Categories: EventsSoutheasternWork

Your ideas on Utah deer herds

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED why there are fewer deer than years ago? Do you have good ideas on how to reverse this trend in order to increase the herds? Southeastern regional personnel are very concerned with recovering deer herds and want your help. To facilitate this, the division will hold an open house on Wednesday, February 16, from 7 to 9 p.m.. The open house will be held at the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center, located on the CEU/USU campus at 425 N. 300 E. As you are aware, deer management has attracted lots of media attention in recent months, prompting the Utah Wildlife Board to enact sweeping changes to the traditional deer hunt.

There are many factors that contribute to the size and health of our deer herds. We want to discuss these with you. The open house has no formal agenda, presentations or speakers. Several stations will be set up around the room, with a flip chart at each table. You will have the opportunity to discuss your ideas with a division employee. Your comments will be recorded. Written comments or e-mails on the issue will be solicited. We will also answer questions about the big game application process, or on other topics you may be interested in.

This is an opportunity to talk with Division of Wildlife Resources wildlife biologists and managers. Please join us to share your ideas and concerns. We hope you will take a few minutes to visit with us at that time. If you have questions, please feel free to call our office at 435-613-3700.

Bill Bates :Bill Bates is the wildlife section chief in the Salt Lake office. While working for the DWR, he's had the chance to restore river otter populations, research endangered fish, crawl into bear dens, and transplant big game animals.

View Comments (37)

  • I agree with most of what Gus is saying. My own feelings are, for too long we have over-prescribed tags for herds that never did recover from the winter of 1993. Also, the seasons should be more staggered. Right now deer are pushed from August thru November creating a lot of stress on the animals.

    With the increased proficiency in muzzle loaders, it is no longer a primitive weapon. Accuracy at 300 yards, ability to wear camo, is not fair chase. This is just my opinion.

    One thing I do believe in is a 3 point or better restriction. It has worked for the elk herds.

  • The subject of antler point restrictions has come up several times in the responses, so I want to comment on it.

    Antler point restrictions do not produce more deer or deer with larger antlers.

    Most western states, including Utah, have tried mule deer antler restrictions, and in nearly every instance, the results were poor or counterproductive. Point restrictions resulted in a significant increase in illegal harvest of younger bucks as hunters mistakenly killed and abandoned them (it's often difficult to judge the number of points on a live buck). Antler point restrictions also cause increased hunting pressure on mature bucks, and this increased pressure results in fewer of these animals.

    Utah abandoned point restrictions after five years when we documented an increase in illegal kills, reductions in overall harvest and noticeably fewer mature bucks. Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Washington and Oregon have all experienced similar results with antler restrictions. The bottom line is that the available evidence and repeated experience with deer antler point restrictions show that these restrictions do not work.

  • Administrator, thanks for your response on point restrictions. How about a response on my comments on over prescribing tags, muzzle loaders and season schedules. I would like your input.

  • TA, I can't say I disagree with your muzzleloader comments. Montana doesn't have a separate season. If you want to hunt with a muzzle loader, you do it during the any weapon season.

    On your tag allocation comment, I think if you are referring to doe harvest, it may some validity, but as has been stated many times by division biologists, buck hunting pressure and harvest doesn't really affect population trends, one way or another, unless the specific herd/unit/region/area is being under bred due to low buck populations. Currently, Monroe, Oquirrh Stansbury, SS Bonanza are NEAR this, but to my knowledge, NONE are at the level that would be considered to running risk of does not being bred. Breeding cycles and the affect of younger bucks may be another conversation, but there isn't much out there that would lead me to believe that it is an issue. This brings me to my next thought.

    In comparison to many other naimals, mule deer are grossly under studied. DO some research and look for journals and publications regarding mule deer biology. It is VERY limited. I think the division is on the right track and putting plenty of effort into finding out these things.

    One organization to look into if one is interested in education is WAFWA.

    Lastly, I would like to encourage anyone reading this to get educated on mule deer and the way our system works in this state. I can guarantee you it will be eye opening.

    Thanks again to the division for the work you do. Hopefully someday soon you will actually be considered to the proper degree when policies are being laid out. Look into who is making decisions, who is pushing for the decisions that are being made and what you can do to change the things that are wrong with the system.


  • I think there's no deer because everyone in sal lake shoots bucks in my back yard. So let's change and have people who live in salt lake shoot them in salt lake. So Wichita ever county you live in that's where you should hunt.

  • These are the issues I would like to see addressed:

    1- Identify the five areas in the State with the highest deer vs. auto accident rates. Clearly make them as such and warn drivers with flashing lights during critical times of the year that they are entering a wildlife critical zone. Indicate the UHP will be aggressively enforcing speed limits in these areas, with increased fines similar to construction zones.

    2- Increase UDOT's fencing and wildlife migration budget.

    3- Require wildlife migration and winter range to be considered in all forms of development. Provide development incentives for developers that provide for wildlife.

    4- Increase the funding in the Agricultural Division to $750,000 for coyote control.

    5-Establish multiple buck to doe ratios that allow for individual units to be managed for lower or high buck to doe ratios. Rather than a statewide ratio. More of a social issue but would allow studies to the completed for future management ideas.

    6- Within 5 years establish adult doe survival and fawn recruitment criteria to pair with buck to doe ratios in determining hunt tag numbers in the respective units.

    7- Continue to manage cougars and bears at the moderate level where appropriate.

    8-Require the DWR to publish and make available on-line a yearly audit of all conservation tags and convention tags. The audit should include a list of tags for each organization. Where and when the tag was sold or how it was handled. The name of the person that received the tag. The money or in kind funds received by the organization. And, a clear and complete accounting of what projects or expenses the funds were used to complete, not just a lump sum project total or expense total. Hopefully more money on the ground for habitat, or at least calm the arguing.

    9- Eliminate all doe harvest on public land in units that are under objective or which boundaries touch a unit that is under objective.

  • If you want more deer with more quality bucks ask the people on the Jicarilla. Its not hard ....... control the things that kill deer.... cars, predators, hunters! The Jicarilla deer hurd was down to nothing..... solution stop hunting for 5 yrs, control predators and very limited hunting, its that simple people.Here in Colorado our deer hurds were a joke and still are but has improved when the draw was put in. Cannot contiue to over hunt these animals... its all about the MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOu can get the deer back easily, just stop over hunting them, but if that happens where will the MONEY come from. ITs all about the MONEY! Send 500 hunters into the Henry Mountains and see what happens to the deeer hurd!

  • Sorav,

    See what happens to the deer herd, or the buck population? My guess is the deer herd won't be affected, but the buck to doe ratio will drop and Henry's conservation tags and governor's tag won't sell for 90k-200k. Other than that, I think the deer herd will be fine. With a population estimate of 1200, 500 tags would likely yield a harvest 100-150 bucks, You'd still have well over a 20/100 buck to doe ratio post season. (This is an estimate based on harvest statistics, population estimates and is speculation)

    I've hunted 2C next to the Jic and the deer population is far from impressive, but the buck size and relative buck quantity is. Not to mention the Jic is close to impossible and over 20k to get a tag. Is that where we want our general season deer hunting to go?

    Again, more bucks doesn't equal more deer, especially if the area is at or near capacity, like many bios contend we are at.

    And, your Colorado deer herds are declining at similar rates to Utah.

    Tip of the day - Facts, not conjecture.

  • We sure have a lot of difrent ideas here. We cant realy know for sure if something works or not unless we try it, so long as it is reasonable. Mabe try a few of the better more sound ideas in different places and watch them closesly.
    One thing for sure is deer dying decreases the amount of deer and they die in a variety of different ways some it maybe traffic others it may be predators or lack of food. I live in Washington County and l see so many deer right intown neer the virgin river with busy roads all around them, but the have plenty of water and food. Another area I see a lot of deer is between veyo and enterprise resivor where there are no paved roads but very little water. I guess wht im getting at is the answer may be different in different places. I personally would like to know where coyotes are the biggest problem I enjoy hunting them but would like to know where I would be doing the most good.
    This needs to be a joint effort. We all want more deer so lets not argue. Instead take all ideas in to thought and be effective.