UTAH’S LANDOWNER TAG SYSTEM

By: Charles Wright
Sales Agent | Utah


For a prospective landowner, understanding each western state’s system of allocating big game tags can be a daunting and confusing task.  Every state has a unique and complex system for distributing tags, and for those unfamiliar with their systems, it can be overwhelming to try and sort through the seemingly endless rules and regulations.

Utah has long been known as one of the top western states for trophy mule deer and elk.  There are a number of ways to acquire tags, and with the proper knowledge and strategy, landowners can maximize hunting opportunities on their property for themselves, family, and friends.


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MULE DEER

Mule deer are the bread and butter of Utah hunting, with family hunting traditions spanning back generations.  The majority of Utah’s deer tags are general season tags that can be drawn with 1-3 preference points.  However, there are other ways for landowners to acquire tags.

General Landowner Deer Tags
For landowners and their immediate families, one tag may be issued per 640 acres.  Tags are non-transferable, and only one season (archery, rifle, or muzzleloader) may be selected.

Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit (CWMU) Deer Tags
These tags are transferable and can be assigned to family/friends or sold as the landowner sees fit.  To apply, the property must be a minimum of 5,000 contiguous acres.  Permit numbers are approved annually, and “any weapon” seasons are liberal, usually lasting several months and sometimes allowing for rifle hunting during the November rut.

The trade-off is that the landowner must also allocate a portion of these tags for public, resident hunters and provide agreed-upon access to their property without compensation.

Limited Entry Deer Tags
These are the most coveted tags in the state (and sometimes the world), typically taking 20+ years to draw, but landowners that own property within these units can apply for and obtain them without having to draw.  These tags are also transferable, and in certain units can be sold at premium prices.

Applications must be submitted as part of a “landowner association” with cooperation from each landowner.  There is no minimum acreage required, but at least 51 percent of the eligible lands within the unit must participate.


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ELK

Elk hunting has come on strong in Utah in the last thirty years, with elk populations exploding in many areas and trophy bull hunting that has come to rival any other western state.

Any Bull Elk Units
Less than half of the state’s areas are “any bull” units, and the state has capped the quota at 17,500 permits.  These tags are sold first-come, first-served in mid-July, and are usually not difficult to obtain if purchased early.

In 2021, the state-approved unlimited any bull permit numbers for youth hunters.

Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit (CWMU) Elk Tags
Like CWMU deer tags,  CWMU elk tags are transferable and can be assigned to family/friends or sold.  To apply, the property must be a minimum of 10,000 contiguous acres.  Permit numbers are approved annually, and “any weapon” seasons are liberal, usually allowing for rifle hunting during the September rut.

Again, the trade-off is that the landowner must also allocate a portion of these tags for public, resident hunters and provide agreed-upon access to their property without compensation.

Limited Entry Elk Tags
Very highly coveted tags, typically taking 20-25 years to draw, but landowners that own property within these units can apply for and obtain them without having to draw.  These tags are also transferable, and in certain units can be sold at premium prices.

Applications must be submitted as part of a “landowner association” with cooperation from each landowner.  There is no minimum acreage required, but at least 51 percent of the eligible lands within the unit must participate.

Spike Bull Elk Units
The majority of the state is Limited Entry, however, on most of these units, spike elk may be hunted with over-the-counter tags.  In premium areas, these hunts can be exciting as hunters often encounter trophy bulls during their pursuit of spikes.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Charles Wright
Sales Agent | Utah

Charles Wright is a born and raised Utah native whose ancestors can be traced to the nineteenth-century pioneers that crossed the plains and settled in the Salt Lake Valley.  He comes from a family that has been active in state politics for many generations.

Charles attended The University of Utah where he earned a degree in Business Administration.   After college, Charles started a successful career in finance, founding and scaling a commercial equipment finance company.  He then went on to work for a billion-dollar multinational corporation in Mergers & Acquisitions for seven years, completing transactions in excess of $400M.  After over twenty years in the workforce, Charles recently completed his executive education at Harvard Business School in Boston, with emphasis on Corporate Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Leadership.  Having held both senior-level corporate roles as well as founding and divesting a successful business, Charles has acquired a diverse and strategic skillset.

Charles is an avid hunter, fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman.  He has traveled the world in pursuit of his passions, including five African safaris, Asia, Alaska, Mexico, and Canada. He currently needs only one more wild sheep to complete his Grand Slam.   He grew up fly fishing the blue ribbon fisheries of the West with his father and brothers and has extensive experience hunting almost every big game animal the West has to offer.  Charles also enjoys playing golf and spending time with his three children.

801-554-1617
charles@sjsportingproperties.com

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