UTAH COUNTY, Utah — Pheasant hunting season starts Saturday in Utah.
According to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, 12,000 rooster pheasants will be released between Nov. 6 and Dec. 5.
DWR invited Fox 13 News along Thursday as they released several pen-raised pheasants at the Utah Lake Wetland Preserve in Utah County ahead of the season.
"Because we don't have the habitat that we had 30 or 40 years ago, we supplement our hunt by putting birds out using pen raised birds,” said Scott Root, who is the Public Relations and Outreach Manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
Root said they began releasing large numbers of pheasants in 2012.
This year’s drought has also impacted the number of pheasants who survived last year statewide, so Root explained that’s another reason why it’s important for them to replenish the supply.
The release is simple and happens within minutes.
Fox 13 News watched as Root put the crate of pheasants on the ground, opened the crate door, and then the pheasants walked out and flew away into the wild.
“You kind of pull for the pheasants, at the same time, you want the hunters to have an enjoyable hunt,” said Root.
While Root says predators and hunters will claim some of them, other will survive and perhaps live to see another season.
You can learn about pheasant and quail hunting season by clicking here.