Utah Deer Population:  An estimated 384,000 deer in 2015, increasing into 2016.  About 355,600 deer in Utah after the hunts in 2014.  Although the harsh 2016-17 winter has prompted emergency feeding, recent mild winters have helped the herd recover.   A long downward trend for about 40 years.  Herd analysis at right.  Historical Utah hunting data and news archive.
Utah Deer News

  Hunters find dead deer with bone grown around arrow February 23, 2017 Utah, Atlanta Journal Constitution
... According to the Facebook post, the shot wasn’t fatal and the arrow broke off, but “the deer’s body used the arrow as a splint and the bone grew around the shaft.”...

...  Provo Municipal Council passed a new Urban Deer Capture and Relocation ordinance in July 2016, Freedman called it a blessing. The cost was $14,000 for the first year. To relocate and transport is approximately $200 per animal...

5 highest-selling hunts auctioned for over $1M total at local Hunting Expo February 20, 2017 Utah, KSL.com
... After selling for a world record $410,000 during the 2016 auction, the famous Antelope Island Mule Deer Permit sold for $250,000 during Friday’s auction. The first Antelope Island State Park permit was auctioned in 2011 after being authorized and mandated during the 2011 legislative session...

... “We had some places on one of our wildlife management areas where people were throwing out things to attract the deer to them so they’d knock their antlers against fences and things. We thought, well this just doesn’t make any sense to allow people to go in and harass animals on these critical winter ranges in these extreme condition.” ...

Statewide shed antler closure February 3, 2017 Utah, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources - Utah.gov
... Effective Feb. 3, you cannot gather shed deer, elk or moose antlers in Utah until April 1... "snowpack is still above average, and deer and elk are stressed." ...

New rules for “shed hunters” February 2, 2017 Utah, Spectrum
... Residents in Box Elder, Cache, Rich, Weber, Morgan, Summit, Wasatch, Duchesne, Uintah, Carbon and Emery will have to wait until April 1 ... Better than average snowfall in much of the state of Utah is the cause of the action...
...  late December, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Officer Josh Carver was made aware of the presence of two dead bucks near Cedar City ... call the UTiP Hotline at 800-662-3337

Two openings on Utah Wildlife Board January 27, 2017 Utah, Satellite PR News 
... Applications are being accepted to serve on the Utah Wildlife Board. The board makes the final decision regarding the management of deer and other wildlife in Utah...

... Snow and cold temperatures are threatening wildlife this winter ... the DWR sent truckloads of deer pellets into the Cache Valley and three other counties in northern Utah...

DWR biologists feed deer in new areas January 25, 2017 Utah, Satellite PR News 
... Randy Wood, the DWR’s wildlife manager in Northern Utah, says biologists have been watching deer closely since the first week in December... To help the deer, biologists and volunteers are spreading specially designed pellets on the ground for the deer to eat...

DWR begins feeding deer near Bear Lake January 17, 2017 Utah, Salt Lake Tribune (blog)
... Division of Wildlife Resources has joined hunting groups to begin feeding deer near Bear Lake ... more than 30 inches of snow and bitter, cold temperatures, are threatening the survival of many deer...  Garden City construction ... donated time and heavy equipment to clear snow out of areas so pellets can be spread."...

Emergency deer feeding begins in Bear Lake Valley January 13, 2017 Utah, KSL.com
... “These deer are exhausted, confused and without options,”  ... “This specially formulated pellet gives deer the correct balance of energy and protein the animals need,” ...

DWR seeks information on 3 unrelated poaching cases December 29, 2016 Utah, KSL.com... So far in 2016, 250 mule deer have been illegally killed in Utah ... asking for the public’s help in regards to three recent poaching cases... Nov. 6 at Cave Peak, a mountain south of Mueller Park in Davis County ... Nov. 20 near Moroni ... on the Bandanna Ranch development in western Duchesne County ... early November...

... “Last year, the buck-to-doe ratio on the unit was 65 bucks per 100 does,” Shannon said. “The number of bucks needs to be closer to 40 to 55 bucks per 100 does, which is the objective for the unit. [Henry Mountains Unit] ...

Biologists Use Helicopters And Nets To Check Deer Health December 19, 2016 Utah, Utah Public Radio
... “It is all done with net guns ... as it shoots ... it just entangles the deer ... a ‘mugger.’ He jumps out and he untangles the deer from the net, he hobbles it, blindfolds it, and then puts it in a bag and then slings it back to us...  we don’t use any drugs to sedate them. Once you put that blindfold on and once their legs are tied up, they tend to calm down pretty good...
 
Wildlife board OKs more chances to hunt big game in 2017 December 14, 2016 Utah, Deseret News
... At its Dec. 9 meeting, the board approved additional buck deer hunts on the Henry Mountains in southeastern Utah ... more chances to hunt deer with muzzleloaders after the general rifle hunt ...

... To estimate the numbers and distribution of mule deer and mountain lions in Utah, Nevada and Arizona, David Stoner, a wildlife ecologist at Utah State University ... used imagery of plant productivity from ... satellites, plus radio-telemetry measurements of animal density and movements. He found that there is a very strong relationship between plant productivity and deer and mountain lion density...

... a plurality of Loganites, 42 percent, said there aren’t too many deer in Logan and 45 percent don’t think anything should be done about them. A slight plurality, 36 percent, said the problems caused by deer have increased over the years, compared to 26 percent who said it has stayed the same ...

Logan City adopts anti-deer-feeding ordinance December 8, 2016 Utah, Cache Valley Daily
... wildlife biologist Robert Smith, who acknowledged that the city should report problems with that agency before taking action to get rid of the deer...

Video shows epic battle between rival bucks November 25, 2016 Utah, KSL.com

Logan surveying residents on deer management program November 16, 2016 Utah, The Herald Journal
... Most respondents, 47 percent, said they don’t think anything needs to be done to reduce the number of deer in Logan, as opposed to 27 percent who do.  When asked if capturing and relocating deer is acceptable, 49 percent agreed and 32 percent disagreed. Nearly 60 percent said they are opposed to a program that euthanizes deer ...

Here's Your Chance to Get a Good Look at Mule Deer November 9, 2016 Utah, Emery County Progress
... Nash Wash Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in southeastern Utah.  Because deer hunting is restricted in the Book Cliffs just north of Nash Wash, the WMA is one of the best places to see deer in the area, especially bucks. Viewers can watch deer from their vehicles as they drive along the WMA's network of maintained roads...

DWR recommends new deer, mountain goat hunts November 3, 2016 Utah, The Herald Journal
... “Last year,” says DWR Big Game Coordinator Justin Shannon, “the buck-to-doe ratio on the unit [on the Henry Mountains] was 65 bucks per 100 does. The number of bucks needs to be closer to 40 to 55 bucks per 100 does, which is the objective for the unit. If we don’t reduce the number of bucks, they’ll start competing with each other, and with the does, for food...

Monroe, Information sought in deer poaching November 2, 2016 Utah, The Richfield Reaper
... buck was poached on Monroe Mountain in Sevier County near State Route 24... reward ...

DWR recommends new big game hunts in 2017 October 31, 2016 Utah, Deseret News
... additional management buck deer hunts on the Henry Mountains in southeastern Utah ... To see all of the biologists’ proposed changes ... wildlife.utah.gov/meeting-agendas.html.

Utah deer hunters enjoy good opening weekend success October 26, 2016 Salt Lake Tribune
...  I've never seen anything like this. The number of big, mature deer hunters are taking is phenomenal." ... In northern Utah ... the number of bucks and the age of the bucks taken were up significantly ...

... I think close to half of the hunters will take a deer home ... 37 percent of hunters bagged a deer in 2013, and, last year, the number jumped to 43 percent ...

... "(In previous years) the typical success rate on the rifle deer hunt was in the high 20s to low 30s, but last year it was 43 percent — really high! And the buck to doe ratio is still climbing and our deer population is growing." ...

DWR Looking for Poacher in Davis County October 18, 2016 Utah, Good4Utah
... Davis County ... a dead doe around Bountiful on Skyline Drive near the Buckland Flats area...

Lots of Deer Await Rifle Utah Deer Hunters October 14, 2016 The Outdoor Wire
... Based on surveys conducted by DWR biologists, Utah has a total population of more than 384,000 mule deer. In just four years, the state's mule deer population has grown by more than 100,000 deer... After the 2015 hunts, the ratio had increased to 23 bucks per 100 does...

Information sought in elk poaching October 11, 2016 Utah, St George News
... A cow and calf elk were found dead on Cedar Mountain in Iron County ... shot on Sept. 30 ...

Higher deer numbers in Utah bode well for hunt October 6, 2016 The Herald Journal
... With around 380,000 animals, Utah has the third-largest herd of mule deer behind California [counting black-tails] and Colorado. Idaho is fifth with approximately 285,000 mule deer. Both states have similar numbers of hunters (85,000) and harvest (30,000)...

... The deer — called "The Rabbi" for its very large and uniquely shaped antlers — was found dead on Oct. 24, 2011, in the Beef Hollow area of Camp Williams, which is closed to hunting... probation for 18 months, which includes a $100 fine and $8,000 in restitution to the state ...

... State Route 18 from Diamond Valley to Veyo is one of these hot spots ... “That’s an area that’s a migration corridor,” ... The Division has spent a lot of money over the past several years to minimize impacts, particularly on I-15 and I-70. And we’ve, for the most part, taken care of the problem ...

Wildlife official seeking public aid in poaching incident September 27, 2016 Utah, St George News
... remains of a 17-inch, 3×3 buck deer were found in a field just north of Beaver in late August ... Over 200 deer were poached in Utah in 2015 ...

... Mayor Dahle and the City Council have decided to host an open house on Wednesday, October 12 from 7 - 8:00 pm  in the Big Cottonwood Room at City Hall to discuss the deer issue. The purpose of the open house is to gather public input regarding the deer issue and to provide the public with information regarding the details of mitigation programs. There will be a representative from the Division of Wildlife Services to answer questions and provide further information...

Utah wildlife board approves increased cougar hunt September 4, 2016 Standard-Examiner
... “If our prey populations are struggling in an area, in response, we also limit cougars in that area,” she said. “If we have habitat and and mule deer are eating out sagebrush, we limit the mule deer in the area until the sagebrush recovers ... it is not an expectation that limiting cougars will increase the deer population in any means.” ...

Wildlife board ups number of Utah cougar-hunting permits September 1, 2016 Salt Lake Tribune
... "All our metrics are based on data collected for cougar populations in Utah," McFarlane told the board. DWR staff recommended increased cougar takes in units where deer, elk or bighorn sheep populations struggle or where livestock depredation is a problem. Last year's documented kill count was 394 cougars ... 

Coyote Clash August 31, 2016 Utah, Salt Lake City Weekly
... The 2012 Mule Deer Protection Act required the Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) to reduce the coyote population and pay a $50 bounty for a dead coyote. In the past three years, the DWR estimates 39,551 coyotes have been killed.. In the 2015 fiscal year, the DWR paid $409,600 in bounties and spent $118,000 to hire hunters to kill 305 coyotes...

... Bureau of Land Management on Tuesday released revised proposals for what will be the first national conservation areas in Utah ... an amendment to the St. George plan changes OHV routes in the Bull Valley Mountains from open to limited designations to better protect crucial mule deer range.  Release of the plans trigger a 30-day comment period before a final decision is reached...

Where the Deer and Giraffoids Play August 30, 2016 Utah Scientific American
... Pronghorn evolved independently of antelope and deer, and whatever remembrances their ornamentation has to bovid horns or cervid antlers is a result of convergent evolution stemming from a more ancient common ancestor ... Based on genetic evidence from living ruminants ... America's pronghorn aren't antelope, but close relatives of giraffes...

Utah archery deer hunt opens Saturday  August 19, 2016 Salt Lake Tribune
...  there are more than 384,00 mule deer in Utah.  There are 23 bucks to 100 does in that population...

Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area is owned by the State of Utah and managed by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. It is located in the Blacksmith Fork Canyon, about 15 mi east of Hyrum, Utah.


Decision still to be made on Logan deer management issue August 18, 2016 Utah, The Herald Journal
... whether to kill or relocate urban deer ... Removing the deer would cost about $250 per animal ... Cities like Hyde Park and North Logan have already chosen lethal programs ...

(video is working) Click below to play Utah Wildlife Board Meeting August 16, 2016, Springville Civic Center 110 South Main Street, Springville


Moab man guides trapped deer back to mother August 8, 2016 Utah, fox13now.com
... The young deer was trapped in a fenced area while its mother was on the other side. [video] ... melanistic fawn ...

Antelope Island State Park, Utah. A glimpse of some legendary Mule Deer Bucks that live on the Island. August 2016.


... A lethal removal, or harvesting, plan could remove about 100 deer per year by archers within city limits for $21,900...  residents at Tuesday's meeting pointed out concerns for the lethal elimination methods based on safety risks for people in high-density residential areas.  The nonlethal translocation plan estimates the removal of around 70 deer for approximately $17,500 ...

This beautiful buddy surprised me on my hike at Pine Creek. He let me film him for a while before getting bored and disappearing in the cliffs. August 8, 2016 Utag


Provo, Provo Municipal Council votes on plan to clear urban deer herds July 20, 2016 Utah, Daily Herald
... [approved] a plan to take care of the issue by using a combination of two options that includes relocating and harvesting. The plan by resolution gives city administration the responsibility to determine the best combination ... “They are completely domesticated,”  ... Up to 300 deer in a three-year period can be harvested ...

Provo, Oppose wanton deer killing July 19, 2016 Utah, Deseret News
... We use effective nonlethal ways to keep the deer from damaging our garden ... not seen any conclusive data to back the estimate of 500 deer in Provo given by the paid trapper ... The number of deer passing through our acre lot seems to have remained constant since 1992, when we purchased our home...

... Last June, the council passed an ordinance outlawing feeding the deer... he council also requested a certificate of registration from the Division of Wildlife Resources to get permission to start a mitigation plan.  Since then the certificate has been approved, allowing the city to either kill or relocate up to 100 deer per year for three years... 
     Amid growing problems, Provo considering plan to kill deer July 6, 2016 Utah, KUTV 2News
...The city council is now considering allowing bow hunters -- certified by the state -- to take out some of the deer that live in Provo... Seth Poulson, an experienced hunter, questions the safety and ethics of it...

Early utah mule deer - June 26, 2016


I found a deer fawn. Now what? June 10, 2016 Utah, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources 
... “deer fawns are alone and isolated during their first weeks of life. And that’s on purpose. The mother knows leaving the fawn alone is the best way to protect it from predators.” ...

... the latest project will result in two functional deer tunnels under Highway 191 between Monticello and Verdure, in addition to the installation of several miles of deer fence along both sides of the road ... Nearly 500 deer were hit by vehicles in 2015 alone ...

Utah Data:  About 384,000 deer in 2015 after the fall hunt with about 23 bucks per 100 does. Somewhat higher in 2016. 2015 Herd Status. Mule deer buck permits increased for 2016. Lots of rain in spring of 2015 has provided food and helped keep the deer population at around the highest level since the 1990s. DWR estimated 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, 289,000 in 2004 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 mule deer population has increased by abou 100,000 in four years.  

     The current population is about equal to the year 2000 population. DWR comments 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. The state issued 86,550 deer permits in 2015, 84,800 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. An estimated 50,000 deer hunters in 2015. Hunter success rose from 37 percent in 2013 to 43 percent in 2015. 
     About 19 bucks for every 100 does in 2014, up to 21 per 100 in 2015. Only about 8 bucks per doe in 1995, as the population was falling. 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 was 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." From 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.

     Elk About 81,000, fast growing population in Northern Utah. 
     Cougar population estimated at 2,500 to 4,500 based on available habitat, a rough estimate.

Report poaching:   Call the poaching hotline at 800-662-3337. callers can remain anonymous.  Email turninapoacher@utah.gov
    What to Do If You Find a Fawn

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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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 2014, data from 2014 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