What to know about quail and pheasant hunting this fall

Utah’s pheasant and quail seasons open next week, and it’s time to get ready! Many upland game and waterfowl hunts are already underway across Utah, but the general-season pheasant and quail hunts open Nov. 6. If you are planning to target either of these birds this fall, here is what you should know.

Know the best spots to hunt pheasants

Utah’s general pheasant hunting season runs from Nov. 6 to Dec. 5, 2021. We release thousands of pheasants on various wildlife management areas around the state each week during the general-season hunt. The number of pheasants and where they can be found will depend on where you are hunting in Utah.

In general, pheasants like areas with nearby fields of wheat or corn that provide feed for them. These birds are good at hiding in brush, so hunting in brushy areas with a well-trained dog will increase your chances of success. Walking along ditch banks or fence lines is also a good hunting strategy. Pheasants typically prefer to run rather than fly away, so if you walk along these areas, you are more likely to drive them out into the open, where they will flush.

Where to find California and Gambel’s quail

Utah’s general quail hunting season runs from Nov. 6 to Dec. 31. Hunting quail also differs in each area of the state.

California and Gambel’s quail are hunted using similar methods — just in different habitats. When hunting Gambel’s quail, look for Joshua trees, dry washes and draws with black brush or desert almond. California quail will occupy washes containing water and brushy cover, and will eat flowers from grasses, trees and shrubs, as well as seeds and leaves.

Youth hunts open this weekend

The youth hunts for pheasant and quail both open this weekend. The statewide youth pheasant hunt will take place from Oct. 30 to Nov. 4, and pheasants will be released just before the hunt. The statewide youth quail hunt will take place from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1. In order to participate in either youth hunt, you must:

Be an eligible age. You are considered a youth if you were 17 years of age or younger on July 31, 2021.
Have completed Hunter Education or be a participant in Utah’s Trial Hunting program.
Have a valid hunting license and follow all of the state’s upland game hunting rules.
There are also a variety of DWR-hosted youth hunting events, which you can register for on the DWR website.

Add a little challenge to your hunt

Want more of a fun challenge this season? Consider participating in the Upland Game Slam. Similar to the Utah Cutthroat Slam, it encourages hunters to harvest a variety of upland game species, while generating money to help fund a variety of habitat and upland game-related projects.