Waterfowl Hunting Regulation Updates
New Permit Applications for the 2023 Season
- Tundra Swan, Crane, and Grouse Permits: The application window for these coveted hunting permits is set from July 5 to July 19, 2023. Hunters interested in pursuing tundra swan, sandhill crane, greater sage-grouse, or sharptailed grouse should refer to the 2023–24 Utah Upland Game and Turkey Guidebook for comprehensive application guidelines and detailed information.
Youth Waterfowl Hunts: Dates and Zones
- Northern Zone Youth Hunt: A special hunting day dedicated to young enthusiasts in the Northern Zone is scheduled for September 23, 2023. This initiative promotes youth engagement in outdoor activities and hunting traditions.
- Southern Zone Youth Hunt: Following the Northern Zone, the Southern Zone offers its youth waterfowl hunting opportunity on September 30, 2023, encouraging broader participation among young hunters across different regions.
Trumpeter Swan Harvest Restrictions
- In response to exceeding federal quotas in recent years, Utah has imposed a strict ban on the hunting of trumpeter swans. Violations of this regulation will lead to legal repercussions, including seizure of the bird and potential criminal charges. The regulation includes a waiting period for tundra swan permit applications following a trumpeter swan harvest: three years for youth hunters and five years for adults.
Educational Requirements and Compliance
- Mandatory Swan Identification Course: Before applying for a tundra swan permit, hunters are required to complete an annual swan identification course. This ensures hunters can distinguish between protected and huntable species, promoting responsible and ethical hunting practices.
- Swan Check-In Procedure: All harvested swans must be checked in at a Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) office or the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge office. This check-in is crucial for maintaining accurate harvest records and managing swan populations effectively.
Electronic Duck Stamps and Dog Regulations
- Availability of Digital Duck Stamps: Hunters can look forward to the availability of electronic duck stamps later in the year, enhancing convenience and accessibility.
- Dog Policy at Farmington Bay: In the Hasenyager Nature Preserve, adjacent to the Eccles Wildlife Education Center, dogs are permitted but must be kept on a leash. This policy balances wildlife protection with the enjoyment and participation of hunting dogs.
Trail Camera and Night-Vision Device Usage
- Trail Camera Restrictions: From July 31 to December 31, the use of trail cameras on public lands is prohibited, with certain exceptions for research and monitoring purposes. This regulation aims to maintain fair chase principles in hunting.
- Night-Vision Device Limitations: The use of night-vision devices for locating or observing wildlife is prohibited between July 31 and January 31, reinforcing ethical hunting practices.
Licensing Fees and Eligibility Requirements
- Fee Increase Announcement: Starting July 1, 2023, Utah residents will experience a fee increase for hunting licenses. This is the first increase since 2014 and is essential for continuing conservation and wildlife management efforts.
- License Requirements for Permit Applications: To apply for specific hunting permits, including those for swan, grouse, and crane, hunters must hold a valid hunting or combination license. This requirement ensures that all applicants are knowledgeable and compliant with state hunting regulations.
Child Support Compliance and Group Permit Applications
- Child Support Law Enforcement: Individuals who are in arrears of child support may face restrictions in obtaining fishing and hunting licenses. This policy underlines the importance of fulfilling legal and familial responsibilities.
- Group Applications for Youth Swan Permits: Youth hunters have the option to apply in groups of up to four for swan permits, fostering teamwork and shared experiences among young hunters.
Online HIP Registration and Guiding on Waterfowl Management Areas
- HIP Registration: Hunters aiming for waterfowl during the 2023–2024 season must obtain a HIP (Harvest Information Program) number. This crucial step, integral for tracking game harvests, is a mandatory requirement and aids in wildlife management and conservation efforts.
- Guiding Permits: Aspiring guides operating in waterfowl management areas need to secure special-use permits. This ensures responsible guiding practices and adherence to wildlife management protocols.
Comprehensive Hunt Planning and Youth Involvement
- Utah Hunt Planner Tool: This online resource offers detailed insights into waterfowl management areas, helping hunters to meticulously plan their outings. It provides vital information on habitat conditions, bird populations, and accessibility.
- Youth Hunting Age Specifications: The cut-off age for youth hunters is 17 years or younger as of July 31, 2023. This regulation encourages younger generations to engage in hunting while ensuring appropriate age-related guidelines are followed.
Responsible Hunting: Retrieval and Poaching Reporting
- Ethical Retrieval Practices: Hunters are reminded of the ethical obligation to retrieve all waterfowl they shoot. This is not only a legal requirement but also a cornerstone of responsible hunting ethics.
- Poaching Reporting: The UTDWR law enforcement app serves as a critical tool in combatting wildlife crimes. It empowers individuals to report poaching, thereby playing an active role in wildlife conservation.
Encouraging New Hunters and Conservation Efforts
- Trial Hunting Program: This innovative program allows individuals to experience hunting for the first time without the prerequisite of Hunter Education, aiming to foster interest in hunting among new enthusiasts.
- Waterfowl Slam for Conservation: Engaging in the Waterfowl Slam program is a fun and impactful way to contribute to waterfowl conservation efforts. It offers hunters a unique challenge while supporting habitat restoration and research.
Support for Military Personnel and Preservation of Natural Habitats
- Military Points Opportunities: Acknowledging the sacrifices of military personnel, special points options are available for those deployed during critical application periods.
- Antelope Island Hunting Restrictions: In preserving the ecological balance, hunting or shooting activities remain strictly prohibited on Antelope Island, ensuring the protection of its diverse wildlife and natural beauty.
Regulation of OHVs and Environmental Management
- Restrictions on Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs): To minimize habitat disturbance, OHVs are restricted in state waterfowl management areas, except in designated areas.
- Controlled Phragmites Burns: Managed burns of invasive phragmites plants are conducted to improve habitat quality for waterfowl, showcasing an active effort in environmental stewardship.
Guidebook Corrections and Private Land Hunting Ethics
- Updating Information: Any errors in the guidebook will be corrected in the online version, ensuring hunters have access to the most current and accurate information.
- Private Land Access: Hunters are reminded to obtain explicit permission from landowners before hunting on private properties, respecting property rights and fostering good community relations.
Commitment to Equality and Funding Transparency
- Adherence to Non-Discrimination Policies: The Division is committed to ensuring equal access and fair treatment in all its programs and facilities, upholding the highest standards of inclusivity.
- Transparency in Division Funding: The Division's operations are largely financed through hunting and fishing license sales and federal aid. This funding model underscores the importance of hunter and angler contributions to wildlife management and conservation efforts.
Understanding Utah's Waterfowl Hunting Laws
Guidebook as a Quick Reference
- This guidebook serves as a handy, quick-reference tool for understanding the key aspects of Utah's waterfowl hunting regulations. It's designed to provide hunters with an accessible overview of the most important rules and laws.
In-Depth Resources for Comprehensive Understanding
- Official Wildlife Website: For a more detailed exploration of waterfowl hunting rules, visit the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources website. This site offers comprehensive information, extending beyond the scope of this guidebook.
- State Wildlife Laws and Statutes: The complete array of Utah's state wildlife laws and statutes is available at Utah's Legislative website. This resource is invaluable for understanding the legal framework governing wildlife management and hunting in Utah.
Utilizing Legal References in the Guidebook
- Administrative Rules and State Codes: The guidebook includes references like Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-6 and Utah Code § 23-20-3. These references point to the specific legal texts underpinning the summarized regulations in the guidebook. Accessing these documents provides an opportunity to delve into the precise legal language and intentions of the regulations.
Seeking Clarification and Assistance
- Direct Contact with Division Offices: For personalized assistance or clarification on specific rules, contacting or visiting the nearest Division office is recommended. The staff at these offices are well-equipped to provide expert guidance and answer any queries regarding waterfowl hunting laws.
Essential Guidelines for Waterfowl Hunting in Utah
Overview of Licensing and Regulations
To embark on waterfowl hunting in Utah, securing a proper hunting license and registering for the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) number is essential. For those over a certain age, obtaining a federal migratory bird hunting and conservation stamp is also necessary. This comprehensive guide outlines the requirements and processes to legally hunt waterfowl in Utah.
Age Requirements for Hunters
In Utah, waterfowl hunting is accessible to all ages, provided the hunter has completed an approved hunter education course. Youth hunters, defined as individuals 17 years or younger as of July 31, 2023, have specific guidelines.
Adult Supervision for Young Hunters
Utah law mandates that hunters under 14 must be accompanied by a responsible adult, 21 or older, during their hunting expeditions. Hunters aged 14 to 16 also require adult supervision. The supervising adult should ideally be familiar with hunter education guidelines or have completed the hunter education course. It's important for the adult to be within direct view and verbal communication range with the youth hunter, with reliance on electronic devices alone not sufficing.
Mandatory Hunter Education
For individuals born after December 31, 1965, proof of passing a Division-approved hunter education course is mandatory to obtain a hunting license or swan permit. An exception exists for participants in the Division’s Trial Hunting Program. Upon course completion, a hunter education card, known as a “blue card” in Utah, is issued, serving as proof of completion.
Steps to Complete Hunter Education
Prospective hunters should visit wildlife.utah.gov/huntereducation to start their hunter education. Various online and traditional courses are available, and registration is required. Once the course is completed, the hunter education registration certificate acts as a temporary hunting license until the official blue card arrives by mail, typically within four to six weeks.
Considerations for Underage Hunters
Minors under 16 must hunt under adult supervision. They must also adhere to all hunting regulations, including season dates and bag limits. Those planning to hunt out of state should allow time for their hunter education card to arrive by mail.
Licensing for New Utah Residents
New residents, who have completed a hunter education course elsewhere, must obtain a Utah blue card by providing proof of their completed course at any Division office.
Acquiring a Hunting License
Before hunting waterfowl, possession of a valid hunting or combination license is necessary. A hunting license covers small game, including waterfowl and upland game, while a combination license includes fishing rights. Licenses can be purchased online at wildlife.utah.gov, by phone, or in person at a license agent or Division office. The Utah Hunting and Fishing app allows for digital carrying of these licenses.
Obtaining a Federal Duck Stamp
Hunters aged 16 or older must also acquire a federal migratory bird hunting and conservation stamp, commonly called a duck stamp. This can be purchased from post offices, some license agents, or by phone. The stamp must be signed and carried during hunting. An electronic duck stamp option is available through the Division website.
HIP Number Requirement
A Migratory Game Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) registration number, renewed annually, is required for waterfowl hunting. This number can be obtained online at wildlife.utah.gov/uthip. The process involves answering brief questions about previous migratory game bird hunts. The HIP number should be written on the current hunting license or saved in the Utah Hunting and Fishing app.
Securing a Tundra Swan Permit in Utah
Introduction to Tundra Swan Hunting
Utah offers a unique opportunity for hunters to pursue tundra swans, a rare and regulated hunting experience. This guide details the process of applying for a tundra swan permit or a preference point for the 2023 season, including requirements and key dates.
Application Process for Tundra Swan Permit
To participate in tundra swan hunting in Utah, hunters must successfully draw a permit in the state’s hunt drawing. Applications for the drawing are open online at wildlife.utah.gov from July 5 to July 19, 2023.
Mandatory Swan Orientation Course
Before applying for a tundra swan permit, completing a mandatory swan orientation course annually is a prerequisite. This course ensures that hunters are knowledgeable about tundra swan hunting regulations and conservation.
Applicants for a tundra swan permit must hold a valid Utah hunting or combination license. This requirement also extends to hunting any waterfowl species in Utah. It's crucial to ensure that the hunting license remains valid throughout the waterfowl hunting season. If the license expires before the end of the season, a renewal is necessary to continue hunting.
Additional Permit Applications
While applying for a tundra swan permit, hunters also have the option to apply for permits for greater sage-grouse, sandhill crane, and sharp-tailed grouse. This allows for a broader hunting experience within the same application process.
Preference Points for Future Draws
For those not seeking a permit in the current year but aiming to improve their chances in future draws, applying for a preference point is a strategic option. Preference points increase the likelihood of drawing a permit in subsequent years.
Compliance with Child Support Regulations
Hunters should be aware that there are restrictions on obtaining fishing and hunting licenses for individuals who have not complied with child support payments. For more information or to set up a payment plan, contacting the Office of Recovery Services at 801-536-8500 is advised.
Post-Permit Harvest Reporting
Upon successfully drawing a tundra swan permit and harvesting a swan, hunters are required to report their harvest. This is an important aspect of wildlife management and conservation efforts.
Comprehensive Guide to Tundra Swan Permit Application in Utah
Completing the Annual Orientation Course
To apply for a tundra swan permit or a preference point in Utah, completing the swan hunting orientation course is a mandatory initial step. This online course, available at wildlife.utah.gov/SwanCourse, takes approximately 30 minutes and is essential for identifying tundra and trumpeter swans. Remember, this course must be completed annually when applying for a tundra swan permit. Harvesting a trumpeter swan leads to a temporary ineligibility for a swan permit in subsequent years.
Key Application Dates
Mark your calendar with these crucial dates for the tundra swan permit application process for the year 2023:
- July 5: Start of online applications for permits or preference points at wildlife.utah.gov.
- July 19 (11 p.m. MDT): Deadline for submitting applications and for making any edits or withdrawals.
- August 4: Notification of drawing results via email or available online.
- August 22: Availability of any remaining permits after the initial drawing.
Application Process and Fees
When applying, a nonrefundable fee is charged: $10 for residents and $16 for nonresidents. Successful applicants pay an additional permit fee ($40 for residents, $125 for nonresidents). Payments can be made using major credit or debit cards, valid through September 2023. For any changes to payment details, contact 800-221-0659 or visit utah-hunt.com.
Up to four hunters, including a mix of adults and youths or solely youths, can apply together using a group code. Note for youths: To compete for youth-only permits, do not apply in a group with adults.
Unsuccessful applicants or those opting only for a preference point increase their chances in future drawings. A preference point is awarded for each unsuccessful application. However, drawing a permit or applying for a permit and a preference point in the same season is not allowed.
If you need to surrender your permit before the hunting season starts, doing so early can help retain your preference points. Surrendering 30 days before the season allows retention of existing points, but not earning a new one. Late surrenders, less than 30 days before the season, result in loss of all accrued points.
Group Permit Surrender
If a permit is obtained through a group application, all group members must surrender their permits at least 30 days before the season to retain their preference points. Individual surrenders within the group are only permissible under specific conditions like military activation, illness, or injury preventing hunting, or death.
Refunds for Permits
Refunds for permits, licenses, or certificates of registration are rare but possible under certain conditions. Eligibility for refunds and required documentation can be found at wildlife.utah.gov/refund. Keep in mind, refund requests must be submitted within 90 days of the season's end.
Post-Hunt Procedures for Tundra Swan Hunters in Utah
Mandatory Steps After a Successful Hunt
For those who are successful in obtaining a tundra swan permit in 2023, it's crucial to adhere to the following regulations by January 8, 2024, to ensure compliance with Utah's hunting laws.
Tagging Your Tundra Swan
After harvesting a tundra swan, it is mandatory to tag the bird. This can be done upon returning to your hunting setup, whether it's a blind, boat, or dry land. The tag, which should be detached from your swan permit, must have the month and day notches removed to indicate the date of the harvest. The tag should then be securely attached to the swan carcass, ensuring visibility. It's important to remember that tagging regulations forbid the removal of more than one notch for the month or day or using the same tag for multiple swans. Once the tag is detached or notches are removed, hunting or pursuing additional swans is not permitted.
Mandatory Swan Examination
All hunters who harvest a tundra or trumpeter swan must bring the bird or its head to a Division office or the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge office within 72 hours of the harvest. This examination, conducted by staff, is crucial for gathering biological data about swan populations in Utah. Note that the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge office will only be available for check-ins on Fridays and Saturdays during the 2023 season.
Required Harvest Survey Submission
Every hunter with a tundra swan permit must complete and submit a swan harvest survey by January 8, 2024. This requirement stands even if you did not hunt or harvest a swan. The survey can be completed online or by calling 800-221-0659. If you do harvest a swan, a Division biologist will assist in completing your harvest survey as part of the mandatory post-harvest examination.
New Regulation: Trumpeter Swan Harvest Ban
Starting this year, harvesting trumpeter swans is illegal. This new rule aims to reduce the accidental harvest of trumpeter swans. If a trumpeter swan is harvested, either intentionally or unintentionally, the hunter must surrender the bird during the mandatory examination at a Division or Refuge office. Failure to comply may result in penalties, and a waiting period still applies before reapplying for a tundra swan permit.
Late Compliance and Its Implications
Missing the January 8 deadline has consequences. To remain eligible for the 2024 tundra swan permit, you must:
- Have the harvested swan's head examined at a Division office.
- Complete and submit a late harvest survey.
- Pay a $50 late fee.
If no swan was harvested, the latter two steps are required before applying for the next season's permit.
While hunting waterfowl in Utah, there are several requirements you must keep in mind to protect yourself and the resource. Please be familiar with the requirements for carrying and using shotguns, the different types of hunting methods you may use and what you’re required to do with any waterfowl you harvest.
Firearms, crossbows and archery tackle
Several rules apply to the types of shotguns, crossbows and archery tackle that may be used to take waterfowl in Utah.
50 CFR 20.21 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-7
You may take migratory game birds with any of the following:
- A shotgun no larger than 10 gauge
- A crossbow
- Archery equipment, including a draw lock
During most Utah waterfowl hunts, the shotgun you use cannot be capable of holding more than three shells (one in the chamber and two in the magazine).
Many shotguns can hold more than two shells in the magazine, but making these guns legal for waterfowl hunting is easy. An inexpensive item, called a "shotgun plug," comes with most shotguns or you can purchase one at most sporting goods stores.
And don’t forget: you may use an unplugged shotgun—capable of holding more than three shells—to hunt light geese during the February/March season.
Nontoxic shot and use of firearms, crossbows and archery tackle
50 CFR 20.21(j) and Utah Admin. Rules R657-9-8 and R657-9-9
A shotgun loaded with nontoxic shot is the only firearm you may discharge while hunting waterfowl or coot in any area of the state. In addition, nontoxic shot is the only ammunition you may have in your possession while on federal refuges, the Scott and Norma Matheson Wetlands Preserve, the Utah Lake Wetland Preserve, Willard Spur WMA and the following waterfowl management areas:
- Box Elder County—Harold S. Crane, Locomotive Springs, Public Shooting Grounds and Salt Creek
- Daggett County—Brown’s Park
- Davis County—Farmington Bay, Howard Slough and Ogden Bay
- Emery County—Desert Lake
- Juab County—Mills Meadow
- Millard County—Clear Lake and Topaz Slough
- Sanpete County—Manti Meadows
- Tooele County—Blue Lake and Timpie Springs
- Uintah County—Stewart Lake
- Utah County—Powell Slough
- Wayne County—Bicknell Bottoms
- Weber County—Ogden Bay and Harold S. Crane
You may not discharge a firearm, crossbow or archery tackle on any of the areas listed above at any time of the year, except during the open waterfowl hunting seasons or as authorized by the Division.
Are you allowed to possess a weapon?
Utah Code §§ 76-10-503 and 76-10-512
It is illegal under Utah Code §§ 76-10-503 and 76-10-512 to possess or use a firearm, muzzleloader or any other dangerous weapon if you have been charged or convicted of certain offenses.
The purchase or possession of any hunting license, permit, tag or certificate of registration from the Division does not authorize the holder to legally possess or use a firearm, muzzleloader or any other dangerous weapon while hunting if they are otherwise restricted from possessing these weapons under Utah Code.
To determine whether you are allowed to possess a weapon, please review the Utah Code sections listed above or contact the law enforcement agency that oversees your case.
Make sure you’re in range
In the marsh, you should only shoot at birds that are within range. If you try to hit a bird that’s too far away, there’s a much greater chance the bird will be wounded or hard to find.
So, how do you know if you’re in range? Before this year’s waterfowl season opens, you can improve your ability to judge distance accurately with the following exercise:
- Find an area that’s at least 50 yards long and place four regular-sized duck decoys 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards from your starting point.
- If you don’t have four regular-sized decoys, use four pieces of cardboard cut 21 inches long by 4 inches high (the size of a medium-sized duck).
- After placing your targets, go back
to your starting point, bring your unloaded shotgun to your shoulder and aim it at the target that’s 20 yards away. Notice how big your barrel looks in relation to the size of the target. Then aim at the targets that are 30, 40 and 50 yards away.
Practice this process enough, and you’ll know how birds should look when you view them over your barrel at different distances in the marsh.
Loaded firearms in a vehicle
Utah Code §§§§ 76-10-502, 76-10-504, 76-10-505 and 76-10-523
You may not carry a loaded firearm in or on a vehicle unless you meet all of the following conditions:
- You own the vehicle or have permission from the vehicle’s owner.
- The firearm is a handgun.
- You are 18 years of age or older.
A pistol, revolver, rifle or shotgun is considered to be loaded when there is an unexpended cartridge, shell or projectile in the firing position.
Pistols and revolvers are also considered to be loaded when an unexpended cartridge, shell or projectile is in a position whereby the manual operation of any mechanism once would cause the unexpended cartridge, shell or projectile to be fired.
A muzzleloading firearm is considered loaded when it is capped or primed and has a powder charge and ball or shot in the barrel or cylinders.
Areas where you can’t discharge a firearm
Utah Code § 76-10-508
You may not discharge a dangerous weapon or firearm under any of the following circumstances:
- From a vehicle
- From, upon or across any highway
- At power lines or signs
- At railroad equipment or facilities, including any sign or signal
- Within Utah state park camp or picnic sites, overlooks, golf courses, boat ramps or developed beaches
- Without written permission from the owner or property manager, within 600 feet of:
- A house, dwelling or any other building
- Any structure in which a domestic animal is kept or fed, including a barn, poultry yard, corral, feeding pen or stockyard
Utah Code § 76-10-508 and Utah Admin. Rule R651-614-4
Hunting of wildlife is allowed within the boundaries of all state park areas, except those areas and hunts specifically closed by the Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation in Utah Admin. Rule R651-614. For more information, visit stateparks.utah.gov/resources/ hunting-at-state-park.
State laws regarding the possession and discharge of dangerous weapons apply in state park areas open to hunting. For information about discharging a dangerous weapon or firearm in a state park, see the Areas where you cannot discharge a firearm section above or review Utah Code § 76-10-508.
In addition to the rules above, the Great Salt Lake Marina and posted areas adjacent to the marina are closed to hunting.
Waterfowl hunting, including the retrieval of downed birds, is also prohibited on all of Antelope Island, including all areas within 600 feet of the upland vegetative line or any other clearly defined high water mark. Hunting is also prohibited within 600 feet of the north or south side of the Antelope Island causeway.
Hunters with disabilities
Utah Admin. Rule R657-12
Utah provides special hunting accommodations for people with disabilities. Among those accommodations are special-use blinds for disabled or wheelchair-bound hunters.
For more information, call your local Division office or visit wildlife.utah.gov/disabled.
Several rules apply to the methods that you may use to hunt waterfowl in Utah.
Use of boats, and airborne and land vehicles
50 CFR 20.21(e), Utah Code § 23-20-3 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-10
You may use a boat or motorized aquatic vehicle to hunt waterfowl if you obey the following rules:
- Migratory game birds may not be taken from any motorboat, or craft that has a motor attached to it, unless the motor has been completely shut off and the motorboat or craft has stopped moving.
- Migratory game birds may0 not be taken from a sailboat unless the boat’s sails are furled and the boat has stopped moving.
You may use any of these crafts under power to retrieve dead or crippled birds, but you may not shoot crippled birds from a craft if its motor is still running.
Also, you may not use any of the crafts listed above, or any type of motor-driven land, water or air transportation (including a drone), to concentrate, drive, rally or stir up migratory birds.
Airboats and personal watercraft
Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-11
Air-thrust or air-propelled boats and personal watercraft are not allowed in designated parts of the following areas for the purposes of waterfowl hunting:
- Box Elder County: Box Elder Lake, Bear River, that part of Harold S. Crane within one-half mile of all dikes and levees, Locomotive Springs, Public Shooting Grounds, Salt Creek and any posted units or areas within the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.
- Daggett County: Brown’s Park
- Davis County: Howard Slough, Ogden Bay and Farmington Bay within diked units or as posted.
- Emery County: Desert Lake
- Millard County: Clear Lake and Topaz Slough
- Tooele County: Timpie Springs
- Uintah County: Stewart Lake
- Utah County: Powell Slough
- Wayne County: Bicknell Bottoms
- Weber County: Ogden Bay within diked units or as posted, and the portion of the Harold S. Crane Waterfowl Management Area that falls within Weber County
The term "personal watercraft" means a motorboat that meets the following conditions:
- It is less than 16 feet in length.
- It is propelled by a water jet pump.
- It is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing or kneeling on the vessel, rather than sitting or standing inside the vessel.
Did it get wet? Decontaminate it!
When you hunt waterfowl, your boat, apparel and gear inevitably get wet or muddy.
And everything from your waders and decoys to your portable blinds and boat motors will provide good hiding places for microscopic invasive species or whirling disease spores.
If you’re on foot, you need to complete the following steps before you leave a hunting area and walk into another waterbody.
- Rinse all the mud and other debris off of your waders, boots and wetted gear or equipment.
- Then, generously spray all of it—especially the felt soles of waders—with Formula 409 (a popular household cleaner). This treatment will kill any whirling disease spores.
- After you return home, thoroughly clean and dry all of your gear before using it again.
If you’re using a boat to hunt waterfowl, you need to follow the clean, drain and dry self-decontamination process. New this year: Boaters using motorized vessels have additional requirements. See stdofthesea.utah.gov for details.
If you don’t have time to allow your boat to dry thoroughly, you can get it professionally decontaminated. Visit stdofthesea.utah.gov to find the nearest location and schedule a decontamination.
Restrictions on motorized boats
Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-12
Portions of four WMAs have been set aside for hunters who enjoy walking or paddling nonmotorized boats into the marsh. Motorized boats, which are boats with a motor of any kind, including a gas engine or an electric motor, are not allowed in the following areas:
- Clear Lake: The entire WMA
- Farmington Bay: South Crystal Unit
- Harold S. Crane: Rainbow Pond Unit and the main East Pond Unit
- Public Shooting Grounds: Wigeon Lake
Motorized vehicle access on waterfowl management areas
Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-12
A motorized vehicle is a vehicle that is self-propelled or possesses the ability to be self-propelled. This does not include vehicles moved solely by human power, motorized wheelchairs or an electric personal assisted mobility device.
Reminder: Electric-assisted bicycles, propelled in part by electrical assistance, are only permitted on state waterfowl management areas if they meet the Class 1 definition provided in Utah Code § 41-6a-102(8) and (17).
Motorized vehicle travel on state waterfowl management areas is restricted to county roads, improved roads and parking areas.
Off-highway vehicles are not permitted on state waterfowl management areas, except in areas that are marked or posted open to their use.
Off-highway vehicles are not permitted on the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.
Boating laws and rules
If your hunting plans include a motorboat, please remember these laws and rules to ensure your safe, legal return home:
- Everyone on your boat or vessel must have a properly fitted, U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Youth who are 12 and younger must wear a life jacket at all times.
- Vessels longer than 16 feet must have a throwable personal flotation device immediately available.
- All motorboats, including those with electric motors, must be registered and properly numbered.
- All motorboats must display appropriate navigation lights from sunset to sunrise. Manually propelled boats may use a white light.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return, along with your boat and vehicle license number.
- All motorboats must carry a Type B, U.S. Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher, unless exempt.
- In addition to the equipment above, airboats operating on Great Salt Lake and adjacent waterfowl management areas must have a compass and either a flare, strobe light or other visual distress signal.
For additional boating safety information, visit boating.utah.gov or call 801-538-2628.
Waterfowl blinds on waterfowl management areas
Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-34
Reminder: You may not construct a new permanent blind on a waterfowl management area.
You can construct and use waterfowl blinds on Division waterfowl management areas (WMAs) as long as you obey the following rules:
- Waterfowl blinds may not be left unattended overnight unless they’re constructed entirely of non-woody, vegetative materials that naturally occur where the blind is located.
- Live or dead-standing trees and shrubs on WMAs may not be cut or damaged unless the Division gives express, written permission to do so.
- Soil or rock, above or below the water’s surface, may not be excavated on a WMA unless the Division gives express, written permission to do so.
- Rock and soil material may not be transported to a WMA to construct a blind.
- Waterfowl blinds may not be constructed or used in any area or manner that obstructs vehicle or pedestrian travel on dikes.
Waterfowl blinds that are constructed or maintained on WMAs in violation of the rules above may be removed or destroyed by the Division without notice.
The restrictions above do not apply to the following WMA areas:
- Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area—west and north of the Doug Miller Unit, Turpin Unit and Unit 1.
- Howard Slough Waterfowl Management Area—west and south of the exterior dike separating the WMA’s freshwater impoundments from the Great Salt Lake.
- Ogden Bay Waterfowl Management Area—west of Unit 1, Unit 2 and Unit 3.
- Harold S. Crane Waterfowl Management Area—one half mile north and west of the exterior dike separating the WMA’s freshwater impoundments from the Willard Spur.
In addition to the rules above, two other important rules apply to waterfowl blinds on WMAs and other state lands that are open to public hunting:
- Any person may use any unoccupied, permanent waterfowl blind. Waterfowl blinds on state lands are open on a first-come, first-served basis to everyone, not just to the person who built the blind.
- You cannot leave waterfowl blinds or decoys unattended overnight to reserve a spot.
50 CFR 20.21(c) and Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-13
You cannot take migratory game birds from any type of low-floating device that allows you to be concealed beneath the surface of the water. Called "sinkboxes," these devices float on the water, but they float barely above the water’s surface. You may not hunt from sinkboxes. You may, however, hunt from other types of boxes, blinds or culverts that are attached to the bottom of the body of water where you are hunting.
Commercial guiding and outfitting on waterfowl management areas
Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-35
Guides and outfitters are required to have a special-use permit before guiding or transport-ing hunters across waterfowl management areas. This change applies to anyone who receives more than $100 in compensation for providing guiding services, as defined in Utah Code 58-79-102.
Details about requirements and how to obtain a permit are available at wildlife.utah.gov/WMAguiding.
Using dogs to hunt
Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-28
Dogs may be used to locate and retrieve waterfowl during open hunting seasons.
Although dogs are generally allowed on state wildlife and waterfowl management areas (WMAs), they are prohibited on many WMAs from March 10 to August 31 or as posted by the Division. Here’s a complete list of WMAs and other Division-managed lands that are seasonally closed to dogs:
- Bear River (Trenton Property Parcel) • Bicknell Bottoms
- Blue Lake
- Browns Park
- Bud Phelps
- Clear Lake
- Desert Lake
- Farmington Bay
- Harold S. Crane
- Hatt’s Ranch
- Howard Slough
- James Walter Fitzgerald
- Kevin Conway
- Locomotive Springs
- Manti Meadows
- Mills Meadow
- Montes Creek
- Ogden Bay
- Public Shooting Grounds
- Redmond Marsh
- Salt Creek
- Scott and Norma Matheson Wetlands Preserve
- Stewart Lake
- Timpie Springs
- Topaz Slough
- Utah Lake Wetland Preserve
- Vernal Game Farm • Willard Bay
New: Dogs are only allowed on the Nature Trail within the Hasenyager Nature Preserve at Farmington Bay, and must be on a leash.
50 CFR 20.21(f ) and Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-14
You may not use live birds as decoys. Also, you may not take migratory game birds from an area where tame or captive live ducks or geese are present. The only exception is if the tame or captive live ducks or geese are—and have been—confined for at least 10 consecutive days before you take the migratory game birds. The area of confinement must substantially reduce the sound of the tame or captive birds’ calls. It must also totally conceal the birds from the sight of wild migratory waterfowl.
Amplified bird calls
50 CFDR 20.21 (g) and Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-15
During most of Utah’s waterfowl season, you may not use recorded or electronically amplified bird calls or sounds, or recorded or electronically amplified imitations of bird calls or sounds. You may, however, use electronically amplified calls or sounds during the spring hunts for light geese in the Eastern Box Elder, Southern and Northern goose areas after Feb. 1, 2024, and the Wasatch Front goose area after Feb. 16, 2024.
No drones allowed
Utah Code § 23-20-3 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-5-14
The use of any type of aircraft, drone or other airborne vehicle or device to locate, or attempt to observe or locate, any protected wildlife is prohibited. This includes scouting and hunting.
Changes to trail camera and night-vision device rules
Utah Admin. Rule R657-5-7
The Utah Legislature made several wildlife-related amendments that went into effect May 3, 2023, including laws regarding the use of trail cameras.
What is a trail camera?
- A trail camera is a device that is not held or manually operated by a person, and is capable of capturing images, video or location data of wildlife using heat or motion to trigger the device.
What are the trail camera regulations in Utah?
- All trail cameras are prohibited on public land from July 31 to Dec. 31 (with some exceptions, listed below).
- A trail camera using internal data storage and not capable of transmitting live data is permitted for use on private land for the purposes of legal hunting.
- The sale or purchase of footage or data from any trail camera (or non-handheld device) that could be used to take, attempt to take, or aid in the take or attempted take of protected wildlife is still prohibited.
The seasonal restrictions on trail camera use do not apply to:
- Monitoring and research conducted by the DWR.
- A land management agency in the course of its regular duties.
- Approved organizations or individuals conducting research or monitoring
in collaboration with the DWR. These include non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, individuals or groups monitoring active agricultural operations (including the take of a bear or cougar that is causing livestock depredation), or municipalities participating in the Urban Deer Program.
- Private landowners may use any trail camera or other non-handheld device to monitor their property for trespass and active agricultural operations.
What should I do if I see a trail camera in use during the seasonal closure?
Leave it alone and contact our conservation officers with the camera coordinates if you have concerns that someone is using it for hunting purposes. Do not attempt to remove or damage the camera—it’s someone else’s property and may be in use legally.
What are the rules for night-vision devices?
- The rule prohibits the use of any night-vision device to locate—or attempt to observe or locate—protected wildlife between July 31 and Jan. 31.
- A night-vision device is defined as anything that enhances visible and non-visible light and includes the use of night-vision devices, thermal-imaging devices, infrared-imaged devices and other electronic devices that enhance the visible and non-visible light spectrum.
- A trail camera is not a night-vision device.
For more information: For details, see wildlife.utah.gov/trailcams.
50 CFR 20.21 (i) and Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-16
Baiting is an illegal activity that involves the spreading of shelled, shucked or unshucked grain, feed or salt to lure, attract or entice birds to an area for the purposes of hunting them. You may not hunt waterfowl, snipe or coots by baiting, and you may not hunt in an area where you reasonably should have known that the area is or has been baited.
An area is considered to be baited for 10 days after the bait has been completely removed from the area.
You may not take waterfowl or coots on or over lands or areas where grain or other feed has been distributed or scattered as the result of the manipulation of an agricultural crop or other feed on the land where grown. However, you may take snipe on or over these areas.
Nothing in this guidebook prohibits you from harvesting waterfowl or coots on land with residual crops or feed left as a result of normal agricultural practices.
You also may take waterfowl, snipe and coots on or over the following lands or areas, as long as these areas have not been baited:
- Standing crops or flooded standing crops (including aquatics); standing, flooded or manipulated natural vegetation; flooded harvested croplands; or lands or areas where seeds or grains have been scattered solely as the result of a normal agricultural planting, harvesting, post-harvest manipulation (for example, a farmer working his land after the harvest is over) or normal soil stabilization practice (for example, a farmer planting a cover crop to protect the soil during the winter);
- From a blind or other place of concealment camouflaged with natural vegetation;
- From a blind or other place of concealment camouflaged with vegetation from agricultural crops, as long as such camouflaging does not result in the exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering of grain or other feed; or
- Stannding or flooded standing agricultural crops where grain is inadvertently scattered solely as a result of a hunter entering or exiting a hunting area, placing decoys or retrieving downed birds.
Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-32
If you are interested in hunting waterfowl or coots with a falcon, you must obtain a hunting or combination license, a HIP number, a federal migratory game bird stamp and a falconry certificate of registration (COR). The areas open and the bag and possession limits for falconry are listed below.
Legal falconry hours for waterfowl hunting are 30 minutes before official sunrise until official sunset.
Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-30
Unless you have prior permission from the Division, you may access and use state waterfowl management areas (WMAs) only during the hunting season or for other activities for which the WMAs have been posted open. While you’re on a WMA, you may not participate in activities that are prohibited on the WMA.
In addition to the rules above, the Division has established portions of the WMAs as rest areas for wildlife. These areas are closed to the public, and trespass of any kind is prohibited. The following locations are designated as rest areas:
- Clear Lake WMA—the area known as Spring Lake
- Desert Lake WMA—the area known as Desert Lake
- Farmington Bay WMA—the area that lies in the northwest quarter of Unit 1
- Ogden Bay WMA—the area known as North Bachman
- Public Shooting Grounds WMA—the area that lies above and adjacent to the Hull Lake Diversion Dike, known as Duck Lake
- Salt Creek WMA—the area known as Rest Lake
You can obtain maps of the rest areas by visiting Division offices or by visiting wildlife.utah.gov/waterfowl.
Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-30
The Division has designated certain portions of the state as no-shooting areas. In these areas, the discharge of weapons for the purpose of hunting is prohibited. No-shooting areas remain open to the public for other lawful activities.
The following locations are designated as no-shooting areas:
- All of Antelope Island — This includes all areas within 600 feet of the upland vegetative line or other clearly defined high water mark
- Antelope Island causeway—Within 600 feet of the north and south sides of the center line of the causeway
- Brown’s Park WMA—Within 600 feet of all structures
- Farmington Bay WMA—Within 600 feet of the headquarters, within 600 feet of dikes and roads accessible by motorized vehicles, within the area designated as the Learning Center and within the 100- yard buffer around the rest area
- Ogden Bay WMA—Within 600 feet of the headquarters area
- Gunnison Bend Reservoir—Below the high-water mark of the reservoir and its inflow, upstream to the Southerland Bridge (Millard County)
- Within the boundaries of all Utah State Parks, except those designated open by appropriate signage (see Utah Administrative Rule R651-614-4)
- Within 1/3 of a mile of the Great Salt Lake Marina
- All property within the boundary of the Salt Lake International Airport
- All property within the boundaries of federal migratory bird refuges, unless hunting waterfowl is specifically authorized by the federal government
Utah Code §§ 23-20-14 and 23-20-3.5
While taking wildlife or engaging in wildlife-related activities, you may not— without permission—enter or remain on privately owned land that is:
- Properly posted
- Fenced or enclosed in a manner designed to exclude intruders
In addition, you may not:
- Enter or remain on private land when directed not to do so by the owner or a person acting for the owner.
- Obstruct any entrance or exit to private property.
“Cultivated land” is land that is readily identifiable as land whose soil is loosened or broken up for the raising of crops, land used for the raising of crops, or a pasture that is artificially irrigated
“Permission” means written authorization from the owner or person in charge to enter upon private land that is cultivated or properly posted. Permission must include all of the following details:
- The signature of the owner or person in charge
- The name of the person being given permission
- The appropriate dates
- A general description of the land
“Properly posted” means that signs prohibiting trespass—or bright yellow, bright orange or fluorescent paint—are clearly displayed at all corners, on fishing streams crossing property lines, and on roads, gates and rights-of-way entering the land. Or, they are displayed in a manner that is visible to a person in the area.
You may not post private property you do not own or legally control or land that is open to the public as provided by Utah Code
§ 23-21-4. In addition, it is unlawful to take protected wildlife or its parts while trespassing in violation of Utah Code § 23-20-14.
You are guilty of a class B misdemeanor if you violate any provision described in this section. Your license, tag or permit privileges may also be suspended.
Possession and transportation
Once you’ve taken a migratory game bird, several rules apply to the use of the game you’ve taken.
During closed season
50 CFR 20.32 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-17
You may not possess any freshly killed migratory game birds when the hunting season is closed.
50 CFR 20.38 and Utah Admin. Rules R657-4, R657-9-18
You may not possess or transport live migratory game birds. You must immediately kill any migratory game bird you wound and include it in your bag limit.
A hunting license does not give you authority to possess live migratory game birds.
Waste of migratory game birds
50 CFR 20.25, Utah Code § 23-20-8 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-19
You may not waste any migratory game birds or permit them to be wasted or spoiled. (Waste means to abandon migratory game birds or to allow them to spoil or be used in
a manner not normally associated with their beneficial use. For example, using the meat as fertilizer or for trapping bait is not considered a beneficial use.)
In addition, you may not kill or cripple any migratory game bird without making a reasonable effort to immediately retrieve it. Any migratory game bird that you wound must be immediately killed and included in your bag limit.
Termination of possession
50 CFR 20.39 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-20
Birds that you have taken are no longer in your possession once you’ve delivered the birds to another person as a gift, or once you’ve taken the birds to a migratory bird preservation facility (i.e., a facility where birds are taken to be cleaned and prepared for consumption) or to a post office or common carrier and consigned them for transport to a person other than yourself.
50 CFR 20.36 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-21
If you leave your birds in the custody of another person for picking, cleaning, processing, shipping, transporting or storing, including temporary storage, or at a location to have taxidermy services performed, you must tag the birds. You must sign the tag, and it must include your address and Utah hunting license number, the total number and species of birds taken and the date the birds were killed
If you’re transporting migratory game birds that you’ve taken, the birds are not considered to be in storage or temporary storage, and you don’t need to have a tag on them at that time.
Reminder: There are new rules for tagging swans
Giving birds to someone else
50 CFR 20.40, Utah Code § 23-20-9 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-22
You can give the waterfowl you’ve taken to another person, but please remember the following:
- If you give birds to someone at any location, you must tag the birds. The tag must include your address and Utah hunting license number, the total number and species of birds you’re donating, the date the birds were killed and the date the birds were donated. You must also sign the tag.
- If you accept birds from another hunter, those birds become part of your possession limit. For example, if you have 15 ducks at home in your freezer, and you accept 6 ducks from another hunter, you now have 21 ducks in your possession. That’s the maximum number of ducks you can have in your possession in Utah. You’ll have to eat some of those ducks before you can go hunting and take more.
Custody of another person’s birds
50 CFR 20.37 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-23
You may not receive or have in your custody migratory game birds that belong to another person unless the birds have been tagged in the manner described in Tagging requirement below.
Species identification requirement
50 CFR 20.43 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-24
You may not transport migratory game birds within the United States unless the head or one fully feathered wing remains attached to each bird while you’re transporting them to your home or to a migratory bird preservation facility (i.e., a facility where birds are taken to be cleaned and prepared for consumption).
Marking package or container
50 CFR 20.44 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-25
You may not transport migratory game birds, by the Postal Service or a common carrier, unless all of the following items are clearly marked on the outside of the package or container:
- Your name and address
- The name and address of the recipient
- The number and the species of the birds contained in the package
A Utah shipping permit must accompany each migratory game bird package that is shipped within or from Utah. Shipping permits are available from the Division.
Migratory bird preservation facilities
50 CFR 20.82 and 20.83 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-26
No migratory bird preservation facility shall receive or have
in custody any migratory game bird unless accurate records are maintained that can identify who each bird was received from and can show all of the following information:
- The number of each species
- The location where they were taken
- The date the birds were received
- The name and address of the person from whom the birds were received
- The date the birds were disposed of
- The name and address of the person to whom the birds were delivered
In addition, migratory bird preservation facilities may not destroy any records they are required to maintain under this section for a period of one year following the last entry on record.
Record keeping as required by this section is not necessary at hunting clubs that do not fully process migratory birds by removing their head and wings.
No migratory bird preservation facility may prevent any person authorized to enforce this part from entering their facilities at all reasonable hours and inspecting the records and the premises where bird-processing operations are being carried out.
For information regarding the importation of migratory game birds you’ve harvested in another country, please see 50 CFR 20.61 and 20.62, and Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-27 at wildlife.utah.gov/rules.
50 CFR 20.11 and 20.24 and Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-29
Federal bag and possession limits apply to migratory game bird hunting, regardless of the number of states or provinces you may have hunted in during your trip. For example, if you hunt ducks in two states, the total number of ducks you take in one day cannot exceed a single federal bag and possession limit. (For example, if the federal bag limit is 7 ducks, and you take 5 ducks in one state and then travel to another state and hunt the same day, you can take only 2 ducks in the second state.)
Checkpoints and officer contacts
Utah Code §§ 23-20-25 and 77-23-104
To help the Division fulfill its responsibility as trustee and custodian of Utah’s wildlife, Division conservation officers and biolo-
gists monitor the taking and possession of waterfowl and the required permits, firearms and equipment used for hunting. You should
expect to encounter conservation officers and biologists checking hunters in the marsh and at checkpoints.
If you’re contacted by a conservation officer, you must provide the officer with the items
he or she requests, including any licenses and permits required for hunting, any devices
used to participate in hunting and any birds you’ve taken. These contacts allow the Division to collect valuable information about Utah’s waterfowl populations.
Special regulations for national wildlife refuges
Utah Admin. Rule R657-9-30
More than 500 refuges across the nation and the U.S. territories are included in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System. Three of those refuges—Bear River, Fish Springs and Ouray—are located in Utah, and the following regulations apply to all.
- Current state and federal regulations apply for season dates, shooting hours, and bag and possession limits.
- Hunters may possess and use only approved nontoxic shot while in the field.
- Hunters may not enter closed areas to retrieve birds. Therefore, allow enough room between the closed area boundary and where you’re hunting to retrieve your birds.
- Camping is not permitted on the refuges.
- Prohibited activities include wood cutting and gathering, littering, disturbing or removing plants or natural objects, and removing artifacts of antiquity. Shell casings and ammunition boxes are litter. Failure to make a reasonable effort to retrieve litter could result in a citation.
Maps of all three refuges are available online at wildlife.utah.gov/waterfowl.
The following is specific information and regulations for each of the federal refuges in Utah:
50 CFR 32.64
- The refuge will be open for the youth waterfowl hunt on Sept. 17, 2022.
- A map of the refuge is available online at wildlife.utah.gov/waterfowl.
- Hunters may not shoot or hunt within 100 yards of refuge roads open to vehicle traffic.
- Hunters may not enter the hunting units (scout) prior to the opening day.
- Hunters may not use pits or permanent blinds. The building of a temporary blind made of natural material is permitted, but is not allowed prior to the opening day.
- Airboats are only permitted in the posted open areas of units 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and the C blocks.
- Off-highway vehicles are not permitted on the refuge.
- Hunters may enter the refuge two hours before legal sunrise and must exit the refuge by two hours after legal sunset.
- The refuge prohibits leaving decoys, boats, vehicles and other personal property on the refuge overnight.
- Hunters may only park in designated parking areas.
- Persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on the refuge must comply with all provisions of state and local law. Firearms may only be discharged according to refuge regulations (50 CFR 27.42 and 50 CFR 32.64).
- Archery hunting is not allowed on the refuge.
- Predator and snipe hunting are not allowed on the refuge.
- Commercial guiding and outfitter activities are not allowed on the refuge.
- All hunters entering, using or occupying the refuge for waterfowl hunting must abide by all terms and conditions listed on the refuge website.
Reminder: You can check in your swan for identification at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge office on Friday and Saturday only during the 2023 hunting season.
For more information call the refuge manager at 435-723-5887 or visit bit.ly/fws_brmbr.
50 CFR 32.64
- The refuge will be open for the youth waterfowl hunt on Oct. 1, 2022.
- A map of the refuge is available online at wildlife.utah.gov/waterfowl.
- The hunting program has expanded at Fish Springs NWR to include more species of migratory birds and new areas for upland and big game. For more information, visit the website at go.usa.gov/xHpsz.
- All hunters must register individually at the visitor information station before entering the open hunting area and before exiting the refuge.
- Hunters may construct nonpermanent blinds, but must remove all blinds constructed out of materials other than vegetation at the end of the hunting day.
- The refuge provides a Special Blind Area for use by the disabled. The refuge prohibits trespass for any reason by any individual not registered to utilize the area.
- The refuge allows the use of small boats, 15 feet or less, but does not allow gasoline motors and air boats.
- Hunters may enter the refuge two hours before sunrise, and must exit the refuge by 11⁄2 hours after sunset. Hunters may not leave decoys, boats, vehicles and other personal property on the refuge overnight.
All hunters entering, using or occupying the refuge for waterfowl hunting must abide by all terms and conditions listed on the refuge website. For more information, call the refuge manager at 435-693-3122 or visit go.usa.gov/xHpsz.
50 CFR 32.64
- The refuge will be open for the youth waterfowl hunt on Sept. 17, 2022.
- A map of the refuge is available online at wildlife.utah.gov/waterfowl.
- Leota Bottom is the only refuge area open to duck, goose and coot hunting. Access into Leota Bottom is limited to foot, bike, canoe, rowboat or electric motorized boats. Gas-powered boats are not permitted.
- Persons possessing, transporting, or carrying firearms on the refuge must comply with all provisions of state and local law. Firearms may only be discharged according to refuge regulations (50 CFR 27.42 and 50 CFR 32.64). Snipe and swan hunting are not allowed on the refuge.
- The use of pits and permanent blinds is not allowed. The building of a temporary blind made of natural material is permitted, but is not allowed prior to opening day.
- All hunters entering, using or occupying the refuge for waterfowl hunting must abide by all terms and conditions listed on the refuge website.
- For more information call the refuge manager at 435-545-2522 or visit go.usa.gov/chxWP.
Waterfowl Hunting Season Dates, Bag and Possession Limits in Utah
Utah's waterfowl hunting seasons for 2023–2024 encompass ducks, mergansers, coots, scaup, geese, and tundra swans. These seasons are divided into different zones with specific dates and bag limits. Understanding these dates and regulations is crucial for a legal and ethical hunting experience.
Ducks, Mergansers, Coots, and Scaup Season
- Northern Zone: Youth Waterfowl Hunt starts on Sept. 23, 2023. Regular season is from Oct. 7, 2023, to Jan. 20, 2024. Scaup can be hunted from Oct. 7 to Dec. 31, 2023.
- Southern Zone: Youth Waterfowl Hunt begins on Sept. 30, 2023. The regular season is from Oct. 14, 2023, to Jan. 27, 2024, with scaup hunting extending from Nov. 3, 2023, to Jan. 27, 2024.
Bag and Possession Limits
- Ducks, Mergansers, and Scaup: Daily bag limit of 7 birds, with specific limits for certain species. Possession limit is three times the daily bag limit.
- Coots: 25 daily or 75 in possession.
Geese Season Dates
- Eastern Box Elder, Northern, Southern, and Wasatch Front goose areas: Various dates for dark geese, white-fronted geese, and light geese (snow, blue, and Ross’s), with specific closures in designated wildlife management areas (WMAs) and national wildlife refuges.
Bag and Possession Limits for Geese
- Dark Geese (cackling, Canada, brant): 5 per day, 15 in possession.
- White-fronted Geese: 6 per day, 18 in possession.
- Light Geese (snow, blue, Ross’s): 20 per day, 60 in possession.
Falconers are subject to the same season dates as traditional waterfowl hunters, with a daily bag limit of 3 birds and a possession limit of 9.
- Northern Zone: Oct. 7, 2023, to Jan. 20, 2024.
- Southern Zone: Oct. 14, 2023, to Jan. 27, 2024.
- Bag and Possession Limits: Daily bag limit is 8, and the possession limit is 24.
Tundra Swan Hunting
- Application Dates: July 5–19, 2023, using hunt number TS1000.
- Youth Waterfowl Hunt: Eligible youths may hunt tundra swans on Sept. 23, 2023, in the Northern Zone.
- General Season: Oct. 7–Dec. 9, 2023, with potential early closure if the trumpeter swan quota is met.
- Bag Limit: One tundra swan per permit holder for the 2023 season.
Utah’s Youth Waterfowl Hunts
- Dates: Sept. 23, 2023, in the Northern Zone, and Sept. 30, 2023, in the Southern Zone.
- Eligibility: Hunters 17 years old or younger as of July 31, 2023.
- Requirements: Utah hunting, combination, or three-day nonresident small-game license, HIP registration number, and a federal duck stamp for those 16 or older.
- Bag Limits: Various limits for ducks, mergansers, scaup, coots, dark geese, white-fronted geese, and tundra swans (permit required).
- Trumpeter Swan Protection: Harvesting trumpeter swans is illegal, with strict penalties for violations. Identification of swan species before shooting is critical.
- Mandatory Orientation Course: Required annually for tundra swan permit applicants.
- Harvest Reporting: Mandatory for all tundra swan permit holders, regardless of hunting or harvest success.