The race for big game hunting permits begins

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As winter comes to an end and with spring around the corner, the bid for big game hunting permits has officially arrived.

Herds of buck deer, bull elk, desert bighorn sheep and other big game seem to be in good condition as they entered the winter with enough fat in their energy reserves, according to the Department of Wildlife Resources officials.

Applications to hunt elk and other big game are now being accepted. Photo Courtesy Division of Wildlife Resources

An application process is required due to the limited amount of permits. Biologists around Utah keep a close eye on the number of big game herds and their conditions. This balances the chance of over-population as well as possible endangerment.

Amy Canning, communications specialist for the Department of Wildlife Resources, explained the application process.

“People have to apply for that drawing during the application period,” Canning said. “Only some of the people who submit applications will be successful in drawing permits.”

The people who are unsuccessful in obtaining permits will still receive points for the following year. These points can build up for a greater chance of receiving permits for future seasons. This allows a good balance of people to constantly receive permits.

Alex Chamberlain, a construction management major from South Jordan, enjoys hunting big game because it’s thrilling.

“You really have to work for it,” Chamberlain said. “The animals are so smart.”

Chamberlain is one of many who will begin the application process for the upcoming season.

After all applications are in by the deadline, there will be five public meetings where the public will be able to comment on permit recommendations. These recommendations allow for the public to have a say in how many permits will be administered and in what regions they will be given. The Utah Wildlife Board will meet and consider the public’s comments and the biologists’ statistics. Permit numbers will then be set, and results will be available at the end of May.

Tom Preston, a construction management major from Burley, Idaho, is considering applying for a big game license this year. Preston usually hunts ducks but has always wanted to try his hand at bigger animals.

“It seems like it would be exciting to take on an animal bigger and more dangerous than yourself,” Preston said.

Preston, Chamberlain and many other hunters will be crossing their fingers as they find out the fate of their 2013 hunting season.

Applications open Feb. 1, 2013 through March 4, 2013, and the process is completed online at wildlife.utah.gov.

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