OUTDOORS + RECREATION

DWR provides archery safety reminders ahead of fall hunt

Aug 3, 2023, 3:30 PM

An archery target with arrows sticking out. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has provided so...

Shooting on an archery range can increase the chance you take a deer or elk when Utah's general archery hunts start Aug. 19. (Mike Christiensen/Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

(Mike Christiensen/Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has provided some archery safety reminders for the upcoming fall hunting season. 

“We want to reiterate to people that hunting is a great pass time, it’s kind of a tradition here in the state, and it’s something we want to see continue for generations (so) that families can get outside and enjoy this unique recreational activity together,” said Faith Heaton-Jolley, a spokesperson for the Utah DWR. 

The general-season buck deer archery hunt, general spike, and any-bull elk archery hunts are approaching. They are the first big game hunts of the season, and they begin Saturday, August 19. 

Archery hunting doesn’t involve firearms, but it does present some unique risks, said the DWR. The division is reminding hunters to take proper preparation and safety measures. 

“(We want to make) sure that people are keeping in mind to have those good ethics and hunt responsibly, know the laws before they go out, make sure they’re doing their research, (and) that they’re prepared so they can have a great and safe hunt,” said Heaton Jolley.

Archery safety 

Hunters should never take a shot that is beyond the range they are comfortable shooting. Before they release the arrow, hunters should be sure of their target, and what is behind it. 

The DWR said to never shoot where there is a road in the background. “You want to be able to identify the animal, know exactly what species … what it is that you’re shooting at, and then you want to know there is some kind of backdrop behind that animal as well, just in the event that you happen to miss and you don’t hit your target,” said Heaton Jolley. 

The division takes violations that can affect public safety very seriously. If hunters are caught violating them, they could receive misdemeanor charges, and if someone is injured, they could face a felony. 

Hunters should be aware of their tree stand’s weight rating. They should ensure that it will support them and their equipment. 

Factoring in the weight of equipment can ensure the stability of a tree stand, said Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Hunter Education Program Manager RaLynne Takeda. Unstable tree stands can create a greater risk of falls. 

Hunters should wear a fall arrest system when they are climbing. They should remain attached to the harness until they are back on the ground. 

Equipment should not be carried while climbing. The DWR says it should be transported up a tree using a haul line after the hunter has finished their ascent. 

The DWR reminded hunters that it is illegal to build a tree stand on land managed by the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management. In these areas, portable stands must be used. 

Ethics and preparation

Hunters can take the DWR’s bowhunter education class online or in a classroom. While it is not required, it is a helpful resource for hunters of all skill levels. 

The online course teaches bowhunting safety, ethics, and hunting methods, among other topics. 

It is important that hunting ethics are followed. Good hunting ethics include respecting the landscape, not trespassing, and practicing fair chase, said Heaton Jolley. 

Practicing fair chase means that a hunter is giving an animal a fair opportunity to escape. “(Make sure) they’re not pinned in a corner by a fence (then shot,)” said Heaton Jolley. 

A new requirement for 2023

A new requirement this year is that if hunters harvest an animal, they must harvest the meat from the front quarters above the knee, hind quarters above the hocks, along the backbone, and the loins and tenderloins. 

Adequate harvesting is part of good hunting ethics. “You use all the parts of the animal that you harvest so you’re not being wasteful,” Heaton Jolley said.   

Hunters should know the regulations before they begin. They can obtain a free copy of the 2023 Utah Big Game Field Regulations Guidebook at any DWR office or on the DWR website. 

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DWR provides archery safety reminders ahead of fall hunt