Rule change expands hunting opportunities in Utah State Parks
News News
Hunter with binoculars

Rule change expands hunting opportunities in Utah State Parks

Hunter with binoculars
Hunter with binoculars

Salt Lake City — In an effort to increase consistency and to allow for multiple land use, the Utah State Parks Board recently passed a new rule that allows for expanded hunting opportunities within state parks.

The new rule was approved on Nov. 1, 2019, during the quarterly board meeting, and goes into effect Monday, Feb. 24. The rule previously stated that all state parks were closed to hunting unless it was specifically designated that hunting was allowed. The new rule expands hunting opportunities by denoting that all parks are open to hunting unless specifically designated as being closed.

"Our parks are legislated to provide multiple uses on these public lands, and one of those uses includes hunting," Utah State Parks Deputy Director Dave Harris said. "Many of our parks have been open to hunting since the agency was created in 1957. But when Echo became a state park last year, we realized that, despite hunting previously being allowed in that area, because of the restrictive way the rule was written, we couldn't allow hunting there until the rule was changed."

Previously, hunting was prohibited in 30 state parks and was limited to specific types of hunting in 13 other parks, with only one park open to all hunting. Under the new rule, hunting is prohibited in only 15 parks, with six parks limited to specific types of hunting. Now, 23 state parks are open to all hunting.

"For example, under our previous rule, East Canyon State Park was only open to hunting upland game, but now it is open to all hunting," Harris said. "However, it should be noted that in parks that are open to hunting, all state and federal laws, DWR rules and local county and city ordinances regulating hunting, weapons and shooting apply within the park boundaries."

Some bodies of water such as Utah Lake and the Great Salt Lake are open to hunting; however, the actual state park area is closed to hunting. The state park property boundaries can be found on the Utah Hunt Planner on the DWR website.

State law prohibits the discharge of a firearm or weapon:

  • From an automobile or other vehicle
  • From, upon or across a highway
  • Within a Utah State Park building
  • In a designated camp or picnic site
  • At overlooks, golf courses, boat ramps or developed beaches
  • Within 600 feet of a house, dwelling or any other building, without the written permission of the owner

Here is a breakdown of what each of the 44 state parks allow in regards to hunting:

 Park Name Waterfowl Hunting Allowed Big Game and Upland Game Hunting Allowed
Anasazi State Park Museum No No
Antelope Island State Park No Big game only: Special permit required
Bear Lake State Park Yes Yes
Camp Floyd State Park Museum No No
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park Yes Yes
Dead Horse Point State Park Yes, below the canyon rim Yes, below the canyon rim
Deer Creek State Park Yes Yes
East Canyon State Park Yes Yes
Echo State Park Yes Yes
Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum No No
Escalante Petrified Forest State Park Yes Yes
Flight Park State Recreation Area No No
Fred Hayes State Park at Starvation Yes Yes
Fremont Indian State Park and Museum Yes Yes
Frontier Homestead State Park Museum No No
Goblin Valley State Park Yes, except south of East Wildhorse Road Yes, except south of East Wildhorse Road
Goosenecks State Park No No
Great Salt Lake State Park No No
Green River State Park and Golf Course No No
Gunlock State Park Yes Yes
Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail State Park No No
Huntington State Park Yes No
Hyrum Lake State Park Yes Yes
Jordanelle State Park Yes Yes
Jordan River Off-Highway Vehicle State Park No No
Kodachrome Basin State Park Yes Yes
Millsite State Park Yes No
Otter Creek State Park Yes No
Palisade State Park Yes Yes, but archery only for big game
Piute State Park Yes No
Quail Creek State Park Yes Yes
Red Fleet State Park Yes Yes
Rockport State Park Yes Yes
Sand Hollow State Park Yes No
Scofield State Park Yes Yes
Snow Canyon State Park No No
Steinaker State Park Yes Yes
Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum No No
This is the Place Heritage Park No No
Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum No No
Utah Lake State Park No No
Wasatch Mountain State Park Yes Yes
Willard Bay State Park Yes Yes
Yuba State Park Yes Yes

“Hunting is a great way for people to get outdoors and to obtain locally sourced meat, so we are excited about this rule change that allows for those expanded opportunities on public lands,” Justin Shannon, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources wildlife section chief, said.

Quick links
Lee Kay and Cache Valley Shooting Centers
» Shooting centers
Wildlife Blog: Views from DWR employees
» Wildlife Blog
Report poachers — 1-800-662-3337
» Report poachers
Wildlife dates
» Important dates
Hunter, angler mobile app
Hunter Education: Sign up for classes
» Hunter education