Young Hunters Get First Crack at Pheasants

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Those 17 years of age and younger will be the first hunters to take a pheasant in Utah this fall. Utah’s youth pheasant and quail hunt runs Oct. 10 – 12.

DWR Press Release

Oct. 10, 11 or 12 might be the best time this fall to take a young person pheasant or quail hunting in Utah. The state will host its annual youth pheasant and quail hunt on those days. Those who are 17 years of age or younger will have Utah’s pheasants and quail all to themselves.

Pheasant releases, special guided hunts

To increase the chance young hunters take a bird, Division of Wildlife Resources biologists will release more than 850 rooster pheasants before the hunt. All of the birds will be released on state wildlife management areas and Walk-In Access areas. Visit www.wildlife.utah.gov/uplandyouth before Oct. 10, to learn which areas will receive birds.

In addition to the pheasant releases, 40 young hunters in southeastern Utah will have a chance to participate in special guided pheasant hunts. The hunts, which feature volunteer hunting guides and trained bird dogs, are free. You can learn more about the hunts and submit your name to participate at https://1.usa.gov/1O51Fzh.

Requirements to participate

If you were 17 years of age or younger on July 31 and you’ve graduated from Utah’s Hunter Education program, you can participate in the hunt. You must also have a hunting license and follow all of the state’s upland game hunting rules.

You can find the rules in the 2015-2016 Utah Upland Game and Turkey Guidebook. The free guidebook is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks.

If you haven’t completed a Hunter Education course, you still might be able to participate through Utah’s new Trial Hunting program. Visit www.wildlife.utah.gov/trial to learn more.

After Oct. 12, the pheasant and quail hunt will close. The hunt will reopen for hunters of all ages on Nov. 7.

Finding a place to hunt

With the exception of Gambel’s quail in the Mohave Desert in southwestern Utah, most of Utah’s pheasant and quail hunting happens on private land. That doesn’t mean you should stay home, though, plenty of places are available to hunt:

Walk-In Access

Jason Robinson, upland game coordinator for the DWR, said the state’s Walk-In Access areas are great places to consider. Walk-In Access areas are private property that’s open to public hunters and anglers through agreements the landowners have made with the DWR.

Robinson said many of the Walk-In Access (WIA) properties have pheasants and quail on them. “If you’re looking for a place to hunt, the Walk-In Access areas are the first places I’d try,” he said.

More information about the WIA areas, including which ones have pheasants and quail, is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/walkinaccess.

WMAs

The DWR manages several wildlife management areas and waterfowl management areas, also called WMAs, across Utah. All of these areas are open to the public and many have pheasants on them.

More information about the WMAs is available in the “Access to Wildlife Lands in Utah” book. To get the free book, visit www.publications.utah.gov. Once you arrive at the website, type “Access to Wildlife Lands in Utah” into the search bar. Then, hit return.

Private land

In addition to the WMAs and WIA areas, another option is getting written permission from a private landowner to hunt on his or her property. A permission card you can print off and take to the landowner is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/law/permissioncard.html.

Robinson encourages you to be polite and understanding if a landowner doesn’t give you access. “If you get access, make sure you respect the landowner’s property by leaving it better than you found it,” he said.

Robinson said you should not wait until the morning of the hunt to try to get permission. “Get written permission as soon as you can,” he says.

Finding pheasants and quail

Robinson said farm land in Box Elder, Cache, Weber, Davis, Utah, Juab, Millard, Duchesne and Uintah counties are among the best places in Utah to find pheasants. Many of the wetlands near Utah Lake and Great Salt Lake also hold good numbers of birds.

California quail aren’t as widespread as pheasants, but good numbers are found in parts of Duchesne, Uintah and Juab counties. Parts of Davis, Salt Lake and Utah counties also hold good numbers of California quail. But most of these birds are within city limits where hunting is not allowed.                                

Gambel’s quail are much easier to access. They’re found almost entirely on public land in the Mohave Desert in the central and western parts of Washington County.

More information

If you have questions about the youth pheasant and quail hunt, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR’s Salt Lake City office at 801-538-4700.

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