Well, it’s that time of year again! Let’s get out there and start scouting some old and new spots. The quail opener for Gambels and Scaled quail is October 15th and runs through February 6th!
To help you get ready, we’ve got some quail intel for you! We have been gathering feedback and research from hunters, guides, gurus, biologists, climatologists, and research assistants! It’s all done for the love of the great outdoors and hunting! So let’s get started!
First, let’s look at Gambels quail. Last year, was much better than the previous years. Gambels were said to be the bird of the year! If you recall we had two wet winters leading up to last season. Those wet winters helped our Gambels population in Arizona. Many hunters reported juvenile birds in their bags and Gambels seemed to be one of the bright spots for Arizona Quail hunting!
So what about this year? Well, it’s important to note that Gambels quail depend on good winter rains (October-March) to produce good clutches. This last year’s winter was terrible! While we had some good hunting, we didn’t have much rain at all.
With a little help from Dr. Nancy Solver, Ph.D., a retired Climatologist from ASU. We analyzed winter rains over the last 5 years specifically, October-March. What we learned was that Gambels quail, in essence, received roughly 50% or less of the average rainfall they had received in the previous 5 years during that same time. That’s not good! While some spots received more rainfall than others, the numbers don’t lie. We had a bone dry winter.
You will still find pockets of birds out there if you look hard enough. Your odds will be even better if you are hunting in areas where they have access to water and food sources. Many hunters report even now on seeing good numbers of birds in some of these areas that verge on suburban community developments and where there is water to access via canals, drainages, lakes, or reservoirs.
Likely, hunters will not be finding the numbers of Gambels they found last year. In addition, many of the birds will be carryover birds, that are older and wiser. In addition, they will likely be harder to hunt and flush even faster! It’s unlikely to find as many juvenile birds as we did last year. So, with that being said.. don’t give up, just change your expectations. Get out there bag a few birds and make yourself a meal. We’ve got a few great recipes on our website too.
If you would like more free information about quail hunting, tips and techniques, check out our blogs. If you are interested in going to the next level and becoming a Do-It-Yourself bird hunter we are offering paid coaching services on how to hunt and the general areas to hunt these birds! Contact us today. Spots are limited.