Mountain quail are native birds found on both sides of the Cascades. They are brush lovers, usually existing in widely separated family groups rather than large coveys like valley quail. They are larger than valley quail. Mountain quail thrive in the natural brushlands of southwestern Oregon and are also found in northwestern Oregon when suitable habitat is created by logging, fire or other disturbance. Greatest abundance occurs in southwestern Oregon, with numbers gradually decreasing as one moves north.
Eastside populations are strongly dependent on brushy and diverse riparian habitat, and have disappeared or declined from many areas where they formerly lived as they have throughout the inter-mountain regions of the west. Because of the low numbers and the uncertain status of populations, no open season is held in much of eastern Oregon.
Currently, many of these habitat areas are once again improving, holding out the strong possibility for population improvement through trap and transplant. A research effort is currently underway to evaluate this technique.
Southwestern Oregon provides by far the best mountain quail hunting in the state. Because of the brushy and often steep nature of mountain quail habitat, and the tendency for birds to run in heavy cover, they are among the most difficult of Oregon's upland birds to hunt successfully.
Since coveys may be widely separated, a popular hunting method involves driving logging roads until birds are seen at which time hunters stop to hunt on foot. Once a covey is located it will probably not be far away on future visits.
The mountain quail is one of Oregon's lesser hunted upland species.
Mountain Quail Translocation Project
Distribution Map (jpg)