Utah is famous for being the home of the Mormons, skiing, the Sundance Film Festival, mountains, Native Americans, and amazing national parks.
“Every state thinks it’s fun. Every state claims to have “something for everyone. But not every state has 3.5 distinct geographic regions, five national parks, 45 state parks, 5 national historic sites & trails, and a dozen national monuments & recreation areas,” says Utah.com. “Perfect powder, rugged red rock, alpine lakes, and more. If Utah don’t got it, you don’t need it.”
The Beehive State also offers some amazing hunting opportunities. The world-record non-typical elk was taken in 2008 on public land in Utah. The 14×9 scored an astonishing 478 and 5/8ths. Wide Open Spaces ranks Utah as No. 3 on the top 10 list of best states for an elk.
Get a rundown on Utah’s regs and plan your hunt with a hunt planner from the Wildlife Department. Check big game hunt reports for several decades in the Annual Report. Most of the state’s big game hunts are draw permits.
Elk hunting means being in shape. You can expect to walk miles through the mountains, stopping to scan the sides looking for movement and antlers. Hunting reports turned in to the state show an average of nearly six days spent in the woods before bagging a buck. The same numbers show a 21 percent success rate overall with a high of 39 percent in the Southwest Desert unit and a low of 11.5 percent in the San Rafael unit. You need to make sure you have an elk-class weapon and a plan for the greatest chance of success. Professional guides have a higher success rate than self-guided hunts.
The mule deer harvest rate in Utah has stayed steady for several years at about 30 percent. Improve your odds by hunting management units with a high success rate. The Henry Mountains unit leads the way with a 95 percent success rate according to the latest information available. The other top areas are Book Cliffs and Painsaugunt. Beyond these three, hunting success drops below 50 percent.
Given the few roads and rugged terrain, a lot of the mule deer hunts are done from horseback and tents. Utah hunting guides and outfitters have all the gear you need, except a rifle or bow, for your hunt.
Utah has a strong cougar population and a state wildlife agency that says the numbers need to come down. “In an effort to help mule deer recover from population declines caused by drought and heavy winter conditions, the Division has re-opened and increased harvest objectives,” says the most recent mountain lion report. Four of the state’s hunting units have no quota for this cull period.
Cougar hunts are most successful with dogs, which the state allows. You can hunt without dogs, but your chance of success drops dramatically.
The Beehive State offers bear hunting in several different ways. Fall spot-and-stalk hunts are now included in some fall big-game hunting seasons. Bait and dogs are not allowed for this. The summer season allows baiting, but you must wait until the season begins to start bating. Hunting over bait or with dogs maximizes your chance of bagging a bruin. Both hunts are greatly improved even more by using Utah hunting guides and outfitters.
As with the other hunts, Utah is divided into management units for pronghorn, also called goat or speed goat. These animals are found on the plains and in the scrub. Spotting them on the plains is easy enough. Getting close for a shot is an entirely different matter. For this reason, many hunters prefer long-range rifles capable of shots from 500-1,000 yards. In the brush, shots tend to be a lot closer because of the scrub and small trees. Hunts here are just as challenging because pronghorns have excellent sight, hearing, and smell and will kick in the afterburners if they think something is wrong.
While the state has turkey populations everywhere, the South Central and Southwest regions have the highest concentrations. The state has Rio Grande and Merriam’s. “Rio Grande turkeys are usually found at lower elevations. River bottoms dotted with cottonwood trees and areas containing mostly oak and pinyon-juniper trees are some of their favorite spots. Merriam’s turkeys, on the other hand, are typically found in ponderosa pine forests at higher elevations,” say state biologists.
Utah Hunting Trips
“Bull moose, bison, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, desert bighorn sheep, and mountain goat permits are once-in-a-lifetime permits. If you obtain a once-in-a-lifetime permit for a particular species, such as a bull moose, you may not apply for that permit again in the drawing,” the state wildlife department says.
If you only have one shot, sometimes literally, at these animals, then you need to make sure you make the most of the opportunity. Let HuntAnywhere.com connect you with the guide who will make your hunt a success, no matter what you are hunting. Our guides know where the animals are.