Pheasant season is just around the corner, and with it comes the excitement of getting out in the field, shotgun in hand, and enjoying the experiences associated with upland game bird hunting.
The first weekend in October marks the youth pheasant season opener statewide, and for many families, this event has become an annual tradition.
As part of the youth pheasant opener, the Southeast Region office of Fish and Game will be hosting its annual youth pheasant clinic on Saturday, October 5, at the Sterling Wildlife Management Area near Aberdeen.
The clinic sessions will run from 8:30 a.m. to noon, followed by a mentored youth hunt that begins at 12:30 p.m. The clinic is limited to 20 youths, and pre-registration is required. There is no charge for the clinic. A free lunch is provided.
Interested youths must register by contacting the Southeast Region office at 208-232-4703, or visiting the office at 1345 Barton Road in Pocatello and completing a registration form.
The clinic will focus on teaching hunting ethics, land conservation, pheasant management, shotgun patterning and shooting skills. A mentored field experience to hunt pheasant will also be available to participants 10-15 years of age. Each youth will be accompanied in the field by a dog handler with dog and a certified mentor for one-on-one guidance and instruction during this special hunting experience.
Though the youth pheasant clinic skills sessions are open to youths 10 to 17 years old with valid hunting licenses, only those licensed youth 10 to 15 years old are allowed to participate in the mentored hunt portion of the clinic. This is in accordance with the age requirement for the statewide youth pheasant season, which runs from October 5 through October 11.
Hunting pheasant continues to be a favorite recreation activity for many hunters in southeast Idaho. The Sterling Wildlife Management Area offers premier habitat for both the beginner and seasoned hunter.
Did You Know?
The ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) was brought to the United States from Asia by farmers and sportsmen. The first successful pheasant population was established in Oregon's Willamette Valley in 1881.
Idaho's earliest pheasant planting was near Kamiah in 1903. Pheasants are found on or near irrigated croplands, stream banks, or marshy areas. Pheasants eat corn, wheat, oats, and other grains as well as seeds, plants and berries.
Pheasants require dense cover, especially during the winter. Cattails, willows, sagebrush, and overgrown fence rows, hedges, canal banks and roadsides are important components of pheasant habitat.
As ground nesters, a hen pheasant will lay between 8 and 14 eggs. Compare that to the small clutch size of a tree-nesting bird, such as a robin. Ground nesters lay more eggs because their nests are more susceptible to many natural and man-made dangers.
After a chick hatches, it is practically ready to go. Once its down dries, it can follow mom out of the nest and begin eating on its own.
Pheasant chicks begin short, bumble-bee like flights starting as early as two weeks, and are fully feathered by six weeks.
Although a hen may lay as many as three clutches of eggs if disturbed when nesting, she produces only one brood a year.