By Tom Carpenter
WEATHER AND HATCH
“We had an incredibly mild and snowless winter,” reports Jason Robinson, Upland Game Project Leader with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. “This was good for overwinter survival. But it really hurt chick production in the spring” because of the dry conditions and lack of vegetative cover. “Some of our marsh areas around the Great Salt Lake fared okay. Spring precipitation was below average, and we had a hot dry summer. Most of our game bird numbers are lower than last year, including pheasants.”
“The Utah Watershed Restoration Initiative (WRI) is amazing and one of a kind,” says Robinson. “It does an incredible amount of habitat work and lots for pheasants specifically, especially through our habitat council projects, which are a subset of the WRI.” Learn more about Utah’s WRI here
“The east shore of the Great Salt Lake, Utah Lake, and the Cache Valley, will have the most birds,” says Robinson.
For hunters looking for a put-and-take option, “pen-raised pheasants are released on Wildlife Management Areas and Walk-In Access areas throughout the state,” says Robinson. “Locations are available on our website. There are lots of birds available throughout the season.”
That said, wild birds can still be had for the hunter willing to do some homework and get some access to farmland habitat, and hunt hard, in the aforementioned regions.