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Utah DWR proposes changes to elk hunt permit process

Nov 2, 2021, 3:31 PM
elk hunt permit...
FILE: Bull elk in northern Utah, 2016. Photo credit: Jim Schuler

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources wants to change the process to get an elk hunt permit in Utah. They want to add general-season elk permits to the big game drawing, for one year only.

The reason? Increasing demand for a Utah elk hunt permit and the technical problems caused by the demand.

“The increased demand for these permits has caused an overload to the license sales system for the past two years,” said DWR Wildlife Licensing Coordinator Lindy Varney in a statement, “which has led to slower processing times and a frustrating customer experience.

“Our current contracted sales system does well during the rest of the year, but these ‘sales days’ for the elk permits causes a buying rush that overloads the system a few days a year.”

Elk hunt permit changes address demand, technical issues

Varney said that they’ve asked for an update to the database that expands its capabilities. But in the interim, they want to include the general-season “any bull elk and spike elk” permits in the big game drawing.

This would replace selling the permits online or over the counter, the typical way hunters obtain these permits. Varney said that in a way, this new proposal is an experiment.

“We will assess the pros and cons of the current system compared to including the permits in the big game drawing,” Varney said. “We will also work with the statewide elk committee to improve the permit process. Then, we will recommend a long-term solution in 2022.”

The Utah DWR wants to leave in place recommendations for a five-day extension on the archery any-bull elk hunt. The public recommended those changes, which DWR approved last year for a two-year period.

Other proposed changes by the DWR

The DWR said it will request another three-year recommendation cycle for waterfowl hunting regulations. Blair Stringham, Migratory Game Bird Program Coordinator, explained that while COVID-19 did impact the agency’s ability to survey some waterfowl populations in 2020, those numbers generally remain steady from year to year.

Stringham said they will make recommendations using the most liberal options for bag limits made available by the US Fish and Wildlife Service

Maximum-point permit allocation recommendation

The DWR will propose a change to the permit allocation for maximum-point applicants. To move more maximum-point applicants through the drawing system, the DWR said it would recommend increasing the percentage offered to maximum-point applicants to 60%. 

Public input requested

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources welcomes and relies upon public comment for any proposed changes. During November, Utah’s five Regional Advisory Councils will meet and those meetings may be attended by the public either in person or electronically.

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Utah DWR proposes changes to elk hunt permit process