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Ringneck Pheasant numbers similar to last year in state

State wildlife officials say hunting success for Ringneck Pheasants should be about the same as last year.

Despite the fact that Utah pheasant populations have declined considerably over the years, many Utah hunters will be afield this year for the wily ringneck. Hunters will probably see about the same number of birds as last year.

Hunters should concentrate their efforts in areas that still have suitable habitat for pheasants. Most of Utah's pheasant hunters participate during the opening weekend only. Those who are persistent and hunt on weekdays are usually successful in harvesting some birds.

Pheasant hunting will be fair at best throughout Utah this fall. Here's a preview for each of the DWR's five regions.

•Northern region. In Box Elder County, fewer pheasant chicks survived because of dry spring conditions, but hunters can still find healthy, isolated pockets of pheasants throughout the county. In Cache County, pheasant populations appear stable and are similar to last year.

Waterfowl management area personnel report fair pheasant numbers at the Salt Creek and Public Shooting Grounds waterfowl management areas and good numbers at the Ogden Bay and Farmington Bay WMAs. A late pheasant hatch was noted at the Ogden Bay WMA. At most of the WMAs in northern Utah, habitat for pheasants is improved over last year.

•Central region. Pheasant populations are similar to last year throughout the region.

•Northeastern region. Fair hunting is expected in both Duchesne and Uintah counties.

•Southeastern region. Biologists have seen fewer pheasants in the region this year. Hunting will be difficult.

•Southern Region. Incidental sightings and brood counts in Millard County were higher than last year, but are still well below numbers that were found in the county a decade ago.

There are some reports of birds in the Escalante Valley and Washington Fields areas. Pheasant numbers are low in Garfield and Kane counties, and hunters should expect a poor hunt in those two counties.

The Sevier Valley population seems to be increasing from last year, and a fair hunt is expected in that area.

To provide hunters with more access to private lands, the DWR is kicking off a brand new pilot Walk-in Access program in its Northern Region. Under this new program, more than 37,000 acres of private lands in northern Utah will be open to hunting for a variety of species, including pheasants. To learn more about the program, please visit on the Web.

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