Family camaraderie, trust and the thrill of the hunt brings families together as they search for deer in the mountains throughout Utah for the general deer hunt Oct. 18 to Oct. 26.
The deer rifle season, which allows hunters to use any legal firearms, was highly anticipated as the archery and muzzleloader seasons ended. While some hunters are in search of a trophy deer that will bring bragging rights for years to come, the main feeling of the deer hunt for most is the ability to be outdoors and to be with family.
“I go with my brothers and my dad every year, and it is a time of year that we grow together the most,” said Trent Poulson, an exercise science major. “I believe that my trust in them is so strong mainly because of those experiences we have together.”
Poulson has been deer hunting for the past 16 years and said the family time and memories created are what makes it so great for him.
In 2012 the number of hunters reported was 79,066 in Utah, and the number of deer harvested was 29,411, according to an annual report by the Division of Wildlife Resources. The success ratio for 2012 was 37 percent for harvesting a deer. Despite the low ratio, hunters still go out in search of a deer for the thrill of being outside.
Adam Peterson, a Payson-native and co-owner of Hornos Antlers Productions, spends significant time preparing for the deer hunt. With friends and brothers, Peterson scours the hillsides throughout the summer in hopes of finding dropped antlers from the previous season, known as sheds.
Deer hunting takes preparation. For some that means towing a camper trailer to the mountains and then waking up early the next morning in search of deer. Poulson said the “physical taxes placed on your body” is a challenge often overlooked. Hunters must be ready for a change in the weather and must have the ability to pack out the deer, which can weigh from 125 pounds to 250 pounds.
For Utahns, the price for a general season deer tag is $40 and can be purchased over the counter from authorized sellers. For nonresidents the price for a deer tag is significantly higher, at $268. The funds generated by the selling of permits and licenses go directly back to the Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) to help conserve and protect wildlife found in Utah.
Individuals who haven’t participated in the deer hunt before do not need to worry. The DWR publishes hunting regulation booklets with all the information about hunting rules, safety and how to be safe and how to hunt ethically. Peterson recommends studying these guidebooks to understand the rules and regulations before an individual goes out on the hunt.