What’s Happening Now – Christmas 2012
First of all, a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you! As we gather with family and friends, I know we will all be especially mindful to keep our fellow families in Newtown, Connecticut and every person and/or family experiencing pain and tragedy in our thoughts and prayers.
The news on the Mearns’ quail season is about as predicted. The season started off with many hunters participating, but with very little results. The good news is that at least the covey sizes have been average though they were few and far between. Finding four coveys would be a productive day of hunting – most have been doing good to find one covey. When Mearns’ numbers are low, I believe that self-restricting your limit is helpful to the bird population – reducing a limit from 8 to 4 or so birds a day would be a good idea.
As of the end of December, drawing a line on a map from the Mazatzals over to the Gilas, north to Payson, and south to Oracle, you will see one of the areas where an above average hatch did occur. See map.
However, as has been the case over the last few years, it’s again very spotty. If you find yourself in one of the good “spots”, you’ll find plenty of quail, but coveys are few and far between if you find yourself hunting a poor “spot”. Am still hearing that some areas in Region III have had a hatch, and I should know a little bit more in that regard sometime next month. The southeast part of the state is very slim. A reminder about Gambel’s quail: these birds are experts at disappearing, so keep in mind that, per covey, a hunter will typically have about 4 opportunities to shoot a quail. That can vary, but over the years, I’ve learned that that’s a pretty good average. Most of the time, the opportunities will be on the slim side.
Last week, a two day soaker did occur over most of the state, and there is more moisture in the forecast – always good news for bird hunters.
Bruce Sitko, Az Game & Fish Dept., Pinetop office: Hi. I’d like to make you aware of a new publication authored by my coworker and close friend Randy Babb, which the Arizona Game and Fish Department is now marketing titled “An Introduction to Hunting Arizona’s Small Game.” Randy is an avid small game and game bird hunter, and he spent over a year researching and writing this 198-page, 6×9-inch book.
The book cost is $16.95. It would make a great holiday gift for any hunter, whether young and new to the sport or an experienced pro. The Department is taking pre-orders starting today, Nov. 26, which will ensure delivery prior to Christmas. The on-sale date is Dec. 14. You can print a pre-order form from this link to our website: http://www.azgfd.gov/i_e/pubs/publications.shtml.
This full-color, lavishly illustrated book includes an introduction to hunting small game in Arizona; detailed explanations of how to hunt ducks, geese and 23 species of birds, squirrels and rabbits; information about how to prepare and cook small game, complete with illustrations and recipes. It also contains species distribution maps.
It provides expert tips for hunting Arizona’s small game birds and mammals, from quail and dove to squirrels and rabbits. It includes detailed descriptions of small game animals and specialized information about their behavior and habits. It will help new and experienced hunters alike select the right firearm, gear up for the hunt, succeed in the field and care for the harvest.
Randy is a biologist and naturalist who has contributed to many scholarly and popular publications. His extensive knowledge of wildlife keeps him in demand as a writer, photographer, illustrator, speaker and wildlife tour leader.