Colorado Quail Hunting Forecast 2017


Ideal mix of wet and dry weather has Colorado quail flying high

Asked to direct hunters to the best area of Colorado to harvest quail this year, Ed Gorman, small game program manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, doesn’t hesitate: “Everybody is talking about there being lots and lots of quail in the Southeast,” he says. “I’m definitely optimistic it’s going to be a really good quail year down there. Unless something unforeseen happens, it’s going to be a year to go hunt.”

Part of the reason the Southeast – Baca County, in particular – is expected to be so good is because of the weather.

“The weather was mixed a little bit this summer – mixed by area and by benefit or not,” Gorman says. “The summer started out really wet, and that was across the board. Then it dried out quite a bit, and then in August it was really wet again. So just kind of a season of differences.”

“The weather probably got a little hot in June and July, and conditions weren’t optimum,” he continues. “That affected brood survival to a degree, but it wasn’t a significant issue. The core quail area of southeastern Colorado was super-wet, and it’s tremendous down there in terms of the water right now.”

Colorado doesn’t conduct official summer quail surveys, but reports indicate strong numbers of birds in the southeast. In the northeastern part of the state, the number of quail “fluctuates pretty significantly,” Gorman says.

“Whether you’re talking about pheasants or quail in Colorado, things are improving this year,” Gorman says.


* Southeastern Colorado is scaled quail country, with some bobwhites. The Northeast, bordering Nebraska, is bobwhite country.

* “There are probably more quail than we think there are in the Northeast,” says Gorman, “but they’re tough to find.” In that part of the state, Gorman steers hunters toward counties such as Logan, Morgan and Yuma, the latter of which has improving numbers of bobwhites.


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