If this is your first time looking into applying for elk in Utah, there are a few things you will want to consider. First, quality bulls (350"+) are not nearly as prominent as they were 10-15 years ago. Second, 11 years ago, Utah let non-residents apply for all species in the draw when they started requiring a mandatory hunting license purchase in order to apply in the draw as a carrot to make them feel like they were getting more in return for their hunting license purchase. Consequently, point creep has gotten out of control for non-residents in every category except general deer. Limited-entry elk should be a long-term (15+ years) plan when considering an eventual timeline of when you can look at drawing a bonus permit in the easiest to draw areas. Finally, half of the non-resident permits for every hunt will be issued through the random draw, so you will want to apply in the draw as you have a chance to draw a permit while accumulating points if you are unsuccessful as it doesn’t cost any more to do so.
Utah manages their elk by an age class objective. They have four different tiers – 4.5-5, 5.5-6, 6.5-7, and 7.5-8. Obviously, the higher the age class the unit is managed for the fewer permits there are available, which results in tougher draw odds but also more mature bulls. Only six units are currently managed for 7.5 to 8-year-old bulls, which are the best units Utah has to offer. You can pretty much follow that narrative down the line with quality coinciding with the age class the unit is managed for. One exception to this rule is the West Desert, Deep Creek unit that is managed for 7.5 to 8-year-old bulls, but it is chronically underperforming unless one of the big bulls wanders off the Goshute Indian Reservation and gets killed. All in all, most units in the state can produce 350 class bulls, but they are becoming more and more rare outside of our trophy picks.
Utah has done a good job of creating a multitude of hunts spanning from mid-August and running through mid-November. The archery hunt dates typically jump out at potential applicants because of the early season dates. 2020 especially has extremely early archery hunt dates that end on September 11th, which will most likely only capture three to five days of rut activity, and this may be moderate at best. From a hunting pressure standpoint, the early and late rifle hunts do not have any other hunts overlapping. Archery, muzzleloader, and mid-season rifle hunts all have overlapping hunts, which adds hunting pressure and should be taken into account before one applies for them.
2021 ELK HUNTS DATES IN UTAH ARE:
Hunter’s Choice Bull Elk (Archery)
Spike: Aug 21–Sept 10, 2021
Any bull: Aug 21–Sept 22, 2021
Any Bull Units
Any legal weapon: Oct 9- Oct 21, 2021
Muzzleloader: Nov 3- Nov 11, 2021
Multi-season: Aug 21- Sept 22, Oct 9- Oct 21, Nov 3- Nov 11, 2021
Any legal weapon: Oct 9- Oct 21, 2021
Muzzleloader: Nov 3- Nov 11, 2021 Multi-season: Aug 21- Sept 22, Oct 9- Oct 21, Nov 3- Nov 11, 2021
Private Lands Antlerless Elk
Any legal weapon: Aug 2- Jan 31, 2021
Utah is one of the best states in the West to hunt elk in if you are lucky enough to draw a tag. It is always worth putting in and trying to draw if you are already putting in for another species. If you are lucky enough to draw and need help planning your hunt, make sure to give us a call and we can help you out.
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The Utah Big Game application period deadline is 11:00 p.m. mst on March 5, 2020. The deadline to apply for bonus/preference points and to withdraw your application is March 19, 2020.
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|Non-Resident Hunting License||$65|
|Youth (17 and younger) Non-Resident Hunting License||$25|
|Application Fee per Species||$10|
|Desert Bighorn Sheep||$1,518|
|Rocky Bighorn Sheep||$1,518|
|Rocky Mountain Goat||$1,518|
|Multi-Season Limited-Entry Elk||$1,505|
|Youth Any Bull Elk||$393|
|Premium Limited-Entry Buck Deer||$568|
|Multi-Season Premium Limited-Entry Buck Deer||$1,025|
|Limited-Entry and Limited-Entry Management Buck Deer||$468|
|Multi-Season Limited-Entry Buck Deer||$845|
|Dedicated Hunter Deer Program||$1,047|
Utah Elk Hunting Articles from Huntin' Fool Magazine