Expect Chukar hunting to drop off this hunt year
By Don Quilici
According to a recent press release by the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), its biologists are forecasting an upcoming season of mixed blessings for upland game hunters as chukar hunting is expected to drop off from last year’s record season while quail and other game birds appears to be fairly promising.
Chukar hunters should not expect to experience hunting success similar to last year, but sufficient base population and recruitment this year should support fair to good chukar hunting in the northwest region of the state,” said Craig Mortimore, NDOW staff biologist.
He noted that last season was impressive for hunters in that part of the state as they harvested 80,000 chukar, an increase of 53 percent from the previous year and 113 percent more than the 10-year average.
Hunters who will be seeking chukar in the northeast part of the state should have a good year because base populations have been on the rise throughout the region. Southern Nevada’s hunters should have a fair year, although the region does not have a large amount of chukar habitat.
On the other hand, southern Nevada does have a fair amount of quail habitat, and hunters should have a fair to good year.
This prediction is based on moderate precipitation in spring and early summer that resulted in good production of young birds in the Mojave.
Gambel’s quail have the capacity for high production in response to such events.
California quail are found in the northwest portion of the state, largely on agricultural lands and the hunting outlook for them is fairly good.
This is not the case for hunters who will be looking for the birds on the parched uplands where spring climatic conditions did not favor nesting and brood-rearing success.
Small numbers of mountain quail are found in the state and hunters are again being asked to report any harvest of the birds by contacting their nearest NDOW office.
Sage grouse hunters may wish to point their vehicles to the northeast because this is where the best hunting will again be found. It appears that populations of the large native birds are up slightly in this part of the state.
The forecast isn’t as rosy in the northwest as only select units within Humboldt and Washoe counties will once again be open for hunting.
Hunting for cottontail rabbits should be fair throughout most of the state.
There have been indications that their populations appear to be cycling upward in some areas.
Regulations brochures that include season dates and bag limits are available at most sporting goods stores and NDOW offices. They also can be viewed online at http://www.ndow.org.