Two of Utah's most popular hunts — elk and duck — open Oct. 4.
According to the Division of Wildlife Resources, one in five hunters can expect to tag an elk this season, and, assuming hunters can find a good patch of open water, they should be able take a few ducks as well.
Utah's elk population, unlike the deer population, is doing well. Latest estimates put the state's elk population at around 60,000 animals, just shy of the statewide objective of 67,149.
Those planning to hunt will need to purchase one of two licenses, which are still available, at the DWR's Web site www.wildlife.utah.gov, DWR offices or from one of the more than 300 hunting license agents statewide.
When hunting, Jim Karpowitz, big game coordinator for the DWR, suggested hunters look for areas where good feed can be found.
"Finding success while elk hunting also requires time and a willingness to get into the rough country where the elk are," Karpowitz said.
Those hunters planning to take ATVs will need to know where they can and can't ride. They are also advised to review the 2003 big-game proclamation.
DWR predicts there will be more duck this season but fewer places to hunt because of the drought.
Waterfowl hunters will have 107 days to set up decoys and try to persuade ducks and geese to fly within range. One twist this year is that included in the 107-day hunt will be a 60-day canvasback hunt and a 60-day season for pintail.
Utah's 2003-04 waterfowl season will begin with a special youth hunt Saturday for those 12 to 15 years old. The regular waterfowl season runs through Jan. 17. The goose hunt also opens Oct. 4.
The limit on ducks and geese is seven ducks and three geese per day. This year, hunters will be allowed to take one canvasback between Oct. 4 and Dec. 2. Hunters will be allowed to take one pintail between Oct. 4 and Dec. 2.
Most of the Canada geese in Utah during the season are produced locally. As a result, because of the drought, numbers are down about 7 percent this year.
Tom Aldrich, upland game coordinator for the DWR, said that even with the drop, "there are still plenty of Canada geese in Utah."
Large flocks of swans are expected to migrate into Utah later this year, but they are not expected to stay long because of low water conditions.
Waterfowl hunters are reminded that they are required to register with the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program prior to heading out to the marshes. They can register online at www.uthip.com or by calling 1-877-882-4744.