Posted March 27, 2014, 2:21 pm
Utah's deer herds are doing well
How many hunters will be hunting big game animals in Utah this fall?
Buck deer are doing well in Utah.
Photo by Brent Stettler
You can get an early idea by reviewing recommendations from Division of Wildlife Resources biologists.
As he shared the proposals, DWR Big Game Coordinator Justin Shannon also shared some exciting news about Utah's deer herds.
Learn more, share your ideas
All of the biologists' recommendations are available online.
After you've reviewed the ideas, you can let your Regional Advisory Council members know your thoughts by attending your upcoming RAC meeting or by sending an email to them.
RAC chairs will share the input they receive with members of the Utah Wildlife Board. The board will meet in Salt Lake City on May 1 to approve permit numbers for Utah's 2014 big game hunts.
Dates, times and locations for the RAC meetings are as follows:
You can also provide your comments to your RAC via email. Email addresses for your RAC members are available online.
The group each RAC member represents (sportsman, non-consumptive, etc.) is listed under each person's email address. You should direct your email to the people on the RAC who represent your interest.
The following are the total number of permits biologists are recommending:
Deer doing well
Biologists base their hunt recommendations on deer classifications they do each year. During the classifications, biologists survey deer on their winter ranges to determine how many bucks, does and fawns are in the herds.
What the biologists found during their most recent deer classification, combined with the success general season deer hunters found in fall 2013, paint an encouraging picture:
In 2013, a total of 84,600 hunters harvested more than 25,000 bucks on general season units. In 2007, a total of 97,000 hunters harvested about 28,000 bucks on general season units.
Shannon says biologists manage 14 of Utah's 30 general season units for 15 to 17 bucks per 100 does. The remaining 16 units are managed for 18 to 20 bucks per 100 does.
"So, to be at 19 bucks per 100 does is great news for Utah's hunters," Shannon says. "It means the herds have plenty of bucks in them."
That's only 17,000 deer shy of a short-term, statewide goal of 350,000 deer. And it's the most deer in Utah since 2000, when an estimated 322,000 deer were in the state.
Part of the deer studies involve placing radio collars on does and fawns and then tracking their survival and reproductive rates.
During the first two years of the study, just over 50 percent of the radio-collared fawns survived an entire year. Over the past two years, however, the annual survival rate has jumped to almost 80 percent.
Does are also producing plenty of fawns. For example, in fall 2012, biologists found an average of 65 fawns per 100 does. That number dropped slightly in fall 2013 — 62 fawns per 100 does — but that ratio is still well within the range needed to help deer numbers grow in Utah.
Why are deer doing so well?
Shannon says several factors have combined to help Utah's deer herds:
"We're really excited," Shannon says, "but we still have work to do to reach our goal of 350,000 deer. We'll keep moving forward."
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