Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Wildland Resources

Committee Chair(s)

Allen Stokes


Allen Stokes


William F. Sigler


Proof that public hunting on private lands is a growing Utah problem is, perhaps, most easily found by driving down any country lane. “No Trespassing" signs come one to a fence post or so it must seem to the pheasant hunter. His quarry is the most popular of Utah's farm game species and, unfortunately, the most popular subject of farmer-sportsmen disputes. Reasoning that short seasons reduce hunter nuisances and property damage, landowners have long advocated three to five day pheasant seasons. And because of this and a former game department concern about overshooting the birds (Utah Fish and Game Commission, 1941) Utah has had traditionally short pheasant hunting seasons. When biologists found it practically impossible to overshoot pheasants with rooster-only hunts (Allen, 1947 , 1956) Utah's game technicians and some sportsmen began advocating longer hunts. The longer seasons they felt, would increase the harvest of cocks and the public's recreational opportunity. Farmers have not been receptive to increased public recreation on their farms and have resisted pheasant hunts that are longer than, if as long as the standard three days. Some landowner groups have even rejected the three-day seasons and set their own, shorter seasons. Other upland game birds (partridges, quail and mourning doves) frequent private lands, and while they are not as popular with hunters as pheasants are, they figure in hunting-season problems. This has been particularly true of mourning doves. Attempts were made during the 1957 session of the Utah State Legislature to prohibit mourning dove hunting (Stokes I 1957). Advocates of this legislation felt that dove seasons led to property damage and nuisance and also encouraged pheasant poaching. The concern with these, as well as other problems stemming from upland bird hunting on private lands, revealed a need for more detailed information about the se problems. Therefore, a survey of farmers was initiated which had these specific objectives: 1. Determine the amount of upland bird habitat open to public hunting. 2. Learn the reasons why landowners close their property to public hunting. 3 Establish the number of landowners suffering from hunter caused nuisance and damage and the cost of such damage. 4 Find what, if any, method of hunter control held property damage and nuisance to farmers at an acceptable minimum. A review of the literature on farmer-sportsman relations reveals that few states have tried to study their problems carefully before attempting to solve them. The review also disclosed that much of what has been done is so specialized or based upon such limited information that it cannot honestly be compared to problems in other states or even to other areas in the same state. At the outset, I should mention that certain aspects of this criticism will apply to attempts to use this survey as a blanket generalization for the entire State.