“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.

Finally, hunters should check out O’Dell’s techniques for field-dressing quail at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gRwZAcWzzk.   


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
North America Sportshows
Utah 2021 General-Season Pheasant & Quail Hunts Open Nov 6
What hunters should expect

Submitted by:  TBC Press
Posted on: 11/05/21
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News # 14602
Many upland game and waterfowl hunts are already underway across Utah. The general-season pheasant and quail hunts open Nov. 6. If you are planning to target either of these birds this fall, here is what you should know.

Pheasant (ring-necked)
Utah's general pheasant hunting season runs from Nov. 6 to Dec. 5. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources releases thousands of pheasants on various wildlife management areas around the state each week during the general-season hunt.

The number of pheasants and where they can be found will depend on where you are hunting in Utah. In northern Utah, there was an average brood production and no major population declines — despite the drought conditions — since the birds were still able to access water in rivers and irrigation canals. Hunting success should be about the same as last year. The majority of pheasants in this region can be located on private land in the eastern portion of Box Elder County. Hunters should remember that written permission from landowners is required to hunt on any private lands.

In northeastern Utah, the drought impacts on pheasant populations were also minimal because their habitat is so closely aligned with irrigated crop lands. Most of the birds in this part of the state are found on private agricultural lands.

In central Utah, the highest pheasant populations are found along the south shore of the Great Salt Lake and in agricultural areas near Erda. Pheasants are also released on the wildlife management areas around Utah Lake.

The wild pheasant population is relatively limited in the southeastern part of the state. Due to extreme drought, hunting conditions for wild pheasants will likely be poor this year. Most of the pheasants in this part of the state will be found near irrigated fields on private lands. Popular pheasant hunting areas include the Green River Valley near the town of Green River, the Fremont River near the town of Hanksville, the Miller Creek area of Carbon and Emery counties, and in Huntington, Straight and Ferron canyons.

In southern Utah, hunters can find some wild pheasants in the Monroe and Fish Lake areas of the Sevier Valley. However, there are not a lot of wild populations located in southern Utah, and the severe drought conditions likely reduced the feed and habitat needed for young pheasant survival this year. Hunters should target wildlife management areas where pheasants will be released.

Visit the DWR website to see where pheasants will be released throughout the season. (Many of the locations include WMAs and walk-in access areas — which is an area of private land on which the DWR has leased certain hunting, trapping or fishing privileges.) To locate a walk-in access area near you, visit the DWR website at https://wildlife.utah.gov/hunting/walk-in-access.html.

Hunters should also remember that several of the WMAs require non-toxic shot (for example, steel shot) when hunting. Lead shot may not be used. For more information about the pheasant hunts, visit the DWR website.

Quail (California and Gambel's)
Utah's general quail hunting season runs from Nov. 6 to Dec. 31.

Hunting quail also differs in each area of the state. In northern Utah, the drought didn't have major impacts to the populations, since they primarily stayed in agricultural fields that were irrigated. Hunters should also be able to locate quail near the Great Salt Lake wetlands.

In northeastern Utah, much of the quail habitat is on private land, so make sure to obtain written permission from the landowner prior to hunting. Quail populations in this area weren't impacted by drought since they are mostly located on the irrigated agricultural fields that still had water.

In central Utah, the highest concentrations of California quail are in urban areas, which limits most hunting opportunities. The highest populations of quail are found in and around Tooele City.

In southeastern Utah, the brood production of California quail was good for the third consecutive year. Quail are not widespread in southeastern Utah, but there are some populations near farmlands along the Colorado and Green rivers, as well as in lower Huntington Canyon and along the Price River.

Gambel's quail numbers decreased in southern Utah (particularly in Washington County) this year, due to drought impacting chick production and the overall population. There are some California quail on the wildlife management areas, but there are fewer birds than last year.

HUNTERS: To add an extra challenge to your hunts this fall, consider participating in the Upland Game Slam. Similar to the Utah Cutthroat Slam, it encourages hunters to harvest a variety of upland game species, while generating money to help fund a variety of habitat and upland game-related projects.

Check the 2021–22 Upland Game and Turkey Guidebook for details on regulations for hunting each species, including the legal weapons for each upland game species.

For more information on hunting upland birds this season see; what-hunters-should-expect-during-2021-pheasant-quail-hunts