Deer Forecast-West

southwestern corner of Utah

The southwestern corner of Utah is a main focus. The region has good access on public land, 40 to 50 percent hunter-success rates and enough mature muley bucks around to keep it very interesting. Two trophy destinations are the Paunsaugunt Unit in Kanee and Garfield counties and the Elk Ridge Unit in San Juan County. They are difficult to draw but produce outstanding bucks each year. (Permits statewide are issued by drawing.) According to Division of Wildlife big-game manager Steve Cranney, the past two winters have been mild and deer have come through in good shape. Exceptions are the Boulder Mountains and the area near Panguitch in the south-central region, where some winterkill occurred. Last summer was dry, and while fawn survival this spring was good, overall production is down slightly due to the dry conditions. Last year 35,580 mule deer were harvested, and this year's kill is expected to be similar. Statewide, deer populations are stable, with average post-season buck-to-doe ratios.