Oregon Quail Hunting Forecast 2018

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Weather and Conditions

Following a mild winter, Oregon had some much-needed spring precipitation," reports Mikal Cline, upland game bird coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. "The switch flipped back by mid-June, however, and Oregon experienced a hot, dry summer. This weather pattern did not seem to throw the California quail hatch off, though younger broods in July indicated early nest attempts may not have been entirely successful." 
 

Hatch and Broods

"California quail populations are healthy and steady in Oregon," says Cline. "Our summer brood routes indicated a quail density very similar to the five and 10-year averages. Based on these surveys, quail abundance is up from 2017.The strong turnout was driven by abundant quail populations in Malheur, Harney, Grant, and Umatilla counties.  Chicks-per-adult was similar to the long-term average, indicating an adequate production year."
Unlike California quail, Cline says mountain quail are notoriously difficult to survey using traditional methods, so it is difficult to make any conclusions for them from the summer production surveys. 
 

Habitat and Programs

"Oregon is glad to turn the corner into fall after a very dry summer," says Cline. "Conditions remain critically dry in eastern Oregon, though there is still some residual vegetation related to precipitation patterns in 2017. Mountain quail in southwestern Oregon will benefit from a series of large-scale fires that will promote brushy habitat in steep country." Like several other states, Oregon has a program that t promotes public hunting access on private property, and Cline recommends checking out ODFW’s public access programs, "particularly for access on private lands in the Columbia Basin," she says.  
 

Top Spots

"California quail hunters should find plenty of action in southeast Oregon, including Malheur, Harney, and Grant counties," says Cline. "The Columbia Basin counties of north-central Oregon are also full of quail hotspots. Oregon’s mountain quail strongholds are in the steep, brushy draws of southwest Oregon."
 

Insider Tips

"Focus on brushy and riparian areas with open areas for feeding," Cline suggests. "Quail are seldom located too far from water. A good dog is your best tool for working the brushy environments inhabited by Oregon’s quail. Eastern Oregon’s quail season begins in early October, and is already open in western Oregon."