“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
CDFW Closes Shasta Valley WMA To Waterfowl Hunting Due to Drought
Other Northeastern Waterfowl Properties Impacted By Water Shortages
Submitted by: TBC Press
Posted on: 09/13/21
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The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced that the Shasta Valley Wildlife Area in Siskiyou County will be closed to waterfowl hunting for the entirety of the 2021-22 season as a result of lost wetlands and waterfowl habitat due to drought conditions.
The Northeastern Zone waterfowl season runs from October 2, 2021, through January 12, 2022. The closure includes the preseason Northeastern Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days scheduled for September 18-19, 2021, and the postseason Veterans and Active Military Personnel Waterfowl Hunting Days scheduled for January 15-16, 2022.
The 4,700-acre Shasta Valley Wildlife Area typically provides important seasonal wetlands for migrating waterfowl supplied by three reservoirs on the property. Two of those reservoirs – Steamboat Lake and Bass Lake – are completely dry and a third reservoir – Trout Lake – is at approximately 50 percent of capacity. Closing the wildlife area to all waterfowl hunting is necessary to protect the waterfowl using what limited habitat remains.
The Shasta Valley Wildlife Area will be open for upland game bird hunting for dove, quail, snipe and pheasant as regulations permit. Pheasant hunting is allowed only on Sundays during the season and will be by reservation only with no walk-ins, sweat line or refills. A Type A or B season pass is required for all non-junior hunters. Reservation applications for Sunday pheasant hunts are available at CDFW’s Online License Sales and Services website.
Waterfowl hunting opportunities will vary at other Northeastern Zone state and federal lands popular with duck and goose hunters. Hunters are strongly advised to call ahead in preparing for any Northeastern Zone waterfowl hunt. Other popular public waterfowl hunting areas in the Northeastern Zone include:
Ash Creek Wildlife Area
A bright spot among Northeastern Zone public hunting areas, Ash Creek expects its wetlands to be mostly flooded for waterfowl season due to its combination of spring-fed creeks and groundwater supplies. Reservations are required to hunt the opening weekend, October 2-3, along with a Type A or B season pass for all non-junior hunters. Reservation applications are available at CDFW’s Online License Sales and Services website. Ash Creek also will be open for the preseason Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days on a walk-in basis. No reservations or other check-in procedures required. (530) 294-5824.
Butte Valley Wildlife Area
A $50,000 drought relief grant has allowed Butte Valley to begin pumping groundwater to help flood its seasonal wetlands in time for the Northeastern Zone waterfowl opener. Butte Valley expects to have 600 or 700 acres flooded by opening day (compared to 500 wetland acres in 2020). Reservations are required to hunt opening weekend along with a Type A or B season pass for all non-junior hunters. Reservation applications are available at CDFW’s Online License Sales and Services website. Butte Valley also will be open for the preseason Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days on a walk-in basis. (530) 398-4627.
Honey Lake Wildlife Area
Another option for youth hunters, Honey Lake Wildlife Area will be open for the preseason Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days on a walk-in basis though hunters will find far fewer wetlands than in 2020-21. The Dakin Unit will be dry this upcoming season – though still open to dry field waterfowl hunting and upland game bird hunting. The Fleming Unit will see just about 30 percent of its seasonal wetlands flooded by the October 2 season opener. Reservations are required to hunt opening weekend. A Type A or Type B season pass is required of all non-junior hunters.. Reservation applications are available at CDFW’s Online License Sales and Services website. (530) 254-6644.
Willow Creek Wildlife Area
This 2,700-acre wildlife area north of Susanville in Lassen County expects 300 acres of huntable, flooded wetlands by the Northeastern Zone season opener October 2. Reservations are required to hunt opening weekend. A Type A or Type B season pass is required of all non-junior hunters. No preseason youth hunt will take place. Reservation applications are available at CDFW’s Online License Sales and Services website. (530) 254-6644.
Modoc National Wildlife Refuge
Lack of water has forced the cancellation of Modoc’s popular Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days September 18-19, which attracted young hunters and their families from throughout the state. The refuge’s season opener is uncertain. The refuge has drawn 50 hunters for opening weekend reservations – half its typical hunter quota. Those receiving reservations have been notified that the opener could be delayed or cancelled altogether depending on water and habitat conditions. Hunting is available on a walk-in basis after the opener. (530) 233-3572.
Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex
Once one of the nation’s premier waterfowl hunting destinations, the complex – consisting of the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge(opens in new tab) and the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge(opens in new tab) – is suffering through its second consecutive year of severe drought and water shortages resulting from numerous demands and competing interests within the Klamath Basin. The complex will be open for both the preseason Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days and the Northeastern Zone opener – but only for dry field hunting. Walk-ins welcome. No reservations required this season for either the youth weekend or the Northeastern Zone opening weekend. (458) 232-6123.