Comments sought for DWR changes

SALT LAKE CITY — The Division of Wildlife Resources is seeking comments on a proposed big game drawing for general-season elk permits for one year because of increased public interest in hunting them. The reason is to avoid overloading its permit sales system.

For years, these permits have been sold online and over the counter. The public can provide feedback on this and other proposals on the DWR website.

Elk permit recommendation

The demand to hunt big game in Utah has increased over the past few years and elk permits, in particular, have grown in popularity over the last three years:

  • In 2019, all 15,000 permits sold out in 11 days.
  • In 2020, the 15,000 permits sold out in eight hours. (This was also a record sales year for hunting and fishing permits in Utah.)
  • This year, the 17,500 permits sold out in 10 hours.

“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,” DWR Wildlife Licensing Coordinator Lindy Varney said. “Our current contracted sales system does well during the rest of the year, but these ‘sales days’ for the elk permits causes a buying rush that overloads the system a few days a year.”

DWR has been working with their contractor to address some of the technical issues, including pursuing a database capability expansion. In an effort to resolve frustrations in the interim, the division is recommending to include the general-season any bull elk and spike elk permits in the big game drawing for a one-year trial period.

“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,” Varney said. “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.”

The division is also seeking comments on the 2022 big game hunting season date recommendations and new proposed hunts. Other proposed changes include waterfowl hunting for 2022-24 season and to the maximum-point permit allocation recommendation.

The public meetings for the recommendations can either be viewed virtually or attended in person. To view the biologists’ presentations before the meetings and share your feedback about them go to  the DWR website. The presentations are also available on the DWR YouTube Channel, but comments can only be submitted through the forms on the DWR website.

The public comment period opened on Nov. 2 for each of the five Regional Advisory Council meetings and for the Utah Wildlife Board meeting. Online comments must be submitted by Nov. 22 at 11:59 p.m.

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