urban deer problem... 45 percent of those responding said they thought a bow hunt was a great idea...

Utah's deer herds doing well March 25, 2015 Utah, Standard-Examiner
... After the hunts were over last fall, biologists saw an average of 21 bucks for every 100 does... biologists manage 14 of Utah’s 30 general-season units for 15 to 17 bucks per 100 does. The remaining 16 units are managed for 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does...

Investigators want help after someone poached two young deer March 25, 2015 Utah, Salt Lake Tribune
... On March 16, two young bucks were shot and left to waste on Stump Flat Road, west of the Emery County town ... call 1-800-662-3337. A reward ...

DWR proposes adding 2K general deer hunting permits March 24, 2015 Utah, KSL.com
... Based on surveys after the 2014 hunts, biologists estimate the total number of deer in Utah at 355,600 — approximately a 22,000 deer increase from the 2013 hunts. After using tracking radio collars, biologists also estimate that 84 percent of the does in Utah and 82 percent of the fawns survived during 2014 ...

Deer herds focus of public meetings March 23, 2015 Utah Division of Wildlife Resources - Utah.gov
... The Division of Wildlife Resources will hold two open houses to discuss deer management strategies in south-central Utah. The meetings will specifically cover the following units: Plateau, Boulder; Plateau, Fish Lake; Plateau, Thousand Lakes; and Monroe... March 31, at the Sevier County Administration Building, 250 N. Main St. in Richfield.  April 1, at the Loa Civic Center, 90 W. Center St. in Loa... Both meetings will run from 6 to 8 pm. DWR biologists and other wildlife officials will be available answer questions about the deer unit management plans, habitat projects and range trends, mule deer predator control, and deer population status and data...

Decapitated deer carcasses found near Clarkston March 23, 2015 Utah, Cache Valley Daily
... Officers with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources are asking for the public's help after four deer carcasses were found decapitated Saturday, a mile north of the Clarkston Cemetery... DWR's poaching hot-line at 800-662-3337.

North Logan should reconsider deer removal March 17, 2015 Utah, The Herald Journal
... The big problem is timing... they need to do it only during times when the migratory deer are NOT being trapped and relocated. There are a lot of wide-ranging wild deer that come down off the mountains in midwinter, and then return to the higher elevations with warmer spring days.  It is not fair or ethical for the City to haul these wild deer off that are only returning to historic winter ranges to escape starvation...

New Chair and Members Join Mule Deer Foundation Board of Directors March 17, 2015 Utah, Ammo Land
... the Mule Deer Foundation board of directors added three new members and elected Brian Fienhold as the new board chair and Bethany Erb as the new vice-chair...

Alpine survey: Do we have a deer problem? March 13, 2015 Utah, Daily Herald 
... 49 percent have indicated the bow hunt program implemented in neighboring Highland to manage the deer was a good or great solution, and 24 percent think it’s a terrible idea.  
Bountiful's solution was to move the deer...

North Salt Lake, NSL proposes deer removal plan March 13, 2015 Utah, The Davis Clipper
... we’ll seek public comment and decide what to do next,” ... The plan includes two possible methods of killing the deer. The first step would involve bow hunters lethally removing the deer... City officials have approved a change to the city’s land use development code that would allow for eight-foot-high fences ...

... Utah Sportsman for Fish & Wildlife organization funded the translocation of female mule deer ...  78 mule deer were translocated ... students at Brigham Young University and the University of Utah who have assisted in the studies to ensure the deer are healthy enough to move and will be successful in their new habitats...

...  the helicopter swooped in with a blast of dry snowy ice, dangling three pregnant does from from its base. With surprising delicacy the pilot slowly lowered each sling-wrapped doe one at a time until they were all safely on the ground.  Hastily transferring the blindfolded deer to gurneys, researchers carried them to a weigh station before placing the does on the exam tables in the triage tent...

DD Olson, JA Bissonette, PC Cramer, KD Bunnell…Utah,  - Wildlife Biology, 2015
...We found that precipitation decreased 50% and snow depth decreased 48% between winters. In response, deer used habitats that were 16% higher in elevation and that were 213% farther from roads with high traffic volumes. Consequently, crossing rates also decreased as much as 96% on roads with high traffic volumes. Reduced crossing rates were likely responsible for much of the 75% decrease in deer—vehicle collisions that occurred during the second winter....



... The well-known buck named Bart was found dead in the fall of 2013, and officials said photos on a hunting website led them to the 36-year-old Rhodes and 28-year-old Spillett...

Utah wildlife by the numbers March 2, 2015 KSL.com
... In 2013, 29,270 mule deer were legally taken in the state ... after the 2013 season, we estimated the population at 332,900 deer. That's the highest number of deer in Utah since 2000. After the 2000 hunts were over, surveys turned up an estimated 322,000 deer.”...

... a nearby deer allowed them to approach it and even pet it before following them around for several moments...

Reward offered in in Utah deer hit-and-run February 26, 2015 Utah, Ogden Standard-Examine
... a $2,000 reward for information about the killing of a pregnant deer and two fawns run down with a car... a Box Elder County grain field and ran them over on Feb. 14 or 15...

Cache County girl spots ghostly white doe February 26, 2015 Utah, Salt Lake Tribune
...  After looking at Elder's pictures, Utah wildlife biologists believe the white doe was not a true albino.  "If it was a true albino, it would have a pink nose...   it seems probable that it is leucistic, with a white coat, but normally colored eyes, skin and hooves...

Five deer killed in two counties February 25, 2015 Utah, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources 
...  Conservation officers are investigating three deer-poaching cases, two in Box Elder County and one in Carbon County. A total of five deer are dead, and officers believe they were killed unlawfully... If you have any details or information about this case, please contact Officer J.D. Abbott at 435-650-0654 or jonathanabbott@utah.gov  ... Rewards are available to those who provide information that leads to the apprehension and successful prosecution of individuals involved in poaching Utah's wildlife.

DWR reports highest buck-to-doe ratio in 10 years February 24, 2015 Utah, KSL.com
...  On general-season units that are comprised mostly of public land, biologists saw an average of 21 bucks for every 100 does, according to a DWR news release. Twenty years ago, the average buck-to-doe ratio was eight bucks per 100 does ...

... seeking the public’s help ... The first poaching case occurred around Feb. 14 near a grain field on the Long Divide Road in Box Elder County between Fielding and Newton ... It's pretty callous to chase two fawns and a pregnant doe, run them over for the fun of it and then leave them to suffer and die... Utah Turn in a Poacher (UTiP) Hotline at 1-800-662-3337.

... A bidder from Canada has set a new world record high, paying $390,000 for the right to hunt one mule deer buck at the state park next November... bids for the Antelope Island mule deer hunt have generated more than $1.4 million for wildlife conservation on the preserve in the middle of the Great Salt Lake...

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources discusses Mule Deer transplant project February 19, 2015 ironcountytoday.com
... “we’d rather the deer get moved to an area where the population is lacking and where there is enough winter range, rather than see them just die or get killed because of the lack of winter range where they are now.” ...

... H.R. 644, includes extensions to a number of different tax credits; it passed with 67 percent of Representatives in support... [From Mule Deer Foundation]: Private lands provide some of the best habitat for the country’s mule deer and black-tailed deer ...

Chronic Wasting Disease reported in Weber County elk February 13, 2015 Utah,
outbreaknewstoday.com
... The office of the Utah State Veterinarian confirms that one domestic bull elk has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).  The discovery came following routine testing of a male elk that was harvested by a hunter at the Broadmouth Canyon Ranch in Weber County...

Utah Data: Lots of rain in 2015 has provided food and helped boost the deer population to the highest since the 1990s.  DWR estimates 355,600 deer in Utah after the hunts in 2014, an increased over the estimated 332,900 mule deer in Utah after the hunts in 2013,  318,000 in 2012, 286,000 in 2011, and 322,000 in 2000 - post hunt. Recent mild winters have brought the population back during the last few years after a long downward trend of over 40 years.  the current population is about equal to the year 2000 population.  DWR suggests that "better habitat and other efforts like highway fencing, wildlife underpasses and predator control have also played a role in the rebound." Harvest data  Hunter success about 30 percent.  About 19 bucks for every 100 does. The state issued 84,800 deer permits in 2014, 84,600 in 2013, and 79,066 in 2012 for a success ratio of 37 percent with 29,411 deer harvested.  Populations have been climbing since the hard winters of 2007 and 2008.
     Although many state deer management strategies include the goal of balancing demographics to maintain good herd health, age and sex distributions similar to a wild herd, the DWR is targeting a buck-to-doe ratio of 15 to 20 bucks per 100 does. In 2013, the ratio was estimated at 19 bucks per 100 does.  The target is designed to maximize short-term herd growth, allowing hunters to take as many bucks as possible, assuming that one buck can impregnate multiple does.  Recent research indicates this strategy may be unsustainable.  Buck-to-doe ratios were below state objectives in many areas in 2013.  Fall 2012 fawn survival was 65 per 100 does. 
     In 1908 the deer season was closed to protect the herd from over hunting. The season reopened in 1913 with a bucks only regulation to help increase the population. Although the rule remained in effect until the 1950's, limited harvest of does began in 1934.  The deer harvest peaked at 132,000 in 1961.  In 1975 the state reinstated the bucks only rule to bolster the declining population.  A devastating winter in the 1980's significantly reduced the herd.  "Following several years of drought and an unusually hard winter in 1992–1993, it was evident that Utah’s deer herd could no longer sustain unlimited hunting opportunity, and in 1994, buck deer permits were capped for the first time."  Fom State Management Plan [PDF]  The loss of key winter range has contributed to the decline of the mule deer population.  Also see Mule Deer: A Handbook for Utah Hunters and Landowners
     Utah build the first wildlife crossing in North America in 1971.
     About 81,000 elk, fast growing population in Northern Utah. 
     Cougar population estimated at 2,500 to 4,500 based on availble habitat, a rough estimate.





A rough estimate of 3,000 mountain lions.

Report poaching:   Call the poaching hotline at 800-662-3337. callers can remain anonymous.  Email turninapoacher@utah.gov

Other useful links: 

- Utah Department of Natural Resources
- Utah efforts to help declining mule deer herds
- Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Discussion Forum on Declining Mule Deer Population, Utah wildlife Network
- WildAware, Mule Deer:  Information on living with deer
- The Mule Deer Foundation
- Antler Gathering Ethics Course  If gathering deer antlers between February 1st and April 15th, a certificate is required showing completion of this course.

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Tweets about deer in Utah


Tweet on the timeline below using @UtahDWR

Tweets about Utah DWR



Mule Deer: Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA), WAFWA is particularly concerned about mule deer, a species that lives in every North American habitat except for the tropics, arctic and extreme deserts. Mule deer numbers and distribution have been declining throughout the West since the latter third of the 20th century. To address this concern, the Mule Deer Working Group was established at the midwinter meeting of WAFWA in 1998. The group was charged with finding “solutions to our common mule deer management problems,” expanding “cooperative research and management in the Western states and provinces,” and sharing information with agency directors and administrators on mule deer issues."

Image below shows hunters afield and deer harvest for Utah from 1925 to 2011, data from 2011 Big Game Report [PDF].  Double click on image to enlarge.



"Mule deer thrive in early successional habitats, where forbs, grassy plants and shrubs dominate. These environments are not as stable as forest habitats, and they rely on fire or some other type of disturbance to return them to an early successional stage. If they are not disturbed, they eventually become more stable plant communities dominated by trees and large shrubs. Tree-dominated habitats offer mule deer a place to retreat from severe weather, but these areas offer very little in the way of food. That is why it is important to provide mule deer with a mosaic or pattern of habitats that can provide food, cover and water."




Time Lapse Photography of Deer Using Crossing Structure -- Double click for full screen