Arizona bird hunting

Discussion in 'Upland Bird Hunting' started by brittany man, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. brittany man

    brittany man Member

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    Anyone out there ever hunt birds in AZ? Any ideas on good places to check out?
     
  2. roninflag

    roninflag Well-Known Member

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    mearns? scaled or gambles?
     

  3. brittany man

    brittany man Member

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    I will be staying in the Tucson area, with my daughter, planning on hunting within a a 2 hour drive from there or closer. I think that area has gambles quail. Are snakes a problem in late December early Jan? Will I need foot protection for my dog? I hunt pheasants in S.Dakota grouse & woodcock in northern MI.

    Thanks,

    Duane
     
  4. AZShooter

    AZShooter Well-Known Member

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    Quite frankly the bird hunting near Tucson is not very good. I have two dogs and go out several times a week for the entire season. We usually see a few birds but nothing like it has been in wetter years. There is no problem with snakes especially with that cold spell we just had.

    I'll list two areas that are to the north of Tucson and easily within your two hr limit.

    You can drive down the Pinal Parkway and pull off on either side to hunt as it is state trust land. To get there drive north on Oracle road/rt 77 which will take you through Oro Valley and then the town of Catalina. Keep going on rt 77 till you get to the turnoff for rt 79. Make the left turn. There are a few roads that branch off to right and left that can get you off the road.

    One of the first turns on the right is the Falcon Valley Ranch. They allow hunting but require you sign in. The advantage is that you are far off the road when you start. I don't think many like going to the trouble to go in and sign their regisiter.

    As you proceed down rt 79 you will come to a large power substation on the left. There is parking there as well as a pull out on the opposite side of the road. If you continue you will find pullouts and occasional roads that go into the desert. One of the last ones that can put you quite a ways off the road is on the right perhaps 6 miles past the substation. It is on the right. There is a large white swinging metal gate with a cattleguard under it. You can go a couple of miles in on that road. It is a pipeline road. IMO no point in going any further towards Florence. After that the pullouts and roads that lead you into the desert are not as productive.

    An alternative is to not turn on rt 79 but keep going north on rt 77 towards Oracle. Eventually you will come to the turn for Willow Springs Ranch. Almost all of it is state trust land. There are an almost infinite number of places to go in that huge tract of land. I would concentrate on the major washes and slopes near them. You can sometimes blow a call and get an answer which will help locate the coveys.
     
  5. roninflag

    roninflag Well-Known Member

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    When are you going? it was bitter cold here last week. -12 at my house. down by tucson - oracle for gamble's or wilcox. patagonia or west of nogales for mearns. douglas and wilcox for scaled. with dogs and a small gauge you should do well on mearns. probably your best bet - mearns. p m me any questions. enjoy and good luck.ron
     
  6. AZShooter

    AZShooter Well-Known Member

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    Brittany Man,

    I mentioned places closer to Tucson. If you want to go on a longer drive you could hunt mearns. There is a huge area within the Gardner canyon turnoff in the Santa Rita mts south of Tucson. Consider it a trophy hunt. If you are really lucky you might get enough for a meal for two.

    To get to Gardner canyon go east from Tucson on I-10 to the exit for Rt 83 south towards Sonoita. The distance is approx 55 miles. You will go through some beautiful scenery as you go south. You will go over a small divide then come across the Empire Ranch turnoff on the left. Another couple of hills and you will see the Gardner Canyon turnoff on the right. Once in Gardner you can hunt the lower stretch of Gardner up to the Y in the road near a ranch which is on the left fork (about 6 miles in). Or you could go right a mile or so in towards the kentucky camp fork. Anywhere in there you could find birds. Just walk the bottoms and up the small side canyons. I use a 20 gauge auto with cylinder choke and 1 oz of #8s. One pellet will kill these fragile birds. FYI they are the best eating of all the quail. IMHO they are the most fun to hunt of all our quail.
     
  7. brittany man

    brittany man Member

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    Thanks for all the info AZshooter! I've also heard that the Payson, Salt river area has birds. Planning a 23 day vacation this coming Christmas. Will be hunting the McCook NE area for pheasants for a few days, then continue on to Tucson & spend Christmas with daughter and a week or so hunting quail. I have a french brittany spaniel 3yrs old. She does a great job on grouse, woodcock & pheasants. Quail hunting will be a ist for both of us.

    Thanks again, Duane
     
  8. Azprc

    Azprc Well-Known Member

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    Take the time to go hunt "fools quail". I hunted during Christmas and was down there 2 weeks ago, mearns are everywhere. I will only remove 1 or 2 birds from a covey and limited every morning. Bumped into some other hunters on the way in or out and most said they struggled, but some had the best year they can remember. Pointed some guys into areas they were not familiar with and they called me back and said they found the birds. They are there, just be ready to find them. We were averaging 8-10 miles in 3 or so hours per dog. Pm me your number if you have any questions and I will call you back. Brad
     
  9. brittany man

    brittany man Member

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    Brad my number is 517-643-2524. I work afternoons so best time to call during the week is 9a to 1p. or anytime on the weekend. eastern time

    thanks Duane
     
  10. Azprc

    Azprc Well-Known Member

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    I will give you a buzz this weekend, talk to you then. We may be down there hunting mearns anyways.
     
  11. DLFant

    DLFant Well-Known Member

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    I saw a post you made about hunting in Az. I live,fish,& hunt in Tx but also have a place near Phoenix Az and go Quail hunting pretty often ill be there Oct & Nov, 2013. I have hunted them from Nogales to Payson I always have room and enjoy meeting other hunters If your interested we can exchange nembers and talk more about it.

    Cheers DL
     
  12. brittany man

    brittany man Member

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    DL, note sure if I will be coming out this year, maybe next year. I also hunt grouse in northern MI and pheasants in South Dakota. I was in Tucson last June and saw coveys of Gambels quail everywhere lots of young ones. Looks like they had a good hatch

    Duane
     
  13. DLFant

    DLFant Well-Known Member

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    That sounds fun too I love any wing shooting. Maybe we can hunt sometime i am simi retired and hunt alot all over. Yes last year was very good in Az Killed a ton of Gambles.
    Stay in touch

    Cheern DL
     
  14. AZShooter

    AZShooter Well-Known Member

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    We saw larger gambels family groups this spring around the NW side of Tucson. Largest had 15 offspring! The number of young we usually see is 8-10. We seemed to have enough winter rains to cause these larger coveys, something that didn't happen the winter of 2012.

    Gambels were pairing up and nesting in May, June and even a few in July. I often have some nesting in planter boxes on north side of house. Rains came sporatically since July 1.

    A couple of good rains hit the Gambels country west and north of Tucson. I haven't gone out there yet but I'd bet many tanks are full. Hoping the young survived till the rains came. This season might be better than last year. We will have to wait and see.