Want the chance to hunt big game in Utah this fall? The application period opens March 23
Salt Lake City — While the application period for Utah's big game hunts opened in January in previous years, the application period has shifted to March and April this year — and going forward — so hunters can see the proposed permit numbers prior to applying. If you're interested in getting your own locally harvested deer or elk meat this fall, be sure to take note of the important dates in the upcoming application period.
The application period opens on March 23 at 8 a.m. and runs until 11 p.m. on April 27. To be included in the drawing for the hunts, you can apply online or over the phone by calling the nearest DWR regional office.
The results of the drawing will be released on May 31. You'll be notified by email, but you can also get the drawing results online or by calling 1-800-221-0659.
Big game hunts are held in Utah for the following species:
- Bighorn sheep (desert and Rocky Mountain)
- Mountain goat
- Mule deer
"We don't have the data from the winter big game captures, the previous fall hunt harvest rates, and other big game surveys until March," DWR Wildlife Licensing Coordinator Lindy Varney said. "After we receive that data, we put together the permit recommendations for the upcoming fall big game hunting seasons. After receiving requests from the public, the DWR approved the shift in application dates from January to March so that hunters will have information about the proposed permit numbers prior to applying. Hunters can access the proposed permit numbers for each hunt unit beginning in April. This information will be available on the Utah Hunt Planner. The final permit numbers will be approved by the Utah Wildlife Board during their public board meeting on May 4."
Starting March 23, applications will be accepted for most of Utah's 2023 big game hunts. There are a few exceptions, however; permits for the state's general-season bull elk hunts won't be available until July. Permits for the general-season archery bull elk hunt go on sale July 11, the any-bull elk permits go on sale July 13, and the spike bull elk permits go on sale July 20. Permits will be sold on the DWR website, at all DWR offices and at license agent locations.
Join the Dedicated Hunter program
In addition to applying for the hunts, if you'd like a chance to hunt all of Utah's general-season deer hunts, you should consider applying for Utah's Dedicated Hunter program. You can learn more about the program, and how to join it, on the DWR website.
Utah Hunt Planner
If you're thinking about hunting in a new area — or going after a species you've never hunted before — you will likely have a lot of questions. The Utah Hunt Planner is an interactive, online map that provides valuable information from DWR biologists to help answer a lot of those questions.
The Hunt Planner provides in-depth, hunter-focused information about all of Utah's hunts. Use it when you're researching hunts you want to apply for or use it after you draw a permit for a particular hunt. You can learn the best spots to find animals, see what the terrain is like, identify blocks of public land in the unit and locate the primary access points.
Applying for a bonus point or a preference point
If you're not planning to hunt in 2023, you can still apply for a bonus point or a preference point. Earning a point increases the chance you'll draw a permit the next time you apply. Your application for a point must be received no later than 11 p.m. on April 27. However, you will also have an opportunity to apply for a bonus or preference point during the antlerless application period from June 7–22. You must have a hunting license or a combination license to apply for a bonus/preference point or a big game hunting permit.
New this year, you can also now edit your application free of charge at any time during the application period (before 11 p.m. on April 27). You will not be charged any additional fees, unless you completely withdraw your application and resubmit.
For more information about applying for a 2023 Utah big game hunting permit, see the 2023 Utah Big Game Application Guidebook or contact the nearest DWR office.