There are a number of big game hunts currently underway. They include hunts for moose, antelope, desert bighorn sheep, moose and Rocky Mountain goats. With the exception of the antelope, all are once-in-a-lifetime hunts.
In some cases, such as with antelope and moose, there are also scheduled late hunts in November.
The buffalo hunt will start Nov. 3 in the Henry Mountains and Dec. 1 on Antelope Island.
Following is a brief rundown on those hunts and how hunters are expected to do.
Probably the hardest hit by the drought has been the antelope.
Jim Karpowitz, Southeastern Region big game manger, reported that in some areas in his region, "There has been a total fawn crop failure. In one unit, where fawns used to run 90 per 100 does, we counted fewer than 20 per 100 does this year. They've been hit pretty hard."
Because of the drought, however, more permits were issued this year to try and reduce pressure on water supplies.
Traditionally, however, this hunt has been one of the more successful hunts. Last year, 1,092 hunters tagged 990 antelope for 91 percent success.
Best hunting is expected in the Parker Mountain, Icelander Wash and West Desert units.
Moose hunting has been another of the improving hunts, evident by the increase number of permits.
In 1980, there were 95 bull permits issued, while in 1989 there were 186 permits. In 1980, those 95 hunters tagged 81 moose for 85 percent success. Last year, the 186 hunters tagged 181 bull moose for 97 percent success.
Utah's moose population has been growing and expanding. The one thing that has been slowing it down has been the high number of moose illegally killed each year.
Moose hunting in four units won't open until Nov. 3. There are also some undersubscribed cow permits available for the Morgan/South Rich unit. The tags are $200 and must be purchased from the Salt Lake office of the DWR. This is a once-in-a-lifetime permit for moose.
To get a buffalo permit for the Henry Mountains is not a guarantee that a hunter will get a buffalo. Despite what some hunters may think, the buffalo hunt is not an easy hunt.
Last year, 67 permits were issued and only 60 were filled. This year 81 permits - 50 hunter's choice, 25 cow and six nonresident - were issued for hunts Nov. 3 and Nov. 17.
Because of the dry conditions and limited winter range, the Utah Big Game Board will hold a special meeting to decide whether or not to issue additional cow permits.
There will also be a Dec. 1 hunt on Antelope Island for five resident hunters and one nonresident.
According to big game officials, the herd on the Henry's is in good shape and appears to have been bothered very little by the drought. There are, too, a number of very large mature bulls in the herd for those hunters out after a trophy. A mature bull can weigh up to one ton.
The buffalo are scattered, most of them on the western slopes of the range, and will require some scouting to locate.
The hunt on the Henry Mountain is to hunt free-roaming buffalo. The hunt on Antelope Island is guided and coordinated along with the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation.
This is the third year of hunting on the island. Success there is running at 100 percent.
Desert Bighorn Sheep
The hunt for the desert bighorn is considered the toughest of Utah's big game hunts, as much for the difficulty in finding the animals as for the hunting conditions. The sheep are located in the southern part of the state were the heat is always on and the water supply is limited.
This year 13 permits were issued for residents and one for a nonresident.
Last year, 10 hunters spent a total of 120 days in the field and ended up tagging eight sheep. Success has been as low as 33 percent - four rams for 12 hunters - back in 1984.
Once offering some of the best hunting, the two San Juan units - North and South - are now the poorest. Only two permits were issued for the South units and none went for the North. A disease has wiped out almost the entire herd. For the past several years biologist have reported no lamb counted.
Best hunting will be in units west of the Colorado River.
There are accounts of hunters running out of water and being forced to pull off the hunt because of being unprepared.
Rocky Mountain goats
Since the hunt was first held, 10 years ago, there has only been one year when all the permits were not filled. In 1984, one of four hunters did not fill his tag.
This year five permits were issued for the Lone Peak units and one for the Timpanogos unit.
This is an exciting hunt made difficult by the rugged terrain where the goats are found.
The goats are typically very high at this time of year and can be difficult to find. The herd in the Lone Peak area is the first and the largest in the state. Goats from the Lone Peak are were captured and move to start the Timpanogos.
Trapped goats have also been transplanted into an area in the Uintas.