Utah Preference and Bonus Point Big Game Draws

January 17, 2023 by DrawScout

Utah uses both a preference point and a bonus point system with a hybrid draw for its big game species. Overall a straightforward draw system, Utah does have some important limitations and a variety of over-the-counter elk opportunities. Learn all of the details before applying.

Utah Bison

Application Periods

The Utah big game application period for Mule Deer, Pronghorn, Elk, Bison, Moose, Mountain Goat, and Sheep opens in late March. The deadline to apply occurs in late April. This application period is also when hunters may purchase preference and bonus points; Utah does not have a separate point purchase period.

To view the latest available application dates, visit the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources or log in to your DrawScout account.

Utah Application Plan in DrawScout
Utah Application Plan in DrawScout

Preference Points, Bonus Points, and Big Game Draws

Utah uses both a preference point system and a bonus point system. Bonus points are part of a hybrid draw that includes tags for the highest point holders and a random draw.

Preference Points – General Season Deer

Utah uses a true preference point system for General Season Deer permits. These tags are awarded to applicants with the most preference points; there is no random component to the draw.

Applicants can gain a preference point when they are unsuccessful in the draw or if they choose to purchase one during the application period.

Bonus Points and Hybrid Draw – Limited Entry Tags

Limited entry hunts in Utah use a bonus point system with a hybrid draw. In these draws, 50% of tags are awarded to applicants with the most points. The remaining 50% are awarded at random. Having said that, bonus points still give applicants with the most points better odds in the random portion of the draw.

There are some caveats to the 50/50 ratio: If a hunt only has one permit available, it is awarded at random. If it’s not possible to split tags exactly 50/50, the higher percentage goes to the non-random portion of the draw.

Hunt Choices

Utah’s limited entry draw works similarly to Wyoming’s draw in that all applicants’ first choices are considered before moving on to any second choices. This means it’s rare for a tag to be available as a second choice.

Bonus points are purged when any hunt choice is successfully drawn.

Application Limitations for Residents and Non-Residents

Utah has different application restrictions for residents and non-residents:

  • Non-residents are able to buy points for and apply for all species each year.
  • Residents, on the other hand, can only apply for one limited entry species, one once-in-a-lifetime species, and one general deer tag per year.

No one is allowed to draw more than one limited entry tag in the same year. Additionally, no one can draw both a limited entry tag and a once-in-a-lifetime tag in the same year.

Costs for Applying in Utah

Utah is a fairly affordable and standard state to apply in. In addition to an application fee, applicants must also have a valid hunting license at the time of applying.

Required Licenses

Utah requires a hunting license to apply. However, similar to Arizona’s hunting license, this is a 365-day license. This means that applicants can stretch a single hunting license across two application years to avoid some costs.

DrawScout accounts for this by marking the Utah Hunting License as required but allowing applicants to remove the license from their plan if they already have a valid license.

Utah Licenses in DrawScout
Utah Licenses in DrawScout

Utah Big Game Draw Results

Utah draw results are available in late May. Check your DrawScout member portal for the most up-to-date draw dates and to mark your applications as successful or unsuccessful.

Over-the-Counter Tags

Utah offers a wide variety of OTC elk options. Hunters can choose from archery, rifle, muzzloader, and some multi-season tags. General archery tags are unlimited, while rifle and muzzleloader permits are capped.

Over-the-counter tags go on sale in mid and late July.

Plan Your Application Season with DrawScout

Planning hunts across several states can be a lot to keep track of. DrawScout helps hunters organize their plans ahead of open application periods in Utah and other popular states.

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