Desert quail report
2011 Desert Quail Forecast
By Jill Swan
Survey data in CALIFORNIA hasn’t been compiled since 2008, but according to Jesus R. Garcia, Environmental Scientist, California Department of Fish and Game, the state will have average to slightly above-average production of Gambel's quail this year. In a Quail Forever nesting report published in July, Garcia reported that nesting conditions were favorable. And the weather conditions remained favorable for production: “California has had two successive high rainfall years with positive effects on quail brood production numbers. This year, precipitation in the hydrologic regions ranged from 115 -160 percent of average.”
Joseph Sands, Game Bird Program Manager in NEW MEXICO, has been on the job only a couple months. He reports, “In general, it was a fairly droughty spring and summer. Wherever some rain fell, some quail could have had some decent reproduction. Right now were not expecting a lot of production.”
According to the Quail Forever report, the success of desert quail species in ARIZONA depends on the amount of seasonal rainfall. Johnathan O’Dell, Small Game Biologist, published the Arizona Game and Fish 2011 report on the AZGFD website: For Gambel’s quail, “Below average winter rains made for another tough year. The earliest hatches had only limited or partial success.” However, as in New Mexico, hunters will be able to find pockets of Gambel’s quail in better numbers in areas that had rainfall. Scaled quail will also be below average. O’Dell recommends checking areas with plenty of native desert grasses in the southeastern portion of the state. The heart of Mearns’ country was relatively safe after an active wildfire season, but the late monsoon season hurt production. “Don’t expect to see much in the Chiricahua Mountains, east side of the Huachuca Mountains, or the surrounding areas of Peña Blanca Lake because of the fires. Poor carryover coupled with poor conditions for reproduction this year means that you’ll end up working just as hard as you did last year with a below-average season,” reports O’Dell.
Read another forecast:
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Prairie Grouse & Hungarian Partridge
When you are up to your butt in alligators, it is hard to remember your intent was to drain the swamp. Stay focused!