ANTELOPE ISLAND -- The high end phase of the hunt in Antelope Island State Park is complete, with the hunters having paid a combined $283,000 in permit fees walking away with a large trophy mule deer and a "big, mature ram," according to officials.
"No issues. No complaints," Antelope Island State Park Manager Jeremy Shaw said of the Nov. 15-17 hunts.
The mule deer, taken Nov. 15-17, with a 39-inch wide antler measurement, was taken just before dark on Tuesday, Shaw said, while the sheep, "a big mature ram," was taken Wednesday.
The hunters who bought permits through the competitive bid process were allowed to hunt first, Shaw said.
The second phase of the hunt begins Saturday, with Utah resident draw-out hunters having from Nov. 19 to Nov. 24 -- Thanksgiving Day -- to take one mule deer and one bighorn sheep off the island, Shaw said.
The hunts are the first time, since the state took ownership of the island in 1981, that the mule deer and bighorn sheep have been taken off the island through a hunt, Shaw said.
Out of concern to island visitors, the Frary Peak Trail on the island will remain closed to the public through Nov. 24, or until the hunts are complete, Shaw said.
Due to the wet weather forecast Saturday and Sunday, Shaw said, he is uncertain when the two hunting parties receiving the draw out permits will begin their hunt.
Of the $283,000 generated from the two permits sold through the competitive bid auction, 90 percent will be reinvested into Antelope Island for wildlife habitant, said Steve Bates, Antelope Island State Park wildlife biologist.
The $508 and $163 in revenue respectfully generated from the draw-out hunting permits for a mule deer and a bighorn sheep will go the Division of Wildlife Resources, State Parks and Recreation Communication Director Deena Loyola said.
The State Parks and Recreation Board by a 5 to 2 vote in September, approved the same island hunts for the same animals for 2012, Loyola said.
Those hunts will take place Nov. 12-21, 2012, she said.
Due to a lack of access, media were unable to contact the hunters who obtained their permits through the competitive bid process.