Utah Deer News

... 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 ...

Wildlife board increases Utah deer permits May 2, 2016 Utah, Salt Lake Tribune
...  increase the number of general buck deer hunting permits from 86,550 permits in 2015 to 90,950 this fall... average buck-to-doe ratio ... mostly of public land is 23 bucks per does ...  estimate the state's deer population at more than 384,000 animals....

... sells the antlers in bulk to exporters, where there’s a big market for it as a medicine in Asia... he buys deer and elk antler sheds people find in the mountains ...

... The funding is generated from the sale of Utah Conservation Permits (Governor’s Tags) and money raised from the 200 Big Game Tag drawing held at the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo in Salt Lake City in February...

Deer hanging out in the meadow by the creek in Zion National Park. April, 2016


DWR issuing additional deer hunting permits for 2016 April 5, 2016 Utah, St George News
... DWR officials note the mule deer population grew for the fourth straight year to the highest recorded in Utah since the 1980s, with population estimates at more than 384,000 mule deer.  Wildlife biologists are recommending a total of 90,050 permits be issued for general buck mule deer in 2016. Last year 86,550 permits were issued ...

...  partners have restored more than 1.1 million acres in Utah. Sagebrush restoration in the South Beaver area is one of many WRI projects. This area is crucial mule deer winter habitat, contains important elk habitat and historic sage-grouse habitat. Restoration in this area is ongoing and encompasses 145,000 acres...

... by tracking plants from space, researchers can predict when mother deer give birth to fawns.  "We have never tracked the deer population this way, and we had never been able to predict it with such precision," said David Stoner of Utah State University ...

...  remains of the second animal, a 20-inch 4x4 buck deer, were discovered near Beaver City on March 13 ...  under the "B" ...   Poacher hotline at 1-800-662-3337.

Deer Herd Status for 2015 March 23, 2016 Utah, The Great Outdoors
... according to DWR. Biologists with the DWR estimate Utah’s deer population is more than 384,000 animals, based on surveys completed after the 2015 fall hunts... “The average buck-to-doe ratio across Utah — on general season units that are made up mostly of public land — is 23 bucks per 100 does.”...

Utah DWR Recommends More Deer Hunting Permits March 23, 2016 The Outdoor Wire
...  recommending more general buck deer hunting permits—a total of 90,950—for hunts in Utah this fall... read report

Tracking Deer Habitat by Satellite March 22, 2016 Utah, earthobservatory.nasa.gov
... A mother mule deer needs a lot of food for herself and her growing fawn. New satellite-based research suggests that those mule deer mothers are in tune with their environment, with reproduction patterns closely matching the cycles of plant growth in their habitat... According to lead author David Stoner of Utah State University, vegetation greenness in the northern latitudes peaks earlier than in the southern latitudes...

... mild winters have contributed to the increase in the deer population... “Urbanization has fragmented (the deer’s) habitats. In the spring, the deer need to migrate back up the mountain, but they have a hard time crossing roads, and getting around buildings...

Hunters in Morgan County plead guilty to trespassing to kill deer  March 3, 2016 Utah, Ogden Standard-Examine
... A man restricted from using a firearm due to his prior felony convictions and his cousin pleaded guilty to shooting deer on private land during a hunt in October last year... Help the Utah DWR stop thieves from stealing wildlife by calling 1-800-662-3337

North Salt Lake, NSL seeks public opinion on deer March 2, 2016 Utah, The Davis Clipper
... City officials first took steps toward an urban deer control plan in late 2014, when they passed an ordinance forbidding anyone from feeding deer within the city limits... approval required several more steps before it would officially be put into effect... The next step is obtaining public comment...

 ... Based on strong results from the feeding exclosure trial, electrified pavement appears to have potential as an effective tool to reduce ungulate access to roadways when deployed at wider dimensions. Moreover, the material may offer a mitigation option for locations unsuitable for double cattle guards and wildlife guards, such as at end points in wildlife exclusion fencing and/or across roads with annual average daily traffic of greater than 500 vehicles...

Mule deer populations thriving in Utah February 15, 2016 St George Utah 
... Surveys after last fall’s hunts found a statewide average of 23 bucks per 100 does on general season units that consist almost entirely of public land. In the early 1990s, the statewide average was 8 bucks per 100 does...

Local mule deer foundation chapter to hold fundraising banquet February 15, 2016 Utah, Cache Valley Daily
... Down in Bountiful, they've built houses up on the mountain so far now that all those homes are in the mule deer's winter range. So they come down and eat the lady's bushes because that's where they used to come down to when the snow was high in the mountains ...

'Controversial' Antelope Island mule deer permit sells for world record $410K bid February 13, 2016 Utah, KSL 
... The coveted Antelope Island State Park mule deer permit was the last item to sell at Friday night's auction and went for an astounding $410,000, becoming the new world record for the most money paid for a mule deer hunting permit....

Endangered Mexican gray wolves could be introduced to Utah February 12, 2016 Utah, Universe.byu.edu
... The Federal government proposed to release a subspecies of wolf in southern Utah and Colorado. This has raised concerns among local ranchers and the Utah Farm Bureau.  Conversely, wildlife advocates are fighting to introduce the Mexican gray wolf into Utah. The Mexican wolf is a threatened species found in the Southwest region of the United States ...

NASA Satellites Aid USU Ecologist in Mapping Seasons, Deer Reproduction February 11, 2016 Utah State Today - Utah State University News
... findings from a NASA-funded study using satellite imagery to explain mule deer demography from the White Mountains of central Arizona to the Wasatch Range of northern Utah in the Feb. 5, 2016, issue of PLOS ONE... deer at higher latitudes may experience harsher winters, but have longer access to emergent vegetation, giving them a more sustained and consistent food supply during the sensitive birth-to-weaning period...

Deer collisions on the rise February 11, 2016 Utah, St. George Daily Spectrum
... In order to combat the increasing numbers, DWR has worked with the Utah Department of Transportation to construct deer-proof fences along Interstate 15. Underpasses have also been constructed to allow a safe crossing point for the deer...

Transparency still debated around Western Hunting and Conservation Expo February 11, 2016 Utah, Ogden Standard-Examine
... The main issue voiced on numerous online forums and documented in years of public meeting minutes is an alleged lack of transparency required from those hosting the expo to make sure money raised via the sale of expo permit applications is being spent on conservation efforts...

Proposal Would Allow Motorists to Euthanize Animals if They're Severely Injured in an Auto Accident February 4, 2016 Utah, Utah Policy
... HB284 would allow a defense to cruelty to animals if, having struck and severely injured an animal, you then put the animal out of its misery in a humane manner...

Public lands hears agency reports/deer release February 3, 2016 Utah, Emery County Progress
... As many as 25 deer-sized "clover traps" are baited to catch the deer .. with the help of DWR biologists, move trapped deer into horse trailers for their trip to the southeast side of the Manti-La Sal National Forest. The areas where the deer are being released have enough forage to support the newcomers until plants in the areas green-up in the spring...deer are being radio-collared ...

... Representative Rich Cunningham, R-South Jordan, a hunter himself, questions whether these signs have any impact on vehicle collisions with deer. "There is no evidence that deer see these signs as permission to cross our highways," said Cunningham...

Deer herds doing well January 29, 2016 Utah, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources - Utah.gov
... Surveys after last fall's hunts found a statewide average of 23 bucks per 100 does... In the early 1990s, the statewide average was 8 bucks per 100 does...  355,600 deer estimated in Utah after the hunts were over in 2014...For several years, plenty of rain has fallen from spring through fall. And the winters have been mild...  allowed deer to enter the mild winters in good condition ...

Course required to hunt shed antlers January 29, 2016 Utah, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources - Utah.gov
... Gathering antlers that drop off the heads of deer, elk and moose is an activity that's grown in popularity across the country ... The Antler Gathering Ethics course is available at wildlife.utah.gov/shedantler. Lane says you must complete the course if you want to gather shed antlers in Utah between Feb. 1 and April 15...

... there is little snowfall for several winters, allowing deer to stay out of residential areas and remain in their habitat, all the while propagating and increasing the herd size. Then a harsh winter comes and drives the large herd into the valley.  That means you not only look at how harsh current weather conditions are ...

Logan, Preserving undeveloped areas in valley will help deer January 22, 2016 Utah, The Herald Journal
... They study found ... Deer received few benefits by spending their winter in the city. The few deer that remained in Logan the entire year produced no fawns, while those migrating to the mountains produced half as many fawns per doe as the deer tagged in rural areas near Richmond. The suggested reason is that deer within city limits must spend the day concealed and only forage at night, while deer in rural areas can feed throughout the day...

... The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has made several arrests in connection with two deer-poaching cases in Tooele and Emery counties... The deer poached include bucks, does and fawns that were all shot and left to waste ...
     Juveniles in Emery, Tooele counties nabbed in deer poaching cases January 21, 2016 Utah, Salt Lake Tribune
... Eight juveniles have been connected to the alleged poaching of some two dozen deer ... All the animals were left to rot where they died...

Preventing deer damage on property January 15, 2016 Utah, Daily Herald 
... Most foothill, bench areas and valley floors are traditional wintering and foraging areas for deer. They will regularly feed on many plants used in landscaping. The most effective way to eliminate unwanted browsing by deer is to enclose the area with a fence that is at least seven-to-eight-feet high...

Utah Biologists Keeping Close Eye on Deer January 13, 2016 Ammo Land
...  If conditions get too severe, the biologists are prepared to feed the deer specially designed pellets. The pellets supplement the natural diet of the deer when the browse the deer normally eat is limited. Feeding pellets to the deer may improve the survival of some of the animals and help them make it through the winter...

Mule deer on their winter range in Utah. - January 12, 2016


Why does Utah put a price on coyotes' heads? January 12, 2016
Salt Lake Tribune
... Utah's mule deer population was about 289,000 in 2004, but it had grown to 355,000 after the 2013[4] fall deer hunt. The credit for that goes not to bounty hunting but to efforts to improve more than 1 million acres of deer habitat that began more than a decade ago...

Holladay seeing growing urban deer population January 12, 2016 Utah, KSL 
... Mayor Dahle said the wheels are in motion to assess just how bad the problem is... "Do we take the taxpayer dollars to deal with an issue that just effects a small percentage of the population?" ...

... A total of 8,192 coyotes were turned in to state wildlife officials between July 2014 and June 2015, the report shows. The $50-per-coyote program paid out a total of $409,600 during that period...

Deer Poached Near Salina December 5, 2016 Utah, Mid-Utah Radio
... In the middle of last December, a buck mule deer was found in the foothills near Salina ... calling 800-662-3337

... Unlike Leopold's vision of wildlife management guided by an ethic of respect for the intrinsic value of the land organism, we are witnessing instead an emphasis on reducing predator numbers to boost populations of deer and elk. It's all about big bucks...

... between Dec. 6 and Dec. 10, the injured deer was spotted by residents in the Shurtz Canyon area and appeared to have been shot in the abdomen. The deer was found dead on Dec. 11 and DWR was contacted... contact them at telephone 800-662-3337

DWR launches massive patrol effort December 16, 2015 Utah, Daily Herald
... in the winter, deer congregate on ranges at lower elevations. As large groups of deer bunch together, they provide poachers with an enticing target. But the deers’ behavior helps wildlife officers too: it directs them to areas where poaching will most likely happen...

Patrols protect mule deer from poachers; you can help December 13, 2015 Utah, St George Utah
... the agency has launched massive patrols across ranges where deer gather for the winter so they can protect the animals from poachers.  During the winter, deer gather in ranges at lower elevations ...

DWR collars mule deer to better assess survival rates December 11, 2015 Utah, The Herald Journal
... There are about 17,000 mule deer in the Cache unit, which includes the Wellsville Mountains, Bear River Range, Rich County and Blacksmith Fork Canyon.  
“The objective is 25,000, so we’re below, but we have been growing,” ...    “For this year, if they’re coming in in poor condition there’s not much we can do,” ...

...  in Kane Valley near Ephraim, adjacent to the Black Hill Wildlife Management Area, DWR said. A total of four does and fawns were discovered lying in a farmer's field on Nov. 11 ... shot in the head with a .22-caliber rifle, likely while they were looking into a spotlight or headlights. The animals were all left to waste ...

... Mule deer were the second-highest illegally killed species with 188 non-trophy deer and 15 trophy deer killed in 2015. In 2014, 166 non-trophy deer and nine trophy deer were illegally taken ...

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 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. About 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.   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 has been around 38 percent.

     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.  IFall 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.
     About 81,000 elk, 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.

Tweet on the timeline below using #deer #Utah

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 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