Hunters who are 15 years of age or younger will have Utah's pheasants and quail all to themselves on Oct. 12. That's the day Utah hosts its annual youth pheasant and quail hunt.
To participate in the youth hunt, a hunter must be 15 years of age or younger on Oct. 12 and a graduate of Utah's Hunter Education course.
He or she also needs a hunting license and must follow all of the state's upland game hunting rules.
The rules are available in the 2013–2014 Utah Upland Game and Turkey Guidebook.
Finding a place to hunt
Finding a place to hunt pheasants and quail can be challenging in Utah. 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 give up and stay home, though — several good options are waiting for you:
Jason Robinson, upland game coordinator for the DWR, says the state's Walk-In Access areas are the first places you should consider.
Walk-In Access areas are private property that's been opened to public hunters and anglers through agreements the landowners have made with the DWR.
Robinson says many of the Walk-In Access properties have pheasants and quail on them. "If you're looking for a place to hunt," he says, "the Walk-In Access areas are the first places I'd try."
More information about the Walk-In Access areas, including which ones have pheasants and quail on them, is available online.
Wildlife Management Areas
The DWR manages several wildlife management areas and waterfowl management areas, also called WMAs, across the state. Many of these WMAs have pheasants on them.
In addition to the pheasants that are already on the WMAs, most of the WMAs that have pheasant habitat will receive additional pheasants before Oct. 12.
You can learn more about Utah's WMAs by reading the free Access to Wildlife Lands in Utah book.
At one of the WMAs — Desert Lake southeast of Elmo in east-central Utah — a special hunt will be held on Oct. 12.
Twenty young hunters, whose names are drawn for the hunt, can hunt on the WMA with volunteer hunting guides and trained bird dogs.
Robinson says the DWR will release dozens of pheasants on the WMA before the hunt. "Between the number of birds on the WMA, the volunteer guides and the trained bird dogs," he says, "there's a good chance those who participate will take a bird."
To participate in the hunt, call 435-613-3700, or visit the DWR office in Price (319 N. Carbonville Road, Suite A), to let DWR personnel know you're interested.
The hunt on the Desert Lake WMA will start at 9 a.m. There's no cost to participate.
More information about the Desert Lake hunt, and a similar hunt that will happen in southwestern Utah on Nov. 9, is available at wildlife.utah.gov/uplandyouth.
Another option is getting written permission from a private landowner to hunt on his or her property. Print a permission card.
Robinson encourages you to be polite and understanding if a landowner doesn't give you access. "If you get access," he says, "make sure you respect the landowner's property by leaving it better than you found it."
Robinson says you should not wait until the morning of the hunt to approach a landowner about hunting his or her property. "You need to get this permission several days before the hunt begins," he says.
Finding pheasants and quail
Robinson says farm land in Box Elder, Weber, Davis, Tooele, Utah, Juab, Millard, Duchesne and Uintah counties are among the best places to find pheasants in Utah. Many of the wetlands near Utah Lake and Great Salt Lake also hold good numbers of pheasants.
California quail aren't as widespread in the state as pheasants, but good numbers of California quail are found in parts of Duchesne, Uintah and Juab counties.
Good numbers of California quail are also found in parts of Davis, Salt Lake and Utah counties, 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.
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.