AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week This could be one of the best years for chukar hunting since the government closed down special limited hunting at China Lake. Summer rains, good cover, plenty of native grass and seeds and a very large carryover of adult birds from last season has put a lot of birds on the ground, and conditions continue to improve in the more rugged mountain areas between Ridgecrest and Barstow. Chukar hunters can expect to find smaller coveys early in the season because of late-summer rains that spread out the birds. The chances of busting a covey of birds anywhere on a mountainside could make for an exciting hunting season for those willing to put forth the effort needed to in get into chukar country. The daily bag limit on chukar is six birds. Biologists with the California Department of Fish and Game predict a good year for quail hunting in most all hunting areas. “This year is going to be a great year for upland game-bird hunting,” said Scott Sewell, Wildlife Habitat supervisor. “This past year’s rain and early green up will give Southern California a larger-than-normal quail and chukar population. With brood count surveys and reports from numerous reliable sources, we could be looking at one of the best years in quite a while.” Excellent breeding conditions and ideal wetlands habitat produced a bumper crop of puddle ducks that are already starting to arrive at state wildlife refuges and duck clubs in Southern California. These new arrivals will mix well with locally hatched mallards and teal that nested in the Southland’s many lakes and marshes. Duck hunters ought to enjoy fine hunting at the Kern National Wildlife Refuge near Wasco. Fair shooting is expected to reward hunters who have high reservation numbers at Wister Wildlife Refuge next to Niland. And those with a permit to hunt Baldwin Lake, up in the San Bernardino Mountains, can expect to bag early-morning limits of puddle ducks gunning from boats. The liberal bag limit and a straight 100-day season for the Southern California zone is an indication of an improving population of puddle ducks and divers. Hunters will be limited to one sprig and no more than five mallards (only one of which may be a hen) in the their daily bag limit. It’s too early to determine how good the snow and Canada goose hunting season will be, but ideal nesting conditions in western Canada is expected to produce a pretty steady migration of birds into California and along the Colorado River by mid-November. Hunters are reminded that to hunt quail, chukar, dove and fall turkey, they need a Heritage upland game-bird stamp attached to their hunting license. Waterfowlers are required to have a signed federal and state duck stamp. For more information on Department of Fish and Game-sponsored hunts and shooting areas, contact the department’s South Coast regional office in Los Alamitos at (562) 342-7147. Jim Niemiec covers hunting for the Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Reports of an excellent quail and chukar hatch this spring ought to put plenty of birds in the game bag come opening morning of the upland game-bird season Oct. 15. Duck hunters will head out to blinds before the sun rises on the following weekend in hopes of bagging a seven-bird limit of puddle ducks. Quail populations are very good from the high desert to the slopes of the coastal mountain ranges. Last year’s rain produced lots of protective cover, and the carryover of adult birds is expected to produce larger-than-normal coveys of quail. Valley quail enjoyed a tremendous hatch, as did Gambel’s quail along the lower Colorado River. Mountain quail ought to be easier to find this year at higher elevations, as their numbers continue to improve, and those heading to Arizona to hunt Mearn’s, Gambel’s and scaled quail will have no problem finding coveys. Baja California had a double hatch to valley quail south of Ensenada, and the San Telmo Valley could produce awesome gunning. In the Mexicali area, guides report a good hatch of pheasant and quail, and there are lots of dove in the valley. Hunters will be allowed to shoot 15 quail in Baja Norte this season, and the possession limit is 30 birds.