50% Increase This Year!
|The state's chukar and quail hunting season opens October 7, and in a repeat of the message that was sent last year, Nevada Division of Wildlife is advising upland game bird hunters to turn their attention toward northern Nevada because this is where they will find the greatest number of birds.
"This year we're seeing chukar partridge populations that are 50 percent above the long-term average, with covey sizes of 14 to 15 birds," said San Stiver, NDOW staff biologist. "This indicates that there was good production in the northern portion of the state; however, drought conditions persisted this year in the south, resulting in small chukar and quail broods in this part of the state."
As a result of good production, Stiver predicts that hunters in the northwest part of the state will enjoy the fourth- or fifth-best chukar season that they have had in the past two decades. He also forecasts good hunting for California quail and Hungarian partridge in the northwest.
Likewise, hunters who are in the field in the northeast portion of the state should enjoy equally good chukar hunting because of good production. Very little hunting for California quail occurs in the northeast part of the state due to limited populations of this game bird.
Another difficult year is in the offing for the south as a result of poor brood numbers caused by the ongoing drought. Brood sizes averaged four to five birds, well below what is seen in years of even average production.
Gambel's quail and chukar hunting is expected to be slow throughout Clark County and only slightly better in Lincoln County.
Stiver believes that resident hunters could find nearly as good hunting for sage grouse as they enjoyed last year. He said localized populations of the birds should result in good success in Elko, Lander, Nye, Washoe and White Pine counties.
Hunters are being encouraged by NDOW to avoid hunting for sage grouse in areas that have experienced recent range fires, particularly hunt unit 141 in Eureka County. "It is not ethical to hunt populations that are under stress, so we are asking hunters to leave them alone," Stiver said.
Even though there are growing concerns in the West about sage grouse, Stiver said NDOW permits hunting in areas that meet the minimum population criteria as established by the Western States Sage and Columbia Sharp-tailed Grouse Technical Committee. This ensures that hunting will not negatively affect sage grouse populations.
With upland game bird hunting expected to be good for much of the state, Stiver has one final piece of advice, "Be sure to go hunting."
Upland game season dates, limits, shooting hours and other applicable regulations are printed in a pocket-sized brochure available free at all NDOW offices and retail stores that sell hunting and fishing licenses.
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