As a hunter-conservationist, you know the bottom line: Habitat transcends all, and provides the buffer gamebirds need when winter is tough or nesting conditions get challenging. In most of the state, wild bird densities are still low, and hunter effort and harvest continue to decline from traditional numbers.
On the flipside, more movement from quail means more scent for a bird dog.
Percent juveniles in the harvest was down from the check stations 1. Through hunter contact, some other areas in central Arizona had a higher percent of juveniles in the bag and higher bird numbers per covey than seen in recent years.
Interestingly, the percent juveniles in the harvest was 7 percent above the wing barrel data. Scenting conditions were extremely tough this year with very little moisture and hot temperatures throughout the season. I suspect cold, wet conditions may have caused some added mortality compared to a mild or normal winter.
More habitat is being implemented which should lead to more birds to hunt. We did not conduct a hunter harvest survey this winter, but we anticipate that the hunting success was good throughout most of the state.