Idaho Quail Hunting Forecast 2020

1ff5a360-6a5b-4d72-a918-c15ae5e91b5c By Ted Gartner

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Idaho remains a bit of a wild card this year, with some areas of the state receiving ample rains, while other regions might have been short-changed.
 

Weather and Conditions

Idaho is a big state with a diverse mix of habitats, elevations and climates, and the state contains a variety of upland game birds. Upland bird populations can vary tremendously on an annual basis, and their health and numbers typically depend on favorable weather conditions, which are often very localized.
 
That means upland game birds are tough to forecast on a statewide basis. However, Idaho experienced cooler than normal temperatures in June statewide, along with higher than average rainfall. What does that mean for upland hunters? It's a bit of a glass half empty/full situation.
 
"Cool and wet weather during the hatch is typically not a good indicator of strong numbers in the fall. In general, we’re crossing our fingers for good second nesting attempts," said Jeff Knetter, Upland Game and Migratory Game Bird Coordinator. "On the bright side, habitat should be in good shape, and there should be an abundance of insects for brood rearing. Those that made it through June should be in great shape."
 

Habitat, Broods and Counts

Brood routes in the Clearwater were up considerably from 2019 and above the 10-year average. Counts were down in the Southwest Region. Reports in the Magic Valley Region suggest stable populations.
 

Top Spots

Clearwater County in the north central portion of the state, Magic Valley in the south central region, and most of southwestern Idaho are all good areas to hunt quail. Idaho is home to California quail, which are dispersed from south central Idaho, west to the Oregon border and north to the Palouse Prairie. Bobwhite quail also exist in huntable populations in a similar distribution.
 

Insider Tip

Brushy riparian areas typically hold quail. Some of the best habitat occurs on private lands. Remember to ask first for permission and to consult our Access Yes! program to find private lands open to hunting: https://idfg.idaho.gov/yes.
 
And wingshooting doesn’t end with quail in Idaho. Hunters can pursue five native species of grouse - dusky, ruffed, sage, sharptail, and spruce grouse - in addition to chukar, Hungarian partridge, and a healthy population of pheasants.
 

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