“Our added winter moisture and active calling period led to a very long nesting and hatching season, starting in late April and extending into early summer, with chicks hatching as late as early July,” O’Dell said. “From a population standpoint, we are out of a deficit for the first time since 2001-2002. Quail are starting to pop up in places they haven’t been seen in a while.
“If you’ve never had the chance to experience what Arizona quail hunting built its name on, then this would be the year to get out and enjoy it.”
Meanwhile, hunters should note that the season for Mearns’ quail doesn’t begin until Dec. 4. It’s summer rainfall that plays a key role in nesting success and population numbers of this species. After a spotty and relatively weak monsoon across southern Arizona, these birds are likely to be abundant only in pockets that received sufficient precipitation this summer.
A valid Arizona hunting or combination hunt and fish license is required for all hunters 10 and older. Those hunters under 10 must either have a valid hunting or combination hunt and fish license, or be accompanied by an adult who possesses a valid hunting or combination hunt and fish license. Licenses can be purchased online or at license dealers statewide. A youth combination hunt and fish license (ages 10 to 17) is $5.
The general bag limit is 15 quail per day in the aggregate, of which no more than eight may be Mearns’ quail (when the Mearns’ season opens Dec. 4). The general possession limit is 45 quail in the aggregate after opening day, of which no more than 15 Gambel’s, scaled or California quail in the aggregate may be taken in any one day. After the opening of the Mearns’ season, the 45-quail possession limit may include 24 Mearns’ quail, of which no more than eight may be taken in any one day.
More quail-hunting information can be found on the department’s website at https://www.azgfd.com/Hunting/. Another resource for both new and experienced hunters alike is “An Introduction to Hunting Arizona’s Small Game.” Written by Randall D. Babb, the 196-page, full-color book covers where and how to hunt small game birds (like quail), squirrels, rabbits, ducks and geese. It also includes how to prepare and cook your harvest, with illustrations and recipes. The book can be ordered for $16.95 at www.azgfd.gov/publications.
Publishers Notes: OUT OF STATE HUNTERS, FISHERMEN & OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS; Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, there could be limitations for OUT of STATE hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts to include a 14-day quarantine requirement or negative COVID-19 testing alternative. Please check with the State's Department of Natural Resources BEFORE you travel or apply for the 2020 Fall Hunts.
Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are that of the authors and not necessarily that of TBC Press
Wyoming 2021 Spring Turkey Hunting Season Opens in April
Submitted by: TBC Press
Posted on: 03/22/21
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Researchers are finding non-dominant males’ ability to successfully breed hens can be suppressed by the presence of a dominant tom. If the dominant tom is removed from the population, it can take a while before the remaining toms are able to successfully mate. They have also found subordinate females may not breed and nest until the more dominant hens have nested.
“By moving hunting pressure later in the mating cycle, it allows for more successful breeding,” said Sandrini. “It balances what is best for the bird and the hunter.”
During a normal spring, most hen turkeys are sitting on their nests beginning early to mid May, after laying on average 8 to 11 eggs. Once these hens begin sitting, toms become more mobile, as they cover ground looking for females that have not been bred or are attempting to re-nest. The toms also become more susceptible to hunter calls, during what some hunters refer to as the “second peak of gobbling.”
“Moving the season later ensures more hens breed with the best quality toms. It also makes for good hunting when the weather is more predictable and road conditions and access to higher elevations is better,” Sandrini said.
In Wyoming, spring wild turkey hunting continues to be popular. Three of the five wild turkey hunt areas in Wyoming are now managed primarily for spring hunting, including the Black Hills, which account for the majority of public land hunting.
Outside of the Black Hills, other hunt areas should benefit from a later, standard opener as its timing helps move the spring season away from barnyard hunting and often muddy conditions.
“Now more birds will be able to disperse onto public land before the season starts in places like the Laramie Range south of Douglas, and hopefully help populations in areas that have struggled to produce good poult numbers on a regular basis,” Sandrini said. “We also hope the shift to a later season will benefit landowners and ranchers by moving hunting season into a more favorable weather period, one further removed from spring ranch and farm chores.”
The exception to the later opener is Hunt Area 3, with a season from April 1 to May 31.
“In Hunt Area 3, located in Sheridan, Johnson and Campbell counties where most turkeys are found on private land, and there have been problems with depredation and nuisance birds. So, the Commission set the season for maximum harvest to reduce turkey numbers,” Sandrini said.
Spring wild turkey hunting is often the cure for sportsmen and women’s cabin fever. This year looks to be one that will offer fair hunting in most areas as turkey populations have begun to rebound.
“It’s poised to be a season that takes into consideration what is best for the turkeys, increases hunter opportunity and provides for some great time outdoors when the weather is about perfect for hunting,” Sandrini said.
Publishers Notes: Our country is still battling COVID-19. To avoid the spread of this virus and continue to enjoy outdoor activities, ALL outdoor enthusiasts (man, woman, child) should follow the guidelines set by nps.gov. These guidelines include; social distancing, the Leave No Trace principles, including pack-in and pack-out, to keep outdoor spaces safe and healthy. There’s a new opening date for Wyoming’s 2021 spring turkey season. Hunters should plan for an April 20 opener in four of the state’s five hunt areas. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission made this change to align more appropriately the bird’s biology, simplify regulations and increase hunter opportunity. The exception to the later opener is Hunt Area 3, with a season from April 1 to May 31.
The later opening date better aligns with turkeys’ breeding and nesting chronology and overall is better for the bird and hunters. The closing date for all hunt areas was also moved back to May 31.
“The peak of nest initiation is normally the third week in April, and postponing the opening date allows more unfettered mating,” said Joe Sandrini, Game and Fish wildlife biologist in the Black Hills.