Mule deer populations are increasing in the Northern Region, and rifle hunters can expect to find good numbers of bucks this year.
One exception is the Cache unit. The deer population there is well below the management objective. On the rest of the region, the current population is stable and in some cases slightly increasing.
More than 85 percent of the fawns born in spring 2006 made it through this past winter.There are large areas of private land in the Box Elder, so hunters are encouraged to pick up a landownership map before hunting.
Hunters should notice a few more young bucks in north-central Utah.
Nearly 45 percent of the deer biologists checked at checkpoints last year were 2 1/2-year-old or older deer. Biologists anticipate another good year for older-age-class bucks in the region.
The western half of the region has fewer deer because of its drier desert conditions.
The northern part of the Stansbury Mountain, about 20,000 acres, burned this past summer, so hunting will be difficult.
Large portions of Tooele and Juab counties are part of the Vernon limited entry deer hunting unit.The Salt Creek fire that burned near Mount Nebo has also affected wildlife and may force several deer hunters to look for other areas to hunt.
Deer herds in northeastern Utah are doing well.
The herds are only about 10 percent below a goal of 45,000 deer.
Those deer in the region are in good physical condition. There were a lot of fawns born, and winter survival was good.
In most areas of the region, the buck-to-doe ratio was between 16 and 17 per 100 does. In the Avintaquin unit it was 21 bucks per 100 does.Conditions are expected to be good and in some areas recent storms may have started deer moving to accessible ranges.
Hunters will find more bucks in southeastern Utah this year.
Moderately good fawn production and winter survival over the past few years have strengthened herds across the region.
While the number of deer is up in the region, the total number of deer on all of its herd units is still below the management objective.
Wildlife habitat in southeastern Utah faces a long road to recovery after many years of drought.
Buck-to-doe ratios for each unit vary. The Range Creek unit hovers around 31 bucks per 100 does. Along the Central Mountains-Manti unit in Carbon and Emery counties, the population is gradually rising, with a buck-to-doe ratio of 17 bucks per 100 does.Farther south in the LaSal Mountains by Moab, the deer population is on the upswing with a buck-to-doe ratio of 15 bucks per 100 does. And the Abajo Mountains in San Juan County support a growing herd, with a buck-to-doe ratio of 22 bucks per 100 does.
Good numbers of young buck deer will be seen in much of south-central and southwestern Utah.
The buck-to-doe ratio on the Pine Valley unit is 19 bucks per 100 does. Along with yearlings, there should also be a decent number of older bucks.
On the Zion unit the buck-to-doe ratio is 21 bucks per 100 does, and should have a good and varied age class of bucks.
The outlook for the Southwest Desert unit isn't as bright. Deer numbers are low.
The Milford Flats fire in Beaver and Millard counties has altered deer movement patterns in much of the area west of I-15.
There was some decline in deer numbers in the affected area, but land owners have reported larger congregations of animals in and around agricultural areas.