Upland Bird Forecast - Southwest Region

Southwest Region

2022 Conditions – Cool, wet spring and early summer conditions likely had localized impacts on brood production for all upland birds. Quail had good production and should be similar to last year. Chukar also had good production, and average overwinter survival. There may be locally abundant pockets of chukar in places where chukar fared well over winter. Pheasant numbers along established brood routes are down. However, larger coveys have been observed around the Treasure Valley where there is good overwinter habitat. Forest grouse should be fair to good this year due to good recruitment in 2021. Overall, upland hunting should be fair to good with scattered pockets of abundant birds.

Pheasant

  • Trend from last year (2021): Stable
  • 10-Year Trend (2013-2022): Down
  • Pheasants had fair overwinter survival following good to excellent production during 2021. Unfavorable spring and early summer precipitation likely contributed to a poor hatch during 2022. Pheasant hunting should be good to fair around the Treasure Valley in 2022. Pheasant stocking will continue at CJ Strike, Fort Boise, Montour, and Payette WMAs and on Roswell WHA.

Greater Sage-grouse

  • Trend from last year (2021): Up
  • 10-Year Trend (2013-2022): Down
  • Males counted during 2022 lek surveys were up from last year in Zone 2, but slightly down in Zone 1. Heavy snow during nesting and high precipitation during peak hatch may have reduced the number of broods. However, good early summer moisture and vegetation should contribute to good survival for broods that successfully hatched. Popular hunting spots include the area around Big Springs, Riddle, Cow Creek, and Antelope Ridge Road.

Chukar

  • Trend from last year (2021): Stable
  • 10-Year Trend (2013-2022): Down
  • Chukar hunting should be good this year. Biologists are observing 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 (2021): Stable
  • 10-Year Trend (2013-2022): 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 (2021): Stable
  • 10-Year Trend (2013-2022): 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 broods. Quail can be found in areas with green-leafy shrubs, forbs and berries near perennial water sources. 

Mourning Dove

  • Trend from last year (2021): Down
  • 10-Year Trend (2013-2022): Stable
  • Dove production appears to be good, but dove numbers were down along established upland game brood survey routes.

Forest Grouse

Ruffed Grouse
  • Trend from last year (2021): Up
  • 10-Year Trend (2013-2022): Stable
Dusky Grouse
  • Trend from last year (2021): Up
  • 10-Year Trend (2013-2022): Stable
Spruce Grouse
  • Trend from last year (2021): Up
  • 10-Year Trend (2013-2022): Stable
  • Wings collected last fall indicated high juvenile to adult ratios, suggesting good recruitment last year and good numbers of adult birds this fall. However, about it is difficult to determine how a cool, wet spring may have affected chick survival. 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.