On Thursday, the Utah Wildlife Board approved a decrease in the number of general-season permits for the 2021 deer hunt.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said in a press release the reason behind the decision came down to the populations of deer in the state. The current management plan includes objectives to have just over 400 thousand deer across Utah, with an estimated 314,850 deer currently in the state, according to the DWR.
“We’ve had a few drought years in Utah recently, which has a significant impact on the survival rates of deer,” DWR Big Game Coordinator Covy Jones said.
In Utah, we have the longest range-trend study in the Western U.S., and we’ve seen that having suitable habitat is crucial for maintaining or growing wildlife populations. And drought conditions can really negatively impact that habitat, which in turn affects our wildlife species.
The wildlife board approved a total of 74,025 general-season deer hunting permits for the year, a drop of 5,650 from the 2020 season.
The wildlife board also approved adding additional antlerless big game hunts to address damage to agricultural areas caused by the animals, as well as other urban deer issues within Price and Oak City, Utah.
"Antlerless deer hunts are designed to reduce depredation on private lands, tackle urban deer issues, address chronic wasting disease hot spot areas, and to help slow the decline of range conditions,” Jones said.
The full meeting can be found here.