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Mearns’ quail season opens Friday

Posted December 1, 2020

 

PHOENIX — The wait is over for hunters eager to get out and stomp around the often steep and rocky terrain of southeastern Arizona in search of Mearns’ quail.

The season begins Friday, Dec. 4, and runs through Feb. 7, 2021. The season for Gambel’s, scaled and California quail has been underway since Oct. 16 and also closes Feb. 7, 2021. 

A valid Arizona hunting or combination license is required for all hunters 10 and older. All youth hunters 10 to 17 can purchase a youth combination license for only $5. Those hunters under 10 must be accompanied by an adult who possesses a valid hunting or combination license. Licenses can be purchased online at azgfd.com/license/, or from license dealers statewide. Note: The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s online license purchase system will be unavailable Dec. 4-7 due to a system upgrade. 

The general bag limit is 15 quail per day in the aggregate, of which no more than eight may be Mearns’ quail. Since the beginning of the season, the general possession limit has been 45 quail in the aggregate, of which no more than 15 Gambel’s, scaled or California quail in the aggregate may be taken in any one day. After Friday’s opening of the Mearns’ season, the 45-quail possession limit may include 24 Mearns’ quail, of which no more than eight may be taken in any one day.

Meanwhile, the department is inviting quail hunters in southeastern Arizona to help gather data for quail management purposes. The department has placed five wing barrel stations along popular travel routes (see map above), where quail hunters can submit one wing along with brief information like date, harvest location, hunter effort expended. 

While submitting wings is not mandatory, the information collected from wing barrels provides the best means for the department to index quail reproduction — particularly for Mearns’ quail — harvest rates, and hunter effort and success.

For more information about the wing barrels, a photo that shows what a wing barrel looks like, and a larger version of the map, see page 78 in the “2020-2021 Arizona Hunting Regulations” booklet.  

For more information about Arizona’s quail species, visit www.azgfd.com/hunting/species/smallgame/quail/.