An estimated 4,600 archery elk hunters hunted this year. During a year when most big game permits were cut back severely, an unlimited number of archery elk permits were sold. Because of a low success rate for elk archers (about 10 percent), the Board of Big Game Control allowed for permits to be sold over the counter to anyone desiring to participate.
Normal strategy for elk archers is to locate bull elk by bugling. Elk in Utah begin their rut during the month of September and are extremely vocal during this period. The bugle is the bull elk's way of announcing himself to cow elk and warning other bulls to stay away.Once elk are located, the archer usually becomes stationary and begins a variety of calls imitating cows and other bull elk to entice the bull to come in.
Because of extremely dry conditions throughout elk habitat this year, DWR biologists recommend that hunters concentrate their efforts around areas with water and green vegetation. Elk prefer to stay as high in the mountains as possible to avoid annoying insects during this time of the year.
Scientific evidence suggests that, following a summer of high vegetative productivity, elk may begin the rut earlier than normal. This year, the opposite may be true. Because of a lack of high quality vegetation, last year's calves are taking longer to grow to sizes large enough to be left by the cows. Pre-season scouting and listening provides the archer with information about the timing of the rut.
In most areas the hunt has ended, but archers may hunt elk through November 27 in portions of Salt Lake County. Check the 1994 Big Game Proclamation beginning of page 29 for further details and restrictions.
Five hundred permits were issued this year for hunters desiring to pursue elk with black powder rifles. The first season began Sept. 17, and will run through Sept. 25 in certain general season elk units. A second season begins on Nov. 2 and runs through Nov. 8 in general elk units. Muzzleloader hunters can only hunt during the season they have received a permit for.
Elk in various areas have been fitted with radio collars and ear tags in an effort to collect biological information for managing elk herds. Please return all collars and tags from animals you take to the nearest DWR office.