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Changes to deer hunting in Utah coming in 2012

Deer hunt will happen in 30 units

If you like to hunt deer in Utah, get ready -- some big changes await you in 2012: Utah's five large deer hunting regions have been split into 30 smaller areas called units. Instead of hunting in one of five large regions this fall, you'll be hunting in one of 30 smaller units. General archery deer hunters can no longer hunt statewide.

Just like the rifle and muzzleloader hunters, archery hunters must also hunt in one of the 30 smaller units.

Another piece of the '2012 general deer hunt puzzle' was put in place on Dec. 1 when the Utah Wildlife Board approved dates for the 2012 general deer hunts. The dates are as follows: Season: Archery Aug. 18 - Sept. 14; Muzzleloader Sept. 26 - Oct. 4; Rifle Oct. 20 - 28

Now that the season dates are in place, only one major piece of the puzzle remains -- the number of permits that will be available for the hunts.

DWR biologists will present their permit recommendations to the board in May 2012. By May, the biologists will have up-to-date information regarding the number of bucks per 100 does in Utah's deer herds. They'll also know the number of bucks hunters took during the 2011 hunts.

Board members will consider the biologists' recommendations before approving the final permit numbers.

The changes the board has approved for the 2012 hunts are the biggest changes Utah's hunters have seen in almost 20 years. You can learn more about the changes at a special Web page the DWR has created --

DWR Big Game Coordinator Anis Aoude encourages you to visit the page. "The page is filled with information about the changes," Aoude says.

"The information will help you apply for a big game hunting permit. The application period isn't that far away."

Applications for Utah's 2012 big game hunts -- including the general deer hunts -- will be accepted at starting Feb. 1, 2012.

Another tool to help you apply is the 2012 Utah Big Game Application Guidebook. The guidebook should be available at by Dec. 15.

For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.

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