11,000 Pheasants Released in Utah

11,000 Pheasants Released in Utah
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. 2. Photo by Scott Root

Utah's general pheasant hunt opens Nov. 2

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. 2. Photo by Scott Root

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. 2. Photo by Scott Root

From Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR)

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 public hunting areas during Utah's upcoming pheasant hunt.The hunt opens on Nov. 2. But you don't have to hunt that day to get in on the action — pheasants will be released throughout the hunt.

Greg Sheehan, director of the Division of Wildlife Resources, hopes the hunt will rekindle memories many have of past pheasant hunts in Utah. "This will also be a great opportunity to introduce new hunters to upland game hunting," he says. "Plenty of birds will be available to hunt."


The DWR and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife worked together to buy 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 by visiting the 2013 pheasant release areas interactive map.


Thirteen of the areas are waterfowl management areas. You must use nontoxic shoot (for example, steel shot) when hunting on waterfowl management areas. Lead shot may not be used.

Birds will also be released on select Walk-In Access (WIAs) areas in Box Elder, Cache, Emery, Utah and Wayne counties.

More information about the WIAs is available at wildlife.utah.gov/walkinaccess.


Birds released throughout the hunt

Utah's general pheasant hunt runs Nov. 2–17 across most of the state. However, on state and federal land in 11 of Utah's counties, the hunt runs Nov. 2–Dec. 1. The 11 counties are Carbon, Duchesne, Emery, Grand, Juab, Millard, San Juan, Sanpete, Sevier, Tooele and Uintah.

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 find plenty of birds and have a great experience."

If you decide to hunt during the opening weekend, know in advance that you'll be hunting with lots of other hunters. Robinson says 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," he 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, instead of a WMA or a WIA, please remember that you must have written permission from the landowner before hunting on private land.

No matter where you're hunting in Utah, Robinson describes what perfect pheasant habitat looks like:

  • The center of the area will have a field of wheat or corn that provides the birds with food. The wheat or corn field will be surrounded by stiff, stemmed grass that provides the pheasants with good nesting cover.
  • Outside the stemmed grass, you'll find a strip of sparse grass with lots of forbs mixed in. (Forbs are any herb that is not grass or grass like. Forbs are an important food source for pheasant chicks.)
  • On the other side of the sparse grass, you'll find thick, woody cover, or a wetland with cattails. This cover protects pheasants during the winter.

"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."

Hunting tips

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 as far as finding these hidden birds."

You can still find pheasants without a dog, though. Robinson suggests the following tactics:

  • Walk slowly. Take your time.
    Simply walking slower, and stopping and standing still from time to time, can result in more birds flushing. "Pheasants will often hide and wait for you to walk past them," Robinson says. "Slowing your pace down, and stopping and standing still from time to time, makes birds that are close to you nervous. In many cases, they'll think you've spotted them, and they'll try to get away by flushing into the air."

  • Driving and blocking.
    A group of hunters is needed to execute this maneuver. One or two hunters are quietly placed at the end of a field to "block" any pheasants the remaining hunters (the drivers) push to the blockers. Then, the drivers enter the field on the opposite side from the blockers, and start walking towards the blockers.

    Pheasants that are pushed by the drivers will often run to the end of the field, see the blockers and then hold tight until continued pressure from the drivers causes the birds to flush. When this happens, all of the hunters — blockers and drivers — can usually get shots.

    "If you're going to try this tactic," Robinson says, "it's absolutely vital that every hunter in the group knows where the other hunters are and that each hunter wears plenty of hunter orange."

  • Walking ditch banks.
    This is a good strategy if you're hunting alone or with a friend.

  • If you're hunting with a friend, place your friend on one side of the ditch bank and you on the other. Then, walk together down the bank.

    Robinson says it's important to walk to the very end of the ditch bank, fence row or whatever cover you're hunting. "Pheasants would much rather run than fly," he says. "You might be pushing a pheasant ahead of you and not even know it. But once you reach the end of the cover, the pheasant will have run out of places to hide. At that point, the bird will usually flush."

More information

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.

Recommended for You

Adam Heggenstaller takes over after 14 years with NRA Publications. News

Game & Fish Magazine Names New Editorial Director

G&F Online Staff - May 23, 2019

Adam Heggenstaller takes over after 14 years with NRA Publications.

It must be time for summer fishing because records are falling everywhere. Records

State Records Reported in Maryland, Michigan

G&F Online Staff - May 23, 2019

It must be time for summer fishing because records are falling everywhere.

How does one go about getting rid of chiggers and treating chigger bites? Your first line of defense is insect repellent with DEET to keep chiggers at bay. But when you do get a few chigger bites, use Chigarid to treat them. Hunting How-To

How to Treat Chigger Bites

Lynn Burkhead

How does one go about getting rid of chiggers and treating chigger bites? Your first line of...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

Fresh off catching the biggest bass in ICAST Cup history, 13 Fishing pro Jessie Mizell shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Big Squirm soft plastic worm and the company's unique Pathfinder topwater walking bait that is totally weedless in design.

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

Major League Fishing pros talk about the first lure they choose when targeting spawning bass.

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Pro angler Jonathan VanDam showcases new offerings at ICAST 2019, including the ultra-thin, big bait boxes, LED-lighted boxes and backpack-able gear lockers. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options. Catfish

12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some strategies. Catfish

Understanding Catfish Spawning

Keith Sutton - June 06, 2006

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some...

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

See More Stories

More Stories

Predator hunters living in more open areas are in a unique position to enjoy coyote hunting at its Stories

Guns & Loads for Long-Range Coyote Hunting

Stephen D. Carpenteri - December 13, 2015

Predator hunters living in more open areas are in a unique position to enjoy coyote hunting at...

Where and how some of the state's best archery bucks were killed last season. Whitetail

Oklahoma's Big Archery Bucks of 2018

Kelly Bostian

Where and how some of the state's best archery bucks were killed last season.

Behind the Badge is a regular series of perspective stories by Oklahoma game warden Carlos Gomez. In this article, Gomez recounts his experiences from his first nighttime poaching bust. Stories

Behind the Badge: A Warden's First Night-Poaching Bust

Game & Fish Online Staff - July 30, 2018

Behind the Badge is a regular series of perspective stories by Oklahoma game warden Carlos...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.