The Utah DWR is proposing that the general-season any bull elk and spike bull elk permits be moved to the big game draw system. These permits have traditionally been sold online, over the counter at DWR offices, and at a variety of retail locations. However, the elk permits have become increasingly popular with hunters.
Back in 2019, the 15,000 elk permits last 11 days before being sold out. In 2020, the 15,000 permits sold out in just eight hours the first day they were available for purchase. Then this year 17,500 elk permits sold out in just over 10 hours.
Increasing Demand of Elk Permits
The increasing demand for these permits is overwhelming the DWR’s online system and some retailer locations. As a result, the DWR would like to trail a one-year trial of moving the permits to the big game draw. This draw system is what Utah uses for most of its big game permits, from bison to general deer season.
“The increased demand for these permits has caused an overload to the license sales system for the past two years, which has led to slower processing times and a frustrating customer experience. Our current contracted sales system does well during the rest of the year, but these ‘sales days’ for the elk permits cause a buying rush that overloads the system a few days a year. We have been working with our contractor to address some of the technical issues, including pursuing a database capability expansion.”
“During this one-year trial period, we will assess the pros and cons of the current system compared to including the permits in the big game drawing. We will also work with the statewide elk committee to improve the permit process. Then, we will recommend a long-term solution in 2022 that we hope will alleviate the issues our customers have experienced in recent years.” – DWR Wildlife Licensing Coordinator Lindy Varney
This change to the general elk permits will be a fundamental change. Hunters would have to commit to buying a general elk permit early. Before this changes, hunters could wait to tell after the draw to decide whether or not to buy a general elk permit.
Three New Big Game Hunts Proposed
The DWR is also recommending three new big game hunts. Those three hunts are as follows.
- Creating a new, extended archery deer hunt in the Box Elder, West Bear River Unit. This hunt would run from Sept. 17 to Nov. 30.
- A new pronghorn muzzleloader hunt in the South Slope, Vernal Unit. This hunt would take place from Sept. 28 to Oct. 6.
- With a decision to slow the spread of CWD in northeastern Utah, the DWR is suggesting a new hunt in the area. A new late-season, limited-entry muzzleloader deer hunt in the South Slope, Myton Unit. This hunt would run from Nov. 12–27. The main goal of this hunt would be to target an older age class of bucks. Older bucks are two times as likely to contract and spread CWD.
What are your thoughts on the proposed changes to Utah’s general elk permits? Do you think these changes would work well? Let us know in the comments!