What’s Happening Now – May 2017
The word for the Arizona desert in May is this…Hatch. The Reports Have Been Coming Trough In A Semi Positive Way.Moving into early summer with Gambel’s quail, it looks like the breeding season may have gotten off to a somewhat late start. Though there were some mating calls and pairing as well, in general, it looks like the breeding activity has been later than usual.Nesting typically begins in April and lasts until June or July. As we go into the early part of May, one bright spot is that some broods are beginning to show up – baby quail about the size of a bumblebee. Occasionally, Gambel’s quail may lay a second clutch in wet years. During these wet periods, chicks may be observed as late as September.
We Might Just See A Bump In Quail For The 2017 Season. The Green Up Did Last Through April In Some Areas. Although The End Of April Really Got Quite Dry The Ground Seemed To Hold Sufficient Moisture To grow plants such as This Filaree a staple Food For Gambels Quail.
Remember When you purchase Q5 and Quilomene upland hunting vests, you are helping a Child experience camping and the great outdoors. A percentage of the proceeds go to Arizona Outdoor Adventures, a non-profit 501(c)(3 organization dedicated to providing healthy outdoor activities for underprivileged children. Wont You Help Out A Kid Today Go to www.azoutdooradventures.org for further information.
“The Sawmill Fire“
46,000+ acres Of Quail Habitat Gone For Today. Perhaps Better for Tomorrow?
A off-duty Tucson Sector Border Patrol agent Was The Culprit.The man was firing at exploding targets when brush apparently ignited near Box Canyon and Santa Rita Ranch at about 11 a.m. He tried to extinguish the blaze and then called to report it. He later turned himself in. Sawmill Fire included 799 personnel, 16 hand crews, 67 engines, and 5 Aircraft. The suppression cost to date was $3 million. “The use..of explosives or any kind..incendiary..or exploding targets” is prohibited on Blm Land”
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
New Question: What Effect Does Fire Have On Quail Habitat? How Does Nutsedge And Other Plants That Quail Need For Survival Fair Under Fire Conditions?Let Us Know What You Think!.Let us know your thoughts using the form below! We’ll summarize the comments we receive into a condensed, overall response to include in a future What’s Happening Now post.
May TIP OF THE MONTH
TIP: FOLLOW THE BIRD
Gambel’s quail are tough. They can be hit hard and still run. Here’s a practice that can really make a difference in limiting the number of lost or crippled quail. Typically, a hunter will shoot a bird and automatically his gun will come down to watch where the bird drops. Try following the bird down with your gun up and ready to shoot. If the bird looks like it’s about to run off, shoot again. A bird can run off and be gone in the time in takes to bring the gun back up to shoot. But here’s a red flag: Safety must come first in this situation. Always be aware of where other hunters and/or dogs are in order to prevent any injuries/mishaps.
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SMALL GAME HUNTING TIPS: QUAIL
Try starting your quail hunt early in the morning when it’s cooler and birds are more vocal and moving about. Also consider using a quail call and listen for coveys to answer; this will save walking and time. Quail calls may be purchased at most sporting goods stores. While walking in the field, stop frequently to listen for birds. Gambel’s and scaled quail make a variety of sounds; learn to recognize these calls. Once birds are found, attempt to split the covey up and work cover for single birds, this is where you’re likely to get most of your birds. Estimate the number of birds on a covey rise and keep count of the number of single birds that are flushed while working for singles. This way you can make sure you’ve worked the covey thoroughly. If you have hunted through the area where the scattered birds settled and have only gotten up half the number of the birds that were counted on the covey rise, you know that there are still more birds in the area and can work the surrounding cover appropriately.
Gambel’s quail like to run and if the cover is not heavy enough will literally out run hunters and dogs alike. Minimize your frustration while hunting these birds by choosing areas that have good ground cover in the way of grasses and shrubs. This vegetation provides hiding places for scattered birds. On birds that want to run ahead of you, put pressure on them by unloading your firearm and trotting after the birds until you have flushed the covey enough times for the birds to be sufficiently scattered to hold. Then work the area for singles. Avoid hunting areas with little ground cover. For quail to hold (not flush at a distance too far for the hunter to shoot at them) there must be adequate ground cover for the birds to hide in (e.g. grass, shrubs, etc.). In sparsely vegetated areas quail tend to run and flush at excessive distances. This can be a problem in years of poor production as the hunter is faced with pursuing older “educated” birds. There should be plenty of young birds this season so running birds will likely not be a problem this season. Young birds hold better so it is worth the effort to find those areas that experienced better hatches.
Once the birds are scattered and holding a hunter will flush more birds if they walk in a zigzag fashion through the cover, occasionally pausing for a few seconds. Waiting can be as important as walking in areas where there is good cover and where you know there are birds. It is not uncommon to walk into an area, stop for a few seconds, and have a bird flush right behind you after you resume walking. Be ready for this. Attempt to read the cover and terrain to predict where birds may be hiding. Groups of closely growing shrubs, shallow draws lined with dense vegetation, or low thickets, should be investigated. If a hunter has a partner, develop a game plan and move through an area about 20 to 30 yards apart covering the area thoroughly. If birds are holding tightly it is not unusual to cover the same ground many times and still flush birds. Quail will often hold closely in inclement weather. Once a bird is knocked down, stay at the ready for a second or two to make sure the quail is not crippled and runs off. Also mark downed birds carefully and walk directly to the spot and retrieve the bird. If the downed bird is not found immediately take the time to carefully search the surrounding area within about a 15 yard, or more, radius. Gambel’s quail are remarkably tough and can take a lot of punishment. Crippled birds will run down mammal burrows, into packrat nests, or hide in most any suitable cover. Resist the temptation to shoot at additional birds once a bird has been downed. This will translate to fewer lost birds and more game in the bag.
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