SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Wildlife Board, a panel of seven residents appointed by the governor, recently changed the preference point system for deer hunting permits that had been in place since 2009.
The system gave a preference point to hunters who applied for a general-season deer hunting permit but didn’t draw one. The points increased the chance of drawing a general-season deer hunting permit in the future.
Now, if a hunter draws any of their general-season deer hunt choices — first, second, third, fourth or fifth — they’ll lose their preference points. In the past, hunters lost their preference points only if they drew their first choice.
In addition, the first choice each hunter lists will be considered before the second choice of applicants is considered.
In the past, all of the choices for those with the maximum number of preference points — their first, second, third, fourth and fifth choices — were considered before considering the first choice of those with fewer preference points.
If hunters with the maximum number of preference points didn’t draw their first choice but did draw one of their remaining choices, they received a hunting permit, a preference point for not drawing their first choice and got to keep all of the preference points they’d accrued.
“Now the first choice of everyone who applied will be considered before considering the second choice of those with the highest number of preference points,” Judi Tutorow, wildlife licensing coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said in a statement.
Hunters can learn more about the preference point change by reading pages 28-29 of the 2017 “Utah Big Game Application Guidebook.” The free guidebook is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks.
Hunters can apply for a Utah deer hunting permit starting Jan. 26 at wildlife.utah.gov.