Posted Thursday, 16 October 2014 13:26
Utah's general pheasant hunt opens Nov. 1
If it's been years since you hunted pheasants, it's time to grab your gun and head afield. More than 11,000 pheasants will be released on 56 public hunting areas during Utah's upcoming pheasant hunt.
This season might be the perfect season to hunt pheasants in Utah. Thousands of pheasants will be released on public hunting areas before the hunt opens on Nov. 1.
Photo by Ron Stewart
The hunt opens on Nov. 1. But you don't have to hunt that day to get in on the action — pheasants will be released before each weekend of the hunt.
The one exception is the week of Thanksgiving. That week, birds will be released early in the week so plenty of pheasants will be available to pursue over the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Division of Wildlife Resources and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife bought the birds. The birds will be released in areas that have good pheasant habitat and good access for public hunters. "Birds will be placed on wildlife management areas, waterfowl management areas and Walk-In Access areas," says Jason Robinson, upland game coordinator for the DWR.
You can see where the birds will be released, and how to get to those areas, on an interactive map.
On 14 of the areas — 13 waterfowl management areas and the Utah Lake Wetland Preserve — you must use nontoxic shot (for example, steel shot) when hunting. Lead shot may not be used.
More information about Utah's Walk-in Access areas is available on our website.
Birds released throughout the hunt
Utah's general pheasant hunt runs Nov. 1–16 across most of the state. However, on state and federal land, the hunt runs Nov. 1–Dec. 7.
DWR biologists, members of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and those who participated in Utah's day-old pheasant chick adoption program will release the birds. Since pheasants will be released throughout the hunt, you don't have to hunt on the opening weekend to find birds. "If you hunt after the opening weekend," Robinson says, "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 says. "Also, if you have a dog, make sure to keep your dog under control. Please remember that everyone is there to have a good time."
And make sure to wear plenty of hunter orange.
"Wearing hunter orange is extremely important," he says, "especially when you're hunting in crowded conditions. You want to make sure other hunters can see you."
How to find birds
If you decide to hunt on private agricultural lands, please remember that you must have written permission from the landowner before hunting on his or her land.
No matter where you're hunting in Utah, Robinson describes what perfect pheasant habitat looks like:
"This type of habitat provides pheasants with everything they need to eat, hide, breed and raise young," he says. "Even if an area doesn't have all of these features, it can still hold birds. But the more an area matches this description, the better chance you'll have of finding birds in it."
Pheasants are excellent at hiding. Hunting with a trained bird dog can often help you find them. "If a pheasant has cover to hide in," Robinson says, "you can be standing only a foot or two from a bird and not know it's there. A good bird dog can make a huge difference in finding hidden birds."
You can still find pheasants without a dog, though. Robinson suggests the following tactics:
If you have questions about hunting pheasants in Utah, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at 801-538-4700.
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