Pheasant hunting in Utah isn’t always the easiest the easiest thing to do. Pheasants don’t winter well in Utah and depending on where you go, there’s some decent pressure on the birds. With all of that in mind, my fiancé and I decided we wanted to sleep in a little and break up the duck hunting by going pheasant hunting. The night before I went on the Utah DWR website and checked out where they had been releasing some pheasants. I know they release them before every weekend and being a Sunday, it seemed like the right thing to do. We knew hunting without a dog can be more difficult but just getting out together and looking for some birds would be fun regardless. I chose a spot about an hour away that looked like it had some good terrain and cover for the pheasants.
The next morning we got up, had some quick breakfast and loaded up the truck. It was a nice break only loading up a shotgun and our vests, compared to decoys, chairs, waders, and guns. The other nice thing is that the weather was nice for pheasant hunting but bad for ducks. It was a nice sunny day with light winds so it wasn’t a bad day to go for a walk. We made the drive and along with my OnX hunting App, we were able to find this spot. It was one of the spots that the DWR stocks with pheasants and it had a nice dirt road up to the parking lot area. Unfortunately and slightly expected, there were 6 other vehicles there when we got there. As we were getting our vests on and guns loaded, two guys walked in with their Labrador. I asked them how the day went and they were empty handed, but they gave us some pointers on the lay of the land since we were first timers there. That was appreciated since most people are pretty secretive on how they hunt.
This was my fiancé’s first pheasant hunt and I was hopeful but I knew the odds were against us. We were limited on time and knowing we didn’t have a dog, we were going on a wild guess of where the birds may be. We started off walking along the fence line where there was some decent cover. This area had lots of grass and apparently was partially flooded still. I was wearing my Redwing boots but my fiancé had her hiking shoes on, which I quickly realized that doing a short hunt was a good thing, her feet would get destroyed with how wet her socks were getting. I made a mental note of how we should probably get her some proper hunting boots for all our future hunts. I’m a big fan of Redwings even though I was upset with my last experience with one store. Anyways, we continued on with our hunt and eventually got into some drier terrain. We walked a bunch of grassy areas and found some of it had been trimmed down and that was a little disappointing, but then again I’m not a biologist, I’ll leave those decisions to those guys.
We walked around in a loop since we were limited on time during the hunt. We decided on our way back to the truck we would walk some thicker cover along some willows. As we were walking through, my fiancé pointed out a bunch of feathers on the ground. We found where either a coyote or a hawk got to a pheasant. The cool part was it left a few of its tail feathers behind and I was able to show her how long the tails are on the roosters. This got our hope up since we knew we were in a birdy area. There were bird droppings as we walked along and it was clear we were in the right area. Sadly we finished off the hunt empty handed. We did find a couple of cow carcasses too that had been spread all over. Adding to my suspicion of coyotes getting to the pheasants, maybe I should go out there and see if I can call in some coyotes.
Even though the hunt wasn’t successful, we still had a good time. We got to go out and have some fun in the field. We walked around and got some exercise, and got to learn a little more about hunting. Upland hunting is a good break from the duck hunting we do. I wish that upland hunting had a little more attention. I’ve really enjoyed what Project Upland has been doing with trying to bring attention to upland hunting. I have a few Podcasts on upland hunting I listen to when I’m at work too but I wish there was more attention to it. Upland hunting is always a good time. There are resources to learn and get into it. The Utah DWR does a good job at keeping us informed and promoting the hunting. I’ll post links to resources at the end of this post, too. Subscribe to our blog and click on the links to see what we use and feel free to ask us questions about our hunting experiences.
- Wear waterproof boots or hip waders.
- Doing the research gets you close, then you have to hunt them.
- Some people are willing to help you if you just ask.
- Download the map you need before you get where you’re going. It’s a feature with OnX.