Young hunters get first crack at pheasants

SOUTHERN UTAH — The state will host its annual youth pheasant and quail hunt on Oct. 11-13 in Utah. Youth from age 17 and younger will have Utah’s pheasants and quail all to themselves.

To increase the chance for young hunters to take a bird, Division of Wildlife Resources biologists will release more than 650 rooster pheasants before the hunt. All of the birds will be released on state wildlife management areas and walk-in access areas. DWR’s website has details on what areas will receive the 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.

Requirements to participate

Participants must be 17 years of age or younger on July 31, and be a graduate from Utah’s Hunter Education program to participate in the hunt. A hunting license and following all of the state’s upland game hunting rules are other requirements for hunters.

Rules in the 2014–2015 Utah Upland Game and Turkey Guidebook must be followed. The free guidebook is available at the DWR’s website.

Participants who haven’t completed a Hunter Education course still might be able to participate through Utah’s new Trial Hunting program. After Oct. 13, the pheasant and quail hunt will close until it reopens for all ages on Nov. 1.

 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.

Available hunting areas include walk-in access, waterfowl management areas, and private lands.

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 is open to public hunters and anglers through agreements the landowners have made with the DWR.

Many of the walk-in access properties have pheasants and quail on them, Robinson said.

“If you’re looking for a place to hunt,” he said. “The Walk-In Access areas are the first places I’d try.”

Waterfowl management areas

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. You can get the free book online.

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. Permission cards can be printed off and taken to the landowner.

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

People should not wait until the morning of the hunt to try to get permission.

“Get written permission as soon as you can,” he said.

Finding pheasants and quail

Farmland in Box Elder, Weber, Davis, Utah, Tooele, 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 as well as parts of Davis, Salt Lake and Utah counties. However, most birds are within city limits where hunting is not allowed, Robinson said.

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

Contact information

  • Questions about the youth pheasant and quail hunt, can be directed to the Division of Wildlife Resources Office or to its Salt Lake City Office at 801-538-4700.

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1 Comment

  • Bobber October 7, 2014 at 1:10 am

    YEEHAH BUBBA! LET’S GO GET THE SHOTGUN AND BLAST UP SOME DUMB ANIMALS!

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