The major cities all have golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools, tournaments, and the other adjuncts of cosmopolitan recreation, and there are few places in the State where there is not a quiet hotel, lodge, or private home that will "take in" guests who want to live in the tranquillity of the rural West for a week or two. Utah, Bear and Great Salt Lake have bathing beaches and boat moorings; there are skiing facilities in the mountains adjacent to Salt Lake City, Ogden, Logan, and Provo; and there are picnic grounds with pure water supplies in most of the canyons that can be reached by car.
Although the tourist is no novelty in Utah, recreation as a significant economic factor is a comparatively recent development. Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks are best known and most visited, both by residents and visitors.
With more than eight million acres of forest reserve and many millions more of near-wilderness rich in game, Utah offers excellent opportunities to those who vacation with a gun. The variety of game ranges from elk to squirrel, with many species of pest and predatory animals. Both hunters and game are protected by regulations, game laws are simple, and the expense of licenses and special fees is not exorbitant. Those who have tried all the State has to offer agree that top hunting is for the big mule deer which abound from one end of Utah to the other in such numbers that stockmen periodically accuse them of depleting the range. Deer hunters generally form parties of from six to ten men, complete with pup tents and beer, and drive or pack into the hunting areas for a week of shooting and yarning. A visiting hunter is generally welcome into one of these companies, and if he joins one is almost assured a chance at his buck; guides and pack outfits can be hired in villages adjacent to the hunting regions. Many towns, as Beaver in southern Utah, stage an all-night shindig the night before the season opens, whence hunters are reputed to proceed tenderly into the canyons for a day or two of recuperation. Deer are plentiful along the whole course of the Uinta, Wasatch, Pahvant, Tushar, Pine Valley, Abajo, and Blue mountains, and in the plateau area of Powell National Forest. In the northern part of the State the deer are larger, in the southern, smaller but more numerous. If the season opens early, the best hunting is high, near timber line; if fall snows have begun, in the canyons and valleys.
Elk are fairly numerous in the mountains as far south as Salina, and may be hunted at irregular seasons by obtaining a special license from the Fish and Game Commission in the State Capitol. The number of elk licenses is limited; if the number of applications exceeds it, licenses are awarded by lot. The big fellows dress as high as 600 pounds and their meat surpasses venison, and some say beef, both in texture and flavor. Cinnamon bears are common in all the high mountain ranges, and since they are classed as predatory, may be hunted at any time, though the pelts are best in the late fall, before hibernation. The meat is edible, but old-timers, at the prospect of a bear steak, quote the frontier recipe: "Take two pounds of meat from the rump, boil three days in a deep kettle with the head of an axe, and, then, throw away the meat and eat the axe."
The mountain lion is, next to the coyote, the most common of the larger predatory animals in Utah. They are seldom seen unless started by a pack of trained lion dogs. The coyote, the predator of the west and the wise old man of Indian mythology, is fair game any time, and harder to hit than any other western animal. Their dun color and smooth stride make them almost invisible against desert brush and the undergrowth of forests, and their cunning enables them to travel all day within a few yards of a hunter without once intruding into his vision. Among the lesser animals, jack rabbits, badgers, woodchuck, and gophers are numerous, but are suitable only for "potting," and are not classed as game. Bobcats, mink, muskrats, and beaver are more easily trapped than hunted. Antelope and bighorn sheep are still occasionally found, but they are protected at all times.
The best duck hunting is in the marshes that border the lakes and major rivers, especially those on the northern and eastern shores of Great Salt Lake. Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is on two of the main duck flyways, and the public shooting grounds adjacent to the refuge yield limit bags. The public shooting grounds in Millard County and on the Green River near Jensen are equally popular with hunters, but being distant from the center of population are less frequented. The duck season is controlled by the Federal government, and it is necessary to have a Federal duck stamp in addition to the regular license. Ringnecked pheasants, introduced into Utah about 1918 and very popular with hunters, have thrived in spite of heavy winters. They are protected by a very short open season, and occur in the greatest numbers in farming districts of central Utah. Good quail hunting is confined to Washington County and the Uintah Basin. Sage hen, ruffed grouse, and pine hen, have steadily lost ground as civilization encroached on their breeding and feeding grounds; they are protected the year round.