Utah Division of Wildlife Resources officials say 180,000 deer hunters will take to the woods Oct. 22, the first day of the state's annual 11-day deer hunt, and 600,000 people in all are expected to be afield on opening day.

DWR spokesman Steve Phillips said the 1988 general season deer hunt should be one of the best ones in many years. "Mule deer numbers statewide are at near record high. We expect the buck-only hunt will yield the highest hunter success in more than 10 years."What is there about hunting that attracts people? Why do men and women brave rain and cold to huddle in a cramped tent or duck blind? Why do they plod through snowy forests to shiver on a deer stand or walk miles to flush quail or rabbits along fence rows?

For many, Phillips said, "hunting offers a welcome change from the normal routine. For others, it's an opportunity to test shooting skills at different targets.

"Most hunters, however, go afield for the same basic reason that attracts bird watchers, hikers and campers - they enjoy nature and want to become part of the great outdoors."