2023-2024 Turkey Hunting Regulations in Utah: Key Updates
Fall Turkey Hunt Changes
- Focus on Private Land: The fall turkey hunts are specifically aimed at addressing depredation and will occur exclusively on private land.
- Written Permission Required: Before hunting on private property, it’s mandatory to obtain written permission from the landowner.
Resuming Sage-Grouse Hunt
- Parker Mountain Hunt: The Parker Mountain sage-grouse hunt has been reinstated.
- Other Sage-Grouse Hunts: For information about other greater sage-grouse hunts, consult the relevant hunting guide or the Division’s website.
Changes to Trail Camera Regulations
- Review the New Regulations: If using these technologies while hunting upland game or turkey, and also holding a permit for big game, bear, or cougar, review the new regulations closely.
Avian Diseases in Utah
- Reporting Dead Birds: Report any sightings of five or more dead game birds, or any dead scavengers or raptors, to the nearest DWR office. Do not touch or pick up these birds.
Air Rifles Prohibition
- Current Status: Although the Utah Wildlife Board has voted to allow air rifles for hunting rabbits, hares, and fall turkeys, an excise tax must be in place for conservation funding. As of this guide’s publication, the tax is not implemented, making the use of air rifles for hunting protected upland game and turkey illegal.
Essential Requirements for Upland Game and Wild Turkey Hunting in Utah
Licensing and Education Requirements
Before embarking on upland game or wild turkey hunting in Utah, it's essential to understand and meet specific requirements:
Hunting License: You must have a valid Utah hunting or combination license to apply for or obtain permits for greater sage-grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, sandhill crane, or turkey hunting. This license must also be in your possession while hunting any upland game species.
- Licenses can be purchased from a license agent, Division office, online at wildlife.utah.gov, or by calling 1-800-221-0659.
HIP Number for Migratory Game Birds: If you plan to hunt migratory game birds (including American crow, band-tailed pigeon, mourning dove, sandhill crane, or white-winged dove), registration in the Migratory Game Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) is mandatory.
- Register online at wildlife.utah.gov/uthip.
Trial Hunting Program: This program allows first-time hunters to try hunting without completing Hunter Education.
Special Events and Programs.
- Upland Game Slam: Continuation of the Upland Game Slam program by the Division.
- Utah Hunt Planner: Utilize this tool for detailed information on hunting units, including maps and boundaries, at wildlife.utah.gov/huntplanner.
- Walk-in Access Program: Requires an authorization number for hunting on designated properties.
Additional Permits and Options
- Military Member Opportunities: Special points opportunities for active military personnel deployed during application periods.
Utah Hunting License and Hunter Education
Understanding Utah's Hunter Education Requirement
Under Utah Code § 23-19-11 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-23, all individuals born after December 31, 1965, must provide evidence of successful completion of a hunter education course recognized by the Division to be eligible for a hunting or combination license. This law aims to ensure that hunters are well-informed about safe and responsible hunting practices.
Trial Hunting Program: An Exception
There's an exception to this requirement for those participating in the Division’s Trial Hunting Program. Details about this program, designed to introduce newcomers to hunting, are accessible at wildlife.utah.gov/trial.
Proving Hunter Education Completion
Proof of completing hunter education is typically a hunter education card, known as a “blue card” in Utah, or a verified hunter education number on file with the Division. This number is allocated upon the successful completion of hunter education and the issuing of the blue card.
Steps to Take Hunter Education
To embark on hunter education, visit wildlife.utah.gov/huntereducation. The website offers links to various approved traditional and online hunter education courses. To enroll, obtain a hunter education registration certificate and follow the online instructions. For assistance, contact the local Division office or call 801-538-4727.
Post completion, your instructor will confirm your completion in the system, which then enables you to apply for hunting permits. The hunter education registration certificate will act as your temporary hunting license until you receive your blue card, typically mailed within four to six weeks of course completion.
- Minors (under 16) must hunt with an adult.
- All standard hunting regulations, including season dates and limits, apply.
- Hunters aiming to hunt in other states should allow time for their hunter education card to be mailed.
Hunter Education for New Utah Residents
If you've recently moved to Utah and have completed a hunter education course elsewhere, you must obtain a Utah blue card. This can be done at any Division office by presenting proof of your completed hunter education.
Utah Hunting Licenses: Key Information
Mandatory Hunting License
As mandated by Utah Code §§ 23-19-1 and 23-20-3 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-54-3, all hunters must possess a valid hunting license or a combination license for upland game hunting in Utah. These licenses are also prerequisites for applying for permits to hunt certain species like band-tailed pigeon or wild turkey.
Types of Licenses
- Hunting License: Permits hunting of small game, including upland game and waterfowl.
- Combination License: Allows for both fishing and small game hunting in Utah.
Purchasing a combination license is more economical than buying separate hunting and fishing licenses. Licenses can be acquired at wildlife.utah.gov, from license agents, Division offices, or by calling 1-800-221-0659. Remember, a $2 transaction fee is added for each item purchased.
When hunting, carrying your license and applicable permits is mandatory. These documents must not be altered, transferred, or lent to others.
Additional Licensing Considerations
- Be aware of restrictions related to nonpayment of child support.
- For resolution or payment arrangements, contact the Office of Recovery Services at 801-536-8500.
HIP Number for Migratory Game Bird Hunting
Hunters targeting migratory game birds in Utah must obtain a Migratory Game Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) registration number. This can be done online at wildlife.utah.gov/uthip. The process involves answering a few questions, including details about previous migratory game bird hunts.
Upon completion, your HIP number will be displayed and can be emailed to you. For assistance, contact Division offices during working hours. This number must be written on your hunting license and can be saved in the Utah Hunting and Fishing app available at wildlife.utah.gov/mobileapp.
Obtaining a Wild Turkey Permit in Utah
Overview of Turkey Hunting Permits
In Utah, after fulfilling hunter education and license requirements, you're eligible to apply for or obtain a wild turkey permit. This permit is mandatory for turkey hunting in the state. There are various permits available, each with its specific guidelines.
Types of Wild Turkey Permits
- Limited-entry Permits (Spring): These are allocated through a permit drawing.
- General-season Permits (Spring and Fall): Available for both seasons.
- Conservation Permits (Spring): Specifically for conservation purposes.
- Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit (CWMU) Permits (Spring): For hunting in designated cooperative management areas.
- Poaching-reported Reward Permits (Spring): Issued under specific circumstances.
Hunters can obtain one permit for the spring season and up to three for the fall season. Remember, the permit must be with you while hunting and cannot be altered or transferred.
Limited-entry Permits Process
These permits are obtained through the state’s turkey permit drawing. The application is accessible online at wildlife.utah.gov. Successful applicants receive a permit to harvest one bearded turkey in a specific limited-entry area during the limited-entry season. Notably, both male and some female turkeys have beards.
Youth Hunter Opportunities
Fifteen percent of limited-entry permits are reserved for young hunters. Youth who don't harvest during the limited-entry season may continue hunting in the general-season youth hunt and the general season, statewide.
Applying for a Turkey Permit
To apply for a turkey permit or a bonus point, you must have a valid Utah hunting or combination license. Applications are accepted online at wildlife.utah.gov.
- Be aware of child support nonpayment restrictions on license purchasers. For information or payment arrangements, contact the Office of Recovery Services at 801-536-8500.
- Ensure compliance with all hunting regulations and carry necessary permits during hunting.
Utah General-Season Turkey Permits
Introduction to General-Season Turkey Hunts
Utah offers general-season turkey hunts in both fall and spring. The fall hunts address nuisance issues and damage caused by turkeys to private property. These hunts complement the spring general-season hunt.
Fall General-Season Hunts
the Utah wildlife board has directed that hunters can obtain only one fall either-sex general-season turkey permit. These hunts are region-specific:
- Central Region
- Northern Region
- Southeastern Region
- Southern Region
It's important to note that hunting areas within these regions are exclusively on private property. Hunters must secure written permission to hunt on these lands. Detailed hunt boundary maps are available at wildlife.utah.gov/huntplanner.
Permits for the fall general-season turkey hunts will be accessible online at wildlife.utah.gov/uplandgame.
Youth Hunting Opportunities
Fifteen percent of the permits are reserved for youth hunters (17 years old and younger). More information about youth hunting opportunities can be found in the designated information section.
Fall Hunt Goals and Regulations
Fall turkey hunts aim to control turkey populations and mitigate conflicts with landowners. Thus, harvesting female turkeys is encouraged. If you have a permit for the fall hunts, you may harvest turkeys of any sex and are not restricted to bearded turkeys.
Spring General-Season Hunt
Spring general-season turkey permits are available to those who meet basic hunting requirements and did not obtain a limited-entry permit for the spring season. These permits will be accessible at wildlife.utah.gov and from license agents and Division offices.
Young hunters with general-season permits can participate in the youth hunt.
Permit Refund Policy
According to Utah Code § 23-19-38 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-42, refunds for licenses or permits are rare, with some exceptions. To determine eligibility for a refund, visit wildlife.utah.gov/refund. If eligible, remember to submit all required forms and paperwork within the designated time frame post-season to qualify for a full refund.
- Written permission is mandatory for hunting on private property.
- The fall hunt focuses on population control and landowner-turkey conflict resolution.
- Check online resources for detailed information on permit availability and hunting areas.