Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR), in tandem with the Regional Advisory Councils (groups consisting of land managers, politicians, sportsmen and environmental organizations), make decisions on cougar management. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources completed the last Cougar Management Plan in 2009 and most recently made revisions in 2011.
The Division manages to sustain cougar densities on all management units except those that have approved predator management plans. The state has made efforts to reduce the cougar population in recent years in hopes of benefitting ungulate populations. Recently, after an informal survey of 453 cougar hunters in the state, it was found that most hunters surveyed felt the cougar population was down.
All cougar complaints are handled under the guidance of a Nuisance Cougar Complaint policy. Most cougar conflicts are handled through lethal control. Mortality caused by depredation, vehicle collisions and natural causes does not count toward the quota.
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources estimates (as of 1999) that there are anywhere between 2,528 and 3,936 cougars in Utah.
Most hunt units in Utah have two seasons: an early limited-entry season from 11/12 – 2/26 followed by a late harvest-objective season from 3/5 – 5/31. Some units are open year-round. Dogs are permitted.
In 2013-2014, hunters killed 313 cougars, 108 of which were females.
Utah is one of six states (in addition to Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Wyoming) that provides cougar-specific hunter education in order to help hunters better identify the age/sex of a cougar and reduce incidental/illegal mortality.