“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.
"Sponsored pheasant hunts are a great opportunity for experienced hunters to share their knowledge and experience with new hunters," Commissioner Seggos said. "Not only are these hunters teaching novices about ethics and safety, they are introducing new hunters of all abilities to the great tradition of upland bird hunting."
In addition to the pheasants reared for fall stocking throughout New York State, DEC's Reynolds Game Farm in Ithaca raises 2,000 pheasants each year for sponsored hunts. In a sponsored hunt, dedicated local hunters share their expertise with beginners in a supportive environment. This program gives individuals the chance to embark on a life-long pursuit of hunting and outdoor enjoyment.
New Yorkers are encouraged to recreate responsibly and Play Smart * Play Safe * Play Local. Organizers of sponsored hunts should be prepared to follow state guidelines for social gatherings to minimize the community spread of COVID-19. Social gatherings are only permitted if 10 or fewer people are in attendance in Phase One regions, 25 or fewer people in Phases Two and Three regions, and 50 or fewer people in attendance in Phase Four regions. The current phase for each region is shown on this map. For more information, visit the New York State Department of Health website.
DEC Regional Office
R1 - Nassau and Suffolk counties:
SUNY at Stony Brook
50 Circle Road
Stony Brook, NY 11790
R3 - Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties:
21 South Putt Corners Rd.
New Paltz, NY 12561
R4 - Albany, Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Montgomery, Otsego, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Schoharie counties:
65561 State Hwy 10, Suite 1
Stamford, NY 12167
R5 - Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties:
1115 Route 86, PO Box 296
Ray Brook, NY 12977
R6 - Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida and St. Lawrence counties:
317 Washington Street
Watertown, NY 13601
R7 - Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, Oswego, Tioga and Tompkins counties:
1285 Fisher Ave.
Cortland, NY 13045
(607) 753-3095 x 247
R8 - Chemung, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne and Yates counties:
6274 East Avon-Lima Rd.
Avon, NY 14414
R9 - Allegany, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie, Niagara and Wyoming counties:
182 East Union, Suite 3
Allegany, NY 14706-1328