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Permit Program Funds Conservation in Utah

Since 1980, the Utah Wildlife Board has designated a small percentage of limited-entry and once-in-a-lifetime hunting permits as "conservation and expo permits." Funding from these permits is used for wildlife research, conservation and habitat restoration projects, raising $3.9 million this year alone.

Hannah McKinney June 20, 20232 min read

The conservation permits are offered to conservation and sportsmen's groups who auction them at banquets, fundraisers and other events. These groups provide 90% of the money raised from these permit sales toward conservation and research projects like habitat enhancement, wildlife transplants, aerial surveys and deer survival studies. Instead of being auctioned, the expo permits are available through a drawing that takes place once a year at the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo in Salt Lake City. Utah residents and nonresidents alike are eligible to apply for these permits.

During this year’s annual conservation permit program, the National Wild Turkey Federation purchased several of these permits. The permits will be put up for auction, and the proceeds will be directed toward habitat projects across Utah.

Over the last two decades, conservation permits have generated more than $59 million in revenue for wildlife conservation work in Utah. Without this funding, the Department of Wildlife Resources and its partners would have had significantly less resources to complete high-priority conservation projects. The funds generated by conservation and expo permits have led to the enhancement of thousands of acres of critical habitats, as well as the completion of important research to support the DWR's efforts to manage game populations more effectively.

Many of the conservation projects that are funded by these special permits are proposed to Utah's Watershed Restoration Initiative. This program, launched in 2006 as a partnership-based effort by the Utah Department of Natural Resources, strives to enhance priority watersheds throughout the state. By doing so, the initiative promotes healthy watersheds and biological diversity, clean and abundant water, recreational opportunities and wild turkey habitat enhancement. Thanks to ongoing efforts, the initiative has completed 2,594 projects across 2,392,035 acres of Utah's landscape.

The ongoing Upper Provo Watershed Project is a prime example of the impactful work being done throughout the state, with Phase 6 slated for completion in 2023. On top of providing benefits to wild turkeys in Utah, conservation efforts under the Watershed Restoration Initiative also align with the NWTF's Four Shared Values.

“I have been part of this program from when NWTF started getting tags to sell,” said Lynn Worwood, NWTF Utah State Chapter president. “Going to the allocation meeting and sitting with all the other conservation groups in that room and spending millions of dollars on habitat for wildlife is one of my favorite things to do, because I know we are shaping the future of wildlife habitat in Utah.”

The NWTF is proud to support these important conservation initiatives in Utah and is committed to promoting the conservation of wild turkeys and their habitats across the country. For more information about the NWTF and its conservation efforts, read about America’s Big Six of Wildlife Conservation.

About the National Wild Turkey Federation

Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested over half a billion dollars into wildlife conservation and has conserved or enhanced over 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The organization continues to drive wildlife conservation, forest resiliency and robust recreational opportunities throughout the U.S. by working across boundaries on a landscape scale. 

2023 is the NWTF's 50th Anniversary and an opportunity to propel the organization's mission into the future while honoring its rich history. For its 50-year celebration, the NWTF has set six ambitious goals: positively impact 1 million acres of wildlife habitat; raise $500,000 for wild turkey research; increase membership to 250,000 members; dedicate $1 million to education and outreach programs; raise $5 million to invest in technology and the NWTF's people; and raise $5 million to build toward a $50 million endowment for the future. Learn how you can help us reach these lofty goals.

Filed Under:
  • Healthy Habitats
  • Healthy Harvests
  • Hunting Heritage