Quail 2002........gonna be bad???

dazco

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2002
Messages
304
Reaction score
0
I was just wondering if anyone has any opinions as to what the 2002 quail season will be like considering the lack of rain here in So. Cal so far. Think it'll be a really bad one? It worries me because i just started hunting again after many years and here it looks like the 1st quail season i'm ready for is gonna be the worse in years. And being that quail is the only game hunting i want to do, looks like i may have picked the worse year to start again. What do you all think?

-Dale
 



Maverick

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 29, 2001
Messages
1,360
Reaction score
2
Well, i think if we get a steady amount of rain in the next couple of months it might turn around.
We also need some rain to bring back the flashy fuels so the fire season will be good. Get rid of some of this over grown brush.
 

Mojave

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 25, 2001
Messages
232
Reaction score
0
This past season the quail were pretty darn thick, so there should at least be a reasonable holdover population. Some steady rain in March and April would be a blessing, but 2002 has already been identified as an El Nino year, so a late (double) breeding season wouldn't be out of the question. If not, look for 2003-2004 to be another bumper year.
 

rlwright

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 8, 2002
Messages
562
Reaction score
0
It's still pretty early to really tell, they're still coveyed up, but that will change by the end of the month. Believe it or not quail do good with a mild winter and dry spring. To me this winter seemed cold and a little dry, at least in so. cal. Storms like the one we just had are good. It was short and not to cold, ideally if these happened every 10 days or so it would give promise. It's those cold heavy thunderstorms during brooding that hurts them.
 

Frank

Forever Hunting
Joined
Jan 29, 2002
Messages
1,951
Reaction score
5
dasco,

I doubt 2002 will be a bad year for quail. It may not be a "bumper" year, but do not believe it will be bad, for the same reasons alwright & Mojave give.

However, whenever there are dry years, especially 2 or more in a row, it may help to concentrate on the wetter parts of the state. For example, the eastern Mojave desert would probably fair worse than the coastal area's during these times. Reminder; 2002 will not be one of these years in my opinion :)

I know quail are the only thing you hunt, however you might help improve your quail coveys during the dryer times, by "hunting" some predators.  

Frank  
 

dazco

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2002
Messages
304
Reaction score
0
well, i do. but quail are the only game birds i hunt. crows are good when i can find em, but all i can seem to find most of the time are ravens. starlings are good to. so yes, i do hunt non-game birds. but i don't hunt yotes or other animals except ground squirrels.
but quail are the main reason i'm getting back into it. and from what you are all telling me, maybe it may be a good year after all.

now if anyone can give me a few pointers as to some good quail areas i'd be happy ! i know nobody really wants to reveal their favorite areas, but a general guide would be great if you don't mind. i was thinking about the randsburg/red mountains area. also los padres, which is close, plus i do see quail there when target shooting. (tho not many)

thanks,-Dale
 

Frank

Forever Hunting
Joined
Jan 29, 2002
Messages
1,951
Reaction score
5
dazco,

The Los Padres does have quail and like you, I normally do not see too many. On rare ocassion I have jumped some nice coveys, 50 birds or so, but not normally.

With that said, I will mention a few general area's that is no secret to most quail hunters.

1). Carrizo plains, either side; The Caliente or Temblor range. Near Taft / Maricopa, Calif.

2).  Eastern Mojae Preserve; Huge area, entering in off either hwy 40 or 15. Providence & Woods mtns (creek) a good place to start.

3).  Los Padres (yes, I do on ocassion:); Quatal Canyon, one of several. Also in the Panza Range near Santa Margarita. Actually closer from Taft if you are in Taft already hunting.

There are other places closer to home, such as North & South East side of Big Bear area.

Also, there is a newsletter called Western Birds that is the best I have ever seen on upland birds. Phone # 1-909-887-3444        

Frank    
 

dazco

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2002
Messages
304
Reaction score
0
Thanks a lot for that Frank. I'll have to see if i can find any online maps of those places. By the way........when i go to padres it's to target shoot in the one area thats still open for that, and it's always no earlier than 10 am. I'm wondering if i would have seen much more if i arrived during the early morning and been in a better area such as along a stream i know of up there.
Oh, and have u ever tried the rand/red mountain area of Mojave?

-Dale
 

Frank

Forever Hunting
Joined
Jan 29, 2002
Messages
1,951
Reaction score
5
No I havn't tried the Rand/Red mtn area, Dale. I understand there are quail there, just don't know how good.

Water of any kind is always the best. Whether its a stream, spring or "seeps",  especially in the earlier, warmer time of the season.

I guess its possible if you were there around 9am to see more birds, however I think they would still be there when you arrive at 10am, as they do hang around for awhile, especially in warm weather.

Once it rains &/or cools off, roughly around mid to late November, they stop coming to the main water sources for the most part. However, sometimes I will catch them coming to water around noon time, even during the (cooler) season.

Frank    
 

songdog

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 5, 2001
Messages
2,054
Reaction score
0
This time of year the birds are mostly paired up and not in those big coveys that we see in the fall.  Give them some time and they'll start to group up.  

Some good March/April rain would make a huge difference.  Let's hope those El Nino rumors are true...
 

Frank

Forever Hunting
Joined
Jan 29, 2002
Messages
1,951
Reaction score
5
Dale,

Songdog makes a good reminder. It is getting that time of year where the quail are now paired up and most likely won't see any coveys.

You probably won't see any coveys until around July.  Even then many are still paired up, but are calling like crazy. I normally wait until August to start scouting for the coveys.

Frank
 

ranchwife

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 9, 2001
Messages
1,805
Reaction score
21
By the looks of things in northern California (north of Redding), the quail are going to have a good season as long and their nests aren't rained out.  We have about 3 coveys that feed in our yard most of the day and they birds are looking really healthy.  We've also trapped and killed 7 raccoons and 5 skunks - so that should really help the quail this year around our ranch.
 

Mojave

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 25, 2001
Messages
232
Reaction score
0
Regarding predator control as a means of increasing the quail population: Extensive studies were made in the 1930s-1950s, of different methods of restoring and increasing quail on their range. Methods that were tried were: predator control, protection, the establishment of refuges, restocking, and habitat improvement. By 1957, it became apparent to the DFG that none of these methods(except habitat improvement)had any beneficial effect on quail populations. I agree that it may be fun to take out predators that you find in quail habitat, but you will get better effect by improving their cover, water, or feed. On quail hunting areas: LA County Museum of Natural History has a map posted at the museum, showing the locations of the major known quail coveys in the county. You might start there with a camera. A lot of the areas are private land, so be sure to get permission to hunt those. I imagine that other counties' Nat. History museums might have the same kind of info available.
 

ranchwife

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 9, 2001
Messages
1,805
Reaction score
21
Cover, water and feed have always been good on the ranch.  Before last year, we would only see a few (5-10) quail periodically around the place.  Last year we took out 6 raccoons, and this year we took out more.  Since then, we are seeing easily 30-60 quail a day.  Grant it we have been in drought conditions and there may be other factors that have caused an increase in the quail population, but since the predators have been partially eliminated, the population has grown.
In my opinion, a study that was completed in the 30-50's isn't all that relevant because it was over 50 years ago.  Times and conditions have changed since then.  Studies done in different areas may have different results, depending on the existing conditions. I wouldn't even begin to compare population studies from LA county to those in Modoc county simply because of the extreme changes that have ocurred in that area in 50 years.  Changes have occurred here also, but things have basically remained the same.
 

hronk

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 23, 2001
Messages
845
Reaction score
6
I have to agree with Ranchwife.  My neighbor and I gave swimming lessons (they failed) to 24 skunks 3 yrs ago and about a dozen 2 yrs ago.  It might be coincedence, but the quail have really come back in our immediate area.  We are even seeing a few Pheasant now and then.  Any ground roosting bird is especially impacted by Raccoons and Skunks...hronk
 

songdog

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 5, 2001
Messages
2,054
Reaction score
0
I think that what Mojave is meaning (forgive me if I'm getting this wrong and putting words in your mouth), is that predator hunting meaning coyote, bobcat and fox hunting doesn't make much difference in the quail numbers.  I'd probably agree.  

When it comes to a coon, skunk or possum that will raid a nest it can make a big difference.  Catching 12 quail is a lot tougher for a coyote than a skunk wiping out one nest.

Habitat still has to be key though.
 

ranchwife

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 9, 2001
Messages
1,805
Reaction score
21
Thanks songdog, that clears things up a little for me.  I agree that a coyote or bobcat most likely won't affect the quail.  I'm hoping now that the duck and goose population on the ranch improves without the coons and skunks.
 

shaginator

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
Messages
1,001
Reaction score
0
Ok, so the study concluded that habitat improvement was the real indicator of better quail numbers, but this doesn't say anything about how predators affect how quail move into and out of a given area.

Isn't is possble that those overall population numbers may be pretty good, but they may be in someone else's property, where there are fewer predators to scare away the quail? If so, then getting rid of the predators in your area will keep the coveys in your area feeling safe (until the season starts).

I could be totally off, but it seems to make sense with what's been observed so far.
 

Mojave

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 25, 2001
Messages
232
Reaction score
0
The studies I refered to covered the entire state, and involved a 30-year long effort, of up to 45 full-time state trappers/shooters. Compare that with the size of today's DFG force, and you will appreciate the effort and money that went into this work. The conditions that will support a healthy quail population has not changed appreciably in the last 50 years: they still need cover, feed and water. An example of this work was published by W.R. Welch : "Calif. Fish and Game; The propagation of California Quail in open breeding grounds. 17.421-425". In that 6-month study, volunteer deputies of the DFG destroyed 38 coyotes, 33 bobcats, 684 house cats, 35 foxes, 43 coons, 8 weasels, 2 opossums, 1 badger, 5 "wild and unclaimed dogs found destroying deer and the nests of quail" <must have been quite a political problem to shoot a dog in those days as well>, 365 sharp-shinned and cooper hawks, 3972 blue jays, 293 magpies, 81 crows, 49 butcher birds, 2 great horned owls, and 47 snakes - all in one local area! Even with that extreme level of control in a relatively small area, it was determined that the weather and other environmental conditions affected the birds more. I am not against the control of predators on a local level. I'm not about to let a coyote run past without having to duck my shot. Just trying to point out that there are more effective ways to make the quail hunting better.
 

shaginator

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
Messages
1,001
Reaction score
0
Thanks for clearing that up, Mojave.

Yes, Quail aren't the only reason for controlling predators.
 


Top Bottom