November 17

Scaled Quail Forecast for 2021-2022 Season

If you haven’t already been out, it’s time to load the truck and head out to quail country! We have been compiling quail intel at AZ Quail Today from hunters, guides, gurus, biologists, and climatologists. Why? So that you can make some informed decisions about hunting quail this year in Arizona and bag a few more birds!  Here is the latest news on Scaled quail.

For those of you that are new, Scaled quail, like Gambels quail, are desert birds. They are also known as Cotton Tops or Blue quail. They like to run and flush fast; you can find them throughout the southeastern parts of the state.  Like Gambels, they depend on winter rains (October-March) to produce good clutches. 

If you recall, we had two wet winters leading up to last season. While this helped build up the desert quail populations, this previous year’s winter was brutal. It was arid, and we had little to no precipitation in areas where we needed it the most. These low levels of rainfall during our last winter translated into a lower quail population this season. 

With the help of Dr. Nancy Solver, a retired Climatologist from ASU, we were able to calculate just how bad last year’s winter rainfalls were. According to our research, from October to March, we received roughly 50% or less of the average rain we had received in the previous five years during that same time in many of the same areas you typically would find Scaled quail.  What does this mean? 

It means we’ve been in a drought for many years and this negatively impacts Scaled quail populations. Despite having the two wet winters leading up to last season, the drought conditions continue to hinder our quail populations in Arizona. 

Randy Babb, a new friend, and a retired biologist with Arizona Game and Fish, recently offered some unique insight. He shared how Scaled quail does best with winter rains; however, they can more easily adapt and use the summer precipitation than Gambel’s quail to produce good hatches.  With that being said, our summer Monsoon has been incredible! 

Currently, there is dense undergrowth everywhere. The deserts are green and full of life; bugs and berries are bountiful! 

In fact, according to our rain research, this summer’s Monsoons rain averages were nearly double the amount of rainfall that has fallen in Scaled country over the last five summers. That’s a ton of rain! 

So what’s this all mean? It means that the Scaled quail hunting is likely going to be better than Gambels or Mearns.   So get out there! There’s always more to explore in the great state of Arizona. 

If you would like more free information about quail hunting, tips and techniques, check out our website. If you are interested in going to the next level and becoming a Do-It-Yourself bird hunter, we offer paid coaching services on hunting and knowing about the general areas to hunt these birds! Contact us today. Spots are limited.