Also Goes By: Arizona Quail, Desert Quail
The Gambel’s Quail is a desert dwelling species that can be found among the mesquite, saltbush, cat’s-claw, creosote and prickly pear. Water is an important part of their habitat, and these birds are likely found within its vicinity scratching along the valley bottoms of river transported soils and decomposed granite. Years with good rainfall will increase the population of this bird and make for an excellent hunting season.
A plump and short-necked bird, the Gambel’s Quail will be 11 inches in length and be camouflaged in intricately patterned chestnut, gray and cream colored feathers. Both sexes will have the comma shaped topknot adorning their heads, but the females will not have the strong head pattern of the males and will be grayer in color.
Coveys will be composed of multiple family groups between 20 to 40 birds. Where a central water source is located it may be possible to find hundreds of these birds nearby. The Gambel’s Quail centers its activities around ground cover, becoming most active during the early morning and late afternoon hours. However, their willingness to traverse large, exposed areas in an arc-like pattern lends an advantage to the hunter in search of their tracks.
Carrying extra water is important in the desert as is wearing boots that will endure the tough terrain and spiny vegetation. As a result, it is always a good idea to bring along pliers for removing cactus spine. Guns that have modified or full choke are ideal for this bird.
Where to Hunt Gambel’s Quail
There has been a lot of news about the terribly dry conditions across the bulk of the country this year. This news sparked many early negative predictions for the upland populations. If you read much about the lifecycle of upland birds though, most don’t require much water when they are young. So unlike harsh winters … Read more
It seems like eons ago when we were climbing to 12,000 feet in the Ruby Mountains in pursuit of Snowcock. But it was just a short six months since we set off to start the 2012 bird hunting season. Now that wild bird hunting in the lower 48 has ended I sit here reflecting on … Read more
As hunters, we often look to conservation organizations to protect and enhance hunting opportunities or address the critical habitat issues facing upland birds. Yet, many of us are not even members of the organizations we look to for support. For example, the nation’s largest quail organization recently announced its membership topped 15,000. This represents 1.8% … Read more