Nevada – Harvest Down, Still Well above Ten Year Average
Forecast: Both California and Gambel’s quail decreased in harvest numbers during the 2010-2011 season in Nevada, but numbers were reported to be well above the historical ten year average. Although dry conditions existed during the early summer, mid-summer moisture provided increased forage in the form of green grasses, forbs, and insects. Gambel’s quail populations are at moderate levels, with most areas experiencing moderate production that will likely lead to slight increases in harvest from the previous year.
For most of southern Nevada, fall and winter moisture was above average. This effectively put birds in good condition to survive through the winter months; however, spring moisture was average at best and production throughout most of the Gambel’s quail range was mostly just that - average. Over the last decade, it appears that the “perfect storm” of weather events to induce above average or good production has escaped Nevada. Regardless, even when there are years when production appears favorable, the number of hunters continues to decline and hunters may not be taking advantage of the available resource.
Recent figures suggest that California quail populations are expanding both in population size and area as harvest is reported in counties that historically did not have populations, or had very small populations. A factor that may be responsible for the increased harvest and hunter participation are California quail populations living on the periphery of larger urbanized areas such as Reno and Carson City. Urban settings often provide quail with adequate thermal cover and forage during the winter and their association with edges of population centers provides hunters with easy access. Also, the Nevada Department of Wildlife has been actively relocating California quail from urban and suburban areas to remote locations with suitable habitat throughout the state. These efforts have both augmented and expanded populations with apparent success.Season Dates: October 8, 2011 through February 5, 2012
Daily Bag Limit: 10
Possession Limit: 20
Field Notes: California quail hunting has now firmly supplanted Gambel’s quail as the second most popular game bird in Nevada aside from chukar. For many years during the 1970’s and 80’s, Gambel’s quail hunting was the second most popular species to hunt in terms of days spent in the field and harvest.
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