A state-by-state forecast for the upcoming season.
Once again, the outlook is something of a mixed bag, with weather the major determining factor in many regions. The severe winter of 2009-2010 across much of the country left some upland gamebird species at historic low numbers heading into the spring nesting season, so it's a fingers-crossed, hope-for-the-best scenario.Here's the rundown.
Loss of CRP acreage has hurt pheasant populations in some areas, but there are still birds to be found.
ALABAMAIn 2008-'09, approximately 10,400 hunters took an estimated 252,300 quail, not including released quail on private lands and commercial hunting preserves. The season is normally Nov. 15-Feb. 28, with 12 the daily bag limit. Wildlife Biologist Mark Sasser says, "Successful quail hunting on public lands is generally poor, and access to private lands with good quail numbers is limited. Some of my old quail-hunting buddies in south Alabama still report some pretty good hunts from time to time on Conecuh National Forest." Web sites: www.outdooralabama.com; quail management publication www.outdooralabama.com/hunting/game/Quail.cfm.
Quail likely Nov.1-Feb. 6. Several wildlife management areas have different regulations; check the Web site for late changes. Daily bag six, possession 12. Small game five-day license is $55 or $80 annually. Hunting guidebooks available at all license dealers. Good areas include the Fort Chaffee WMA, pine-bluestem restoration areas in the Ouachita National Forest. Game and Fish Department Quail Biologist Steve Fowler says, "I would suspect a similar season to last year, with fair to good hunting in isolated areas of the state." Fowler adds, "Several thousand acres of CP-33 have been established, mostly in east Arkansas. The new SAFE CCRP practice for grass establishment has created 4,000 acres of quality quail habitat." Web site: www.agfc.com.
Check the Web site for season information. Last year, the season was Gambel's and scaled quail Oct. 2, Mearns Nov.27. All ran through Feb. 7. Bag was 15 daily (no more than eight Mearns), possession after opening day 30. Annual nonresident $151.25, three-day $61.25. Up-to-date quail prospects online in October. In the past, Gambel's best between Phoenix and Kingman. Scaled is southeast quarter. Mearns often close to Gambel's and scaled. Web site: www.azgfd.gov.
Pheasant Nov. 13-Dec. 26, daily two roosters first two days, three after, possession double daily bag. Nonresident $137.75; upland game bird stamp $8.Quail different zones, starting Sept. 11. Last bag report pheasant 103,364 (2007-'08 license year); California quail 382,130 (2007-'08 license year); mountain quail 104,765 (2007-'08 license year); Gambel's quail 43,533 (2007-'08 license year). Jesse Garcia of the Department of Fish and Game says above-average rainfall will expand production. Last year was below-average production.
Best pheasants: Sacramento Valley, upper San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento and San Joaquin river delta, and Imperial Valley. California quail: Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada (including foothills), western Mojave Desert on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Mountain quail: high elevations of Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada and Transverse Ranges on Forest Service Land. Gambel's quail: upland and riparian habitats of the Colorado River, Imperial and Coachella valleys and desert mountains in eastern Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Web site: www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/uplandgame/gamebird/docs/Food_Plots_Map-2007_jpg.pdf.
Seasons set in July, regulations brochure out in August. Colorado DNR has no e-mail contacts listed but does list some telephone numbers. Bobwhite, Gambel's and scaled quail, depending on area. Two pheasant zones. Last year's fees $56; annual small game one-day $11; habitat stamp $5; walk-in permit $20. Northeast has more than 100,000 walk-in acres, as does southeast. Counties include Weld, Morgan, Logan, Washington, Yuma, Phillips, Sedgewick Pueblo, Las Animas, Crowley, Lincoln, Kit Carson, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Prowers, Baca and Bent. Web site: http://wildlife.state.co.us/Hunting/SmallGame.
Quail Nov. 13-March 6. Bag 12 daily, 24 possession (check Wildlife Management Area regulations for variations). Nonresident 10-day $46.50, WMA permit $26.50. Best quail where there is frequent prescribed burning, roller chopping and thinned timber. Private land North Florida plantations best, but only paid hunts. Florida has nearly 6 million acres of wildlife areas. Best wildlife management areas Babcock Webb (quota system), Blackwater, Three Lakes, Bull Creek and Triple N Ranch. Web sites: http://myfwc.com/hunting; harvest information; http://myfwc.com/RECREATION/Hunt_WMABrochs.htm; http://myfwc.com/recreation/Hunt_Small_Game.htm.
Quail Nov. 13-Feb. 28, limit 12 daily. Three-day $20; season $100. Moderate to low density populations on DiLane WMA and River Creek WMA (quota only; see regulations in August), Clarks Hill WMA, Elmodel WMA, Piedmont NWR, Oconee NF and certain other public lands. Reggie Thackston, bobwhite project leader for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, says, "Across the southern half of Georgia, in landscapes with suitable habitat, bobwhite populations were up this past season and, if there is a good distribution of rainfall through the spring and summer fall, populations should be in good shape." Web sites: www.gohuntgeorgia.com or www.georgiawildlife.com.
Youth-only pheasant season: Oct. 2-8. General season: Oct. 9-Dec. 31 in north Idaho, Oct. 16-Nov. 30 in eastern Idaho, Oct. 16-Dec. 31 in south-central and southwest Idaho. Quail season: Sept. 18-Jan. 31. Nonresident small game $96, new three-day small game $35.50, not valid for the first five days of pheasant season. Shooting preserve permit $23.75. Some areas closed to game bird hunting, so check regulations. Idaho stocks nine wildlife management areas--overall pheasant bag about 100,000. WMAs require a $23.75 permit for those 17 and older and allow up to six pheasants (can buy extra permits). Jeff Knetter, upland biologist for Fish and Game, says, "Warm, late spring moisture in 2009 yielded improved bird numbers across much of the state.
The winter was fairly mild, so carryover and a productive spring could yield improved numbers once again in 2010. There are pockets of habitat with healthy numbers of birds." CRP in southeast Idaho and north-central Idaho are good options. Walk-in areas online under "Access Yes!" (http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/huntplanner/accessyesguide.aspx). Knetter says, "For pheasants, quail and grey partridge: southwest between Weiser and Boise, north-central between Lewiston and Moscow. For chukars, Owyhee Mountains and Snake River canyon along Idaho/Oregon border, and the Salmon River canyon." Web site: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/misc/species.cfm#upland.
Both pheasant and quail s
easons Nov.6-Jan. 8 in the north zone; Nov. 6-Jan. 15 south zone. Two roosters/day, six in possession after third day; eight quail/day, 20 possession after third day. This year, nonresident full-season license will increase to $57.75, plus $5.50 Habitat Stamp. A five-day permit will increase to $35.75. Illinois hunters take about 119,000 pheasants and nearly 200,000 quail. State Pheasant Habitat Areas require a free permit for a one-day hunt. Hunters can apply for permit drawing online at DNR Web site. Productive areas include north-central and east-central for pheasants, and south-central for quail.
West-central usually good. Some good public quail areas include Pyramid State Park (Perry County), Jim Edgar Wildlife Area (Cass County), 10-Mile Creek Wildlife Area (Jefferson, Hamilton counties). Web site: http://dnr.state.il.us.
Pheasant: Nov 5-Dec 19, two birds per day (cock only). Quail: North Zone (north of SR 26): Nov 5-Dec 19, five birds per day; South Zone (south of SR 26): Nov 5-Jan 15, eight birds per day. Season dates and bag limit vary at some state-owned properties; contact the property or check Web site for details. Bag is about 7,000-8,000 pheasants and 18,000-20,000 bobwhite quail, not including pen-raised birds. Residents need to purchase an annual hunting license ($17 for adults, $7 for youth) and a gamebird habitat stamp ($6.75). Nonresidents need an annual hunting license ($80 for adults, $17 for youth) or a five-day hunting license ($31) and a game-bird habitat stamp ($6.75). Best areas for pheasant Benton, White and Newton counties in northwest Indiana, and Dekalb and Steuben counties in northeast Indiana. For quail, southwest Indiana. Goose Pond FWA has good quail-hunting opportunities. Web sites: www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild; www.in.gov/ai/appfiles/dnr-license/index.html for a hunting license.
Pheasant Oct 30-Jan. 10; daily three roosters, possession 12. Quail Oct. 30-Jan. 3; daily eight, possession 16. In 2008 hunters took 383,000 roosters, averaging 4.5 per hunter. Quail hunters took 13,400 birds. Nonresident season small game $110.50; under 16 $30.50. Habitat stamp $11.50. DNR Biologist Todd Bogenschutz says, "Iowa just experienced its snowiest winter period in state history dating to the 1880s. Prospects are for very low pheasant and quail numbers during the 2010 hunting season, regardless of spring nesting weather." Northwest Iowa likely best bird numbers, but still poor from historical perspectives. Southern Iowa best quail range, but given the severe winters, numbers will likely be very low. Web sites: www.iowadnr.gov/wildlife/index.html; hunting regulations www.iowadnr.gov/wildlife/files/hunting.html
Assuming no changes, quail and pheasants Nov. 11-Jan. 31, daily four roosters, eight quail; possession four times daily bag. Hunters take an average 700,000 quail, half a million roosters. Nonresident $72.50; under 16, $37.15. Small Game Coordinator Jim Pittman of Wildlife and Parks says, "We did have an unusually cold and snowy winter across most of the state, especially central and eastern Kansas. I'm expecting carry-over to be only good for pheasants in those areas as opposed to outstanding. But because of the moist weather, I'm expecting vegetative conditions to be good for nesting." Quail were good in central Kansas last year, and improved in southwest and eastern Kansas. The severe winter took a toll on quail.
Pittman says, "If we have good conditions for productivity, this won't be a big issue because quail are very prolific." Last year, best pheasants hunting in northwestern quarter. Most of central Kansas offered good quail hunting last fall from Oklahoma to Nebraska. There are also good public areas to consider, including Kanopolis WA, Glen Elder WA, Webster WA, Cedar Bluff WA, Pratt Sandhills WA, Norton WA and Wilson WA. Upland bird forecast sometime in September. Web site: www.kdwp.state.ks.us.
Season dates Nov. 5-Feb. 10 western zone; Nov. 1-12 and Nov. 15-Jan. 31 all other counties. Annual nonresident fee $130; one-day small game, nonresident hunting license $10. Fairly harsh winter with cold temperatures and snow, but snow accumulation relatively minor and good habitat likely little affected. Counties west of I-65 best for quail. Peabody WMA in Muhlenberg and Ohio counties is the premier public lands area. Portions of Peabody are now quota-hunt only because of quail research. West Kentucky Wildlife Management Area also provides good public opportunity. Web site: www.fw.ky.gov.
Limited three-week season on pheasants and quail October through early November; one-month season December/January for much of the southeastern part of the state. Nonresident permit $69, three-day $30. Check Hunting Access Program for private land open to hunting. Web site: www.michigan.gov/dnr.
Pheasants Oct. 16-Jan. 2, two roosters daily, six possession (three roosters daily, nine in possession beginning Dec. 1). Minnesota lost another 72,000 acres of CRP in 2009, and the 2009-'10 winter was severe, especially in the southwestern region (Minnesota's best pheasant range). Spring weather has been favorable so far, but even ideal nesting conditions are unlikely to make up for the over-winter loss of hens. DNR Biologist Kurt Haroldson says, "We expect harvest for the 2010 season to decline from recent years, but we will not have a good estimate until pheasant surveys are conducted in August. The results of the surveys, including a hunting forecast, will be posted on the DNR Web site in early September. Pheasant harvest averaged 554,000 roosters during the past five years." Web site: www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/pheasant/index.html.
Quail season: Nov. 25, 2010-March 5, 2011. Bag limit eight per day. Survey reflects generally sparse wild quail populations: A third say it's down, 14 percent up and the rest unchanged. Bag runs about 50,000/year. Seven-day nonresident small game license $33.85 ($78.85 season); wildlife management area user permit $30 nonresidents; shooting preserve license $13. Northeast most favorable with its mix of crop fields, pasture land and forests. In the south, quail benefit from localized longleaf pine restoration projects, and "opening" of habitat from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Parts of DeSoto (southeast Mississippi) and Homochitto (southwest Mississippi) National Forests offer some fair public land hunting for nonresidents to hunt on licensed shooting preserves (www.fs.fed.us/r8/mississippi). Web sites: http://home.mdwfp.com/quail; www.mdwfp.com/quail for information on public hunting, licenses and regulations.
Quail Nov. 1-Jan. 15 (youth Oct. 30-31), limit eight, possession 16. One-day nonresident permits $11 or $80/season. Winter was severe, especially in north Missouri, the heart of quail country. Pheasant dates concurrent with quail. Hunting limited to the northern half of the state and a few counties in southeast: Nov. 1 to Jan. 15 in the north and Dec. 1-12 in southeast. Hunting was mediocre, but northwest is still the best; southeast slim. Winter was rough, with snow cover and cold during most of December-February. Birds likely entered breeding season in fair to poor shape.
Pheasant hunting has declined. Beth Emmerich of the Department of Conservation says, "We don't have the data in for last year's harvest, but I would assume it would be even lower than the 2008 harvest, which was 191,172, a 23 percent decrease from 2007 with 258,448. We also sa
w a large drop in number of quail hunters in 2008 with 21,459, compared to 27,830 in the 2007 season." Web site: http://mdc.mo.gov/hunt/gamebird/qea.htm for a list of "quail emphasis" public areas.
Pheasant: Oct. 9 to Jan. 1. Daily bag limit/possession limit three and nine. Montana hunters take about 140,000 roosters annually. Conservation license is $10, upland game bird license $110 (three-day preserve $20). Popular pheasant hunting counties include Cascade, Choteau, Dawson, Fergus, Phillips, Pondera, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Teton, Valley and Yellowstone counties. Rick Northrup, game bird coordinator for Montana Game and Fish, says "We do expect that pheasant numbers will be down going into spring because of extended winter conditions, with 10-20 inches of snow that started the end of December and ran 'til early March. These conditions were bounded by a line that ran from north-central Montana to southeast Montana, with generally worse conditions further north and east." Web site: http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/regulations.html.
Annual nonresident $82 and a habitat stamp ($20) for small game. Two-day permit valid between Nov. 24 (day before Thanksgiving) and Dec. 31 $37. Permits online. Limits usually three roosters, 12 possession; six bobwhites, 24 possession. Pheasant and quail opening dates will be Oct. 30. Latest bag (2008-'09) was 323,000 roosters and 93,000 bobwhite quail. Jeff Lusk, upland game program manager for Nebraska Game and Parks, says, "Typically, southwest and northeast are the best spots for pheasants, and the southeast is the best spot for quail. Private land hunting is available through the CRP-Management Access Program and the Open Fields & Waters program. Maps of the areas are on the web site. There is an online search guide for the walk-in and Game and Parks hunting areas." Web site: www.outdoornebraska.org.
One-day permit $21 (additional days $8), upland stamp $10. Gambel's quail populations should rebound in southern Nevada after a very moist winter and spring. Water developments (guzzlers) across the state should be full heading into summer. The outlook for California quail is questionable. While precipitation in winter/spring 2009-'10 helped populations in northern Nevada, an early December storm with heavy snows and subzero temperatures may have resulted in significant winter kill in the northwestern portion of the state. Snowpack and rainfall measured near 100 percent of normal at the end of annual winter season (April 1) and should result in good flows in streams and springs that quail rely on. Web site: www.ndow.org for seasons.
Pheasant statewide (over the counter): Dec. 9-12. Pheasant draw hunts vary. Quail: Nov. 15-Feb. 15. Pheasant: three males/day, six possession. Quail: 15 per day (no more than 5 Montezuma quail), 30 in possession (no more than 10 Montezuma quail). Nonresident small game license for season $90, 4-day license $33. Habitat management and access validation ($4) required for hunting, fishing or trapping on any lands; habitat improvement stamp ($5) required for hunting, fishing or trapping on U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management properties. Tim Mitchusson, Game and Fish Department game bird manager, says, "We've had a fairly wet winter and spring that usually results in good production for our small game species. That is as long as the summer rains are average and there are few hail storms. New Mexico has limited opportunity for pheasant hunting, most of it occurring on private lands on the far east side of the state and the Pecos Valley." Web site: www.wildlife.state.nm.us/publications; check for 2010 updates in Small Game Rules and Information.
Quail: Nov. 22-Feb. 28. Daily limit six, possession 12; season, no limit. Pheasant: Nov. 22-Feb. 1 (male pheasant only, but so few that not worth a trip to hunt). Daily limit three, possession six; season 30. Six-day permit $40 (South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee residents pay more), $15 additional to hunt game lands. North Carolina hunters took an estimated 228,000 quail last season, nearly half in the coastal region and the other half mostly in the Piedmont area. North Carolina's only wild pheasants are on the Outer Banks, and populations are dwindling. John Wooding, Wildlife Resources biologist, says, "We had a rough, long winter, and it may have impacted survival and, therefore, the number of breeding birds available this summer, which will in turn impact production, but I don't have data yet, and I'm only guessing." Bobwhites are abundant in eastern North Carolina in timber cutovers and around crop lands. Elsewhere, populations are spotty. Web site: www.ncwildlife.org for availability of public hunting on game lands.
Pheasant season opens Oct. 9. Too early for final decision on daily/possession limits and season closure date; harvest data for the 2009 season not yet available. Nonresident permits $100 annually, plus $13 habitat stamp. Game and Fish Biologist Stan Kohn says, "This winter was not as severe as in 2008-'09. Pheasants seemed to make it through the winter in fairly good shape, and we received no major reports of high winter mortality. However, spring production was poor in many parts of the state last June. Harvest data showed fewer young roosters in the bag compared to previous years. Consequently, we are expecting a lower spring breeding population this spring than in 2009.
Our fall population will be determined by good nesting success this spring and good brood survival this summer €¦ We will be losing big chunks of conservation reserve program in 2011 and 2012, about 50 percent of our present acreage. That won't be favorable for pheasants." Traditionally south of I-94, the northwest corner of the state and the area around the east end of Lake Sakakawea have better pheasant numbers. Game and Fish State-Owned Areas and Private Lands Open to Sportsmen (PLOTS lands) dictate which areas cannot be hunted by nonresidents the first week of pheasant season. Web site: http://gf.nd.gov/info/season-dates.html.
Quail second Saturday in November to Feb 15. Pheasants Dec. 1-Jan. 31. Nonresident $137 plus a $5 legacy permit. Five-day license $42.50 plus the $5 legacy permit.
Conservation Department Wildlife Biologist Doug Schoeling says, "The quail season was not as good as what was expected last year. We did have a cold and wet winter. Areas got a lot of ice and snow. If we have a good nesting season, I think we could see a population increase but will need a few good years to have a great season." Winter didn't affect pheasants as much, but the state needs a good nesting season to restore the population. Western Oklahoma best. Last year, northwest better than southwest. Web site: www.wildlifedepartment.com.
Statewide pheasant: Oct. 9-Dec. 31, 2010. Limit: rooster, two daily; eight possession bag. Bag about 34,000 wild pheasants (does not include pen-raised birds). Annual nonresident $76.50; three-day $21.50; nonresident game bird validation $31.50. Best pheasant hunting eastern Oregon agricultural areas--Columbia Basin and farmlands along the lower Malheur and Owyhee River drainages. The Heppner Regulated Hunt Area and UCAP programs provide private land hunting. Mountain quail: Western (including Hood River and Wasco Counties): Sept. 1-Jan. 31. Wallowa, Grant, Wheeler, Gilliam, Crook and Klamath Counties: Oct. 9-Jan. 31.
Umatilla and Morrow Counties: Oct. 9-Dec
. 31. Limit: Western 10 daily, 20 possession total aggregate Mountain and Valley quail. Eastern Oregon two daily, two possession for eastern Oregon counties where it is open. Valley quail: Western Sept. 1-Jan. 31. Umatilla and Morrow Counties: Oct. 9-Dec. 31. Remaining eastern Oregon counties: Oct. 9-Jan. 31. Limit: 10 daily, 20 possession. Web site: www.dfw.state.or.us.
Nonresident seven-day permit $31.70. Pennsylvania is involved in a nine-year pheasant restoration program. Historically, the state was prime pheasant hunting (more than 1 million birds in the mid-1960s through 1977), but it now is virtually all put-and-take, with a goal of releasing a quarter-million game farm birds/season. In the 1970s, Pennsylvania had an estimated 2-3 million wild pheasants; by 2007, the estimate was 30,000 birds. Web site: www.pgc.state.pa.us.
Monday before Thanksgiving (Nov. 22-March 1 statewide). Daily bag limit is 12. Hunting on some WMAs is limited to certain days, and some have more restrictive bag limits A WMA permit is required for hunting all public lands in South Carolina. Nonresident three-day permit $40 and $75 for 10 days; WMA permit $76. Billy Dukes, small game project supervisor for the DNR, says, "Our latest information is from the 2004-'05 season and indicates that we have about 6,500 wild quail hunters who harvested about 60,000 wild quail." He says reports from 2009-'10 were similar to the previous year, when hunters in the state's avid quail hunter survey found about 0.58 coveys/hour. "If normal rainfall continues, nesting success, brood survival and hunting success should be similar to last year on most lands, and improved on those areas where intensive quail habitat management is occurring."
Some of the best-managed public areas for quail include the Draper WMA in York County, Crackerneck WMA in Aiken County, Canal WMA in Berkeley County, Manchester State Forest in Sumter and Clarendon counties, Long Creek WMA in Oconee County; Webb, Palachucola, and Hamilton Ridge WMAs in Hampton County, portions of the Francis Marion National Forest in Berkeley and Charleston counties and portions of the Sumter National Forest in Union, Newberry Laurens, Abbeville, McCormick and Edgefield counties. Web site: www.dnr.sc.gov/wma/index.html.
Pheasants Oct. 16-Jan. 2, limit three cocks/day, possession 15. Resident-only Oct. 9-11 public land and walk-in areas only three cocks/day, possession nine. Youth season Oct. 2-6 statewide except right of ways, three cocks/day, possession 15. Traditional areas' nonresidents need $110 small-game hunting permit good for two 5-day periods, which can be used consecutively. Biologist Travis Runia says, "Last year's projected harvest was 1,670,000 wild roosters. This was the sixth-highest in 45 years, but down from 1,933,000 during the previous season. This past winter resulted in higher than normal winter pheasant losses.
Our last 'severe' winter was in 1996-'97, and losses are expected to be lower this past year €¦ Of more concern to our pheasant population is the continued loss of CRP grasslands. SD currently has about a million acres of land enrolled in CRP, down 500,000 acres since mass expirations started in fall 2007. At 1 million acres of CRP, SD can sustain a large pheasant population, but hunters should not expect numbers similar to the record-breaking years of the late 2000s." Public access to quality pheasant-hunting exists on federally owned waterfowl production areas, state-owned game production areas and on private land with walk-in hunting rights leased by Game, Fish and Parks. Web site: www.sdgfp.info.
Quail season yet to be set and may change this year. Small Game Coordinator Roger Applegate says, "We don't have population or harvest figures for quail, although these are goals. We had the most severe winter in years, and I would expect that the modest increase in quail has been reduced to what it was before last winter. Carryover was probably modest at best in most areas, with the best certainly in middle Tennessee and the worst in the eastern mountains and Cumberland Plateau. West Tennessee, the most intensively farmed, probably saw losses because of heavy snow cover that persisted for a week or more." Web site: www.state.tn.us/twra.
Pheasant: First Saturday in December for 30 consecutive days, three roosters daily, six possession. Quail: Saturday closest to Oct. 28 through the last Sunday in February, 15 daily, 45 possession. Nonresident season $125, five-day $45, plus $7 upland bird stamp. Public hunting areas require a $48 permit. Hunters took nearly 1.1 million quail in 2008, averaging nearly four birds per hunt. Parks and Wildlife Upland Game Bird Program Leader Robert Perez says, "We are coming off a poor season, but the birds that made it through are going to benefit from excellent habitat conditions going into spring. We had plenty of winter rainfall over most of the state, and we are now beginning to get spring rains as well.
Productivity should be really good. I predict the coming season will be much improved over last year, albeit quail generally need a couple of good years in a row to reach above average numbers." Best areas: rolling plains and south Texas for bobwhite and Trans-Pecos for scaled quail. Look for recently burned, disked and roller-chopped areas. Public areas include Chaparral and Daughtrey WMAs in south Texas, Gene Howe and Matador WMAs in the Rolling Plains. Public areas for scaled quail: Elephant Mt. and Black Gap WMAs in the Trans-Pecos. Web site: www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/hunt/public.
Nonresident $65, three-day $25. Look for list of wildlife areas and check Cooperative Wildlife Management Units. Upland Game Coordinator Dave Olsen says, "Spring weather has been relatively cold and wet. This added to the fact that Utah's pheasant habitat has diminished to the point that prospects for this fall will be very limited. Gambel's quail in the southern part of the state have had some significant wildfire episodes across their habitat.
However, these and California quail did fairly well last year, with similar prospects expected for this year." The wildlife management areas along the Wasatch Front provide the best public pheasant-hunting areas. Gambel's quail populations are associated with the Mojave Desert areas in southwest Utah. Walk-in-Access program is expanding both regionally and in landowner participation rates. Areas available are shown on the Utah DWR site. Web site: www.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks/2007-08_upland_game/2007-08_upland_game.pdf for season dates and bag limits.
Quail Nov.6-Jan.31. Nonresident annual $86, three-day(must be consecutive) $46; non-shooting preserves $18. Hunters take about 79,000 quail annually, or 7.3 quail/hunter. Biologist Marc Puckett says, "The harvest has increased slightly over the past six years, ranging from 67,800 to 79,200, with a low of 54,300 during the period and an average of 67,400." Prospects remain poor in western Virginia and western Piedmont. Some fair hunting eastern Piedmont and southeastern coastal plains. Web site: www.dgif.virginia.gov/quail.
Pheasants Oct. 10 (noon)-Dec. 31, limit one rooster Oct. 16-17, two thereafter, possession twice-daily bag. Some areas allow hen hunting; some have a 2 p.m. closure. Nonresident small game five-day $55, plus $10 pheasant stamp. Wisconsin has many sto
cked areas, mostly southeast and Dunn County (total is about 40-50,000 annually). The mail carrier survey showed a 35 percent drop in wild birds in 2009 over 2008. St. Croix, Iowa, Grant, Fond du Lac and Lafayette counties topped the count. Web site: www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/wildlife/hunt/pheasant.
Nonresident annual: $72, daily $20, plus $12.50 conservation stamp needed with annual license and $12.50 pheasant stamp for on G&F habitat units, walk-in areas and state land in Johnson and Sheridan counties. Prospects are those of a fringe state. Early nesting habitat looked no better than average. Prospects at two bird farms (Yoder and Sheridan) were good. Best areas for wild birds are isolated pockets of habitat in the Big Horn Basin. The Springer and Glendo special pheasant hunts in southeast Wyoming and the Yellowtail Wildlife Management Habitat Area near Lovell are reliable public opportunities for pen-reared birds. Consult regulations for specific details. Depending on area, some seasons open October to as late as Nov. 14. Limit two or three (depending on area), possession of six or nine. Jeff Obrecht, of the Game and Fish Department, says, "We're the go-to state for sage grouse--but we don't pretend to be much of a pheasant state." Atlas available from Web site or license agents. Web site: http://gf.state.wy.us.