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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondering opinions on how the DWR can improve their pheasant release program. I think it is headed in the right direction and it has been a decent program. The truth is there are still wild pheasants in Utah, just not enough to sustain the amount of hunters that I've seen this year with the releases, and there simply never will be again. I still want to see improvements on WMA's and working towards better wild pheasant populations by the DWR but talking specifically on this program, I would say some improvements could be:

-More birds- other states run this type of program as well, but seem to release more birds. I think more birds are necessary to make for a better hunt and better to get new hunters excited and involved in hunting. This year they released 13,000, if we could get it to somewhere between 20,000-30,000 birds and release them throughout the hunt it would make for better experience.

-More access/properties- This is a very important part IMO. The current WMA's and WIA are very crowded on weekends and some times even feel pretty dangerous, especially on the opener. It would be nice if in some way the DWR could bolster its WIA program to allow for a better distribution of hunters. I realize they don't have the budget of some state agencies, and I like our current WIA program in the state, but Utah has very limited WIA properties compared to a lot of states and it is probably the most realistic way of gaining more ground to hunt. I would like to see the DWR expand its WMA's and continue purchasing ground for Upland and Waterfowl hunting in the valleys which would also spread hunters out more. A few more WMA's would lessen pressure on current WMAs. Would you be willing to pay a WIA fee to use WIA properties so more could be created?


Those two issues are the biggest to me. What do you think could be done to improve the program?
 
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Make hunters put in for a draw for pheasants. Then only allow them to hunt a planted area for a certain amount of hours before they release more birds and allow other hunters to hunt them.

Why should the hunters that are able to get out on opening morning be the ones that get all the birds that have been just released a day before?
 

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-More birds- other states run this type of program as well, but seem to release more birds. I think more birds are necessary to make for a better hunt and better to get new hunters excited and involved in hunting. This year they released 13,000, if we could get it to somewhere between 20,000-30,000 birds and release them throughout the hunt it would make for better experience.

QUOTE]

I would think based upon the number of hunters, I have seen 300,000 should be a better number for the amount released.

Anything that the DWR does to help the pheasant population is fine by me.
 

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I like the idea of liberal LE pheasant.

Extend the season and stagger out hunters so we aren't sitting on top of each other.

Maybe a tag that let you hunt on certain days or evening vs morning ect.

The opening morning pheasant release as it stands is an accident waiting to happen.
 

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Two easy steps:
1. Accept who you are.
2. DWR get out of the pheasant business and end the program.

If you want to hunt pen raised non-native birds on a put and take basis, go to a pay-to-shoot place and have a great time.

Utah DWR should get out of the pheasant pharming business. That is how you improve it. Get rid of it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Two easy steps:
1. Accept who you are.
2. DWR get out of the pheasant business and end the program.

If you want to hunt pen raised non-native birds on a put and take basis, go to a pay-to-shoot place and have a great time.

Utah DWR should get out of the pheasant pharming business. That is how you improve it. Get rid of it.
So should we do the same with fish? I mean if they can't naturally sustain themselves in area why are we wasting time with opportunity of any kind? There are many lakes that kill off every year, do we stop that to, and accept fish don't naturally occur there?
 

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Can't compare it to fish. Planted fish last more than 5 days. Fishing season is year round. Fish can be caught and released multiple times, no such thing as catch and release hunting. Cost per fish is a fraction of the cost per pheasant to produce.

Don't get me wrong #1-I. I love pheasant hunting more than any other kind of hunting. I've hunted wild birds and pen raised birds. I've hunted private lands and public lands, and walk in access lands. If I had to choose only one thing to hunt the rest of my life, I'd gladly drop all big game hunting in favor of pheasants.

That said, Utah just doesn't have it when it comes to habitat. And the cost of running the program for a 3 day shoot at a bunch of pen raised birds is just something I don't support for a publicly funded (read subsidized by other outdoorsmen) agency. If you want to pheasant hunt in Utah, great. Several great pay to shoot places where only the pheasant hunters absorb the costs. Have a great time. Or, if you'd rather hunt wild birds, then South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and central/eastern Montana are less than a day's drive.

As I see the natural resources Utah as to offer, it is an absolute heaven for chukars for upland birds. I'd rather see money for upland hunting invested in more guzzlers for chukars, than a 3 day pheasant shoot. The Utah pheasant shoot in my view is the same thing as the tarps turned into fish ponds that show up at the outdoors shows. Sure, a kid can catch a stupid pellet head fish on a stick with a chunk of power bait tied to the end, but it isn't fishing. The DWR sponsored dump and shoot is like that. With guns.
 

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I like the way the program is now. The only thing I would like to see changed is for more birds to be released at the high pressured WMA's and stop releasing birds at WMA's such as Farmington Bay where wild birds already exist, and people can't get to where most of them go anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Can't compare it to fish. Planted fish last more than 5 days. Fishing season is year round. Fish can be caught and released multiple times, no such thing as catch and release hunting. Cost per fish is a fraction of the cost per pheasant to produce.

Don't get me wrong #1-I. I love pheasant hunting more than any other kind of hunting. I've hunted wild birds and pen raised birds. I've hunted private lands and public lands, and walk in access lands. If I had to choose only one thing to hunt the rest of my life, I'd gladly drop all big game hunting in favor of pheasants.

That said, Utah just doesn't have it when it comes to habitat. And the cost of running the program for a 3 day shoot at a bunch of pen raised birds is just something I don't support for a publicly funded (read subsidized by other outdoorsmen) agency. If you want to pheasant hunt in Utah, great. Several great pay to shoot places where only the pheasant hunters absorb the costs. Have a great time. Or, if you'd rather hunt wild birds, then South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and central/eastern Montana are less than a day's drive.

As I see the natural resources Utah as to offer, it is an absolute heaven for chukars for upland birds. I'd rather see money for upland hunting invested in more guzzlers for chukars, than a 3 day pheasant shoot. The Utah pheasant shoot in my view is the same thing as the tarps turned into fish ponds that show up at the outdoors shows. Sure, a kid can catch a stupid pellet head fish on a stick with a chunk of power bait tied to the end, but it isn't fishing. The DWR sponsored dump and shoot is like that. With guns.
I agree with you on many fronts, and I also would like to see chukars really invested in from this point forward. They are a fun bird to hunt and we have the habitat for them. The problem is they'll run you up hills and into country many won't or can't follow them to. Pheasants are a good way to get people excited again and future hunters involved in upland hunting. Upland hunting is very important and we have been losing ground on it here.

I agree on the cost however, it would be nice to see them figure out better ways of running the program and making it more successful. The day old chick program could be furthered, getting more dedicated hunters involved, along with sportsmen groups. I would be fine with paying a $15 stamp/tag fee a year to support the program, as would most who are participating I would think.
 

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GaryFish- I have been involved in a "tarp" fishing program the last couple years. I would encourage you volunteer at an event like this and see these kids, that wouldn't other wise have the opportunity, catch a fish. It has been very rewarding for me and I will to continue support the event.

As far as the pheasants, I feel the same way. Give opportunity to people that otherwise wouldn't get it. I don't have any great ideas as to how to improve it though. I would be all for a stamp/tag fee when hunting pheasants on state lands. I don't love getting "nickel and dimed" but $15 a season would be a drop compared the money I spend on hunting throughout the year.
 

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I agree on the value of the portable fish pond for events. But it is not intended to be THE fishing program for the State. It is to generate interest. And it does a fine job of that. But when your only pheasant hunt requires what Utah's does, without follow up opportunities, then that is problematic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I agree on the value of the portable fish pond for events. But it is not intended to be THE fishing program for the State. It is to generate interest. And it does a fine job of that. But when your only pheasant hunt requires what Utah's does, without follow up opportunities, then that is problematic.
Pheasants are a great introduction to youth and new comers to hunting. Pheasant releases give an avenue to hunting where there are birds to hunt and from there that person or youth may have a pathway into hunting without it they may not have. Pheasants live in easy terrain and are a fun and exciting game bird. If something was created to help bolster the amount released and create new walk in access/release sites to spread out hunters $15-$20 a year to support the program is much cheaper than spending a bunch to go out of state or pay to play on a game it's farm. It's not perfect but the amount of wild pheasants we have now and into the future will continue where they are or become less, so I'm the future this is about all there is for pheasants in this state for those who can't afford to go to a farm or another state. This program has gotten thousands of people put participating, if you don't believe so, hit a WMA on a weekend. Theres still excitement over pheasants in Utah, and the more upland game hunters in this state the better future the rest of our upland game have.
 

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$15 stamp/tag fee a year to support the program
Utah already has a program to help support these types of programs. It's not specific to Pheasants, it's supposed to help all upland game species. It's called the Upland Game Slam program, there's one for waterfowl as well.

I would like to think that if more hunters participated in these programs it would provide additional funds for this and other upland game improvements.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Utah already has a program to help support these types of programs. It's not specific to Pheasants, it's supposed to help all upland game species. It's called the Upland Game Slam program, there's one for waterfowl as well.

I would like to think that if more hunters participated in these programs it would provide additional funds for this and other upland game improvements.
I know, I've bought 3 vouchers for each to do my part. The slam programs are for habitat projects and a few other things. They are not used to fund the pheasant release program. I like the slam program and encourage everyone to purchase one for upland and waterfowl and participate. It is a voluntary program.

For pheasants a mandatory $15 stamp/tag to support the pheasant release program to hunt WIA/WMAs or state and federal lands would help obsorb the costs of raising birds and getting a little more access available to spread out hunters. I would be for it and I think there is a lot of interest in this program. If there isn't and enough people aren't participating in 5 years of doing it, drop it and drop the releases in the state. I would be willing to pay the fee to support it personally, even at $10 it would probably help improve the program.
 

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The part I'm sour on is the participants who selfishly hang out at the properties after the opener and shoot all, or the vast majority, of the birds as they come out of the pens. Several friends and I had similar experiences going in to properties on second and third weekends expecting to find a bird or two for our kids to hunt only to find out the birds were all shot out by a large group in the last 5 minutes of shooting light the previous evening as the birds were released (information obtained from the guy releasing the birds). That happened on multiple areas last year so I went after quail and forest grouse this year and we weren't disappointed. Not sure how you fix that problem though between the hunter and releaser. The only decent day of hunting last year was the opener though it was scary with so many in such close proximity.
 
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