Seasons and Quotas

Big Game Season and Quota Setting Public Process

Every other year, Game Division’s biologists review big game hunt results, herd management objectives, sportsmen comments, and other information to develop big game season recommendations for when, where and how long hunting seasons should be. These recommendations are presented at County Wildlife Advisory Board meetings for public input and then ultimately the statewide Board of Wildlife Commissioners set the seasons in February.

Every spring, Game Division’s biologists are busy analyzing the past year’s data from field surveys and hunt results to determine herd status and to recommend big game quotas that meet herd management objectives. The quota setting process is dependent on collecting spring mule deer fawn ratios in March and early April to measure the severity of the winter on the fawns and adults. That is why big game quotas for the current year’s application process are not available until after the application deadline: biologists are still compiling data through late April to accommodate the 3-week public process of setting quotas in May similarly to setting the big game seasons.

 

Every spring, Game Division’s biologists are extremely busy analyzing the past year’s data collected from both field surveys and hunt results from hunters to determine herd status and to recommend big game quotas that meet both population objectives and harvest objectives (buck ratios, average age of rams, etc.)

The quota setting process is dependent on a very critical piece of data to be collected: spring mule deer fawn ratios. The helicopter surveys that measure the severity of the winter on the fawns and also adults is conducted from late February to early April statewide. That is why big game quotas for the current year’s application process are not available until after the application deadline: biologists are still compiling data in early April used in setting the quotas and to accommodate the 3-week public process of reviewing and commenting on those quota recommendations.

We strongly encourage all sportsmen to participate in this public process to learn about the status of the various big game herds, hear the rationale and requirements used for developing quota recommendations, and to provide comments on those recommendations. All this happens at 2 separate levels: at the county level during County Wildlife Advisory Board meetings held in most counties and then at the single statewide Board of Wildlife Commissioners meeting where the final big game quotas are adopted.