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Regional Evaluations for Quail

This Regional information is initially very broad and general, but stay tuned as pictures and more detail about terrain, access, and mountain ranges within each Region will be added in the future.

Excellent regional evaluations from Arizona Game and Fish Department Small Game Biologist, Johnathan O’Dell and published in Arizona Wildlife Views Magazine September/October 2015, p.23.

Region I (Pinetop)

Unit 27: While most units on this list boast big numbers, this one doesn’t. You won’t find a lot of quail hunters here. It does have quail, and most of the time it’s just you chasing them around. Sometimes, that’s the best quail spot in the world.

Units 2A/3A: You won’t find lots of quail out here as compared to other units, but you will find quail in habitats that aren’t like the rest of the units, either. Rimrock and sagebrush replace sandstone and cacti for a quail-hunting experience like no other in Arizona.

From AQT: One of the interesting things about Region I that many people may not be aware, is that there are small numbers of Mearns’ quail scattered around, although the Mearns’ coveys are so scattered, that generally it would not be worthwhile to hunt them (with the exception of Unit 27 that does have some “ok” Mearns hunting). Unit 2B contains a few scattered coveys of Scaled quail. The best Gambel’s quail hunting, though, would be Unit 27.

Region II (Flagstaff)

Unit 6A: This is not a top 10 quail unit at all, except that it runs hot and cold depending on the year. Most years it’s not, but you sure don’t want to miss it when it’s hot. Who knows when it’ll free up again? Keep it in mind to check out once in a while.

Units 13A/13B: These aren’t high-harvest units, by any means. In fact, they are near the bottom. But they make this list for two reasons. First, very few hunters venture here, which is good if you like being alone. There are coveys here that have never seen a gun or a bird dog. Imagine not having to run and gun like you do in the desert. Second, if you’re up for it, chukar numbers have been steadily growing out here. Try your luck at a multi-species bird hunt.

From AQT: Very little quail hunting is available in this Region, with the exception of the far southern portions – Unit 13B and 13A, on some years, have had “ok” Gambel’s hunting.

Region III (Kingman)

Unit 16A: With great access to quality habitat, it’s no surprise this unit sits with the third-highest average harvest statewide. The average number of birds bagged per hunter per day isn’t too shabby, either.

Units 15B/15D: On the whole, these two units are about the same. Where 15D shines with higher birds per hunter day, 15B produces more overall birds harvested annually. If you only have a few days to hunt, try 15D, but if you’ve got the whole season, 15B might be a better choice. Or, you could just try both.

From AQT: This Region consists of Gambel’s quail and its better Units are 18B and 20A.

Region IV (Yuma)

Unit 44A: Not to be ignored, this unit puts up respectable numbers annually when it comes to the average birds bagged daily by hunters. Add to that the second-highest total amount of public ground of any unit on this list, and it’s well worth a visit.

Unit 41: This unit ranks among the top three for daily birds bagged per hunter. Due to the unit’s size, it is in close proximity to hunters in both Phoenix and Yuma. It may take some time to explore and locate birds, but the result will be worth it.

Unit 39: This is the sleeper unit on the list. Hunters who came here in 2014 were met with good numbers of coveys, and sizeable ones, too. With rain and a little luck, we’ll see if the trend holds in 2015.

From AQT: All Gambel’s quail in this Region. The northern units are some of its better quail hunting areas.

Region V (Tucson)

Unit 37B: This is far and away the No. 1 unit in the state for harvest. To hold this distinction means it can have a lot of quail. It also means it has a lot of hunters. If your perfect day of quail hunting involves not seeing another soul, look elsewhere. But if you want to be sure there are quail in the area, this is the place to be.

Unit 35A: This unit is not the best of any one thing, but good at most things. You’ll find Gambel’s, scaled, and Mearns’ quail here for a well-rounded Arizona quail-hunting experience.

The rest of Region 5: It’s no secret this part of the state is the heart of Arizona’s quail hunting. When it comes to picking another unit here for quail, they all have great but slightly different attributes. It’s not like comparing apples to apples. So to resolve the issue, I’m calling them all tied.

From AQT: Good populations of all three of the huntable quail – Gambel’s, Scaled, and Mearns’ – can be found in Region V. Over the years, one of the better Units for Gambel’s quail is 37B and for Scaled quail is 30B. The more popular Mearns’ Units are 34A and 35B.

Region VI (Mesa)

Unit 26M: One factor has distinguished this unit from the rest of the pack: birds in the bag. The top unit changes each year, and 26M has never topped the list. However, over the past nine years, hunter have averaged more birds per day here than anywhere else. It’s a solid quail unit every year.

Unit 21: Annually, this unit is one of the top five for the total number of quail harvested. Averaging the last nine years, it holds the number two spot. The trick here is to find a spot overlooked by other hunters.

Unit 24B: In recent years, this unit has seen an increase in hunters, which translates into higher harvest. Who can blame them, when they’re hunting in the shadow of the Superstition Mountains? It’s not the best of the best, but certainly in the top 10.

From AQT: Primarily Gambel’s quail here. There are a few Mearns coveys scattered around in the northeastern portion, though on most years, there are not enough good, huntable populations. There’s not really one unit better than another for Gambel’s here in Region VI – they all contain good Gambel’s quail numbers.

San Carlos – Fort Apache Reservations

From AQT: Gambel’s, Scaled, and Mearns’ quail are all available on these two Reservations. Mearns’ are scattered around through most of the Fort Apache Reservation, but the better Gambel’s hunting is along the western border. Gambel’s especially are available throughout San Carlos – Scaled quail primarily on the flats and mesas of Ash Creek and back to the west. Mearns’ quail can be found scattered through most 4000 feet or higher elevations. Special Note: special permits are required to hunt on the Reservations. Go to www.sancarlosapache.com/Contact.htm or www.wmat.nsn.us.

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