What’s Happening Now – Mid-Season 2011
Last year, 80 – 90% of a Gambel’s quail bag were juvenile birds, but this year it is more like 10 – 20%. This reflects the biggest difference from last year’s season. This year’s adult birds, therefore, are much more wary and covey sizes are quite a bit smaller. However, as in past years when there has been a poor hatch, fair numbers of birds can still be found in certain areas, but they will generally be in relatively rough country that doesn’t receive as much hunting pressure. So look to walk more, wear out more boot leather, and get into some country that’s a little more secluded.
Where a hatch of Scaled quail did take place, it was a very late hatch. Generally, the number of coveys are down from what was reported last year.
Mearns’ quail also had a late hatch, so in the areas that did receive a fair hatch, you will probably see some very young birds, though the hatch overall is way below average. Although the season has only been open for a short amount of time, it looks to be a bit better this year from last year, though still below average. There are some good, full sized coveys out there (coveys of a dozen or more birds). Stay tuned for more information later on.
My assessment at this point in time is, again, to stick with Gambel’s quail. Even though the hatch is poor, there are a few areas around, especially in the central part of the state, i.e. Region VI, that they can be hunted. What I have found, and which has been confirmed by most hunters I have talked to, is that with hard hunting, a covey can be found about every hour with the covey size averaging about 2 dozen birds.