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Quail hunting in AZ. All the Hype... Not Good

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by dklees, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. dklees

    dklees Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Messages:
    477
    So I've been hearing all of this Hype about how Great the quail season (2018-17) is supposed to be in Southern AZ. A lot of it being posted all on the various hunting post across the Web. Running into a lot more hunters and a lot more guided hunts.

    Unfortunately, this season is not even 1/2 of what it was 2 seasons ago and that was POOR. I'm sorry, but all this hype is dead wrong, DEAD WRONG>and I'm seeing more and more hunters putting pressure on a low population of birds. This is for all 3 common species. More pressure on less birds = Less birds for next season!

    I'm running into hunters, too many, where I've never seen them before. Many from out of state or just their first time out.

    It's crazy to me as this is by far the worst I've seen it in the past 7-8 years. First season that I've actually been skunked when going all day and not finding any... ANY quail in locations where I've found them before.

    I helped a guy from out of state. He said no one was being too friendly and won't give much advice. I took him out to one of my favorite spots for gambles, using my dog. I asked him not to map out where I was taking him, because it's not nice to go back and bring others to a spot someone showed you.

    We managed to find 3 small coveys and he took a couple. It was a good day and I'm happy he was successful.

    But, at end of the day, he said he used GPS to mark way-points. It's taken me years to find some spots that are difficult to find, and difficult to hunt. I only took him to one of the places and now I'm glad I didn't show him any others, as hopefully he won't be taking others to a spot I just showed him. I'm halfway thinking maybe these days with all the technology it just doesn't pay to be friendly?

    On the other hand, without a good knowledge of how the quail behave for a given area or having a good dog that knows how to handle a cactus infested area, it probably won't be a fun or successful hunt for most.

    I still have mixed feelings in this poor season, I see less and less birds, and hunters putting a lot of pressure on a limited resource.

    The birds just aren't here this season in AZ. I'm not seeing the large coveys I have just 4-5 years before. I'm thankful that more and more hunters I talk to aren't chasing down coveys and aren't taking more than 1 or two from a covey. We haven't had a shortened season, or a smaller limit put out in a long time but I have a feeling it may come to that soon.

    Good practices will help. I'm not even going back to places once I've been through this season. I've let entire coveys go by this season because they were the over half juveniles.

    Soon I'll be switching my 12ga to a Nikon camera. There are places that I know of that are tough to hunt. Too tough to even bring my dog, but I'm thinking I'm not going to hunt them this year and maybe next season we will have a few more?

    I didn't run into any for 4-5 miles of an area that I could limit out just a few years ago. Killed my hopes. Merns was supposed to be great this season. Many are coming up empty handed in areas where they were before. I've haven't seen any, ANY at all in areas where you could/should see 4-5 coveys in a mile or so.

    Just in case you know someone who is still thinking about a hunt here, we are definitely not having a good season, at least not where I've been. Maybe after this bad season, people will give it a year or two to recuperate or else it will be even worse.
     
  2. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    6,308
    The quail numbers are pretty cyclic around here also. This year they are on the upswing, last year not so good. But I don't have to limit out every time to have fun hunting them.

    The cardinal rule about quail ' honey holes' is you don't tell anyone about them - ever.
     
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  3. Drew Hause

    Drew Hause Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    Messages:
    1,523
    Location:
    AZ but dreaming of KS
    I agree completely. Very discouraging.
    In past years, I've run into out-of-staters hauling 8 hole dog trailers for end-of-season training on live birds. One time on Las Cienegas saw a pro with a fancy 4 wheeler hauling his 'sports' and 3 dogs. The small parking area off 83 for Gardner Canyon looks like a California Wal-Mart parking lot opening week :(
    Same thing happens on the Cimarron in Kansas at the beginning of the season.
    Arizona Mearns Quail Hunting - Parker Gun Collectors Association Forums
     
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  4. theunloader

    theunloader Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor TS Supporters

    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Messages:
    185
    Lived there---Too many 'Rattlers'---Not enough Quail !!!
    Oracle Junction Area----

     
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  5. dklees

    dklees Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
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    477
    Well I just left the 83/Gardner canyon road about 1 hour ago. Took the young lad from NJ out with us. It's like a zoo with cars, minivans, trucks; and the guy with two kennels/dogs on back of his atv. Couldn't find a spot off the back roads that wasn't with 2-3 trucks & dogs.

    Saw a mountain lion running full tilt; and we , 3 of us, came home empty handed after 6 miles of walking.
     
  6. dklees

    dklees Active Member

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  7. mcneeley5

    mcneeley5 Member

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    Jan 2, 2008
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    Mearns is the "easy" game bird for all. I guided in most of the areas before the out-a-state boon. It was much more fun. I think that the rainfall this summer was too much for the summer hatches. Areas where less rain fell are fairly productive. I really don't think hunters access very much of the quails habitat. I have seen birds in non-typical areas.
    A couple of years ago I shot a scalie x mearns, very pretty and different. Would have saved but I shot him too much!
    Bandit and I are headed out this AM for some bird action.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
  8. mcneeley5

    mcneeley5 Member

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    437
    Found (pointed) 4 coveys of Mearns in a few hours. The numerous monsoon rains got the Lemans love grass too thick for the quail, found birds in the thinner and grazed cover.
     
  9. Big Iron

    Big Iron Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2015
    Messages:
    51
    Location:
    Kaysville Utah
    I hunt Coues there every year on the San Carlos quail numbers seemed to be pretty consistant with what we have seen the past several years. This is the first year I actually seen some Mearns
     
  10. comp 1

    comp 1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2006
    Messages:
    2,265
    Anybody who would bring back uninvited hunting buddies to a spot you showed him is an A-hole PERIOD....never mind the fact that you asked him not to. I have hunted quail and especially grouse with different hunting buddies for over 40 years....ALL of us know where we can hunt with each other without trampling over each others right to our private honeyholes.