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Deer Herds / Guesses on Available Permits?

4959 Views 74 Replies 25 Participants Last post by  Critter
As we approach the opening of the Utah Big Game Application period, I've been pondering of late, especially after the big storm we had a couple of weeks ago about the conditions of the deer herds around the state. I am in the Tooele County area, and there's still some decent wintering ground in the county for the deer herd to get away from the gnarly snow depths of the higher elevations. That said, the deer herd still looks like it continues to decline. After the bad storm a couple of weeks ago, I was driving Hwy 36 south of Tooele and the snow depth was up almost to the shoulders of the deer and they were slowly pushing their way through the snow. Fortunately much at those lower spots has melted away. In other areas, I am just not seeing the numbers that I have historically seen. Kind of sad really!

This has me thinking... How are the deer doing elsewhere? My friend who lives up near Morgan Utah told me he saw the DWR truck in the area the other day overloaded with dead deer carcasses in the bed. How are the deer fairing in southwest Wyoming? I've seen some pictures of the heavy snows there on social media. Pics below are from a few deer I saw in southwest Wyoming mid-January. There was quite a lot of snow then, though most of the deer looked pretty healthy at the time. Hopefully those fat reserves have helped.

I expect the number of available deer permits to be even more reduced this coming hunting season. It will be my 12-year old sons first year hunting. He would like to hunt the LaSal unit if possible (if he can pull a permit)! Anyone in southeastern Utah that has a grip on the conditions there? I also have enough points to pull a Wyoming antelope permit this fall as well. but this heavy winter has me thinking it might be worth waiting another 2-3 years. I have some business in Afton at the end of March. Might have to take a joy ride around to see if those herds look alive still!

Anyone have some thoughts on this?

Snow Deer Fawn Terrestrial animal Elk

Snow Ecoregion Vertebrate Natural environment Mammal

Vertebrate Snow Mammal Elk Terrestrial animal

Snow Deer Elk Fawn Horn
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One more point, for next years draw.
Seems like the idea of a complete shut down of the 2023 hunt is gaining popularity (at least online) even though it doesn't make much sense. Wonder how popular that idea would be if anti-hunters were pushing it.
Out of curiosity, where are you hearing that from?
I think the permit numbers are up. I'm surprised the unit I've been eyeballing doesn't appear to have a cut in deer permits.

EDIT: I must be going crazy. There were 563 total permits last year, and now they're cutting 850 total after this winter? I can't be looking at this right. No freaking way.
You can't go by what the deer numbers are by looking at the snow conditions in the hills. The deer are smarter than that and will winter down in the valleys where hopefully there is very little snot. The problem in some areas is that the low lands sit in a valley that has gotten hammered by the snow.

Most of the deer herds went into the winter is exultant shape as far as fat reserves were concerned.
Fair enough. I'm more of an Elk hunter then a Deer hunter anyway, so my knowledge on deer isn't all that great.

Details in the fine print : "Final permit numbers will be posted May 5, 2023. "

So subject to change.
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