New Mexico Quail Hunting Forecast 2017


Summer monsoon season good for Mew Mexico quail, birds are there to hunt

In many ways, the quail story in New Mexico is a tale of two halves.

“Surveys are currently in progress, but have mainly covered the eastern portion of the state. A fair number of quail have been documented, with broods of varying ages, suggesting good mid- to late-season production,” says Casey Cardinal, resident game bird biologist for New Mexico Department of Game and Fish’s Wildlife Management Division. 

“Anecdotal reports are that quail populations (scaled quail and northern bobwhites) seem to be healthy in the eastern portion of the state,” Carinal adds. “The western half of the state (scaled quail and Gambel’s quail) is still spotty, with fair population numbers in some areas and low numbers across much of the range.”

“Montezuma quail numbers seem to be lower in the eastern portion of their range in the state,” she adds, “and hunters may have more luck hunting farther west in the state.”

In general, early season production was minimal due to a lack of precipitation. However, reproduction in July and early August was very good – especially in eastern New Mexico – because monsoon season brought significant rainfall, she says. “Brood survival seems high in these areas, following the late-season grass and forb growth,” Cardinal says.

Like in most years, some of the overall best quail hunting opportunities should be in the southeastern counties of Chaves, Eddy and Lea.



* “For those hunters who are concerned about dogs running into snakes, a January or February hunt may be preferable, as snakes are typically dormant in the later part of the winter,” Cardinal says.

* “Coveys near roads are typically hunted pretty hard by this time,” she adds, “and will typically flush early. Just getting farther off the road may produce some birds that haven’t been hit quite as hard.” 


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