Article by Glen Dickens:
The 3RD Annual “Quail Festival” was held on Sunday December 8th from 11-2PM at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Sonoita Arizona. Formed by a partnership with the Southeastern Arizona Quail Forever chapter lead by President Zack May and the Tucson office of the Arizona Game and Fish Department and local Wildlife Manager Brittney Oleson. It was again a rousing success and well attended with over 300 participants and 20 vendor and organizational booths.
The official start of Mearns Quail Season opened on Friday December 6th. Mearns quail hunters from across the country converge annually on the area filling every available trailer rental space in the local community of Patagonia as well as all the local campgrounds and many motel rooms to pursue their quarry. Every conceivable bird dog breed is represented with some hunters having as many as four dogs. A quick walk through the parking lot revealed truck license plates from Idaho, Montana, Indiana, Minnesota, South and North Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska and of course Arizona.
A local bird dog club was on hand to keep the crowds well fed with grilled hot dogs and hamburgers for a $3 donation and there was a bird cleaning station and wing aging identification by the AGFD. One display by the AGFD included examples of Arizona’s quail “Big 4” with mounts of Mearns, Scalies, Gambles and California quail available to examine.
Board members Kara Jensen and Robert Velasco manned a table representing the AAF next to a booth by the Arizona Wildlife Federation manned by Outreach Director Nikki Julian and AAF/AWF VP Glen Dickens. Many questions were answered about the AAF and multiple folks took the available handouts and quarterly magazines. Both the AAF and the Southeastern Arizona Chapter of Quail Forever are affiliates of the AWF.
Andy the Antelope was on hand to be “adopted” and sales were made for family stocking stuffers for the upcoming Christmas Holiday.
It was a great time and the AAF and AWF will be represented again next year. Thanks much to Kara and Robert for making the drive from Phoenix with our organizations materials and booth displays!