The pheasant hunt started Saturday in the state of Utah, but it’s not what it used to be in Sevier County.
“They used to be all over,” said DeLoss Christensen, a volunteer for Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife.
A combined effort between SFW and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources released more than 1,000 Manchurian Ringneck pheasants in Sevier and Millard counties Friday. The endeavor is designed to help reestablish what was once one of the premier pheasant hunting grounds in the state.
The SFW raised more than $40,000 through banquets and memberships to purchase the pheasants for release. The pheasants were raised on private operations in northern Utah, said Vance Mumford, DWR biologist.
Mumford and other DWR personnel, along with volunteers from SFW, spent Friday afternoon releasing pheasants at six locations in Sevier and Millard counties.
Friday’s release, the first of three, included approximately 825 roosters and 200 hens. The Redmond Wildlife Management Area saw 200 roosters and 50 hens released, as did the Annabella and Pahvant WMAs.
Approximately 125 roosters and 25 hens were released at Clear Lake, while 50 roosters and 25 hens were released near Bicknell Bottoms. Topaz Slough received 20 roosters and 25 hens.
WMAs are plots of land that have been purchased by the state for the benefit of wildlife.
“They are open to the public,” Mumford said. He said sportsmen are able to hunt on the WMAs, as long as they follow the specific rules for each one.
“We want them to enjoy a good hunt,” Mumford said. All birds released were banded for monitoring the success of the releases by the DWR.
Friday’s effort is the first of three scheduled releases of pheasants in the area. The second release is set for Friday, Nov. 9, at the Pahvant WMA, with 250 roosters. This release is geared specifically for the youth only pheasant hunt, which allows 100 young hunters the opportunity to hunt the birds.
The hunt is to be held Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Pahvant Wildlife Management Area near Holden. There’s no cost, however, those who participate must be 15 years of age or younger on Nov. 10 and a graduate of Utah’s Hunter Education program.
The hunt is limited to the first 100 youths who call the Division of Wildlife Resources office in Cedar City. For more information, call (435) 865-6100.
The third release of birds is tentatively set for spring of 2013, with some 1,800 hens and 200 additional roosters being released throughout Sevier and Millard counties.
Repopulation is the ultimate goal of the release effort, Mumford said.