The Division of Wildlife Resources is recommending fairly major changes in the way Utahns hunt deer and elk in an effort to reduce crowding during the 2018 hunts.

“Almost all of the requests we receive from big game hunters have a common theme: ‘We’d like more opportunity to hunt big game,’ ” said Covy Jones, the agency’s big game coordinator. “We’ve examined how the state’s big game populations are doing and the current hunt structure we have. We think we’ve found some innovative ways to meet the requests of hunters without negatively affecting the herds.”

Recommendations include:

• Offering an early-season rifle deer hunt on 10 general deer hunting units in the state.

• Hold a late-season, limited-entry muzzleloader buck deer hunt on general deer hunting units that are meeting their buck-to-doe objectives. This would occur in early November.

• Give bull elk hunters a chance to hunt all three seasons — archery, rifle and muzzleloader — on the state’s spike-only and any-bull general elk hunting units.

• Establish a special “cactus buck-only” hunt on the famed Paunsaugunt premium limited-entry unit in southwestern Utah.

Regional Wildlife Advisory Council meetings begin Tuesday in Springville, with the final decision being made by the Utah Wildlife Board on Nov. 30. More info at

(Courtesy Jim Shuler) In 2018, those who obtain the proper permit might be able to hunt bull elk in Utah during all three general seasons.