Hunters, it's now time for quail season
Now that quail season is under way until Feb. 10, it's a perfect time to get started. Get some scouting in before your actual hunt to give you heads up on where the birds are apt to be. As with any desert hpunt, be aware and always on the lookout for rattlers while you're walking the washes and other desert areas.
If your favorite bird dog is with you on the hunt, have plenty of water, not only for yourself but for your dog, too. Game and Fish has suggested because our weather is still on the cozy warm side sometimes, dogs will also need a way to get cool, so a small wading pool that can hold water will allow them to roll in and keep them comfortable. As Ron Elgel-Wilson has suggested in the past and still true today, “Be kind to your best friend, keep them cool and safe.”
Gambel's quail like to roost in washes and arroyos where they can find thick vegetation, such as desert hackberry, scrub oak and mesquite — the thicker and nastier, the better. They favor sites with water nearby, although they'll travel as much as a half-mile to water. Nesting sites must be near enough to water for the babies. Gambel's most often nest in a hollow about three inches deep scraped in the ground at the base of tall grass, mesquite or shrub. The nest is lined with grass, sticks and feathers. Occasionally the hens will use the old nests of roadrunners, thrashers or cactus wrens, particularly if new nesting material is hard to find. If you find that type of habitat, you'll find the quail will likely be close at hand. If you should come upon a slope with prickly pear, quail feed on the fruit and often have purple faces and crops from prickly pear juice. Mearns and scaled quail rely on summer rainfall for a good hatch.
Try driving along drainages and other potential quail habitats in the early morning, stop about every quarter-mile and use a quail call. Having a quail call along will help locate the birds and can even help those hunting with dogs by giving you a productive direction to start your hunt. Hunting desert water holes can also be productive, but it's good to avoid camping at such spots. Try working in pairs, while one hunter is shooting, the other should be watching the quail marking where they land.
Start hunting in the morning when the birds are more vocal and on the move. Using that quail call can save a lot of walking time and effort. Randy Babb, Game and Fish biologist, has suggested attempting to split coveys up and work for single birds. If they run ahead of you, put pressure on them by unloading your firearm and trotting after the birds until you have flushed the covey enough times for the birds to be sufficiently split up. Once the covey is split up and the birds are holding, work the area for singles. Avoid hunting areas with little groundcover or the quail will not have anywhere to hold and will flush at a distance too far for a good shot.
The general quail season runs through Feb. 10 with open areas statewide except for National Wildlife Refuges for Gambel's, scaled and California quail and from Dec. 7 through Feb. 10.
• Desert Bass Anglers: The weather was wonderful for the 31 boats competing at the latest Colorado River Team Tournament with the team of Lance Adams/Candice Harrington taking the lead with 13.60 followed by Tim and Kelley Price placing second with 12.96. Jimmy Phipps/Craig Johnson took third with 11.51 while Joe Mayerchik/Jeff Cotten placed fourth with 11.38. Big Fish awards were enjoyed by: 1. Mark Williams/Julian Presley with 6.03, 2. Bob La Londe/Matt Yates 5.02. The junk fish option was won by father and son team Bill and Billy Clothier with a 1.86 channel catfish. Members will get in on the Dec. 1 President's Choice Tournament launching out of Fisher's Landing as well as the great annual dinner with the Angler of the Year award presented to the winner. Call Mac or Bobbi McDermott at 726-1984.
• Yuma Pro Am Series: Pay the $15 membership dues on line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you haven't already done so to fish today's tournament launching out of Fisher's Landing. Also mark your calendar and bring a nice toy to fish the Dec. 16 Toys for Tots Tournament. Call Bob La Londe at 580-1270.
• Wednesday Jackpot Derby: Entry $5 for each Wednesday derby with sign-up at 8 a.m. at the gas dock, weigh-in around 1 p.m. with the winner taking all for one big fish, any species. Call Jimmy Phipps at 782-2207.
• Swede Ferguson's Memorial Bass Derby: Sign-up anytime during the month to fish the monthly big bass competition with the winner taking the pot for the biggest bass determined the last day each month. Call Phipps for information or to sign up.
• MCAS Recreation Area: Call Mike Castello at 783-3422 at the Recreation Area at Martinez Lake to learn about the various fishing, camping and other outdoor activities along the Colorado River at Martinez open to all military personnel and families.
• Bass Class on the Water: To learn how, when and where to fish with all the tricks of the trade, call Dave Willhide at 782-2621. He'll teach you everything you need to know to catch those big bass at local waters at all times of the year with a bass boat and all equipment provided. Ask about the fishing seminars for RV parks and home groups.
• Renegade Archers: All archers are invited to shoot the 3D animal trail shoot today at 8 a.m. at the Foothills Archery Range located east of Foothills Blvd. south of I-8. Adult fees are $3 with youngsters always free of charge. Bows and arrows are available, also free to use. Call ahead prior to a shoot to Jean or Kevin at 247-4450 or 726-0953. Ask for directions to the range. A great opportunity for youngsters and adults to learn how to shoot and enjoy archery as well as for experienced archers to stay in practice and have fun. Watch for information on Saturday archery shoots at the range.
• Southwest Bowhunters Archery Club: Check next week's column for results from the latest Walk the Trail Invitational at Adair Park. Regular Sunday shoots will resume next Sunday at the Adair Park range. For times, call Wayne Wittenberg at 314-0140.
• Yuma Trap and Skeet Club: Open trap and skeet 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Adair Park range. Call Gary Knight at 210-0805.
• Yuma Territorial Longrifles Club: Open black powder matches 1st and 3rd Saturdays each month at Adair Park. Call Dennis Hansel at 342-7573.
• Cholla Gun Club: Most forms of metallic silhouette shooting are featured at the Adair Park range with disciplines for hunter pistol, lever guns, high-power, small bore and black powder cartridge with the season running through the end of April. As with all ranges at Adair Park, the silhouette range is open to the public when there are no club matches scheduled.
• Yuma Rifle and Pistol Club: Across the Course, high power 800 aggregate Rifle Match today at the Adair Park big bore range with sign-up at 7 a.m. All matches are open to civilian, service, women, men and junior shooters (ages 14 through 20, shooting caliber .223 AR-15 service type rifles). Call Paul Lerma at 782-6766 or Gerald Brooker at 305-9681.
• Yuma Matchmasters: Shooters will sign up at 7 a.m. with a shooters meeting at 7:30 a.m., shooting at 8 a.m. at the Adair Park small bore range. Each month's shooting schedule is 1st Saturday, Steel Challenge Match; 2nd Sunday, IPSC Combat Match; 4th Sunday, Cowboy Match. Call Ruth Wilmot at 726-7727.
Contact Jean Wilson at email@example.com or 247-4450.