Colorado Quail Hunting Forecast 2019

a411efb7-fa99-4812-b379-42d066898443 While the Rocky Mountains, trout, elk, and skiing might be what most often comes to mind when Colorado is mentioned, the eastern and southeastern parts of the state offer breathtaking high plains scenery, plenty of publicly-accessible land, and both scaled and bobwhite quail to chase.


Although winter can get extreme on the southern plains, weather didn’t seem to have an adverse on Colorado’s quail this year. “We did not experience any abnormal or severe winter mortality events in 2018-19,” reports Ed Gorman, small game manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “For the most part, the winter of 2018-19 was dry with little snow.”
Gorman says that translated into fair-to-decent nesting and brood-rearing conditions across Colorado’s quail range, although Gorman adds that across much of the range the development of nesting habitat and brood habitat was slower than optimum in the spring.


Gorman rates eastern and southeastern quail habitat going into the start of the fall season as fair to good, depending on how much precipitation fell locally. 
“Many areas have been wetter than normal in August which has significantly improved habitat,” says Gorman. 
Gorman reports they have received a few anecdotal reports of broods, “although most of our quail range is not conducive to brood observation,” he says. “Colorado does not conduct official road-based brood surveys for quail due to our general lack of humidity and dew. We have some regional surveys but they are not available at press time and are not published.”


Colorado quail hunting is concentrated primarily in the eastern and southeastern part of the state, and it is in this area that Gorman recommends hunters concentrate their efforts. 
“Extreme southeast Baca County contains plenty of WIA (Walk-in Access) lands that have bobwhites and scaled quail, plus Comanche National Grassland lands also occur in this area,” says Gorman. 
Other areas he recommends include WIA lands in Prowers County immediately south of Lamar, and the South Platte River corridor from Fort Morgan east to the state line. “There are plenty of accessible state wildlife areas with bobwhite populations in this area,” says Gorman.


“Early morning scouting of properties from the road can be very helpful to find concentrations of birds,” says Gorman. “Once a likely spot is found, successful hunters familiarize themselves with boundaries and nearby habitat types and consider how birds will use nearby habitats.  This is also a great time to pursue private land permission.” 


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