An average of over 3700 pheasant have been released on the Sand Mesa and Ocean Lake WHMAs annually since 1996. However, 2011 was an exception because of fewer birds available statewide and the need for brood stock at the Downar Bird Farm near Yoder.
Of the pheasants released, 40-45% are typically males and the remaining 55-60% are females. Any pheasant may be taken on the Sand Mesa and Ocean Lake WHMAs from November 2-December 1. After December 1, only male pheasants may be harvested through December 31.
Personnel generally release birds after the close of shooting hours on the release day (after 4 pm). Birds are released on Sand Mesa throughout the area directly north of Bass Lake and at all public access sites along the west and north side of Ocean Lake, except the boat ramp.
Releases are scheduled to occur starting October 30th and will continue until the last week in November. Normal release days are Tuesdays and Fridays with the exception of Thanksgiving week when pheasants are released the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day. However, we have had events occur in the past that have required us to alter that schedule.
Hunters are encouraged to check this site after 4 pm on release dates for any notification of a change in the schedule. By that time the Department will know if the scheduled release was terminated for any reason (closed roads or a truck break-down). Hunters can expect birds were released as scheduled unless noted otherwise.