Elk are doing well in Utah. So well that new hunt strategies are being put in place.

At the May meeting of the Utah Wildlife Board on Tuesday, members increased the number of antlerless permits offered this year and made it possible for hunters to obtain a second elk permit.The reasons, said Mike Welch, big game coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, are increases in the number of elk and the habitat that supports them.

Utah has adopted an elk management plan that has set an objective limit of 65,449 elk statewide. This past winter, wildlife managers estimated Utah's population at 59,810 elk or only 5,639 short of the limit.

Increasing the number of antlerless permits and increasing harvest by issuing a second permit to qualifying hunters will help keep elk numbers within objectives.

The seven-person board approved issuing of 12,569 antlerless elk permits, which is up 405 over 1997 permits.

"Elk permits were increased on units where, to keep elk within management objectives, populations either needed to be held stable or decreased or to help control elk on units where depredation and range problems are a concern," said Welch.

Those hunters who qualify this fall will be able to get a second elk permit. This would not include, however, two bull permits. Also, a hunter getting a spike elk permit would not be able to apply for a second permit, and a hunter purchasing an ant-ler-less permit would not be able to get a spike elk permit.

Requirements for a second permit would include:

- A person who has obtained an antlerless elk permit may purchase an additional antlerless elk permit, beginning Sept. 2, if any of the permits are still available.

- A person who has obtained an antlerless elk permit may purchase an any bull or hunter's choice elk permit, beginning Sept. 2, is any permits remain.

- A person who has obtained an any bull elk or hunter's choice elk permit may purchase an antlerless elk permit, beginning Sept. 2, if any permits remain.

The board also approved antlerless permits for deer, pronghorn antelope and moose. For 1998, the board approved 2,650 antlerless deer tags, 665 doe pronghorn and 27 antlerless moose permits.

Application for the various permits will begin June 10. Some hunters on the DWR mailing list may get preprinted applications. Those who don't can get one through a license agent or at one of the DWR offices.

Applications will be accepted only through the mail or an overnight mail service. The deadline is June 25 at 5 p.m.

The board also approved an increase in the nonresident bear/cougar pursuit permit to $300, which was approved by the Legislature in February. The board also discussed separating the permits and charging $200 individually for nonresidents and $15 each for resident hunters.