Utah Deer News

Utah bounty hunters kill 7041 coyotes in a year October 20, 2014 Salt Lake Tribune
... Utahns killed slightly fewer coyotes in the second year of the Mule Deer Preservation Act, but the $50 bounty paid for each animal is only one piece of the state’s effort to remove the predator... "It may take several years of implementation of this program before improvements in fawn/doe ratios statewide may be observed ...

Wildlife officials, hunters out and about for Utah’s deer hunt October 19, 20014 Fox 13 Now - Salt Lake City 
... About 95,000 deer permits went out this year, but only about a quarter of those will be harvested... “Up here in the north we’ve had some good winters, so the fawn survival has been great ...

... Biologists for Western states say there are plenty of reasons why mule deer populations are generally shrinking, but most agree there are two things that maintain and grow stable herds: Mother Nature and a robust salad bar.  In Utah, wildlife managers have focused on rebuilding mule deer habitat, spending more than $125 million over the past eight years...

... The 12 mile stretch of U.S. 89 is part of a long-term study to find the best way of accommodating both wildlife and traffic.  “What we’re doing is putting in some deer fencing to funnel the animals a safe place to cross,” ...

... more than 60,000 hunters ... the deer population is at its highest since 2000. Officials estimate there are about 333,000 ... the buck to doe ratio is estimated to be at 19 bucks to every 100 does. ...

Urban deer survey begun in Brigham City October 11, 2014 Utah, Standard-Examiner
... An "Urban Deer Survey" has been posted to the city's website ... to assess the level of deer depredation of shrubbery, orchards and gardens and any other damage... the steps the city would need to follow, such as ordinances to ban feeding the animals, or to allow their "lethal removal" by DWR-supervised hunters, or non-lethal trapping, as Bountiful and Highland have ...

Buck deer illegally killed near Moon Lake October 9, 2014 Utah Division of Wildlife Resources - Utah.gov
   ...  the illegal killing of a buck deer on October 5, 2014...  near Moon Lake in Duchesne County on October 5, 2014.  The animal was located near the Farnsworth Canal, which is just south of Moon Lake. It had been shot with a small caliber firearm. The antlers and carcass were removed and the hide and head were discarded at the scene.  DWR conservation officers are looking for two men in a dull gray/white Ford pick up truck, who were in the area on October 5 and may have information related to the incident.  A reward is being offered ... contact DWR Investigator Sean Davis at 435-790-2261. You may also call the UTIP hotline at 800-662-3337

Number of bucks as good or better than last season October 9, 2014 Utah, The Davis Clipper 
... in Box Elder and Cache counties, respectfully—the number of bucks per 100 doe is down from last year’s numbers. In unit 1, the number is 12 per 100. Unit 2 is reportedly at 13 per 100 doe... In Unit 7 (Kamas), for example, the ratio is 22 per 100...

Animals abound on Great Salt Lake's Antelope Island October 5, 2014 Utah, Pueblo Chieftain
... there are no antelope on Antelope Island. And there never were ... pronghorn ... In addition to some 230 pronghorn, the 15-mile-long island park is home to an estimated 500 mule deer and 120 bighorn sheep, along with coyotes ...

Mule Deer Habitat in Western United States Improves Based on Restoration Efforts with Partners October 1, 2014 Utah, United States Department of Agriculture
... the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Utah ... “During the past three years, our forest along with partners have thinned the pinyon-juniper landscape to allow these woody shrubs and types of vegetation to grow, thus restoring 4,000 acres of grassland and sagebrush-steppe habitat that supplies the kind of diet needed for mule deer,” ... The Million Bucks initiative

Bountiful, Deer complaints remain high in Bountiful September 26, 2014 Utah, Ogden Standard-Examiner 
... In an ongoing effort to reduce the number of domestic mule deer within city boundaries, local leaders are finalizing an agreement with the state’s Division of Wildlife Resources, in which the state will help catch, transport and relocate deer... Approximately 30 deer were relocated earlier this year in a similar effort ...

DWR seeks information about 2 poached fawns September 26, 2014 Utah, KSL 
... on Sept. 1 ...  The fawns were located in Kane County about two miles east of the Highway 89 and Highway 14 junction...  hotline at 1-800-662-3337

Data shows declining odds of Utah drivers vs. deer September 16, 2014 Utah, St George Utah 
... The data indicates the odds drivers will hit a deer in Utah in the coming year are one out of 226, compared to the national odds of one in 169...

North Salt Lake homeowners freaking out over deer September 8, 2014 Utah, Ogden Standard-Examiner 
.... the city council has approved eight-foot-high fences, insuring that only the most athletic of deer can compete for your garden vegetables... Besides, this is as it should have been from the beginning — not fencing in the animals, like at that depressing “zoo” at Lagoon, but fencing in the humans instead...

... Highland staff and city leaders developed a two-year pilot plan to decrease the mule deer population living permanently in the city through a strictly run archery program, killing 74 deer in 2013 ... Alpine will begin discussing its options at Tuesday's City Council meeting and will continue its discussions during the next few months...

North Salt Lake, Deer to face taller fences in NSL backyards September 4 2014 Utah, Ogden Standard-Examiner 
... City leaders voted Tuesday to amend fencing regulations in residential zones, allowing some people the ability to construct eight-foot fencing along the side and back yards of their properties, in an effort to keep the deer and wildlife out...

...  a 2,000-acre vegetation improvement project on public and selected private lands ... This project is being supported and funded by a variety of private, state, and federal cooperators, including Mule Deer Foundation ...

DWR offers reward for poached deer in Beaver County August 26, 2014 Utah, Fox 13 Now 
... August 15 ... an area south of Milford where the deer was found to have been shot and left... call 800-662-3337...

Herriman city officials to consider urban deer hunt August 26, 2014 Utah, Fox 13 Now 
... the city will hold a public hearing on Thursday... some residents have expressed their support to mitigate the deer population while others say killing the deer is not the solution...

Brigham City's urban deer herd growing August 19, 2014 Utah, Ogden Standard-Examiner 
... These are city deer. A herd of at least 60 or more ... likely second-generation, even third-generation removed from the mountainous hillsides to the east their forebears fled after the particularly harsh winters of the mid-1980s drove them into residential developments for food ... residents have complained to the city, as gardens, shrubs and peach trees are getting nibbled ...

Lots of bucks for Utah's first hunt of season, buck to doe  August 14, 2014 Utah, Ogden Standard-Examiner 
... biologists found 12 bucks per 100 does on Unit 1 in Box Elder County. On Unit 2 in Cache County, the ratio was 13 bucks per 100 does... “deer populations in north-central Utah are doing really well.” ... West of I-15 ... biologists found 20 bucks per 100 does in the herds... East of I-15 ... success during the rifle hunt was 37 percent. ... Unit 8 (North Slope): After last fall’s hunts, the unit’s buck-to-doe ratio was 15 bucks per 100 does...

Number of Utah bucks similar or better than last year, DWR says, buck to doe ratio  August 12, 2014 KSL 
... Numbers of buck-to-doe ratios for each unit:  Unit 7 near Kamas: 22 bucks per 100 does.  Unit 18 near Oquirrh-Stansbury: 20 bucks per 100 does.  Unit 16A near Central Mountains-Nebo: 21 bucks per 100 does.  Unit 16B near Manti-San Rafael: 19 bucks per 100 does.  Unit 16C near Manti-San Rafael: 19 bucks per 100 does.  Unit 8 near North Slope: 15 bucks per 100 does.  Unit 9A near South Slope-Yellowstone area: 19 bucks per 100 does.  Unit 9B near South Slope Bonanza-Vernal: 13 bucks per 100 does.  Unit 11 near Nine Mile: 20 buck per 100 does

Highland Urban deer hunt back on agenda August 5, 2014 Utah, Daily Herald
... One of the key points made by those who spoke against the city’s management plan were those who had seen hunters in their backyards without their permission...  city council members gave their opinion and said they thought the city should see the pilot program through ... 

... In the app's first year, UDOT and DWR logged 6,822 carcasses, 85 percent of which were mule deer, according to a study published in PLOS ONE in June..."The roadkill app has really helped us see where the hotspots are and where there might be holes in the fence," ... a mobile application developed by Utah State University researchers...

... Highland elected officials said in 2013 that the hunt was necessary because urban deer were causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in landscaping damage ... Fisher wrote up a petition and began canvassing his neighborhood and surrounding businesses and subdivisions... “People I spoke to are dead set against the archery, they don’t see a problem, and they like the deer,” Fisher said...

Effects of male‐biased harvest on mule deer: Implications for rates of pregnancy, synchrony, and timing of parturition  ED Freeman, RT Larsen, ME Peterson, CR Anderson… - Wildlife Society Bulletin, 2014
...  Our objectives were to compare rates of pregnancy, synchrony of parturition, and timing of parturition between exploited mule deer populations with a relatively high (Piceance, CO, USA; 26 males/100 females) and a relatively low (Monroe, UT, USA; 14 males/100 females) male/female ratio. We determined rates of pregnancy via ultrasonography and timing of parturition via vaginal implant transmitters. We found no differences in rates of pregnancy ... timing of parturition ... or synchrony of parturition ... between Monroe Mountain and Piceance Basin, respectively ...

... Tracking roadkill locations around the state was done on paper by many people, making the gathering and analyzation of the data overwhelming. Olson says he recognized then that smartphones have enough functions to be data collection tools, so he teamed up with others to create an app to help the process...

... Currently there is a critical need for accurate and standardized wildlife-vehicle collision data, because it is the underpinning of mitigation projects that protect both drivers and wildlife. Gathering data can be challenging because wildlife-vehicle collisions occur over broad areas, during all seasons of the year, and in large numbers. Collecting data of this magnitude requires an efficient data collection system. Presently there is no widely adopted system that is both efficient and accurate... Our objective was to develop and test an integrated smartphone-based system for reporting wildlife-vehicle collision data. The WVC Reporter system we developed consisted of a mobile web application for data collection, a database for centralized storage of data, and a desktop web application for viewing data ...

...  following the Rockport Fire in Summit County last August ... The project was done in October to grow vegetation and keep the soil together... “This is going to be really great habitat for all the deer in the area,” ...

...  Last year, a partnership of government agencies built 12 miles of fencing and large wildlife underpasses to reduce vehicle collisions with deer on U.S. 89 ... Vehicle collisions with deer have been reduced substantially ... "Studies have shown that it takes roughly three years for the herd to adapt to these new fences," ...

Deer fence started between Blanding, Monticello May 21, 2014 Utah, San Juan Record
... The State of Utah is considering installing miles of wildlife fencing to keep deer off the highway ... San Juan County and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife each donated $25,000 towards the project... With more than 300 wildlife -vehicle accidents occurring each year, UDOT predicts that the completed project could pay for itself between three and five years ...

... On Saturday, May 31 Field & Stream will join volunteers led by the Mule Deer Foundation (MDF) to improve wildlife habitat all while enjoying a family-friendly campout near Salt Lake City … The magazine will be filming the project, to highlight the work of the volunteers ..

 ... elk in Utah exceed population goals... 81,000 statewide, 1,000 more than the objective in the state elk management plan approved by the wildlife board in March 2010 ... The state wildlife agency is pushing to increase the mule deer population to 350,000 statewide; it’s currently estimated at 333,000. Deer are considered less significant competitors with cattle.

... Utah taxpayers provide the program with a $500,000 annual budget, offering hunters a $50 bounty to kill coyotes. However, two years later, mule deer populations have not increased.... The DWR provides a chart on its website ...

... this is the second year in a row that the DWR’s population model marks an upturn in the winter survival rate...  The DWR has been using radio collars for three years now in Southern Utah, adding about 60 collared deer each year ... During the winter, it’s typical for 10-20 percent of the deer population in Southern Utah to die, usually more fawns then adults ...

... All of the biologists’ recommendations are available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings   After you’ve reviewed the ideas, you can let your Regional Advisory Council members know your thoughts by attending your upcoming RAC meeting or by sending an email to them...

Utah's deer buck to doe ratio April 3, 2014 April 3, 2014 Daily Herald
...  For every 100 does they counted, they also counted an average of 19 bucks.  Shannon said 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....

... Utah’s Predator Control Program is an incentive-based initiative intended to eliminate coyotes that prey on young deer... What many people don’t realize is that the bounty program also contains funding for more than a dozen hunting contracts of up to $10,000. These contracts are set aside for coyote hunters who have proved their proficiency ...

Salt Lake Tribune
... Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) officials say surveys after the 2013 hunts estimate a population of 332,900 mule deer. The deer population hasn’t been this high since 322,000 deer were estimated at the turn of the century...

DWR gives deer herd update March 27, 2014 Utah, DWR News
... All of the biologists' recommendations are available online.After you've reviewed the ideas, you can let your Regional Advisory Council members know your thoughts by attending your upcoming RAC meeting or by sending an email to them.  RAC chairs will share the input they receive with members of the Utah Wildlife Board. The board will meet in Salt Lake City on May 1 to approve permit numbers for Utah's 2014 big game hunts.  Dates, times and locations for the RAC meetings are available at the link above.   
     In 2013, a total of 84,600 hunters harvested more than 25,000 bucks on general season units. In 2007, a total of 97,000 hunters harvested about 28,000 bucks on general season units. After the hunts were over last fall, biologists classified the deer herds to see how many bucks per 100 does were left on general season units. For every 100 does they counted, they also counted an average of 19 bucks.  Shannon says 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.  "So, to be at 19 bucks per 100 does is great news for Utah's hunters," Shannon says. "It means the herds have plenty of bucks in them."  Based on surveys after last fall's hunts, biologists estimate the total number of deer in Utah at 332,900.

... The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded grants to fund more than 50 on-the-ground projects that will enhance habitat for elk and other wildlife around the state of Utah....

... UDOT is in the preliminary stages of a deer tunnel project in Sanpete County. The next challenge is finding the funding....

... Farmers' fields run along U.S. 89 and attract deer, especially in Sanpete County. With an estimated 400 deer hit by cars along that highway every year, some residents believe a tunnel could help in the worst locations...

Mule Deer mugged from Antelope Island March 7, 2014 Utah, Salt Lake Magazine 
... Deer transplants in Utah are rare. The mule deer population has been struggling since devastating losses back in the 1980's from a particularly severe winter ...  The objective was to net and move 100 mule deer off the island. After three days the tally was 98...

Moose euthanized at Deer Valley March 7, 2014 Utah, Park Record 
...  "What I expect it to be is the animal was probably vitamin deficient," Reich said. "That, on top of the fact that it had a really high tick load," ...

Got antlers? Utah collectors need a permit first March 6, 2014 Salt Lake Tribune 
... ·"We’ve seen signs and heard complaints about shed hunters chasing deer and elk cross-country in hopes the running will cause the animals’ antlers to fall off early," said Randy Scheetz, a DWR conservation officer. "It’s about the worst thing they could do to these bucks and bulls." ...


... Utah's Antler Gathering Ethics course started as a way to reduce wildlife harassment and habitat damage caused by those gathering shed antlers... The mandatory online course, available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/shedantler ...

Bountiful Deer Plan considered March 3, 2014 Utah, Davisclipper
... It would continue a pilot project that has involved non-lethal trapping and relocating of deer ...  goal is to remove 150 deer... That differs from a program a couple of years ago where about 16 deer were removed, by lethal means...

Accused deer poachers arraigned in Brigham City February 25, 2014 Utah, Ogden Standard-Examiner ·
...  A father and daughter ... from out of state ...  charged with one count of wanton destruction of protected wildlife with a value less than $500, a class A misdemeanor ...

Bountiful council favors non-lethal deer control February 22, 2014 Utah, Davisclipper
... This follows a short-lived effort about four years ago where about 16 deer were shot by DWR sharp-shooters ... people spoke in support of using non-lethal means ... conducting a non-lethal deer removal program using traps ... Deer are removed to a site in Tooele County... cost of removing deer averages between $400 and $1,000 ... Mortality averages about 50 percent ...

Deer hunting tag on Antelope Island auctioned for $305,000 February 18, 2014 Utah, Salt Lake Tribune
... Counting the $305,000 he bid during the recent Western Hunting and Conservation Expo in Salt Lake City, Austad has paid $865,000 for the opportunity to kill three deer. He set a record for a deer hunting permit in auction last year with a $310,000 payment.  All told, Austad has likely spent more than $2 million buying hunting conservation tags in Utah...

Utah Data: DWR estimates 332,900 mule deer in Utah in 2014,  318,000 in 2012, 286,000 in 2011, and 322,000 in 2000. Recent mild winters have brought the population back during the last few years after a long downward trend of over 40 years.   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 issues 84,800 deer permits in 2014 and 84,600 in 2013. 
     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.  "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.  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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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