Hunt drawing and surrender changes in 2020
Understand the changes so you don’t lose bonus/preference points
Many of you have questions about hunting permit changes that will go into effect this year. This page addresses the most common concerns. Some changes apply to all hunts — please read those first — while others are specific to certain species. This information is subject to change and may be updated at any time. We encourage you to check back on a regular basis for the latest updates.
Changes that affect all hunting permits
If there’s any chance you might not hunt, surrender the permit to the DWR as soon as possible. Important: If you surrender a permit less than 30 days before the hunt opening date, you will lose all previously acquired bonus/preference points for that species, and you will not accrue a point for the current year.
If you surrender a permit at least 30 days before the start of the season, you’ll get all of your previously accrued bonus or preference points for that species/permit back, but you will not earn a point for the current year. Any applicable waiting period will be waived as long as you surrender the permit before the hunt opening date.
If you’re part of a group, all group members must surrender their permits at least 30 days before the hunt opening date in order to have their previously acquired bonus/preference points reinstated. They will not accrue points for the current year. Important: If any member of the group surrenders their permit less than 30 days before the hunt date, then all group members will lose their bonus/preference points for that species/permit. Any applicable waiting period will be waived so long as the permit is surrendered before the hunt opening date.
If you are surrendering a permit for medical reasons, you must provide verification of illness or injury from a physician, and it must be on the physician’s office letterhead. The physician’s statement must include all of the following information:
- The nature and date of the illness/injury
- Why the illness/injury prevents you from hunting
- The last date the physician treated you
- The patient’s name and date of birth
- The physician’s signature and the date of signing
If you are also seeking a refund for the permit you cannot use due illness/injury, please see the Refunds section of the DWR website and complete the refund application form as well as the permit surrender form.
The changes to the surrender rules were necessary because too many people were abusing the old system. DWR personnel looked closely at many years of data and found that quite a few people would wait until the day before the hunt to surrender their permits. When that happened, we had no time to reallocate the permits to other hunters. (In 2018, 13% of all limited-entry and once-in-a-lifetime permits were surrendered, and many of those came in right before the hunt. A total of 408 hunting permits could not be reallocated.)
The DWR does not usually issue refunds for permits, licenses or certificates of registration. There are some exceptions, however, and refunds can occur under certain circumstances (for example, military deployment, illness, injury or death). Starting in 2020, if you are eligible for a refund, you must submit all required forms and accompanying paperwork within 90 days of the season ending in order to qualify for a full refund. If it is a limited-entry permit or once-in-a-lifetime permit — and you surrender it 30 days or more before the season opens — you will be refunded the cost of the permit, minus a $25 handling fee. See if you're eligible and download the refund request form.
If you are unable to use a CWMU permit you drew in one of the hunt drawings, you can choose to surrender it. In order to have your previously acquired bonus/preference points reinstated, you must do all of the following:
- Surrender the permit no later than 30 days before the hunt dates given to you by the CWMU operator. (You will not accrue a point for the current year.)
- You must also provide a notarized statement from the operator with your hunt dates, or the original email/paperwork from the operator which lists your hunt dates.
Important: If you are surrendering less than 30 days before your given hunt dates due to injury/illness, death or military deployment, you must provide one of the operator document options listed above in #2, in addition to the required refund paperwork.
Changes that affect big game permits
If you purchase any general-season buck deer permit that’s available after the big game drawing, you will lose any preference points you have for general-season buck deer. Important: This change does not apply to youth who purchase over-the-counter youth archery permits that go on sale July 21, 2020.
Yes. Starting in 2020, if you draw or purchase a limited-entry buck deer permit, your waiting period will be five years, instead of two years. This increase will make the waiting period for limited-entry deer consistent with that of limited-entry elk. Important: If you’re already in the middle of a two-year waiting period for limited-entry buck deer in 2020, your waiting period will be grandfathered in and will not increase to five years.
You can apply online for Utah’s 2020 big game hunts from 8 a.m. on Jan. 30, 2020 until 11 p.m. on March 5, 2020. The results of the big game hunt drawing will be available on or before May 29, 2020.
Yes, you can apply for both online from 8 a.m. on Jan. 30, 2020 until 11 p.m. on March 5, 2020.
Yes. Starting this year, you can submit a group application for bonus points during the big game application period (Jan. 30–March 5, 2020).
Starting in 2020, up to four youth may apply together in a group for the youth any bull elk hunt. For details and to learn about more opportunities for youth, see pages 30–31 of the 2020 Utah Big Game Application Guidebook.
Because management buck deer hunts have been segmented into multiple weapon types in recent years, there will no longer be permit quotas allocated to youth and to individuals who are 65 and older.