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Wildlife Board approves changes for 2013 big game hunts

SALT LAKE CITY — If they've passed Hunter Education — and have a bow and arrow — those 18 years old and younger are guaranteed a chance to hunt buck deer in Utah next fall.

Hunters 18 years old and younger are guaranteed a chance to hunt buck deer with a bow and arrow in 2013.

Hunters 18 years old and younger are guaranteed a chance to hunt buck deer with a bow and arrow in 2013.

Photo by Dan Thurgood

On Dec. 6, members of the Utah Wildlife Board approved an unlimited number of special youth archery permits. The permits are valid for Utah's 2013 general archery buck deer hunt.

If young hunters don't draw an archery, muzzleloader or rifle deer permit in the 2013 big game draw, they can buy a youth general archery deer permit — for the unit of their choice — starting in July.

Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says giving young hunters this chance doesn't take anything away from adult hunters. "The youth permits are additional permits," he says. "They'll be offered above the regular archery permit cap."

The number of additional permits for each unit will be based on the number of archery permits available for each unit in the draw. On each unit, the number of additional permits cannot be more than 20 percent of the number of archery permits offered for that unit in the draw. For example, if 500 archery permits are available for a specific unit in the draw, not more than 100 additional permits — 20 percent of the total — can be offered to youth for that unit.

Aoude says youth archery permits were not available in 2012. They were available in 2011, though. About 450 youth took advantage of the opportunity and bought a permit in 2011.

Elk unit changes

In addition to approving the youth archery permits, the board also changed two limited-entry bull elk units — the Fillmore, Oak Creek South and the portion of the Beaver that's west of Interstate 15 — to general any-bull elk units.

Aoude says neither unit has great elk habitat. And most of the elk on the two areas are found on private land. "For those reasons," he says, "the units don't give hunters the type of hunting experience most of them want on a limited-entry unit."

2013 big game guidebooks

All of the big game rules the board approved on Dec. 6 will be available in two guidebooks.

The 2013 Utah Big Game Application Guidebook will be available in January. The 2013 Utah Big Game Field Regulations Guidebook will be available next summer.

When they're available, you can download the guidebooks online.

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