Idaho Quail Hunting Forecast 2018



The Panhandle region of Idaho has small huntable populations of California quail in Units 1, 2, 3, and 5. Snowpack in this area for 2017-18 was above average at low elevations with a late spring, which is typically tough on chicks. The Panhandle has also had very long, hot summers with minimal precipitation the last two years, which means that forage dries up more quickly.  Many species, including quail, renested and had late broods. Quail appear to be expanding north into the Sandpoint and Kootenai Valley area of Unit 1 and have been seen with healthy broods this summer.  The population trend is stable compared to last year.

Clearwater Region

Although the 10-year trend is down, the number of quail counted this year was higher than last year’s total. A total of 146 birds were counted in 2018, or a 76 percent increase from the 83 counted in 2017. However, this total is 4.3 percent lower than the previous 10-year average of 152.6 and is 38 percent lower than historical high count of 385 tallied in 2003. The 146 quail tallied on these routes in 2018 translates to 0.61 birds per mile surveyed.

Southwest Region

Good production during 2017 followed by mild winter and average spring 2018 were favorable for upland birds, so carryover and production should be high. Spring and early summer conditions during 2018 were excellent for production. Quail are up compared to 2017, and quail production was excellent. Quail should have overwintered well in the valley and hunting should be good to excellent this year across the Treasure Valley and west-central areas. Quail can be found in areas with green-leafy shrubs, forbs, and berries near perennial water sources.

Magic Valley Region

Hot and dry weather during spring and summer were generally unfavorable for upland bird nesting and brood rearing.  Department personnel are reporting below-average numbers of broods for all upland game species. Generally, bird numbers are slightly less this year compared to the 2017 season and lower than average. During the past several years, quail hunting has been very good in the Magic Valley. However with the hot and dry conditions, this year’s crop may be slightly less than average. Hunters should expect to find areas with abundant quail along the Snake River and its tributaries west of Twin Falls although good quail numbers are also being observed as far north as Shoshone.