Arizona Quail Opener Results
Arizona ran its annual quail check stations again at the Freeman Road and Willow Springs Road locations during the October 26-27 opening weekend.

They recorded a total of 475 hunter-days compared to 911 last year. The fact that they saw only 40% of last year’s number of hunter-days is further evidence that many hunters find out about the fall prospects and do not hunt when quail populations are down (it is energetically more efficient to go to Safeway). Hunters hunted a total of 2085.75 hunter-hours, which is 55% of last year. The fact that hunter-hours decreased less than hunter-days indicates hunters spent more time hunting per day this year due to the lower hunt success. The overall hunt success (1.1 birds/day) was only 40% of last year’s figure (2.75). The long-term average is 3.4 for Freeman and Willow Springs combined (1973 – 2001). The birds/day at Willow Springs Road was 1.2, which was similar to other poor years (1990, 1996, 2000), but only one-third of the long-term average. Freeman Road hunters had similar success, with 1.0 birds per day, also one-third of the long-term average.

There was only 1 limit (15 birds) reported at Willow Springs and none at Freeman. On average the hunters harvested 0.24 and 0.27 birds per hour of hunting.

Reproduction was almost nonexistent this spring. The percent of the harvest that was juvenile birds (11.9% overall) is a reflection of the record and near-record drought that occurred last winter when Gambel’s quail need precipitation (last year 80% of the harvest was juvenile birds). The harvest was 8.1% and 15.3% juveniles at Freeman and Willow Springs, respectively. There were a lot of experienced birds reported by hunters to be flushing far from them.

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