What’s Happening Now – December 2012
At this point, from the reports I’ve been hearing and from what I’ve seen myself is:
Region I – the only areas that have any quail here at all are the far southern area of Unit 27, and Unit 2B along the New Mexico line has some Scaled quail. But both units are very spotty.
Region II – the only places to hunt quail here are the far southern and northwest portions. I have no reports of the northern end, but heard some fair reports about the southern.
Region III – the entire southern end of this Region had a poor hatch. I have heard that a hatch did occur in some of the northern portions.
Region IV – poor hatch throughout other than some of the northern units in this Region.
Region V – the far eastern edge of this Region seems to have seen a poor hatch from reports I’ve heard. The further north and further west areas seem to have had a better hatch.
Region VI – the further east you go, the better the hatch; the farther northwest, the poorer the hatch.
San Carlos and Fort Apache Reservations – a hatch did occur on both Reservations, although, like the rest of the State, is very spotty.
Mearns’ in Region V – though we’ll know more, of course, after the season opens, I’ve had reports that it should be better than the last two years, though still predicted to be below average. Covey sizes are up, so at least we know a hatch occurred. There has not been enough carryover birds in the last two years to bring about a good hatch. Will put together a bit more about Mearns’ quail at the end of December.
Scaled – in some areas, the Scaled quail responded to the summer rains with a hatch. Early in the season, there were very young birds barely able to fly, and even by mid-November, some of those late hatchers weren’t much bigger than a sparrow. So with the better summer rains, along with spotty summer rains, there has been a fairly good Scaled quail hatch. Study the precipitation charts (https://azquailtoday.com/weather-precipitation/) and look for some of those areas of good summer rains in Scaled quail habitat and you’ll probably find some decent numbers of quail.
The overall assessment at this point is, as it has been for the last couple years, that the quail are very spotty. Most of Region VI did not have a hatch at all, though its eastern portion had a better than average hatch. The cover in most areas of the State has been very good due to summer rain. I have found the same thing that most everyone else has seen – very wary birds and coveys flushing wild. The largest covey I’ve seen so far this year has been about 4 dozen. The best day I’ve seen is in the neighborhood of 10 to 12 coveys and the slowest day has been 3 to 4 coveys. The encouraging word is: the birds are there, and with some work, they can be found.