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Quail hunting remains in season in Arizona

With days already getting longer, you may consider the 2019-2020 hunting season to be a thing of the past, but that line of thinking might be a bit premature.

While in Kingman, Arizona, recently, I dropped into the local office of the Arizona Game Fish Department. The man I spoke with said the northwestern corner of The Grand Canyon State has been providing some very good quail hunting for those willing to burn some boot leather and cover some ground.

He suggested that hunters may want to ply their trade in the Cerbat Range and other open country north of Kingman and in the low foothills along the east side of the Hualapai Mountains to the southeast. From there, he said, hunters might also get into some good coveys of quail farther to the southeast in the Bagdad area.

Other late-season opportunities can be found in the Black Mountains that stretch south from Hoover Dam toward Lake Havasu, the Mohave Mountains northeast of Havasu and along the Alamo Road that runs from Yucca to Wikieup. Look for birds in brushy draws that are plentiful in this country.

These areas are all within a two- to three-hour drive from Las Vegas.

Though daytime temperatures can be quite comfortable in these areas this time of year, the opposite is true when the sun goes down. Temperatures can be quite chilly at night, so plan accordingly if you decide to camp out.

Should you opt to hunt the Black Mountains, keep in mind there is an active hunting closure that parallels both sides of Lake Mohave from the Hoover Dam south to point below Willow Beach. A description of the closure can be found on the Lake Mead National Recreation Area website.

Arizona’s quail season runs until Feb. 9. A valid hunting license is required for anyone who is 10 years of age or older. Hunters younger than 10 must either have a hunting license or be in the company of an adult who is 18 years of age or older and possesses a valid hunting or combination license. But “no more than two unlicensed children may accompany any license holder,” according to the Arizona Hunting Regulations.

The youth license for hunters ages 10-17 is a bargain at just $5 even for non-residents, while the adult license will put a $160 ding in your wallet. The good thing is that both are available only in a combination hunting and fishing format. A short-term license is available for $20 per day.

All annual hunting and fishing licenses are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. Which means that if you buy your annual license now, it will enable you to apply in upcoming Arizona permit-tag drawings and to hunt again when upland game seasons open again in the fall.

Arizona also is a good option for those of you who might be looking to expand your big-game hunting horizons, especially if you are looking for the opportunity to pursue big bull elk and pronghorn bucks. As with most Western states, Arizona distributes permit tags for these species through a draw process, which is underway.

The Arizona Game Fish Department has gone completely paperless and now only accepts digital applications, which can be submitted online at www.azgfd.gov . Simply click on “Apply for a Draw.” The agency will accept applications through Feb. 11, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Keep in mind, however, that your Arizona hunting license must be valid on that day.

Of course, you can meet that requirement by purchasing a license to go quail hunting. That’s kind of a two-for one deal. Well, sort of.

Should you have any questions about Arizona’s application process, the AZGFD provides a video tutorial that is accessible from its website.

If you are a shotgun-shooting enthusiast, you might consider participating in or observing one of several trap and skeet shoots slated for the Clark County Shooting Complex in the next few months. Among them is the 34th Annual Ducks Unlimited Ducks in the Desert Continental Shoot that will take place March 4-8.

All events within the DU shoot are governed by National Sporting Clays Association rules, but you don’t have to be a member of that organization to participate in the tournament. Reservations can be made online at winscoreonline.com. More information about the shoot is available at ducks.org.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. Find him on Facebook at @dougwritesoutdoors. He can be reached at intheoutdoorslv@gmail.com

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