quail

Quail, Forest Grouse, Ptarmigan and Band-tailed Pigeon General Seasons to Open Soon

The 2019-20 general upland game bird hunting season will open in mid-September for several species in specific zones around the state, providing hunters with many opportunities to bring home some delicious table fare.

September openers include quail (Zone Q1 opens for mountain quail on Sept. 14, and Zone Q2 will be open for all quail on Sept. 28), sooty and ruffed grouse (general season will open in various northern and eastern counties on Sept. 14), white-tailed ptarmigan (which will open Sept. 14) and band-tailed pigeon (the northern hunt zone will open Sept. 21).

Please note that as of July 1, 2019, nonlead ammunition is required when taking any wildlife with a firearm anywhere in California. Please plan accordingly. For more information, please see the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) nonlead ammunition page.

Zone maps and information about daily bag limits and possession limits for each game bird species can be found on the CDFW Upland Game Bird Hunting webpage. Additional information about each species can be found below.

Quail

Quail are some of the state’s most popular native game birds. There are three species of quail found in California: California quail, mountain quail and Gambel’s quail. California quail (the state bird) are common and widespread throughout the state in low to mid-elevation brushy habitats with good cover and abundant food. Mountain quail are found in higher elevation habitats. Gambel’s quail are California’s most desert-adapted species and are found in the very arid lands of southeastern California.

The early mountain quail-only season starts on Sept. 14 in Zone Q1 and continues through Oct. 18, covering much of the mountainous region of northern and eastern California. On Sept. 28, the early general quail season opens in Zone Q2 for all quail species in several north coast counties. The remainder of the state will open to quail hunting on Oct. 19 and extend through Jan. 26, 2020. Finally, an additional two-day early hunt season will be open on Oct. 5-6 in Mojave National Preserve for hunters with junior hunting licenses.

CDFW is offering fall hunts for quail (and wild chukar) throughout the state. Special drawings for public land quail and chukar hunts through the Upland Game Wild Bird Hunt Program are available in Kern, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles and San Diego counties, and drawings for hunts on private ranches (offered through the SHARE Program) will be available in Tulare and Santa Barbara counties. Hunters can apply for these opportunities online, at CDFW license sales offices, through retail license agents or by calling (800) 565-1458.

For all quail species, the daily bag limit is 10 and the possession limit is triple the daily bag.

All three native species of quail are characterized by high reproductive potential associated with adequate and well-timed winter and early spring precipitation. Northern California experienced increased precipitation this spring, benefitting quail habitat and productivity. Hunters should experience good populations of quail this fall.

All three species of quail are most active in the early morning and later afternoon and move in large coveys throughout the day. Quail have distinctive calls that can provide clues to the birds’ location. Quail are more apt to run than flush, making them a more challenging game bird to hunt. Hunting dogs can be useful for locating, flushing and retrieving birds in the field.

Quail can be successfully hunted with legal gauge shotguns. A modified or improved cylinder choke is recommended to avoid damage to the bird. Because of the dense brush habitats where they are usually hunted, downed quail can be hard to find. Despite this challenge, CDFW reminds hunters that wasting game is both unethical and illegal.

Forest Grouse

California has two species of native forest-dwelling grouse: the sooty grouse and the ruffed grouse. Sooty grouse occur in the Sierra Nevada, Cascade and northern Coast ranges while the ruffed grouse is restricted to the northwestern part of the state. The general hunting season for both species extends from Sept. 14 to Oct. 14 this year. For sooty and ruffed grouse, the daily bag limit is two (both of one species or mixed species) and possession limit is triple the daily bag.

Although they are fairly large birds, grouse camouflage themselves well and generally hold tight to their location even when hunters are nearby. They flush quickly and fly off in a zigzag pattern, requiring a quick and accurate response from a hunter. Dogs are useful companions to help hunters find, flush and retrieve bagged grouse.

Ptarmigan

The white-tailed ptarmigan is a non-native grouse that was introduced by CDFW to the Sierra Nevada in the early 1970s. This is the smallest species of ptarmigan and the only one found in California. They inhabit the high elevation alpine habitats at low densities from Sonora Pass in Tuolumne County to Kings Canyon National Park.

Hunting these birds can be challenging because of the high elevation and steep terrain. Hunting is permitted from Sept. 14-22. The daily bag limit is two per day and the possession limit is two per season. Hunters should prepare for difficult hiking conditions and be familiar with the area before heading out after this game bird.

Band-tailed Pigeon

The band-tailed pigeon is California’s only native pigeon and is a close relative of the extinct passenger pigeon. They look similar to the introduced domestic or rock pigeons that frequent urban areas. Band-tailed pigeons are often found in mountainous terrain throughout the state, using coniferous forests as well as oak woodlands, but populations are migratory and movements can be unpredictable.

The northern California hunt zone season runs from Sept 21-29. The daily bag limit is two and the possession limit is triple the daily bag. The southern hunt zone does not open until December.

CDFW reminds hunters that an upland game bird stamp is required for licensed adult hunters (18 years and older) but not for hunters with a valid junior hunting license. A HIP validation is also required to hunt band-tailed pigeons.

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Media Contacts:
Scott Gardner, CDFW Upland Game Program, (916) 801-6257
Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988

SHARE Program to Offer Wild Pig, Waterfowl, Turkey and Quail Hunts on Three New Properties

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) program will provide public access for hunting on three new properties in Plumas, Tehama and Tulare counties this winter.

For the first time, SHARE will offer waterfowl hunts in Sierra Valley, Plumas County. The Feather River Land Trust is opening 500 acres of the Sierra Valley Preserve to 10 SHARE hunters during five hunts from November through January. CDFW will randomly draw one permit (good for two hunters) for each hunt period.

SHARE is also offering four turkey and six quail hunts at River Ridge Ranch in Tulare County. The 722-acre ranch is located in the Sierra Nevada foothills and includes oak woodland and the Tule River. Camping and cabins are available on the property through Hipcamp. CDFW will randomly draw one permit (good for two hunters) for each hunt period.

Lastly SHARE will offer two fully guided wild pig hunts at Dye Creek Preserve in February and March 2019. Dye Creek Preserve is 37,540 acres of blue oak woodland, volcanic buttes and rolling fields located in Tehama County. Western Wildlife Adventures will provide guide services, two nights of lodging, food and transportation for each hunt. CDFW will randomly draw one permit (good for two hunters) for each hunt period.

Hunters with a valid California hunting license may apply for these hunts through the Automated License Data System (ALDS). An $11.62 non-refundable application fee will be charged for each hunt choice. Application deadlines are 17 days before each hunt.

To apply for these hunts, please visit www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales, log in to your account and select Purchase Licenses. Then select 2018 – Hunting, 2018 – SHARE Hunts Multi Choice Application, then choose specific hunt periods.

These opportunities are made possible by the SHARE Program, which offers private landowners liability protection and compensation for providing public access to or through their land for wildlife-dependent recreational activities. The goal of the SHARE Program is to provide additional hunting, fishing and other recreational access on private lands in California. For more information about SHARE opportunities, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

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Media Contacts:
Victoria Barr, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-4034
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824

 

SHARE Program to Offer Wild Pig, Bear, Turkey, Quail and Dove Hunts this Fall

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) program will provide public access for wild pig, bear, turkey, quail and dove hunts on a property in Tulare County this fall and spring.

This is the first year that SHARE has offered opportunities at Hart Ranch, which includes 975 acres of rolling oak woodland 15 miles northeast of Porterville. The hunts will take place October 2018 through April 2019.

Hunters with a valid California hunting license may apply for these hunts through the Automated License Data System. An $11.62 non-refundable application fee will be charged for each hunt choice. Application deadlines are 17 days before each hunt.

To apply for these hunts, visit www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/internetsales, log in to your account and select “Purchase Licenses.” Then select “2018 – Hunting, 2018 – SHARE Hunts Multi Choice Application” and select specific hunt periods.

The SHARE program offers private landowners liability protection and compensation for providing public access to or through their land for wildlife-dependent recreational activities. The goal of the program is to provide additional hunting, fishing and other recreational access on private lands in California. For more information about SHARE opportunities, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunting/share.

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Media Contacts:
Victoria Barr, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-4034

Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824

SHARE Program to Offer Wild Pig, Waterfowl, Pheasant, Quail and Dove Hunts this Fall

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) program will provide public access for hunting on properties in Colusa, Merced, Santa Barbara and Solano counties this fall.

For the first time, SHARE will offer deer, quail and dove hunts on a new property in Santa Barbara County. Harrington Farms is 785 acres of farmland and rolling hills consisting of oak savannahs and juniper-sage woodlands east of Hwy 33. Deer hunters must have a valid D13, D11, D15 or Archery Only (AO) deer tag. Only non-lead ammo will be allowed on this property. The hunts will take place September 2018 through January 2019.

SHARE is offering nine archery-only wild pig hunts at East Park Reservoir located in Colusa County, approximately 45 minutes west of Maxwell. SHARE hunters will have access to 600 acres of oak woodland on the south side of the reservoir for these hunts. CDFW will randomly draw one permit (good for two hunters) for each hunt period. The hunts will take place October 2018 through February 2019.

SHARE will also offer seven wild pig hunts from November to December at Rush Ranch, located in Solano County. Rush Ranch is a 2,070-acre open-space area bordered by the Suisun Marsh. Two permits (each good for two hunters) will be randomly drawn for each period. SHARE hunters will have access to 1,000 acres of the ranch for these hunts and will be able to camp in a designated area for no extra fee.

SHARE is also offering waterfowl, dove and pheasant hunts on the wildlife management area at the city of Merced’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. The property is located five miles south of the City of Merced and is tucked between sloughs and agricultural fields. The seasonal pond and wetland on the property provide cover and forage for waterfowl, dove and pheasant and 300 acres will be open to hunting. Successful applicants will be allowed to bring a hunting partner or non-hunting partner.

Hunters with a valid California hunting license may apply for these hunts through the Automated License Data System. An $11.62 non-refundable application fee will be charged for each hunt choice. Application deadlines are 17 days before each hunt.

To apply for these hunts, please visit www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales, log in to your account and select “Purchase Licenses.” Then select “2018 – Hunting, 2018 – SHARE Hunts Multi Choice Application,” then select specific hunt periods.

These opportunities are made possible by the SHARE Program, which offers private landowners liability protection and compensation for providing public access to or through their land for wildlife-dependent recreational activities. The goal of the SHARE Program is to provide additional hunting, fishing and other recreational access on private lands in California. For more information about SHARE opportunities, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/SHARE.

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Media Contacts:
Victoria Barr, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-4034
Clark Blanchard, CDFW Education and Outreach, (916) 651-7824

 

Pheasant in flight

CDFW Launches Automated Application Process for Upland Game Wild Bird Hunts

California hunters can now apply online for specially managed upland game bird hunting opportunities on private and public lands.

Starting with the 2017 fall hunting season, hunters will need to apply through the Automated License Data System (ALDS) for special hunt drawings for pheasant, chukar, quail, wild turkey and dove. The new, automated application process replaces the Special Hunts Application process for wild bird hunts.

Applications for apprentice pheasant hunts will remain in the current location at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/DFGSpecialHunts/Default.aspx. For updates and information on wild upland game bird hunts, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Upland-Game-Birds/Hunts.

All hunt applicants must have a valid California hunting license and adult hunters must also have a valid Upland Game Bird Stamp to hunt upland game birds.

A non-refundable $2.42 fee will be charged for each application. Hunters may select their top three hunt choices per application and apply in parties, but may only apply once for each available hunt date. Duplicate entries will be disqualified.

Applications may be purchased:

All hunters must abide by California’s nonlead requirements. Currently, nonlead ammunition is required for hunting doves on any CDFW-managed property, but is not required to hunt doves on private property or public lands not managed by CDFW. Starting on July 1, 2019, nonlead ammunition will be required to take all wildlife anywhere in California.

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Media Contacts:
Karen Fothergill, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 716-1461

Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988