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Utah Big Game Hunting: Age and Accompaniment Regulations

Eligibility Criteria for Young Hunters

In Utah, aspiring big game hunters must be aware of specific age-related regulations before applying for permits. The legal age for hunting big game, as stipulated in Utah Code § 23-19-22, is a minimum of 12 years. However, there are several considerations for younger hunters:

  • 11-Year-Old Applicants: Those who are 11 years old can apply for big game permits, including limited-entry and once-in-a-lifetime permits. The condition is that they must turn 12 by December 31, 2023. Until reaching the age of 12, they are not permitted to hunt.

  • Utah Hunter Mentoring Program: This program is available for hunters under 18. More information about this opportunity, which allows for guided and educational hunting experiences, can be found on page 36 of the provided guide or at wildlife.utah.gov/mentoring.

  • Trial Hunting Program: Hunters aged 12 and older are eligible to participate in this program, designed to offer practical hunting experience under supervision.

Adult Supervision Requirements

Utah Code § 23-20-20 mandates strict supervision rules for young hunters:

  • Supervision for Hunters Under 16: Any hunter below 16 must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or an adult (21 years or older) authorized by the parent or guardian. This rule is crucial to ensure the safety and proper guidance of young hunters.

  • Proximity and Communication: The supervising adult must remain within a distance that allows for direct visual contact and verbal communication with the young hunter. The use of electronic communication devices, such as walkie-talkies or cell phones, is not sufficient to meet this requirement.

  • Knowledge of Hunter Education: The Division recommends that accompanying adults be familiar with hunter education guidelines or complete a hunter education course. This knowledge is vital for ensuring a safe and ethical hunting experience.

Hunter Education Requirements in Utah

Mandatory Hunter Education for Eligible Hunters

In Utah, adhering to hunter education requirements is crucial for those planning to engage in hunting activities. According to Utah Code § 23-19-11 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-23, there are specific guidelines:

  • Birthdate Criteria: If you were born after December 31, 1965, you must have completed a hunter education course recognized by the Division to be eligible to apply for or obtain any hunting license or a big game permit.

  • Trial Hunting Program Exception: The only exception to this mandate is for individuals participating in the Division’s Trial Hunting Program. Further information about this program is accessible at wildlife.utah.gov/trial.

Proof of Completion

  • Hunter Education Card: Successful completion of the hunter education course is evidenced by obtaining a “blue card” in Utah, or having a verified hunter education number on file with the Division.

Enrolling in Hunter Education

  • Registration Process: To enroll in a hunter education course, visit wildlife.utah.gov/huntereducation. This site provides links to both traditional and online courses. Registration for a course and obtaining a hunter education registration certificate (which is mandatory) can be done online.

  • Assistance: For help, contact your local Division office or call 801-538-4727.

  • Course Completion and Permits: Once the course is completed and the instructor verifies your completion, you can apply for or obtain permits in the Division’s hunt drawing. Your hunter education registration certificate will then serve as your hunting license.

  • Receiving the Blue Card: Expect to receive your blue card by mail within four to six weeks after completing the course.

Licensing Requirements for Big Game Hunting in Utah

Essential Licensing for Big Game Permits

Under Utah law, specifically Utah Code §§ 23-19-1, 23-19-22, and 23-20-3, there are clear requirements regarding hunting licenses:

  • Mandatory License: Before you can apply for any big game permits, bonus points, or preference points, it is mandatory to have a current Utah hunting license or a combination license (which includes hunting and fishing).

  • Where to Obtain: Licenses can be acquired online at wildlife.utah.gov, from licensed agents, or directly from Division offices.

License Validity and Application Period

  • Check Your License Expiry Date: It's vital to check the expiration date on your license before applying for any permits or points.

  • Validity During Application: If your license is valid on the date you submit your application, there's no need to purchase a new license for the actual hunt. This rule offers flexibility and convenience in planning your hunting activities.

    • Example: Suppose your license expires on June 21, 2023. If you apply for a permit before this date, you won’t need a new license for your fall hunt.
  • License Duration: All hunting and combination licenses are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. This one-year validity provides ample opportunity for hunters to plan and participate in various hunting seasons throughout the year.

Understanding Utah's Big Game Hunt Permit Requirements

Utah Admin. Rule R657-62-18: A Guide to Obtaining Your Hunting Permit

If you're gearing up for big game hunting in Utah, securing a hunting permit is not just a recommendation - it's a requirement. As per Utah Admin. Rule R657-62-18, every hunter participating in the state's big game hunts must have a valid hunting permit. Navigating this process is crucial for a legal and ethical hunting experience.

Key Points for Utah Big Game Hunting Permits

  1. Mandatory Permit: Participation in any of Utah’s big game hunts, including deer, elk, and others, mandates a hunting permit. This rule is strictly enforced to regulate game populations and ensure sustainable hunting practices.

  2. Application Process: The primary method to obtain these permits is through Utah's big game hunt drawing. This lottery-like system is designed to distribute permits fairly and manage wildlife effectively.

  3. Application Window: For 2023, mark your calendars for the application period, which runs from March 23 to April 27. Missing this deadline means waiting another year, so prompt action is essential.

  4. How to Apply: Visit wildlife.utah.gov within the application period. The website offers comprehensive guidance on the application process, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience.

  5. Eligibility Criteria: Check for specific requirements before applying. These may include age limits, completion of hunter education courses, and other prerequisites depending on the game species.

  6. Result Announcement and Further Steps: Once the application period concludes, results are announced. Successful applicants can gear up for their hunting adventure, while those not selected can explore other options like over-the-counter permits for different hunts.

  7. Stay Updated: Wildlife regulations and application dates can change. Regularly visiting Utah’s wildlife website and subscribing to updates ensures you stay informed about the latest hunting regulations and opportunities.

Big Game Permit Regulations in Utah

Carrying Your Permit While Hunting

According to Utah Administrative Rule R657-62-18, there are crucial rules regarding big game permits:

  • Mandatory Possession: If you have been successful in obtaining a big game permit, it is mandatory to carry it with you at all times while hunting. This rule is strictly enforced to ensure legal compliance and proper identification during your hunting activities.

Restrictions on Permit Usage

  • No Alterations: It is prohibited to alter your hunting license or big game permit in any way. Alterations can include any changes to the information or appearance of the license or permit.

  • No Unauthorized Sharing: Selling, transferring, or loaning your license or permit to another person is strictly forbidden. This rule ensures that permits are used only by the individuals to whom they were issued, maintaining the integrity of hunting regulations and wildlife management.

Compliance and Enforcement

  • Enforcement: Wildlife officers may require you to present your permit during hunting activities. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in penalties, including fines or revocation of hunting privileges.

  • Responsibility of the Hunter: As a hunter, it's your responsibility to understand and adhere to these regulations. Carrying your permit and ensuring it remains unaltered and in your possession are critical aspects of responsible hunting.

Overview of Big Game Hunts in Utah

Utah’s Rich Big Game Hunting Opportunities

Utah is renowned for offering a variety of big game hunts each year, catering to a wide range of hunting preferences. Depending on the permit acquired, hunters can pursue different species using various weapons. The available species include:

  • Deer
  • Elk
  • Pronghorn
  • Bison
  • Bighorn Sheep
  • Moose
  • Mountain Goat

Specifics of Buck Deer Hunting in Utah

Utah Deer Hunting Laws & Regulations

Hunter Orange Regulations

  • Utah Code § 23-20-31 Compliance: Wearing hunter orange is a critical safety requirement in Utah. However, there are exceptions:
    • Archery and muzzleloader general-season deer hunters are exempt from wearing hunter orange, except when there are concurrent general-season hunts for any legal weapon buck deer or bull elk in the same area.
    • Additional details and specific requirements can be found on page 42 of the hunting guide.

Special Restrictions

  • Area-Specific Regulations: Certain areas in Utah may be closed to hunting or have special restrictions for buck deer hunts. It is essential to be aware of these area-specific rules to ensure compliance.
    • A comprehensive list of these areas with their respective restrictions is available on page 46 of the hunting guide.

Obtaining Other Deer Permits

  • Permit Limitations: If you have obtained any type of buck deer permit, the only other deer permit you are eligible for is an antlerless deer permit.
    • Detailed information about antlerless deer hunts can be found on page 34 of the hunting guide.

Key Points for Hunters

  • Ensure you have the appropriate permits for the species you intend to hunt.
  • Adhere to hunter orange laws and be aware of any exceptions.
  • Check for area-specific restrictions before planning your hunt.
  • Understand the limitations on obtaining multiple deer permits.

Comprehensive Guide to Utah's General-Season Buck Deer Hunts

Utah offers diverse hunting experiences, particularly for buck deer. Here’s an overview of the different general-season hunts and regulations:

General-Season Buck Deer Hunts

  1. Archery Hunt

  2. Muzzleloader Hunt

  3. Early Any Legal Weapon (Rifle) Hunt

  4. Any Legal Weapon (Rifle) Hunt

    For hunt boundaries and detailed information, visit wildlife.utah.gov/huntplanner.

Extended Archery Deer Hunts

  • Post-Season Opportunity: If you don’t harvest a deer during your archery buck hunt, you can continue in extended archery areas.
  • Hunting Periods and Locations:
    • Herriman South Valley, Ogden, Southwest Desert, and others: Sept. 16–Nov. 30, 2023, for a deer of either sex.
    • Nine Mile, Green River Valley, and others: Sept. 16–Oct. 15, 2023, for a deer of either sex.
  • Mandatory Ethics Course: Before hunting in these areas, complete the Division’s archery ethics course.

General-Season Muzzleloader Buck Deer Hunt

  • Hunting Period: Sept. 27–Oct. 5, 2023.
  • Permit Details: Use a muzzleloader for one buck deer in your permitted unit.

Early General-Season Buck Deer Hunts

  • Hunting Units and Dates: Various units including Chalk Creek and Zion, from Oct. 11–15, 2023.
  • Objective: These hunts aim to reduce crowding and allow concurrent deer and elk hunting.

General-Season Any Legal Weapon (Rifle) Buck Deer Hunt

  • Hunting Period: Oct. 21–29, 2023.
  • Permit Usage: Use any legal weapon for one buck deer in your permitted unit.

Mandatory Reporting

  • Reporting Requirement: Report your hunt information within 30 days post-hunt, even if no animal is harvested.
  • Consequences of Non-Compliance: Failure to report results in ineligibility to apply for specific permits the following year.

Late-Season Muzzleloader Deer Hunts

  • Hunting Period: Nov. 1–9, 2023, coinciding with the general muzzleloader elk hunt.
  • Impact on Bonus Points: Successful permit holders will lose bonus points and face a five-year waiting period.

Multi-Season Hunts

  • Flexibility: Hunt buck deer during all three seasons (archery, muzzleloader, and any legal weapon) on select units.
  • Weapon Compliance: Use the appropriate weapon for each season.

HAMS Buck Deer Hunts

  • Units and Period: Book Cliffs and others in November 2023.
  • Weapon Restrictions: Primitive weapons only; no optics. Specifics in Utah Admin. Rule R657-5-48.
  • Impact on Bonus Points: Similar to late-season hunts.

Specific Equipment Regulations

  • Handgun: Legal specifications in Utah Admin. Rule R657-5-9 & R657-5-48.
  • Archery Equipment: Must comply with legal standards.
  • Muzzleloader: No attached scope.
  • Shotgun: Legal for buck deer, with no attached scope.

Additional Archery Opportunities

  • Post-Season Hunting: Limited-entry archery deer hunters can hunt extended archery areas after completing an online course.
  • Harvest Survey: Submit within 30 days of your limited-entry season end.

Cooperative Wildlife Management Units (CWMUs) Buck Deer Hunts in Utah

Introduction to CWMUs

Under Utah Admin. Rule R657-37, Cooperative Wildlife Management Units (CWMUs) offer a unique hunting experience:

  • Private Lands Participation: CWMUs are private lands where the landowners collaborate with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to allow hunting. This initiative enhances wildlife management and provides additional hunting opportunities.

  • Limited Access: These units are open to a restricted number of public and private hunters, ensuring a controlled and sustainable hunting environment.

Hunting Buck Deer on CWMUs

  • Permit Requirement: To hunt buck deer on a CWMU, you must specifically obtain a buck deer permit for that CWMU. This requirement is strictly enforced to manage wildlife populations effectively and to respect the private nature of these lands.

  • Information Access: For detailed information about hunting buck deer on CWMUs, including how to apply for permits, hunting guidelines, and lists of available CWMUs, visit wildlife.utah.gov/cwmu.

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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.