Most hunters report a fair to good opening to quail and chukar season
By JIM MATTHEWS
Most hunters have reported fair to good hunting for the opening week of the quail and chukar season, which opened last Saturday statewide, with quite a few limits of quail reported from the eastern Mojave Desert and the east side of the southern Sierra Nevada. Chukar, with populations still recovering in most areas, were a little harder to come by for sportsmen.
High winds hampered hunting both days opening weekend in many areas, and warm, dry weather made scenting conditions for hunting dogs very difficult, but in spite of those handicaps many hunters found decent bird numbers.
The Red Mountain region was a pleasant surprise for chukar hunters, most reporting seeing pretty good numbers of birds, but few scoring any big bags with the birds spooky in the wind and flushing well out of range. Kevin Johnson of Mountain Center managed to get three chukar opening day in the Red Mountain region, and then bagged a limit of 10 quail the next day off of Highway 14 in the southern Sierra.
Will Liebscher, a Red Mountain resident who visits with hunters throughout the area opening day, reported “plenty of birds and not many hunters” for opening weekend. Liebscher said there were only a few hunters three years ago and no birds. Then last year, bird numbers recovered a little but there were no hunters.
“We had the right rains at the right times and we’ve got a lot of birds this year,” said Liebscher.
James Michael Tolman of Rowland Heights said he hunted the Jawbone Canyon region and saw three small coveys of quail and one covey of about 20 chukar which flushed well out of range, but he was able to bag a few quail.
Steve Loop of Chino hunted a little further north in the Walker Pass area and said he mostly found small coveys of holdover “veteran” birds that flushed “around 65 to 70 yards out.”
“It was very tough getting a shot off, but I did managed to harvest four birds.”
The Mojave Preserve was a mixed bag for hunters, but those who were able to do some preseason scouting found where the quail were concentrated and did very well.
“I’ve been twice,” said Rashawn Gordon of Searchlight, Nev. “The first day we saw lots of birds and hunters. The next time we went was mid-week. We saw several nice groups of quail and got to shoot a bunch. Going back out again this coming week.”
Brian Bozarth of Moreno Valley didn’t do as well. “We went up in the Foshey Pass area and only saw one covey all day – a small covey of like 12 birds and only got one bird.”
Dennis Richards of Santa Ana, hunted the Hole in the Wall area and got skunked opening day, but managed to get into a few Gambels quail Sunday morning near Goffs.
“High winds killed it for us,” said Richards.
The West Mojave desert in the Barstow-Victorville-Apple Valley region had generally poor to fair hunting for chukar with bird numbers still recovering. Meanwhile the quail hunting along the north side of the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountain ranges was better that it has been in at least six seasons. There were no reports of limits of quail, but a number of hunters reported bagging one to three birds.
The Carrizo Plain region (the Temblor and Caliente mountain ranges) has fair hunting, but quail numbers are still depressed in this region and there were no reports of chukar being taken.
Volunteers needed for installation of
new bighorn sheep drinker Nov. 17-21
The Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep needs volunteers for a multi-day work project on the Twentynine Palms Marine Corp Base to install a new bighorn sheep drinker or guzzler. The project is hoped to help establish a permanent herd of desert sheep in the Bullion Range and add connectivity to existing sheep populations in the Newberry, Sheephole, and Bristol mountain ranges.
This will be the eighth system installed inside the base since 2012.
Volunteers must RSVP no later than Nov. 7 for the project to get security clearance from the military. The group will be camping at the OMYA mine near Amboy at Old Route 66 and Kelbaker Road.
Volunteers should contact Steve Marschke at 310-543-1862 or at email@example.com or John Roy at 562-697-7232 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and details.
[Jim Matthews is a syndicated Southern California-based outdoor reporter and columnist. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 909-887-3444.]