By David Virostko, Professional Hunt Advisor, License Application Specialist, February 2016
February is a particularly exciting month for me when it comes to application time. It is when I find myself double-checking my Arizona elk and antelope applications and finalizing my research for New Mexico, Oregon, and Montana, but more importantly, it is when I gear up for the applications in my home state of Utah. Although I apply for a dozen different states, there is always something a little different when it comes to applying for my home state. There is really no more or no less research done, but there is something special about applying in a state you grew up hunting.
My passion for mule deer is borderline addictive, so it shouldn’t shock any of you to know that I am more focused on what Utah has changed for the 2016 season concerning my favorite species. There have been six new late muzzleloader deer hunts added to the limited-entry units from which you can apply. The dates are November 2-10, and the new units are Fillmore, Monroe, Boulder, Thousand Lakes, South Slope/ Yellowstone, and Wasatch East. These hunts will run concurrent with the general muzzleloader elk hunt and have serious potential at hammering a giant buck. The catch is that these are general season deer units, but due to the late dates, the UDWR has classified these hunts as “limited-entry” status. Therefore, you have to use your limited-entry deer points to draw these hunts. There is definitely a chance at putting your tag on a really great buck, especially if you’re willing to put in a bunch of homework.
The 2016 deer and elk hunt dates have rolled back, which in many places doesn’t mean much, but for areas like my backyard (the Paunsaugunt unit), the October 22-30 dates should make for a great rifle season. Speaking of which, check out our 2016 Winter Membership Drive for your chance to win a fullyguided Paunsaugunt hunt with my crew of guides and me. Get those tickets in! I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to help one lucky Huntin’ Fool member kill one of the best bucks of their life later this year.
Another hot item for 2016 in Utah is that you are now able to have magnified scopes on muzzleloaders and you can now use electronic rangefinding devices attached to your bows to harvest big game. While there are some very opinionated arguments on both sides, the undeniable fact is that these are both huge advantages and you can bet that they will result in the harvesting of some animals that otherwise may have squeaked through.
A few new elk hunts and a new Rocky Mountain bighorn unit (Wasatch Mountains/ Avintaquin) have been added to this year’s selection of hunts to apply for. At the same time, a few hunts have been discontinued, so be sure to check the proclamation closely before applying. For those of you who do your own applications, use caution when applying in Utah this year. There are some unit boundary and name changes as well as a new hunt number structure. This is where Huntin’ Fool’s License Application Services can be a priceless asset. Let us take care of your applications so you don’t have to worry about keeping up with all the changes that can and do occur on an annual basis.
I have to apologize for not touching more on the other states you will find in this issue. The great thing about New Mexico is that there are no bonus points. I like this because everyone is on the same playing field with drawing a tag. The same can be said for Oregon sheep, making them a “must apply for” species in Oregon for me every year. I want to wish you all good luck in the draws. Please give me a call here at the office or drop me a line at email@example.com if you are interested in letting us handle all your application needs.