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APPLICATION NUMBERS ARE LOWER THAN EXPECTED

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In all likelihood, there will be some big game hunting licenses up for grabs in August.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources reported it received fewer applications than it expected for 1994 big game licenses.The division estimated it had received about 95,000 applications either hand delivered or post marked by the May 25th deadline.

Between deer, elk, moose, buffalo, antelope, sheep and goat permits, there are almost 130,000 licenses available for 1994 fall hunts.

"It's much lower than what we thought it would be," said division auditor Alta Meier.

Consensus is there are two reasons for the low interest. One involves the entire application process, and the second centers around the application itself.

This year all those planning to hunt in the fall needed to submit an application by the deadline. This included hunts involving archery, muzzleloader and general rifle deer. In the past, hunters could purchase permits up until one day before the hunt.

The quota placed on deer hunters (97,000) also stopped many from applying. Last year nearly 150,000 hunters bought licenses for the three deer hunts.

A cap was set on the three deer hunts because of low numbers as a result of the extended drought and the harsh winter of 1992-93. Also, hunters will be limited to only one hunt this year.

The application process was developed as a way to ease tracking of the number of permits sold. Many hunters, too, considered the application process too complicated.

"I've heard that some hunters thought it wasn't worth the bother," she said. "We're trying our best to simplify it, but we keep getting new rules every year."

There were some, too, who felt that despite an attempt to get the word out to everyone, there were those who did not hear about the application process and deadline.

Under the application process, permits will be issued in a random drawing on July 8.

Those tags not taken in the drawing will be made available on a first-come, first-serviced basis by mail starting on Aug. 1.

Hunters should receive their permits about a week or two following the drawing.