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 to walk 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, with 39-inch-wide antlers, was taken just before dark 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 began Saturday, with Utah resident draw-out hunters having from Saturday to Thursday -- Thanksgiving Day -- to take one mule deer and one bighorn sheep off the island, Shaw said.
This is the first time since the state took ownership of the island in 1981 that the mule deer and bighorn sheep have been taken through a hunt, Shaw said.
Out of concern for island visitors, Frary Peak Trail on the island will remain closed to the public through Thursday or until the hunts are complete, Shaw said.
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 habitat, said Steve Bates, Antelope Island State Park wildlife biologist.
The $508 and $163 in revenue generated from the drawings for a mule deer and a bighorn sheep permits, respectively, will go the Division of Wildlife Resources, State Parks and Recreation Communication Director Deena Loyola said.
The State Parks and Recreation Board, by a 5-2 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.
Because of a lack of access, media were unable to contact the hunters who obtained their hunting permits through the competitive bid process.