CA DFG Forecasts 2008 Chukar and Quail Season Prospects

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Brood Surveys Indicate Increase In Production Of Young birds Over Last Year

2008 California Quail Hunting ForecastChukar and quail populations increased this year in California, the Department of Fish and Game’s (DFG) annual upland game brood surveys show. Chukar and quail are popular upland game birds in California. The chukar and general quail hunting seasons open on Oct. 18 and continue through Jan. 25.

Chukar Partridge
California’s chukar partridge populations rebounded in response to improved habitat quality as a result of near normal rainfall patterns during last winter and spring in most chukar range. Rainfall in chukar habitat ranged from 75 to 90 percent of the annual average, which promoted recruitment of young birds and an increase in population size.

In western Fresno County and in eastern Kern County, the overall chukar population and production increased due to near average precipitation. Although populations were low at the beginning of the nesting period, survival of young birds was very high in some locations, with an observed ratio of 8.3 young per adult, marking 2008 as a strong recovery year. The total number of chukars counted at sampling sites this year, 641, was a very significant increase over the 170 counted at the same sites in 2007.

Although counts were not made in chukar habitat in Lassen and Modoc counties, results of surveys conducted by the Nevada Department of Wildlife indicate improved survival of young chukars in northern Nevada. This bodes well for chukar numbers in northeastern California counties that border northwestern Nevada.

California Quail
Northstate and northern coastal areas received moderately below average rainfall. Generally, average production and carryover from the previous year produced stable populations of California quail in northern California. Central and south coastal areas and eastern Kern County also received slightly below average annual rainfall, resulting in a reasonable recruitment of quail.

Mountain Quail
Weather conditions provided sufficient moisture to maintain fair habitat conditions in most mountain quail habitat in central and northern California.

Gambel’s Quail
The Mojave Desert received about 90 percent of average annual precipitation last year, resulting in improved habitat conditions for Gambel’s quail and a substantial increase in the survival of young birds over last year. Field observations showed increased numbers in the eastern portions of Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.