Nevada Quail Hunting Forecast 2018

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California quail

"After a reprieve from extended drought conditions due to the winter of 2016-2017, the 2017-2018 season brought Nevada back to abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions across much of the state," says Shawn Espinosa, upland game staff specialist with the Nevada Department of Wildlife. "From an upland game perspective, however, these conditions were somewhat tempered by an extremely wet May where precipitation came in the form of rain. This should have translated into some habitat improvement within major portions of
California quail range in western Nevada and led to increased productivity. An above average March in terms of precipitation receipts in the form of rain and snowfall and the
aforementioned rainfall in May essentially rescued much of northern and west-central Nevada from more severe drought conditions in 2018. 
In addition, improved water storage in many reservoirs that serve agricultural areas such as Lahontan Valley in Churchill County and Lovelock Valley in Pershing County should provide California quail populations with additional cover, food and water availability. This should lead to moderate to good production for the species once again in 2018 and with some recovery of California quail population experienced in 2017, harvest and success should increase during the 2018-2019 season."


Gambel’s quail


No formal surveys are conducted for Gambel’s quail," says Espinoza. "However, some information is captured during the North American Breeding Bird Surveys. Data for Nevada are somewhat difficult to draw any conclusions on population trend from, but rather demonstrate the cyclical nature of the species. The U.S. Drought Monitor classified much of Gambel’s quail range in southern Nevada as being in a “moderate drought” as recently as July. Dry conditions have returned to southern Nevada, particularly Lincoln County, and we expect that this will have negative consequences for Gambel’s quail populations. Unfortunately, with the exception of just a couple of years in the past decade or more, southern Nevada cannot
break the chain of dry years, and precipitation receipts have been poorly timed to facilitate a recovery in the Gambel’s quail population."
 

Mountain quail


"The numbers of birds taken per hunter during the season and the number of birds taken per day has been well above average for the past three season for this species suggesting that numbers and distribution have improved during that period," says Espinoza. "In the extreme portion of western Nevada, the Truckee River basin received 108% of normal rainfall during the month of May which should lead to moderate to good production for this species in 2018. Mountain quail hunters should enjoy similar success to that experienced during the 2017-2018 season."