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The past several years of big investments in the raising and releasing Ring-necked Pheasants in Utah has yielded impressive results. Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife is now in its fourth year of an aggressive pheasant raising and release program in partnership with the Utah Division of Wildlife – a program designed to do three specific things:
1) Bolster Utah’s pheasant hunting opportunities
2) Augment wild populations to improve natural reproduction, and
3) Increase the chance young hunters have of taking a bird
Results of the program are very promising. SFW has purchased and raised over 30,000 pheasant chicks since 2012 at a total investment of just over $300,000. The birds have been released in areas with good pheasant habitat and good access for public hunters.
<< Watch SFW’s Pheasant Raise/Release vide – click above >>
“Our birds have been released in public walk-in access areas, wildlife management areas and a few waterfowl management areas in nearly all regions of the state,” according to SFW President Jon Larson. “Our members throughout the state are thrilled about the increased opportunities, especially for young hunters.”
Because of the program, many young hunters now have opportunities to see pheasants and shoot roosters in the field. SFW members are also reporting seeing hen pheasants with SFW leg bands nesting and brooding clutches of chicks. These holdover birds from previous years mean the augment to Utah’s pheasant populations is really beginning to take hold.
SFW members donate time, land and other resources to grow the chicks to maturity. Currently there 5,000 birds are scheduled to arrive to be raised by SFW members and the Utah Division of Wildlife in Sevier County.
The total number of pheasants released by SFW into Utah’s wilds over the four-year period and including what will be release in 2016 is estimated at more than 30,000 birds.
102 doe deer along the Parowan Front (the wildlife management area by Summit, Utah just north of Cedar City, Utah)
were captured January 7-8 and March 4-5, 2013 and translocated to the Fillmore WMA east of Holden, Utah. 50 additional doe deer at the Holden site were also collared as a control group for the 3 year study on this particular
translocation. This historic project is a joint effort between the Utah Division of Wildlife, BYU, and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife. It’s one of the first studies of its kind and is designed to more closely gauge how the timing of the translocation of the deer affects the survival and strength of the herd.
These deer were selected due to concerns by the Utah Division of Wildlife biologists that the winter range along the Parowan Front was being overrun with too many deer and greatly negatively impacting the habitat and ability for winter range recovery.
The deer were captured, hobbled, blindfolded, and flown by helicopter to key staging areas north of Cedar City. The deer were then weighed, tested for disease, and measured for body fat and overall health by DWR biologists, BYU and SFW volunteers. They were then collared and driven by trailer to the WMA east of Holden, where they were released.
The translocated deer will be monitored for 3 years. BYU researchers want to see if differences in transplanting times of the deer determine how effectively they will survive. SFW will donate over $240,000 over the next three years to help fund the study, which if successful, could change the way biologists manage similar issues and herds.
SFW would like to thank the teams from the Southern Region and Salt Lake City DWR offices, BYU and the local SFW committee for making all of this possible.
Latest Update from BYU: July 21 – August 3
We had two translocated deer mortalities (second translocation) since the last update, both of which were found this week less than 3 miles from their release areas. We were unable to determine cause of death as both carcasses were mostly consumed.
Despite a regularly scheduled flight, we are currently missing 7 translocated deer. These deer are unlikely to be on the Pahvant. We will continue to search for missing deer from the ground and on upcoming flights.
We’ve spent considerable time observing females during the past weeks and have very carefully obtained visuals on 9 deer (4 resident deer and 5 translocated deer). Three resident deer had at least 1 fawn and 1 resident was not observed with any fawns. Two translocated deer had at least 1 fawn with 3 translocated deer observed without fawns. Terrain and cover have made visuals difficult and time consuming and we suspect females are still hiding some fawns as we approach. Many deer will require repeat visits to determine fawn numbers and reproductive success.
In summary, we’ve had 40 total mortalities (5 of 50 resident deer, 35 of 102 translocated deer) and 3 slipped collars (1 resident, 2 translocated). Forty four resident deer and 58 translocated deer were alive and accounted for this week.
Thanks to all for continued interest and support.
–David Smedley and Randy Larsen
SFW’s pheasant transplant project is in full swing. Friday November 2nd, and Friday November 9th, SFW, along
with state wildlife officials, released over 1,200 Manchurian Ringneck Pheasants in hopes of reestablishing
the populations of these birds in the wild. The first release Friday, November 2nd, consisted of 825 roosters
and 200 hens in areas including Redmond WMA (wildlife management area), Annabella WMA, Pahvant WMA, Clear
Lake, Bicknell Bottoms, and Topaz Slough. The second release Friday, November 9th, consisted of 250 roosters
on the Pahvant WMA in the Black Rock Desert of Millard County. These birds were released as part of a Youth
Only Pheasant Hunt created by SFW and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. 100 youth hunters were given
the opportunity to participate in this hunt. In February of 2013, 1,800 hens and 200 roosters will again be
released in these two counties, as an important effort to augment wild populations and promote natural
reproduction and increase huntable populations. A special thank you to
SFW Richfield chapter for making this project a reality.
Blanding Road Signs to Address Excessive Mule Deer Highway Mortality
For several years SFW has dove in to tackle the loss of mule deer on Utah’s highways. Our
most recent project between Blanding and Monticello was completed this week. An emergency
measure, SFW provided the full $12,500 to place flashing signs through one 25-mile stretch
of highway where deer loss has totaled 1,100 dead in the last 2 years. These numbers were
determined by the number of deer reportedly picked up by road workers on this stretch of
two-lane highway. The actual loss numbers may be higher as no estimate was provided for deer
killed but not found or collected. Thank you to the SFW Blanding chapter for highlighting
this very serious threat to Mule Deer in Southeastern Utah. We look forward to fencing,
underpass and other projects in the future to address mule deer mortality through this
SFW has partnered with Utah DWR to support the transplanting of Tiger Muskies in Joe’s Valley
Reservoir. Good funding is typically available for projects related to Utah’s fisheries. In
this case, SFW was proud to provide $5,000 of needed funding to finish this transplant
project. The overall cost of the 2,000 fish placed in Joe’s valley was $12,000. This was part
of a larger project that placed 7,000 tiger muskie in Joe’s Valley, Pineview and Johnson’s
Reservoir. In 2006, Tiger Muskie populations in Utah and across the West “took a big hit.”
Utah has been involved in some very interesting efforts to develop a strain of fish which
is more compatible with Utah waters. This is part of an effort to help this fun fighting
fish in the state. One Tiger Muskie caught in Utah at Pineview Reservoir was reportedly 49
inches long and weighed over 31 pounds. Thanks to Shayne Thompson and the SFW Carbon Emery
County Chapter for making this project possible. For some interesting reading on Utah’s
Tiger Muskie efforts visit here.
SFW and friends have made major improvements at Salem Pond. Over 280 feet of wheel chair
fishing platforms and railing have been installed to improve access for children. Click here
to see this great improvement project made at the pond. Better yet visit Salem Pond to see
your SFW money at work for a great cause. This was a big project. A thank you to all the
contributors on this amazing project including Salem City, Walmart Foundation, Donahue
Welding, Dave Woodhouse of WW Construction, The Home Depot, Cory & Noel Hyatt, Rick
Houghton & Lloyd Jacobson Nationwide Trailer, Geneva Rock, Danny Higgison, Cornaby Powder
Coating, PDM Steel, A Core and the many volunteers who made the project possible.
A project, funded partially by SFW. In late January and early February of 2011,
44 bison were double-marked with GPS and VHF collars, with an additional 15 fitted
only with VHF collars. These collars provide crucial data that will be used to help
meet objectives laid out in Utah’s bison management plan.
"The mission of SFW is to promote the protection and enhancement of wildlife habitat, assist in providing quality wildlife management programs, educating the public about the role hunters play in wildlife conservation, and perpetuating the family tradition of hunting and fishing".