Monday, March 2, 2015
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Seasons for chukar, quail and partridge open Saturday, September 21.
Hunters need only a valid hunting license to hunt quail, chukar and gray partridge.
Chukar and gray partridge seasons run from September 21 through January 31, 2014 throughout the state. The daily bag limit is eight chukar and eight gray partridge, and the possession limit is 24 chukar and 24 gray partridge.
Chukar were introduced into Idaho from Asia. They are common in suitable habitat along the Salmon, Snake and Boise rivers, and along other river drainages of southern and central Idaho up to an elevation of about 5,000 feet. Chukar habitat consists of steep, rocky canyons with grassy and brushy vegetation.
Gray partridge, also introduced in Idaho, are widely distributed and can be found in agricultural regions, as well as in sagebrush-grassland areas. They are hardy birds able to withstand severe winter weather if adequate food is available.
Bobwhite and California quail seasons in Area 1 run from September 21 through January 31. The daily bag limit is 10 total, and the possession limit is 30 total.
Area 1 includes: Ada, Adams, Benewah, Blaine, Boise, Bonner, Boundary, Camas, Canyon, Cassia, Clearwater, Elmore, Gem, Gooding, Idaho, Kootenai, Latah, Lewis, Nez Perce, Owyhee, Payette, Shoshone, Valley, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka, Twin Falls and Washington counties.
Area 2 in east-central and eastern Idaho is closed.
There are three introduced and one native species of quail in Idaho. The California quail, which occurs from Twin Falls west to the Oregon border and north to the Palouse Prairie, is the most common. Good populations live along rivers, streams and other areas of abundant water and brushy cover below about 3,500 feet elevation.
The bobwhite quail was introduced to Idaho in the 1880s and occurred in agricultural areas of the Boise Valley. Today they are rare.
The Gambel's quail was introduced near Salmon in 1917, and a small population still exists there. The season is closed on Gambel's quail.
The season also is closed on the native mountain quail. Once common in the western part of Idaho, it now exists in small, scattered populations in dense mountain brush fields usually associated with riparian areas. It is rare in the mountains from Boise to Bennett Mountain, the Owyhee Mountains, and along the Little Salmon River, main Salmon and lower Snake River.
Mountain quail have been reintroduced into historical habitat on Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area in Nez Perce and Lewis counties, and in Elmore and Gooding counties.
The Idaho Fish and Game is surveying the state for mountain quail to determine the status and distribution of these birds. Anyone who sees a mountain quail is asked to report it as soon as possible to the nearest Fish and Game office.
What to look for: A long straight head plume, chestnut throat - not black like California quail - and vertical white bars on sides.
All hunters need a valid 2013 Idaho hunting license. Hunters will find upland game bird hunting rules in the brochure at license vendors, Fish and Game offices and online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/rules/?getPage=67.