Big game animals
Information about hunting big game species in Utah
Big Game Application Guidebook
Download the Utah DWR Big Game Application Guidebook to learn more about applying for a Utah big game permit.
View guidebook updates
— Important changes and corrections made after the guidebook was printed.
May 3, 2023: Changes to trail camera rules
The Utah Legislature made changes to the state's trail camera rules, effective May 3, 2023. Trail cameras are prohibited on public land from July 31 to Dec. 31, with some exceptions for research and monitoring by land management agencies. The sale or purchase of trail camera footage in the take — or attempted take — of big game, cougar or bear is still prohibited. The new law allows the use of trail cameras that utilize internal data storage to be used on private property.
These changes went into effect after the 2023 Big Game Application Guidebook was printed. The digital edition of this guidebook has been updated with the following changes:
Page 11: Trail camera and night-vision device rules information box
Changes to trail camera regulations and night-vision device rules
Utah Admin. Rule R657-5-7 and Utah Code § 23-13-18
The Utah Legislature made several wildlife-related amendments in March 2023, including laws regarding the use of trail cameras that went into effect May 3, 2023.
What is a trail camera?
- "Trail camera" means 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 big game, cougars or bears is prohibited. That includes images or video, location information, time and date of the footage, and any other data that could aid in the harvest or attempted take of big game, cougars or bears.
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. 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 locate big game, cougars or bears from 48 hours before any hunt in the area through 48 hours after any big game, cougar or bear hunt ends in the area.
- 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
Visit wildlife.utah.gov/trailcams for more details about these rules.
Gathering antlers and horns (Severe Winter Closure — Statewide)
Effective February 7 through April 30, 2023, the antler and horn gathering season will be closed throughout the entire State of Utah — on both public and private lands — thereby making it unlawful to gather antlers or horns. Extreme cold temperatures and elevated snowpack may negatively impact big game survival. In these conditions, big game animals are weakened and highly vulnerable to human-caused disturbance. The additional expenditure of energy and stress associated with disturbance may significantly increase winter mortality, particularly in mule deer populations. Closing the antler and horn gathering season will minimize a major source of disturbance during the time period wintering big game animals are most vulnerable.
As it relates to this closure, "gathering" means locating, attempting to locate, collecting, or marking locations of 1) shed antlers or horns or 2) antlers or horns attached to a skull plate of a dead animal.
This emergency change refers to information on pages 6 and 13 in the 2023 Utah Big Game Application Guidebook.
This change will remain in effect until April 30, 2023. Except for other emergency changes made since January 1, 2023, all other rules established in the Utah Big Game Application Guidebook have not changed and remain in effect.
Page 71: In the CWMU buck deer hunt table, one public permit was listed in error for each of the following two units: Mecham Ridge (#DB1321) and Rock House (#DB1323). There are no public or private permits allocated for either of these CWMUs in 2023. The online edition of this guidebook has been updated by deleting these two units from the table.
Page 77: In the CWMU bull moose hunt table, one public permit was listed in error for each of the following three units: Little Pole Canyon (#MB6265), Sand Creek (#MB6264) and SJ Ranch (#MB6254). There are no public or private permits allocated for moose on these three CWMUs in 2023. The online edition of this guidebook has been updated by deleting these three units from the table.
Big Game Field Regulations
Download the Utah DWR Big Game Field Regulations Guidebook to learn more about the rules for hunting big game in Utah.
- View online, interactive hunt unit maps for big game hunts. Read boundary descriptions, biologist notes, population and harvest statistics, management objectives and more.
- Search for a hunt by species, weapon or number
- Antlerless elk-control permits
Hunt drawing results and drawing odds
- See our wildlife calendar for season dates and application deadlines.
Antler gathering ethics course
- From Feb. 1 to April 15, shed antler and horn gathers must possess an antler-gathering certificate. Learn more, take the online course, then print your completion certificate.
- Apply for the deer, elk or pronghorn depredation hunter pool
- Information on the lawful use of depredation permits (PDF)
Dedicated Hunter Program
Bison orientation course
- Take the online Nine Mile bison education course
- Take the online cow bison orientation course
- Bison shot placement tips
Management buck deer orientation course
- Material to read before taking the course (PDF)
- Take the management buck deer online orientation course
Mountain goat orientation course
Extended archery seasons and ethics course
- Bow hunters planning to hunt the extended hunts must complete an online course covering the special considerations of hunting in these high-use areas.
Cooperative Wildlife Management Units (CWMUs)
Chronic wasting disease
- Chronic wasting disease
- Deer check stations for chronic wasting disease
- Check chronic wasting disease test results
Currently available hunting permits
- Summary of Big Game Permits 2021
- Apply online for available hunt drawings
- Buy currently available fishing & hunting licenses online
Report harvest information and see harvest data
- Read reporting requirements, report your harvest and see your bonus points
- See buck, bull & once-in-a-lifetime harvest data since 2010
Big game annual reports
Statewide big game management plans
- Statewide Mule Deer (PDF)
- Statewide Elk (PDF)
- Mountain goat (PDF)
- Moose (PDF)
- Bighorn sheep (PDF)
- Pronghorn (PDF)
- Bison Henry Mountains and Book Cliffs (PDF)
Conservation Permit Program
Utah's Trial Hunting Program
Utah Hunter Mentoring Program
Other big game information
- Trail camera regulations — New
- Baiting big game
- Sportsman permits
- Accessible wildlife for people with disabilities
- Read what the DWR is doing to help Utah's deer
- Supplemental winter feeding of deer
- Utah's Predator Control Program
- Expo permit program FAQ
- Disease issues in Utah deer
- Minimizing browsing damage from deer
- Limited-entry landowner association list
- Managing off-highway vehicles (PDF)
- Hunter Education
- Guides & outfitters
- Utah's big game range trend studies
- Trespass laws of specific interest to hunters