The solution many hunters have offered to improve pheasant hunting is to cut or close the season.
Jay Roberson, upland game coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, answers that by saying: It won't work."Eighty percent of the roosters taken by hunters are taken the first three days of the hunt," he said.
Closing the hunt would save the roosters. But studies have shown that 60 to 70 percent of all roosters and hens die each year due to natural causes - predation, weather, etc. - whether hunting occurs or not.
Shortening or closing the season would only save roosters that would later die, he explained.
Roberson also pointed out that all roosters are not involved in breeding. One rooster can successfully breed 10 hens. Counts taken after the hunt, in the winter, show Utah's rooster-to-hen ratio has never gone below one to seven.
Actually, he added, fewer young are produced when more roosters are present because of scarce resources.
Many things are contributing to Utah's low pheasant numbers, but a 14-day hunting season isn't one of them, he added. The two main causes for low pheasant numbers are a change in farming practices and the loss of prime pheasant habitat because of development.
Roberson plans to hold a pheasant workshop Jan. 11-12, to inform hunters and bring out workable solutions.