Utah: 2023 Hunting Application Details

The Beehive State is home to mountains, deserts, and a compelling range of big game hunting. Utah manages some units for mature bull elk with targeted age classes over five years old. These limited-entry hunts are some of the best in the country if you are looking for a trophy class animal but the draw odds can be difficult to overcome. Non-residents can apply for all species, including limited-entry deer and general season deer. However, you may not apply for a permit and a bonus point for the same species. Up to four hunters can apply as a group for limited-entry deer, elk, and antelope hunts and general season deer hunts. 

Utah has two separate and distinct drawings for mule deer: limited-entry and general. The limited-entry hunts are managed for more mature bucks overall but typically are also more difficult to draw. The general hunts are available in a different group of units and generally provide for more draw opportunities.

Utah uses a bonus point system, but it’s possible to draw a premium big game tag in Utah with no points, if you get lucky enough in the random portion of the drawing.

TopRut draw odds

As of January 18, 2023, the new 2023 Utah regs, season dates and hunt codes have not yet been published (Big Game Application Guidebook). The big game application period begins March 23, 2023, and ends April 27, 2023, with draw results available by May 31, 2023.

Hunters may apply for tags with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources here.

Huntin’ Fool’s Utah page is an excellent, updated resource for ongoing Utah draw changes.

utah application season species

Utah Draw Process FAQs

Application Dates and Deadlines: Huntin’ Fool lines out Utah dates and deadlines.

Free for onX Elite members, Hunt Reminder’s Utah page is also an excellent resource for timely application season reminders.

Hunting license and species costs for tags usually include:

  • Application Fee
  • Hunting License Fee to apply (usually need a qualifying license before you can apply)
  • Species Fee (This is what you pay for the animal you want to hunt. Some you pay upfront at application, some you pay for once you get the tag.)
  • Points-Only fee (fees for people just buying points and not actually applying for a hunt)
2023 utah hunting application dates and deadlines

Point System

  • For limited entry elk, deer, antelope and Once-in-a-Lifetime moose (OIL), sheep, and goats Utah uses a traditional Bonus Point system.
  • Bonus Points are like raffle tickets: the more you have, the more “chances” you have in the draw.
  • You get one chance for your current application, and then one additional chance for every Bonus Point you have (so with three points, you’d get four chances).
  • If you apply for a tag and are unsuccessful, you will be awarded a Bonus Point for that species that will apply to next year’s application.
  • Or, you can also choose to apply for a Bonus Point only each year to accumulate Bonus Points.
  • If you draw your first choice for a limited entry tag, your Bonus Points are purged back to zero.
  • For general deer tags, Utah uses a traditional Preference Point system.
  • Preference Points are like a place in line: first in, first out. The applicants with the most Preference Points draw before those with less.
  • You can apply for Preference Points only and accumulate general deer Preference Points.
  • If you draw your first thru fifth choice for general deer, your Preference Points are purged back to zero.

onX Elite benefits

To help increase your success, we’re adding new benefits to your Elite subscription—including access to Toprut.

Tag Allocation

  • Nonresidents are issued a maximum of 10% of the total tags for a given hunt code.
  • For limited entry and Once in a Lifetime tags, 50% of the total number of tags for that hunt will be awarded to the applicants with the most Bonus Points.
  • The remaining 50% of tags for any given hunt code will be issued in the Random Draw.
  • If the resident or nonresident total quota is an odd number, the extra tag will be issued in the Bonus Point Draw.
  • But if there is only one tag available in total, it will be issued in the Random Draw.
  • 100% of the general deer tags per hunt code are issued to the applicants with the most Preference Points.
  • 20% of the total general deer buck tags are allocated to the youth drawing.
  • You can apply for both a limited-entry and a General Deer tag, but if you draw a Limited Entry deer tag your General Deer tag application will not be considered (but you will still get a Preference Point)
  • You can only hold one limited-entry or OIL tag per year. The draw order is limited entry deer, elk, antelope, OIL species (sheep, moose, mountain goat, bison), youth general deer, and then general deer.
Utah hunting application and draw odds point system

Useful Links:

  • Access the onX Complete Package for Western Application Research
  • Log Into Toprut Today to Start Your 2023 Application Season
  • View Utah Hunting Regulations Here
  • Apply Here for Your Utah Hunting Tags
  • Check Your Utah Draw History Here
  • Read Utah Hunting News and Updates Here
utah draw odds for elk

Toprut’s Top Four State Application Tips

  • For limited entry hunts, Utah considers everyone’s first choice before anyone’s second choice is looked at. Because of the high demand, this means that only your first choice is truly relevant to your application.
  • For elk, Utah does have some general season rifle hunts/units that are obtained on a first come, first serve basis during a special period in July. Most of these hunts have a capped number of tags and will typically sell out in a matter of hours.
  • If you are an archery elk hunter, there are also early-season spike hunt tags available in limited entry units. These are unlimited, and enable you to hunt spike elk in some of the best trophy elk units in the country and can be an excellent way to learn more about these areas.
  • Point creep is a significant problem in Utah — each year these hunts get harder and harder to draw, especially as a nonresident. If you are only applying for the highest-demand hunts you can realistically go a lifetime without ever drawing. At least consider the middle tier demand hunts as part of your long-term Utah strategy.
Elk hunting in utah

The Complete Service for Your Western Application Needs

To maximize your time spent researching and applying—and to help you build your strategy to successfully draw in 2023 and beyond—we’re providing onX Hunt Elite Members with FREE services in one comprehensive package:

Toprut: In-Depth Draw Odds and Application Tools

Huntin’ Fool: Boots-on-the-Ground Research and Insight

HuntReminder: Worry-Free Text and Email Reminder Service

onX Hunt: Map Your Hunt With Application Research Layers

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Jess McGlothlin

Before taking the role of onX Communications Writer, Jess McGlothlin worked as a freelance photographer and writer in the outdoor and fly-fishing industries. While on assignment in the past few years she’s learned how to throw spears at coconuts in French Polynesia, dodge saltwater crocodiles in Cuba, stand-up paddleboard down Peruvian Amazon tributaries and eat all manner of unidentifiable food.