The relatively small wild pheasant populations that exist in Utah are largely tied to private cropland and riparian areas, says Heather Talley, upland game coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR). The department doesn’t conduct spring crowing counts or summer brood surveys, so pheasant hunters will have to pick their places based on where pheasants are typically most abundant.
The northern region, primarily eastern Boxelder County, offers the most reliable wild bird hunting in the state. Brood production was typical of recent years, says Talley, and hunting success should be about the same as last year. Most pheasants will be found on private land. “Make sure to acquire written permission from landowners before entering private land,” she says.
Wild bird hunting is spotty throughout the central region of the state. “Populations are highest along the south shore of the Great Salt Lake and agricultural areas around Erda,” says Talley. Unfortunately, upland hunting is becoming more difficult because of urban sprawl.
The DWR will release male pheasants each week during the hunting season on many wildlife areas, including James Walter Fitzgerald WMA, Timpie Springs Waterfowl Management Area, Pine Canyon Conservation Area, Utah Lake Wetland Preserve, Wallsburg WMA and Powell Slough Waterfowl Management Area for hunters to harvest. (Powell Slough WMA is overgrown by phragmites and is very difficult to hunt.)
Hunters can find some pheasants on private farmlands in the northeast region, but hunting pen-raised birds released on wildlife management areas are hunters’ best bets for finding pheasants,” Talley says.
Wild pheasants can be found on and near private irrigated fields. Hunting should be similar to last year’s season, Talley says. Popular pheasant hunting areas include the Green River Valley near the town of Green River, the Miller Creek area of Carbon and Emery County as well as Huntington, Straight, and Ferron canyons.
Pockets of wild birds exist at the Bicknell Bottoms WMA, on wildlife management areas in the Sevier Valley, and on wildlife areas in the Delta, Pahvant and Clear Lake areas. Numbers should be similar to last year. Again, most shooting will be at released birds.
If You Go
The Utah pheasant season will run November 6 to December 5. Youth hunting season will be October 30 to November 4. Daily limit is two roosters. Possession limit is 6 roosters. Goshen Warm Springs WMA in Utah County is closed to all hunting. The Annabella and Pahvant WMAs — and part of the Ogden Bay WMA — are closed to the public on Nov. 13 for youth and beginner pheasant hunts.