What’s Happening Now – February 2016

What’s Happening Now – February 2016

What’s Happening Now – February 2016

As the 2015-2016 quail season winds down, the Arizona desert is as green as can be. The winter months brought some strong moisture with a big storm rolling in early January and another good storm beginning of February. All is very favorable for a great desert quail hatch next year.

The 2015-2016 Mearns’ quail season again turned out to be a fantastic one. We will have to wait until September to see how Mearns’ will be for the 2016-2017 quail season although there are lots of carryover birds the end of this season.

Statewide on the desert birds for the 2015-2016 season (pretty good): Some areas didn’t do quite as well as expected but overall juvenile birds in the bag ended up being around 70 percent.

Below is a new section we would like to include in each What’s Happening Now post. We value your input and interaction with what we post here so we’ve provided a form to submit your comments. We’ll summarize the comments we receive into a condensed, overall response to include in the next What’s Happening Now post.

What do you think?

Shot Size: What are your thoughts regarding shot size for desert birds (Gambel’s and scaled quail), especially late season? Which would you choose: 6 shot, 7, 7.5, or 8?

Let us know your thoughts using the form below! We’ll summarize the comments we receive into a condensed, overall response to include in the next What’s Happening Now post.

Consensus of previous “What do you think?”: Arizona’s quail, Mearns’, scaled and Gambel’s are much more difficult to hunt than they were 30 years ago. Mearns’ quail are running more, not only as a singles but as a covey. As hunting pressure has increased and more people hunt with dogs, the birds have learned survival skills over the last 30 years that does make them more difficult to hunt.

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Tip: Bird Dogs for Quail Hunting

Bird Dogs for Quail Hunting. When it comes to bird dogs, a great asset in a dog is trustworthiness. This is a dog that does not need continual commands and when is out of sight, can be trusted to point and hold the bird. So the tip here is: Look for a dog that can be trusted.

Many people believe that a good bird dog – even an excellent bird dog – is going to find all tight-holding quail. That is simply not the case. The best of bird dogs will miss a good percentage of the tight-holding quail and that is why it is so important to go slow, be patient, and give the dog extra time. If need be, move where the wind direction is an advantage to the dog. All the dog has to go on is the quail’s scent trail and at times that can be very small or it can be diluted somewhat by certain plant smells or structures that interfere with the scent. So remember, just because you have a dog in the area, doesn’t guarantee it will find the majority of the tight-holding birds. To give a dog the best advantage, it’s sometimes necessary to go through an area two and three times.

More Bird Hunting Tips!

Storm Goliath: How did it affect our quail?

Note: It doesn’t have anything to do with Arizona quail, but it’s interesting how hearty quail are in general.

The second major winter event of the year struck the Rolling Plains with a vengeance on December 27. Blizzard conditions, including winds in excess of 60 mph brought freezing rain, sleet, and snow. And the sun didn’t shine for a week thereafter where I was holed up in southwestern OK. I ran my dogs a couple of times, and drove around getting some video, and found bobwhites in good numbers in the sandhills northwest of Hollis.

One of the niceties about having quail radiomarked year-round for the long-term (8 years and counting now) is that we can assess acute and chronic events that can affect quail survival. As for this winter, so far, so good…may be even “better.” Here’s a report from RPQRR technician Adrian Cain: “at the end of the trapping season (12 Dec), we had 99 birds on air. Now, almost a month after the end of the trapping season, our quail survival has been excellent, even during the freeze. Since the end of trapping season, we have observed only two mortalities, one of which was due to a mammal, the other by unknown source. Three additional collars are missing.”

I spent the afternoon of New Year’s Day in the Annie Pasture and flushed 8 coveys on a walk of perhaps two miles. Covey size was still “good” (12 birds or so). We have several hunts planned during January and February and will continue to monitor our radio-marked birds.QuailResearch.org

Product Recommendations

A helpful addition to Q5 Outdoor Products is the Accessory Recommendations page. These are products that I have found to be greatly beneficial while upland bird hunting. Though I have not personally used all the products listed, others I have hunted with have so I’ve included these products as well. – Dan Priest

Featured Product

A great collapsible water bottle for you and your dog:

Platypus Platy Bottle 2L (70oz)
– Collapsible design allows you to roll bottle up for easy, compact storage.
– Bottle is tough enough to be frozen or boiled.
– Modular design lets you create your own system.
– Gusseted bottom keeps bottle upright for easier filling.
– 7.5 x 13.5 in.- 19 x 35 cm- 1 oz.- 30 g

Q5 Outdoor Products recommendations for dog water: Use the platypus collapsible water bottle along with a collapsible dog bowl or other small dog bowl. A dog will drink much more natural with its head down rather than drinking from a hose with its head up and besides, that way less water will be wasted.

Take a look at the Q5 Outdoor Products website!
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