|California's upland game bird enthusiasts are anticipating the next round of hunting season openers. Chukar season and the general quail season will open October 21, 2000 and run through January 28, 2001.
Chukars, considered one of the finest tasting game animals, are a challenge to hunt. They are powerful and rapid fliers, rising from the ground very much like a quail. When a covey is flushed, the birds usually land running and, much to the disappointment of hunters, the direction is uphill.
Chukars are found in much of the semiarid and arid areas of California. They generally prefer rocky open hills and flats where the annual rainfall is five to 10 inches. Birds will collect around water sources but will disperse shortly after the first rains in the fall.
The bag limit is six chukar per day, 12 in possession. Legal shoot times are 30 minutes before sunrise, to sunset.
Quail are even more popular among hunters than chukar because they are plentiful and can be found throughout the state. There are three species of quail in California, all of which are legal to hunt. These include California quail, which are also called valley quail; mountain quail; and Gambel's quail, also known as desert quail.
The bag limit for quail is 10, in any combination of species, per day. The possession limit is 20. Legal shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise, to sunset.
Quail and chukar production throughout most of California was fair to good due to good population carryover and good habitat conditions resulting from average precipitation. However, California's southeastern arid region (Death Valley, the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert) received below average precipitation. Chukar populations are expected to be below average in those areas.
For a complete description and photos of all of California's upland game bird species, hunters can request a free copy of the DFG publication "Upland Game California" from any DFG office. It is also available on the DFG web site at http://www.dfg.ca.gov for viewing or downloading. Upland game bird hunting regulations are also available on the web site and at DFG offices statewide.
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