Rifle Deer Hunt Opens Oct. 21 population trend October 11, 2017 Utah,

Utah Deer Population, Management News and Information Archive

Beautiful fall colors, good numbers of deer await hunters - Utah.gov

Utah's most popular hunt — the general rifle buck deer hunt — kicks off Oct. 21. More than 60,000 hunters, along with their families and friends, will be in Utah's backcountry, relaxing, enjoying the fall colors and looking for that elusive mule deer buck.

Plenty of buck mule deer should be available during this year's general rifle buck deer hunt. Utah's most popular hunt starts Oct. 21.

Photo courtesy of Jim Shuler

Initial, scattered reports from hunters and conservation officers with the Division of Wildlife Resources during the general archery deer hunt in August and September, and the general muzzleloader hunt in late September, indicate buck numbers might be down a bit in certain parts of the state. Good numbers of deer — especially older, mature bucks — are still available, though.

This past winter, deep snow and bitter cold gripped parts of northern and northeastern Utah. The hardest hit areas were the Cache hunting unit in northern Utah and the South Slope unit in northeastern Utah.

To try to help deer in the areas, DWR biologists started an emergency feeding program. Despite the supplemental feeding, between 70 and 90 percent of the fawns born during spring 2016 died. For that reason, members of the Utah Wildlife Board lowered the number of hunting permits available for those units this fall.

"Hunters probably won't see many one-year-old bucks on those units," says Justin Shannon, Wildlife Section chief for the DWR. "Some older bucks should still be available, though."

Shannon also has good news to share: the number of bucks per 100 does is at or above objective for every deer hunting unit in Utah. "Last year's buck deer hunt was the best we've had in decades," he says. "I think success will be down a bit this year, but I still expect a really good hunt."

Photo courtesy of Jim Shuler

The 2016 success rate will be hard to beat. In 2016, a total of 87,000 hunters took a combined total of 32,000 bucks during the general archery, muzzleloader and rifle hunts. That's the most deer taken since 1996, when 104,000 hunters took a combined total of 33,000 bucks during the three hunts.

During the 2016 hunt, though, 17,000 fewer hunters were in the field. "The success rate for 2016 was 37 percent," Shannon says, "compared to 32 percent for the 1996 hunt."

Six tips for having a successful rifle deer hunt in Utah October 17, 2017 Utah, InstantEncore
... buck numbers may be down a bit, according to the Division of Wildlife Resources... especially true in parts of northern and northeastern Utah, especially the Cache hunting in northern Utah and the South Slope unit in northeastern Utah...  the number of bucks per does is at or above the objective for every Utah unit and last year’s hunt was the best in decades..,

... Drought conditions followed by above-average winter snowfall took a tool on deer, particularly young animals... State biologists tracking deer estimated a population of 375,000 in January, compared to 385,000 in January 2016... The state manages for between 15 and 20 bucks per 100 does in herds. After last year’s hunt, the state ratio was 21 bucks to 100 does ..,

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