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Idaho Fish and Game

Upland Bird Forecast - Southwest Region

Southwest Region

2023 ConditionsCool, wet weather prior to peak hatches and increased early summer precipitation have created excellent brood conditions for nearly all upland bird species in the Southwest Region. The timing of preferred weather conditions should also contribute to good survival for broods that successfully hatched due to increased forage and insect mass. Quail and chukar have been observed across the region with successful second broods. Forest grouse should be good this year due to continued good recruitment in 2022. Overall, upland hunting should be good to excellent across the Southwest Region.

Pheasant

  • Trend from last year (2022): Stable
  • 10-Year Trend (2014-2023): Down
  • Pheasants had fair overwinter survival following good to excellent production during 2022. Favorable spring and early summer precipitation contributed to an abundance of forage and insect mass. Pheasant hunting should be good around the Treasure Valley in 2023. Pheasant stocking will continue at CJ Strike, Fort Boise, Montour, and Payette WMAs and on Roswell WHA.

Greater Sage-grouse

  • Trend from last year (2022): Up
  • 10-Year Trend (2014-2023): Down
  • Males counted during 2023 lek surveys were up from last year. Precipitation prior to peak hatch has contributed to an abundance of insect mass and high nest success. Good early summer moisture and vegetation should contribute to good survival for broods that successfully hatched. Popular hunting spots include the area around Riddle, Cow Creek, and Antelope Ridge Road.

Chukar

  • Trend from last year (2022): Up
  • 10-Year Trend (2014-2023): Down
  • Chukar hunting should be good this year. Biologists are observing plentiful, large broods in places like Brownlee, South Fork Payette and the Owyhee Canyonlands. Localized favorable spring conditions should translate into good chick production, and there may be scattered pockets of abundant birds.

Gray Partridge (Hun)

  • Trend from last year (2022): Stable
  • 10-Year Trend (2014-2023): Down
  • Gray partridge numbers have been good during the past three years. Hunters can expect to find gray partridge in uplands near agricultural fields and in sagebrush/mountain brush near water sources. Gray partridge are typically found in Gem, Washington and Adams counties, and are expanding their range in Owyhee County.

California Quail

  • Trend from last year (2022): Up
  • 10-Year Trend (2014-2023): Stable
  • Quail production was good to excellent this year at lower elevations. Quail appear to have overwintered well in the Treasure Valley. Ideal summer habitat conditions appear to have yielded successful first and second broods. Quail can be found in areas with green-leafy shrubs, forbs and berries near perennial water sources.

Mourning Dove

  • Trend from last year (2022): Stable
  • 10-Year Trend (2014-2023): Stable
  • Dove production appears to be good. Biologist have observed good numbers of doves in the Big Willow Creek area in GMU 32. 

Forest Grouse

Ruffed Grouse
  • Trend from last year (2022): Stable
  • 10-Year Trend (2014-2023): Stable
Dusky Grouse
  • Trend from last year (2022): Stable
  • 10-Year Trend (2014-2023): Stable
Spruce Grouse
  • Trend from last year (2022): Stable
  • 10-Year Trend (2014-2023): Stable
  • Wings collected last fall indicated high juvenile to adult ratios, suggesting good recruitment last year and good numbers of adult birds this fall. Dusky grouse can be found in the transition zone between sagebrush and mountain shrub communities and open slopes in pine forests. Spruce grouse can be found in areas dominated by dwarf huckleberry and both Douglas fir and spruce forests. Ruffed grouse can be found along drainages dominated by green, leafy shrubs and aspen forests. Forest grouse hunting should be good to excellent this year.