Utah Wildlife News Press Release
More than 10,000 pheasants will be released in Utah
If you head afield for pheasants this fall, you’ll likely find fewer wild birds. The number of pheasants released by the Division of Wildlife Resources hasn’t taken a dip, though: more than 10,000 birds will be released. The 61 pheasant-release sites include a new site near Heber City and six new sites near Utah Lake.
Utah’s 2018 general pheasant hunt runs Nov. 3 – Dec. 2 on both private and public land.
New release sites
The marshes and other areas around Utah Lake provide great habitat for pheasants. And they also draw lots of hunters. To try to spread hunters out, and give everyone a better chance to take a bird, Division of Wildlife Resources biologists will release pheasants at six new sites around the lake this fall.
For the first time ever, they’ll also release pheasants on the Wallsburg Wildlife Management Area near Heber City. Adding the WMA to the list of release sites will give hunters in Wasatch County a close-to-home place to hunt pheasants.
Jason Robinson, upland game coordinator for the DWR, said biologists and conservation officers will release pheasants before each weekend of the hunt. “The one exception is the week of Thanksgiving,” he said. “That week, birds will be released early in the week so plenty of pheasants will be available over the Thanksgiving holiday.”
Each of 61 release sites is open to public hunters. You can see where the birds will be released, and how to get to those areas, at https://bit.ly/2PQTcDJ.
On at least 17 of the areas—10 waterfowl management areas and sites at the Utah Lake Wetland Preserve—you must use nontoxic shot (for example, steel shot) when hunting. Lead shot may not be used.
Birds released throughout the hunt
If you miss the opening weekend of the hunt, no problem: birds will be released throughout the hunt. “If you hunt after the opening weekend,” Robinson said, “you should still have a great experience and find plenty of birds.”
If you decide to hunt during the opening weekend, know in advance that lots of other hunters will be hunting too. You can still have a good experience, though, by being courteous and respectful to others.
“Ask other hunters where they plan to hunt and try to give each other space,” Robinson said. “Also, if you have a dog, make sure to keep it under control. Please remember that everyone is there to have a good time.”
And make sure to wear plenty of hunter orange.
“Even though it’s not required,” he said, “wearing hunter orange is extremely important, especially when you’re hunting in crowded conditions. You want to make sure other hunters can see you.”
Most of the wild adult pheasants in Utah survived the mild winter. Many of the chicks they hatched this spring weren’t as lucky, though.
Robinson said pheasant chicks need rain in the spring. “Rain provides plenty of grasses, forbs and insects for the chicks to eat,” he said. “Rain also provides tall grasses the chicks can use to hide from predators.”
Robinson says most of the wild pheasants hunters take each fall were born the spring before. “Because conditions were so dry this spring and summer,” he said, “I expect the hunt for wild birds will be slower than normal.”
If you have questions about hunting pheasants in Utah, visit the DWR’s pheasant hunting web page at https://bit.ly/2enS2zM. You can also call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR’s Salt Lake City office at 801-538-4700.