New Mexico Quail Hunting Forecast 2018


Weather and Conditions

"It was an extremely dry spring in New Mexico, which seemed to reduce or delay reproduction," says Casey Cardinal, resident game bird biologist with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. "Monsoon rains in July and early August were beneficial, and there seems to have been a late-season nesting effort.  The broods from these late-season nesters seem to have had decent survival."

Hatch and Broods

"New Mexico has just started conducting August surveys to estimate fall population trends," says Cardinal. "One of the highlights is that reproduction is looking a little better than expected after the extremely dry spring.  A fair number of birds put on a late reproductive effort, and some birds were still observed with small chicks in late August."

Habitat and Programs

"Conditions are still dry across quail range," reports Cardinal. "Habitat in the very southeast corner of the state is looking a little better than much of the range, as it was not hit quite as hard by the spring drought. Late season rains brought some grasses and forbs, but a lot of quail habitat is still looking rough."

Top Spots

"Southeastern New Mexico, specifically Eddy, Lea, Chaves, and Roosevelt Counties," says Cardinal. "Numbers will be down from last year, but there are still a fair number of birds in the area."

Insider Tips

"Temperatures tend to be more favorable during later (late Dec-Feb) season hunts, which is easier on dogs and reduces the number of snakes," Cardinal says. "Birds that use habitats near the road will get more spooked and will flush earlier, but hunters may be successful if they're willing to explore into other habitat patches." Cardinal also says the Bureau of Land Management and New Mexico Game and Fish have collaborated to provide hunt maps through the CarryMap application. This map contain surface ownership, officer contacts, roads, and much more. Information can be found at: