“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
Alligator Hunting 101
Submitted by: TBC Press
Posted on: 06/07/21
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Here’s a look at the main tactics the pros use for catching these giant reptiles.
1. Baited Bank Hooks
John Currier, an expert gator hunter from Louisiana, anchors a 1,000-pound-test line to a tree and hangs a baited hook—typically raw chicken—above the water from a PVC rod (you can use bamboo or fiberglass stakes too) and sticks it into the bank of a canal or swamp. When the gator takes the bait, it gets caught on the hook. Currier checks lines in the morning and hauls in the gators, dispatching them with a shot from a 9mm to the top of the head.
2. Treble Hooks
Booth spotlights gators at night and uses a heavy-duty tarpon rod with a treble hook tied to a 200-pound braided line. After spotting a big gator, he casts the line to try to hook the reptile’s body with the treble and reel it in close to the boat. Then he kills it with a bangstick, essentially a long stick that fires a round when he presses it to the top of the gator’s skull.
3. Harpoons and Crossbows
You can also bowfish for gators by throwing a harpoon attached to a rope or shooting an arrow tied to a line. Floats are attached to the opposite end of the line to wear the gator down as it tries to swim away. When the gator tires out, you haul it to the boat and bangstick it.
4. Baited Dowels
Some states allow you to use a baited line with a wooden dowel. The dowel, which is a little bigger than a wine cork, is attached to a steel leader and gets stuck in the gator’s throat after it eats the bait. Then you bring the gator to the boat to shoot it or bangstick it.
5. Centerfire Rifles
In some places, it’s legal to spot-and-stalk gators and shoot them with a centerfire rifle. But accuracy here is key—you must hit a spot on the gator’s head, perfectly between the eyes, that’s about the size of a quarter. If you miss, the bullet can ricochet off the water.
Top Alligator hunts
- Louisiana: East Zone starts last Wednesday in August, runs 60 days; West Zone starts first Wednesday in September, runs 60 days ($25 resident; $150 nonresident)
- Florida: Aug. 15–the morning of Nov. 1 ($272 resident tag; $1,220 nonresident tag); the first four weeks are divided into individual quota weeks, with permits assigned to one of those weeks
- Texas: Sept. 10–Sept. 30 core counties; April 1–June 30 noncore counties ($21 CITES tag; resident or nonresident Texas hunting license, except nonresident spring turkey or banded bird license)
- South Carolina: Sept. 12–Oct. 10 ($10 application fee; $100 resident tag; $200 nonresident tag)
- Georgia: Aug. 14–Oct. 5 ($75 resident permit; $250 nonresident permit)
- Arkansas: Sept. 18–Sept. 28 ($5 application fee; residents/lifetime license holders only)
- Alabama: Aug. 13–Oct. 5 ($22 application fee; residents/lifetime license holders only)
Setting the hook on a big muskie is thrilling. Coming tight on a bull redfish is a rush. But sinking a treble hook into a 15-foot, 1,000-pound prehistoric reptile? That’s a different experience altogether.
There are a lot of ways to skin a gator hunt in the Southeast. But any hunt requires careful preparation, expertise, and specialized equipment.
If you’ve never been on a gator hunt, it’s smart to go with a guide (hunts start at around $700) or an experienced hunter, but you can also go on your own as a nonresident in some states. There are many regulations to navigate, and it’s also dangerous for newbies.
In Florida, you can only hunt gators at night, so you’re contending with the darkness, driving the airboat over submerged stumps that could throw you into the water, and freak storms you can’t predict,” says Bill Booth, co-host of Swamp People: Serpent Invasion.