Nearly 2,000 pheasants were released in Sevier, Wayne and Millard counties recently.
Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW) paid for the birds. After obtaining the pheasants, Division of Wildlife Resources biologists and SFW members released the birds on state-owned wildlife management areas that are open to public hunters.
The pheasants were released on Feb. 26 and 27.
Most of the pheasants were females that are not legal to harvest. Hopefully, the hens will survive, breed this spring with male pheasants on the WMAs and raise broods of wild pheasants that hunters can pursue this fall.
Before releasing the birds, DWR biologists tagged each hen with a brightly colored leg band that the biologists can see from a distance. In May, June and July, biologists will see how the birds are doing by recording the number of released hens that have chicks with them.
DWR Biologist Lynn Zubek was in charge of the release. He says the DWR and SFW have worked hard to improve habitat on the WMAs where the pheasants were released. “It’s great to see pheasants released onto these areas,” Zubeck says. “We hope they’ll survive and reproduce.”
In addition to paying for the pheasants, SFW members were on hand to help release the birds. “It’s great to see these birds fly into the brush,” said SFW member Troy Justensen. “In the future, I look forward to bringing my children here to hunt pheasants.”
Justensen says SFW is excited to team with the DWR to help Utah’s wildlife.
Paul Niemeyer, an SFW member from Richfield, says many people in the local communities are interested in pheasants and other wildlife. “I love to see a group of hunters, including youngsters, gathered around a pickup with a cup of hot chocolate in their hands and a couple of pheasant tail feathers sticking out of their coat pocket,” Niemeyer says. “That’s as good as it gets.”
Much of the money for the pheasant release and other wildlife projects in Utah is generated at local fund-raising banquets held by sportsmen’s organizations, including SFW.
Image courtesy Utah Division of Wildlife Resources