Bird population needs an assist from Mother Nature


Anyone who has frolicked beating the comb searching for quail and chukar partridge this fall has seen firsthand the results of long-term drought on the birds’ populations.

The looking season has been lengthy on trying and brief on discovering. That’s true not solely in Southern Nevada but in addition in close by southwestern Utah.

Couple greater than 20 years of drought with two of the driest years on file and you’ve got habitat circumstances which have considerably restricted fowl manufacturing. Even in these locations the place the birds nested efficiently, habitat circumstances are such that chick survival has been exceptionally low. The result’s low fowl numbers and small coveys.

There are rumors of remoted pockets with increased fowl numbers, but when that’s true nobody is sharing the small print. If you’re fortunate sufficient to discover a covey of birds, make sure to restrict your take so there are birds left on the panorama for future copy needs.

Even Arizona, which is residence to a few quail species and customarily boasts massive quail numbers, has seen a discount in fowl numbers.

Larisa Harding, Small Game Program Manager for the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), instructed the parents at Quail Forever, “Our quail populations took a real hit with the drought. The lack of winter rains this past year meant reduced breeding activity and fewer young Gambel’s and scaled quail going into this summer and fall. Gambel’s quail appeared to delay breeding or laying this spring.”

Late summer time rains did present a lot wanted water that resulted in some inexperienced up on the Arizona panorama that may assist carry fowl numbers into the winter, however it’s going to take a number of good water years for fowl populations to return again to historic norms.

The identical is true in Nevada and Utah. In different phrases, we’d like important assist from Mother Nature.

In the meantime, wingshooters can make the most of Arizona’s second dove season. Although the bigger whitewing doves have already moved south into Mexico, mourning doves are each considerable and widespread.

The each day bag restrict is 15 birds, all of which have to be mourning doves. The possession restrict after opening day is 45. The second season opened Nov. 19 and runs by Jan. 2.

There is not any restrict on Eurasian collared doves in Arizona. The AZGFD is encouraging hunters to reap as most of the invasive birds as doable.

If you have an interest in looking javelina or wild turkey, Arizona has extra 1,500 permit-tags left over following their 2022 spring tag draw. Most of these are for the state’s handgun, archery or muzzleloader (HAM) javelina season (931), however there are additionally archery-only (322), common javelina (205) and youth-only (62) tags obtainable.

Only 16 common turkey tags can be found however are definitely worth the effort. AZGFD will settle for paper functions for the leftover hunt permit-tags beginning Monday, Nov. 29. The paper utility is offered for obtain from the company’s web site (

Speaking of turkey tags, it is also about time to use for Utah’s 2022 limited-entry spring wild turkey hunt. The utility interval will get underway Dec. 1 with a deadline of Dec. 27. Applications might be submitted on-line by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources web site ( or by calling the closest DWR regional workplace. For Southern Nevada which means calling the Cedar City workplace at 435-865-6100.

A complete of 1,952 limited-entry tags can be found throughout the DWR’s 5 areas. The hunt will happen April 9-28, 2022. Tags for the final statewide turkey season will go on sale Feb. 24.

Freelance author Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column shouldn’t be affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his personal. Find him on Facebook at @dougwritesoutdoors. He might be reached at