Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Wildland Resources

Committee Chair(s)

John P. Workman


John P. Workman


John Bissonette


Phil Urness


Rich Schreyer


Randy Simmons


Objectives of this research were (1) to describe fee hunting as it is currently practiced in Utah and (2) to assess the adequacy of fee hunting efforts in addressing the problems of wildlife habitat and hunter access on private land. To collect information, Utah landowners who charged for deer (Odocoileus hemionus) or elk (Cervus elaphus) hunting in 1986 were surveyed by telephone and mail.

Compared to the average Utah livestock rancher, those involved in fee hunting have larger livestock operations and have owned their property longer. They are Utah natives. Fee hunting is concentrated in northern Utah where foothill and mountain rangelands are privately owned.

There is great diversity in the way fee hunting is organized and managed. Hunting opportunities sold by lease usually include few services and require hunters to post and patrol the property. Hunts sold by permit may include more services and be personally managed by the rancher. In general, fee hunting in Utah is differentiated from public land hunting by the availability of more acres per hunter rather than by special services or trophy animals. Fee hunting serves mostly resident hunters.

Average net annual cash income is $6587, or $0.66 per acre. The most common expenses incurred are for road and facility (fence, campsite) maintenance and vehicle costs. Highest expenses are those associated with providing services.

Landowners initiated fee hunting in order to gain control over trespassing and cover the costs of having hunters on their property. Most do not buy liability insurance.

Fee hunting is expanding the number and types of hunting opportunities and is meeting the needs of landowners to minimize costs of trespassing and hunters. However, fee hunting is not stimulating investments in wildlife habitat improvement. Because of intermingling landownerships and the migratory nature of deer and elk in Utah, investments in wildlife habitat or management have an uncertain return. It is unlikely that fee hunting can provide adequate incentives for improving wildlife habitat without substantial policy changes to enhance the ability of landowners to capture a return on such investments.