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Arizona is hurting right now


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Monsoon season.  Usually a time of cooler weather and some new growth but this year has been extremely sub-par.  Around 40 days straight of 110+ heat.  Lots and lots of fires are burning and burning in places normally that wouldn’t because of the monsoon.  One such area is around the Roosevelt Lake.  Kind of an ancestral hunting ground for me as I was taught how to quail by my Grandfather in that area.  A very large chunk of that area is now closed by the FS because of the fires and the possible results that heavy rain can bring to a fire burned area in this part of the world. 
 

Don’t know how it’s been down south for monsoon season but I’m hoping y’all are fairing better than us.  Might have to research how to do a rain dance or something. 

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I have seen this and you will have to pardon my complete lack of any knowledge of the issue.  Will this make for better quail habitat in the future?

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Desert Wings

It has been miserable, worst that I can think of.  Looks like monsoon has been a little more active down south, but not by much.   

 

Travelling hunters might as well cross Arizona of your list, no Mearns this year!  

 

I'd also be concerned about the desert quail.  Highest period of mortality happens over the summer for young birds and with such a cruel summer I wouldn't be surprised if die-off has been especially high.  

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Desert Wings
3 minutes ago, Clueless1 said:

I have seen this and you will have to pardon my complete lack of any knowledge of the issue.  Will this make for better quail habitat in the future?

 

If you are talking about fire, I don't think that fire is that big of a deal for quail habitat out here because the natural habitat is already pretty conducive for quail which is mostly desert scrub.    

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10 minutes ago, Clueless1 said:

I have seen this and you will have to pardon my complete lack of any knowledge of the issue.  Will this make for better quail habitat in the future?


Water is the key here.  Not so much fire.  Almost a catch-22.  Lots and lots of rain with good consecutive years of rain leads to great habit for Quail and an abundance of them... but then when you hit an abnormally dry spell like we have had, all that great habit is now an abundance of fuel that leads to very large wildfires.  
 

For us though we really haven’t had a good couple years of rain so habit/food has already been lacking now add in a very active fire season and a very poor monsoon season and you are at where we are at now.  

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Yes, this year has been brutal. The dove numbers seemed ok when I was out the other day, but this has been super dry even by AZ standards. Doves don’t seem as affected by rain as they just fly to a canal, quail usually don’t have that option.

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We were in Tonto Basin during April, May, and most of June. Had to evacuate during the huge fire in that area in mid to late June. Although the summer has been brutal, the  one saving grace as far as Gambels quail numbers goes is the fact that Arizona had two relatively wet winters in a row. It's my understanding that Gambels need wet weather in the winter to have a successful mating season. According to my sources, Gambels numbers look good. Mearns quail, however, depend on summer monsoon rains, and from what I understand those rains have not been forthcoming. Probably going to continue to depress that already depressed population. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, which I often am. 

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Desert Wings

Gambels do need winter precip for good hatches, but at this point you have to be concerned about brood mortality with how dry and hot the summer has been.  

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3 hours ago, Don Steese said:

We were in Tonto Basin during April, May, and most of June. Had to evacuate during the huge fire in that area in mid to late June. Although the summer has been brutal, the  one saving grace as far as Gambels quail numbers goes is the fact that Arizona had two relatively wet winters in a row. It's my understanding that Gambels need wet weather in the winter to have a successful mating season. According to my sources, Gambels numbers look good. Mearns quail, however, depend on summer monsoon rains, and from what I understand those rains have not been forthcoming. Probably going to continue to depress that already depressed population. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, which I often am. 

Don, the gambles numbers will be low..please repeat for all people considering a trip this way....just kidding. Dove season is usually my quail scouting season, so I plan to get a good look next week. I will say numbers look low either way though😁

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25 minutes ago, Tjasper said:

Don, the gambles numbers will be low..please repeat for all people considering a trip this way....just kidding. Dove season is usually my quail scouting season, so I plan to get a good look next week. I will say numbers look low either way though😁

 

Unfortunately most of the people who come to AZ for the winter come for reasons besides hunting quail, so they'll probably come anyhow. I can't figure out why. With all the cloudy weather and rain and hurricanes and tornadoes and snakes and scorpions and sand storms and snow and ice and intense heat, it's a wonder anyone can live there!! Not to mention all the ancient snowbirds clogging up the roads with their darn RV's!! 

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I live in SE Arizona and the monsoon rains have been very spotty. It'll rain hard in one area and not a drop a quarter mile away. It's also been extremely hot for the area I live which is normally 10 degrees cooler than Tucson, it still is but Tucson's been getting up over 105 degrees for several weeks now. The AC in my home-on-wheels just can't keep up with 95 to 100 degree heat! Thankfully I have beer to cool me down!

 

Steve

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On 8/24/2020 at 1:43 PM, Don Steese said:

We were in Tonto Basin during April, May, and most of June. Had to evacuate during the huge fire in that area in mid to late June. Although the summer has been brutal, the  one saving grace as far as Gambels quail numbers goes is the fact that Arizona had two relatively wet winters in a row. It's my understanding that Gambels need wet weather in the winter to have a successful mating season. According to my sources, Gambels numbers look good. Mearns quail, however, depend on summer monsoon rains, and from what I understand those rains have not been forthcoming. Probably going to continue to depress that already depressed population. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, which I often am. 


Reminds me.  Just got done listening to another podcast (H3 Podcast) featuring Jonathan O’Dell from AZGFD.  I need to try and run into and make friends with him.  He would be an amazing source to have as well as share hunts with.

 

19 hours ago, Don Steese said:

 

Unfortunately most of the people who come to AZ for the winter come for reasons besides hunting quail, so they'll probably come anyhow. I can't figure out why. With all the cloudy weather and rain and hurricanes and tornadoes and snakes and scorpions and sand storms and snow and ice and intense heat, it's a wonder anyone can live there!! Not to mention all the ancient snowbirds clogging up the roads with their darn RV's!! 

 

I actually call snowbird season “Zombie Season”.  All those IL, WI, MN, IN, OH, ND etc. plates start showing I know three things for sure... Liquor is gonna start being in short supply, the roads are gonna slow down and hull picking at the range is gonna get good.  

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Desert Wings
1 hour ago, RobH said:


Reminds me.  Just got done listening to another podcast (H3 Podcast) featuring Jonathan O’Dell from AZGFD.  I need to try and run into and make friends with him.  He would be an amazing source to have as well as share hunts with.


Which podcast is that?  I always enjoy listening to his talks, especially new ones when he gives his outlook for the season! 

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He was on episode 10 of Hunters Happy Hour.  It’s a “podcast” that’s live-streamed on YouTube.  You can even ask question while it’s live.  I wouldn’t call it a recent episode but it’s the newest thing I’ve heard him on.  

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