Hunting Season | Urban Living
Support the Free Press.
Facts matter. Truth matters. Journalism matters.
Salt Lake City Weekly has been Utah's source of independent news and in-depth journalism since 1984.
Donate today to ensure the legacy continues.

Hunting Season



It's my opinion that there are two kinds of people: those who hunt wild animals and those who don't hunt at all. Non-hunters likely haven't noticed that deer season is in full-swing. That is, unless you inadvertently drove up behind an SUV with a dead deer strapped to the roof on I-15 during rush hour.

Specific dates depend on the animal and weapon, but generally speaking, deer-hunting season begins in August and lasts through the end of December. The Utah Division of Wildlife Services conduct annual surveys to count the number of mule deer (our largest population of game animals) to determine which areas are becoming overpopulated and how many can be killed. They have found that, in the past few years, the local deer population has grown due to mild winters, a decent supply of water and natural feed and more fencing along state roads to keep them from wandering onto traffic.

I grew up around guns and knew how to safely load and fire them by the age of 8. At one point, my family was pretty poor and we had to do anything we could to feed ourselves. Luckily, I was a great fisher and a dead-eye squirrel killer with my .22 rifle. As a family, we'd go into the woods at night and shoot down turkeys nesting in trees. A large bullet aimed correctly can blow off a gobbler's head, and they simply fall to the ground ready for plucking. We lived in a very rural area in Arizona for a time and my stepfather (I think he was stepdude No. 4?) didn't obey the laws for the hunting seasons. If there was a bull elk standing near a herd of deer, he'd bring it down no matter what time of year it was. We'd have elk for six months after it was butchered, and his relatives would get a few coolers of meat, too. We killed to eat, as we were broke as hell without any kindness of a foodbank within 200 miles. I don't hunt these days, but if I had to, I would.

The ongoing light goose season (including mourning doves and Sandhill cranes) ends Nov. 30. The general wild turkey hunt runs from April 8-May 31. Cougar season begins Nov. 9, with the end-date depending on location. You might have a permit to help cull or harvest wild game animals as the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources sees fit. They determine where and what animals need to be taken out to preserve or strengthen herds, and in some cases, protect people. For example, bobcats can be hunted Nov. 16-March 1. There are limited black bear permits available, too. For more information on Utah's hunting rules and guidelines, go to