Hunting Laws Clarified

January 27, 2020

For Immediate Release
Jan. 24, 2020

Park City, Summit County, DWR clarify hunting restrictions in Round Valley area after recent elk shootings.

PARK CITY – In light of the frustrations expressed by some members of the community when a licensed hunter harvested a cow elk (and may have accidentally shot another) in the Round Valley open space area, Park City, Summit County, and Utah Division of Wildlife Resource (DWR) officials want to clarify the laws regarding hunting in this area.

The Summit County Attorney’s Office, Park City Police Department, and Park City Attorney’s Office in conjunction with the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District (Basin Recreation) and the DWR want to inform the public about what is permitted when it comes to hunting on open space lands in the greater Park City area.

The DWR regulates hunting activity through Title 23 of the Utah Code and Title R657 of the Utah Administrative Code. Through the Utah Wildlife Board, the DWR has primary authority to manage protected wildlife and regulate hunting in the State of Utah. The DWR has not closed any part of Summit County, including Round Valley or Basin Recreation open space, to hunting with the appropriate licenses and permits and within prescribed seasons and units.

Notwithstanding, the following provisions of the Utah Code (Titles 23 and 76), Park City Municipal Code and Summit County Code of Ordinances apply and will be enforced for this area:

Criminal Trespass. Utah Criminal Code prohibits entering or remaining on property to which notice against entry is given by personal communication, fencing or posted signs. In many areas, Park City, Summit County and Basin Recreation have posted signs on open space property they own that restrict access to the properties for the purpose of hunting. Members of the public can be cited for criminal trespass if they are found hunting on the posted properties. A person hunting in compliance with applicable state laws is still subject to criminal trespass statutes. See Utah Code § 76-6-206. Violation is a class B misdemeanor.

Taking Protected Wildlife While Trespassing. Utah Wildlife Resources Code prohibits hunting and fishing on privately owned property without landowner permission when the property is appropriately noticed against trespass. See Utah Code § 23-20-3.5 and § 23-20-14. Violation is a class B misdemeanor.

Discharge of Firearm From a Highway or Within 600 Feet of a Residence. Utah Criminal Code prohibits the discharge of a firearm or dangerous weapon from a vehicle, from, upon or across a highway, or within 600 feet of a house, dwelling or any other building (without written permission from the owner or person in charge of the affected property). See Utah Code § 76-10-508. Violation is a class B misdemeanor.

Discharge of a Firearm within Park City Limits. Park City Municipal Code § 8-6-1 prohibits the discharge of firearms within the corporate limits of Park City except where legally permitted, such as a regularly licensed shooting gallery, the Park City police target range, or at a regularly organized gun club shooting range. Violation is a class B misdemeanor.

Hunting Restriction on Open Space Owned by Summit County and Basin Recreation. Summit County Code § 7-5-4(K) prohibits access for hunting on open space property it owns “unless there are special facilities set aside for that purpose and then only in accordance with the rules set forth.” Violation is a class B misdemeanor.

Individuals who enter City, Summit County or Basin Recreation open space for the purpose of hunting on that property can be charged with Criminal Trespass. Individuals who discharge a firearm in restricted areas can be criminally charged. Individuals who access Summit County or Basin Recreation open space property for the purpose of hunting on that property can also be charged with a class B misdemeanor. Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The ordinances and laws that restrict hunting access on City, Summit County, and Basin Recreation properties do not prohibit a person from hiking across the property to access adjacent public or private land open to hunting. However, if an individual is crossing the property with a firearm, muzzleloader or archery equipment to access an adjacent property for hunting, the following restrictions apply:

  • The firearm may not have ammunition in the chamber or magazine.
  • The muzzleloader may not be charged with powder or a ball.
  • The archery equipment may not have an arrow knocked.

In the coming months, the Park City Council, the Board of Basin Recreation (and the Summit County Council as its governing board) intend to work cooperatively with the Utah Wildlife Board to streamline and simplify this set of laws so that members of the public are well-informed when using the area’s unique and heavily visited recreation areas and interconnected trail system.

###

Media contacts: Tricia Lake, Park City Prosecutor, 435-615-5025, Margaret Olson, Summit County Attorney, 435-336-3206, Brian Hanton, Director, Basin Recreation, 435-649-1564 and DWR Public Information Office Faith Heaton Jolley at 385-266-2640.