California Quail Hunting Forecast 2017

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Moist, warm summer should produce good quail broods in California

Save for areas where late-summer wildfires have negatively affected quail populations at the local level, it’s looking like a good quail season is on tap in California, according to Katherine Miller, upland game bird biologist for the California Department of Fish and Game.
 
“Throughout the month of April, California experienced more rain in the north Central Valley and mountains and drier conditions in the forest,” she says. “From May through August, precipitation levels were below the 30-year normal for most regions of the state.”
 
“The late summer (July and August) was warmer than normal,” Miller adds. “Due to the wet winter and early spring, quail had good nesting cover, which is important for brood survival, and there was an abundance of insects essential for chick development.”
 
“Unfortunately, California has experienced wildfires due to the hot, dry conditions of the late summer,” she adds. “These wildfires in turn have affected quail populations on a local scale.”
 
While the department doesn’t conduct fall quail covey counts, anecdotal reports indicate the state’s overall quail population is faring well. 
 
Most of the state should be good for California quail, with standout counties including Kern, Monterey and San Luis Obispo. 
 
For mountain quail, hunters should experience better success in counties such as Amador, El Dorado and Siskiyou -- places that have good early successional habitat in montane forests. 
 
Strong prospects for Gambel’s quail can be found in Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, Miller says.
 
Full regulations and season dates are available here. Hunters are reminded they may not use lead shot when hunting on state wildlife areas. 
 

QUAIL HUNTING TIPS FOR CALIFORNIA

Miller offers the following tips to hunters who pursue quail in California:
 
“For mountain quail, hunters may have success in early successional areas within montane forests.”
 
“California quail can be found throughout most of the state, however they are best found where there is a good combination of cover plants – such as California buckwheat and redberry – and food plants – such as lupine and clover.”
 
“Gambel’s quail are found in the southeastern portion of the state in brushy desert habitats.”
 

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