Oregon Quail Hunting Forecast 2017

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Oregon quail holding their own and hunting should be good  

There was some winter quail mortality in Oregon as a result of deep and persistent snow, but good habitat conditions likely will mean there are some young quail in the population. 

According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the California quail production index was down slightly from last year, but above the five-year average, while the abundance index (number of birds per 10 miles) was down to 11.3 from 18.2 last year and the five-year average of 17.1. 

The mountain quail production index was down from last year and the five-year average, while the abundance index was slightly above last year and slightly below the five-year average.

According to the department’s fall bird hunting forecast, “Statewide California (valley) quail populations have been on an upward trend over the last several years. In 2016, the population was at the most recent 15-year average. Winter weather causes higher than average mortality in some areas, but surviving quail appeared to have good nesting success with some very large broods observed. California quail likely did better near agricultural and suburban areas in the southern half of the state than the northern half.”

Following are forecasts from key individual counties:

Baker County
Quail counts were much lower this year and hunters should expect to see “quite a few less birds than the last two years.”

Deschutes County
California quail populations are healthy, with most birds found on private land, meaning accessing them is difficult.

Harney County
“Quail hunting opportunities can be found throughout Harney County around both agricultural and rangelands in the Steens, Pueblos and Trout creeks. Focus on basins and creek bottoms,” according to the forecast.

Douglas County
Hunters should expect an average year for mountain quail. “Success is best in the lower elevation agricultural land for California quail and mid-elevations of the Cascades and Coast Range near brushy clear-cuts on secondary forest roads for mountain quail,” according to the forecast.
 

OREGON HUNTING TIPS

* December and January are prime times to hunt Oregon’s mountain quail, because snow concentrates the birds in brushy cover for fast shooting.

* For California quail, hunt east of the Cascades and look for farmland next to natural cover such as sage country or grass.
 

OREGON: MOUNTAIN QUAIL DISTRIBUTION

OREGON: CALIFORNIA QUAIL DISTRIBUTION

LINKS

Oregon Quail Page

Oregon 2017 Upland Bird Hunting Forecast

Oregon Public Land Hunting