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Water for wildlife

Utah has almost 900 guzzlers throughout the state.

Michael "Mike" Canning serves as the Division's assistant director and has spent most of his career working on wildlife habitat and land management issues. Prior to becoming assistant director, Mike worked as GIS Coordinator and Habitat Section chief.

WITH UTAH BEING such a dry state, there are many areas that cannot sustain healthy wildlife populations, simply due to lack of water. These areas often contain the food, cover and other items necessary for wildlife to thrive, but wildlife do not use them because water is such a limiting factor.

To resolve this problem and open up new areas for wildlife, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR), sportsmen and sportswomen, agricultural producers and state and federal land management agencies are working together to install man-made water sources (often called “guzzlers”) in the locations where they are needed most.

Although there are many types of designs, a guzzler typically consists of three major parts:

A big game guzzler installed on DWR land in the Book Cliffs to benefit deer, elk and bison. This area lacks summertime water, which limited wildlife use.

1) a large “apron” (often made of metal) that collects rainwater during storm events

2) a storage tank that holds the water

3) a drinker or trough where wildlife can access the water

There are guzzlers built specifically for large animals, such as deer, elk, bison, bighorn sheep and livestock, and there are also upland game guzzlers built specifically for birds such as chukar or Gambel’s quail. In addition to the target species, guzzlers provide water to numerous other wildlife species as well.

General locations of guzzlers are shown in this map. (Click to make larger.)

The UDWR is currently aware of almost 900 guzzlers throughout the state. The exact locations of these guzzlers are not published in order to provide some protection to the animals that use them, but general locations of the guzzlers are shown in this map below.

As you can see, most of the guzzlers are located in the driest parts of the state.

In addition to these existing guzzlers, UDWR, land management agencies and numerous wildlife conservation groups have contributed the labor and funding needed to install 17 new upland game guzzlers and 28 new big game guzzlers during the next year.

Expanded wildlife populations benefit Utah’s hunters, wildlife watchers and the public at large by enhancing the quality of life in our state. Guzzlers are vital components of these wildlife expansion efforts, and Utah is lucky to have the partnerships in place to continue installing new guzzlers in the most crucial areas.

3 Responses to Water for wildlife

  1. Went to an old guzzler that was on ON X hunt maps at the top of Harmon Canyon and it was dry repeat NO Water. What good are they!

  2. I think this is a great deal they work well when we get moisture and the water in these last a long time unless the cattle get into them then their empty in just a few days

    my question is if you guys are protecting the wildlife why is the wildlife biologist showing them pics on are dime and sending them to his family when they draw a tag and showing them where the guzzler are at and when ask he tells people it’s the perks of the trade don’t you think if you do for one you do for all just saying I don’t think that’s fair at all

    anyway keep up the good work I really appreciate what you do for wildlife

  3. Could possibly apply some pressure to usfs to maintain spring source troughs paid for by grazing fees that benefit livestock and wildlife. I know of several on Manti Lasal that are in horrid condition. In need of repiping to keep water above ground. Could provide huge benefits to wildlife with minimal investment. Much more reliable water source during extended dry summer months and would promote wider range of forage utilization.
    Is usfs admin preventing maintainance of these troughs to deter livestock grazing?

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