DWR Press Release
If you want to hunt bull elk in Utah this fall, it’s easy to get a permit to hunt during the general season. Just log onto wildlife.utah.gov, or visit a Division of Wildlife Resources office or your nearest Utah hunting license agent, and buy one.
A total of 30,000 rifle and muzzleloader permits went on sale July 17.
Lindy Varney, wildlife licensing coordinator for the DWR, says permits are selling fast this year, and she encourages you to get a permit as soon as you can. She also says a new option is waiting for you this year.
“For the first time ever,” she says, “you can buy a multi-season general bull elk permit. The permit allows you to hunt all three general elk hunting seasons — archery, rifle and muzzleloader. You’re still limited to taking only one bull elk, but you’ll have three seasons to take one.”
In addition to the general rifle and muzzleloader elk permits, general archery elk permits also went on sale July 17. General archery elk permits aren’t limited in number, so you’ll have no problem getting one.
You can learn more about the various general season bull elk permits in the 2018 Utah Big Game Field Regulations Guidebook. The free guidebook is available at wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks.
Two types of units
Before you buy a rifle or muzzleloader permit, you need to decide which units you want to hunt on: any-bull units, where you can take a bull of any size, or spike-only units, where only spike bulls may be taken.
If you buy an any-bull permit, you can hunt on all of the any-bull units in Utah. If you buy a spike-only permit, you can hunt on all of the spike-only units in the state.
While many hunters dream of taking a large, branch-antlered bull, Varney says a hunt on a spike-only unit provides several advantages.
“One of the neat things about hunting on a spike-only unit is the chance to hear and see big, mature bulls,” she says. “The spike-only hunts are held on the same areas where the limited-entry hunts are held. You can’t take a branch-antlered bull with a spike-only permit, but you can still experience the thrill of being near these big elk.”
The spike-only units are mostly public land, so you’ll have lots of places to hunt. And — just like taking a branch-antlered bull — taking a spike bull will provide you with lots of tasty, healthy meat.
If you’d rather hunt branch-antlered bulls on an any-bull unit, Covy Jones, big game coordinator for the DWR, says two units in the Uinta Mountains — the North Slope unit and the South Slope unit — are the most popular units in the state. “Any-bull units can be challenging places to hunt,” Jones says, “but they hold some big bulls.”
A map that shows Utah’s spike-only and any-bull units is available on pages 58 and 59 of the 2018 Utah Big Game Field Regulations Guidebook (wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks).
Utah Hunt Planner
As you prepare for the hunt, Jones encourages you to visit wildlife.utah.gov/huntplanner. That’s the url for the agency’s Utah Hunt Planner website.
As you navigate the site, you’ll find notes from the biologists who manage the units you’re thinking about hunting, general information about the units, and safety and weather information. Information about the number of bulls on the units is also given. You’ll also find maps that show the units’ boundaries, which land is public and which is private, and the various types of elk habitat on the units.
Jones says DWR biologists want you to have a great experience hunting bull elk in Utah this fall. “The experience you have is important to us,” Jones says. “We hope the information we provide on the site helps you plan one of your best elk hunts ever.”
If you have questions about hunting elk in Utah, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR’s Salt Lake City office at 801-538-4700.