Cougar hunting and regulations
This page explains the cougar hunting-related regulations that will be in effect in Utah in 2023, after code changes in the 2023 Utah Legislative Session. This page will be updated with additional questions and answers, as needed, in the weeks and months to come.
What is the new law regarding the take of cougars in Utah?
Cougars can now be harvested year-round with a hunting or combination license. (A bag limit and the requirement for a permit have been removed.) You can also trap cougars now as well, following current trapping rules and guidelines. You will still need to salvage the pelt and skull of the harvested cougar and cannot allow those parts of the animal to waste.
However, the code change does not change the classification of cougars as protected wildlife in Utah. Harvested cougars will still need to be checked in at a DWR office or to a DWR employee within 48 hours of harvest to report it and receive a permanent possession tag.
Biologists will monitor harvest rates and determine the effects of this new hunting strategy.
When does the new law go into effect?
Starting May 3, 2023, you can begin hunting and trapping cougars with just a hunting or combination license.
Can any cougar be harvested under this new law?
People may still not legally pursue and/or harvest females with kittens or cougar kittens. Cougars with GPS collars on specific hunting units will still be protected for the duration of a research study being conducted. (See page 17 of the 2022–23 Cougar Guidebook for areas with restrictions).
Do I still need a pursuit permit to use hounds?
No, per the new legislation, a pursuit permit will not be required to pursue or harvest cougars using a hound. However, some hunting units will still be closed to hunting with dogs during the spring black bear hunt. Refer to the 2022–23 Cougar Guidebook for those specific rules.
Will I get my application fee and permit fee back for my cougar permit?
Refunds will be issued to people for their 2023 cougar limited-entry drawing application fees and their 2023 limited-entry cougar permit fees. Other permits that were sold previously, including harvest objective and spot-and-stalk permits, would not qualify for reimbursement, as those had a longer season and have likely already been utilized.
What about the points that I currently have toward a cougar permit?
Your points will not expire or be revoked and will remain on record with the DWR. However, refunds will not be provided for points earned or purchased before 2023.
Can I transfer my accrued cougar points toward another species instead?
Per rule, there is no transfer of points from one species to another species. Your cougar bonus points will remain in your profile history but are non-transferable.
Do I need a hunting or combination license to take a cougar depredating on my livestock?
Not during the first 96 hours after you discover losses due to a cougar. During that time, a producer, an immediate family member or an employee may take the cougar(s) involved. After the 96-hour period or at times when livestock aren’t present, a producer must have a hunting or combination license to take a cougar.
Can I use a snare trap to harvest a cougar?
Yes, as long as you follow all the current rules and regulations regarding trapping. See the 2022–23 Furbearer Guidebook for additional details.