SALT LAKE CITY — Looking for a new place to hunt? There’s a state park for that.
Under a rule change that went into effect Monday, all forms of hunting are now allowed at 23 of Utah’s 44 state parks, while limited hunting is available at six other state parks. Those parks are Antelope Island, Huntington, Millsite, Otter Creek, Piute and Sand Hallow state parks.
Prior to Monday, hunting was banned in 30 parks and limited at a dozen others. Jordanelle State Park was the only location where big/small game and waterfowl hunting were allowed prior to Monday.
In a statement, Utah State Parks deputy director Dave Harris pointed out that several parks had been open to hunting since the agency was formed in 1957; however, officials decided they needed to make a rule change after Echo became its newest park.
“When Echo became a state park last year, we realized that, despite hunting previously being allowed in that area, because of the restrictive way the rule was written, we couldn’t allow hunting there until the rule was changed,” Harris said.
Officials proposed to switch R657-5-12 in the Utah administrative code. The proposal altered “hunting of any wildlife is prohibited within the boundaries of all park areas” except for designated areas to “hunting of wildlife is allowed within the boundaries of all park areas” except for parks where it is closed, according to a DWR document. It was approved by the Utah Wildlife Board in November 2019.
“Hunting is a great way for people to get outdoors and to obtain locally sourced meat, so we are excited about this rule change that allows for those expanded opportunities on public lands,” said DWR wildlife section chief Justin Shannon, in a prepared statement.
Despite the change, park and wildlife officials say hunters should still abide by all state, federal and local laws and ordinances that regulate hunting, such as when a specific hunt is in season.
Hunting is still banned at 15 state parks, which include six museums and one golf course. These are the parks where all forms of hunting are banned:
- Anasazi State Park Museum in Boulder, Garfield County
- Camp Floyd State Park Museum in Fairfield, Utah County
- Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum in Blanding
- Flight Park State Recreation Area near Draper
- Frontier Homestead State Park Museum in Cedar City
- Goosenecks State Park near Mexican Hat, San Juan County
- Great Salt Lake State Park in Magna
- Green River State Park and Golf Course in Green River, Emery County
- Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail State Park in Summit County
- Jordan River Off-Highway Vehicle State Park in Salt Lake City
- Snow Canyon State Park near Ivins, Washington County
- Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum in Fillmore
- This is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City
- Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum in Vernal
- Utah Lake State Park in Provo