The birds are out there. Go get them.
Upland bird hunters should find plenty of birds this season because spring weather was favorable.
Wildlife biologists are seeing large numbers of quail and gray partridge across Southwest Idaho, which bodes well in the forecast for most upland game bird hunters.
We basically got a good hatch, said Michelle Kemner, Idaho Fish and Games Southwest regional wildlife biologist. All birds are doing great.
She has also been getting a good number of forest grouse wings left by hunters in barrels put out at key roads leading to grouse-hunting areas. That was a pleasant surprise this season, which opened Aug. 30.
Here are more upland bird and waterfowl outlooks from Idaho Fish and Game:
Gray partridge Good. Lots of birds are being seen. Hunters should find them in all the familiar places. Populations of gray partridge, also called huns, have been good for several years.
Quail Excellent. Quail numbers are mushrooming and it has been a good summer. Young broods were seen all the way through August. Hunters will find them almost everywhere across Southwest Idaho.
Chukar Super to spotty, depending on the area. Lots of birds are being seen in the Lower Salmon River and Riggins areas.
Not much has been reported along the Owyhee Front, however, the Owyhees in general should be good if the chukar hatch was as good as quail and gray partridge production.
Biologists have been surprised by the number of birds heard along the Boise River Wildlife Management Area and around Lucky Peak Reservoir.
The only hitch with chukar is that in some areas, last falls greenup didnt come on and birds had trouble getting through the winter without the food supply.
If you dont find birds in your hunting area, thats the likely reason.
Pheasants Pheasant hunting should be good to excellent this year. Its probably going to be the best F&G has seen since 2005 and 2006. Biologists have seen a lot of pheasants on brood routes with an average of 4.2 chicks per brood, which is considered good.
Forest grouse The season has been underway since Aug. 30, and biologists are getting a picture of grouse populations.
Ruffed grouse hunting is being called awesome in Southwest Idaho this season.
Biologists are also seeing a good number of spruce grouse wings left in grouse-wing barrels.
Barrels are set out in the fall in prime grouse-hunting areas so hunters can leave the wings of grouse they shoot. By looking at the wings, biologists can determine population trends. The hatch was apparently good.
Sage grouse Hunting should be decent, not excellent. If you find good habitat (sagebrush country), you should find the birds.
Doves Reports from hunters indicate that opening weekend was excellent. Biologists report the hatch was good and lots of birds have been staging around Treasure Valley. Other hunting areas throughout Southwest Idaho should also be good.
Ducks Some of the best hunting in years is expected if northern birds cooperate and head south into Idaho.
Its the highest-ever breeding season for northern United States, Canada and Alaska since 1955.
This years report estimate of 48.6 million ducks is significantly higher than the 45.6 million birds estimated last year and 43 percent above the long-term average.
Northern prairie potholes had plenty of water and hunters should get good hunting when the northerns arrive, hopefully some time around Thanksgiving.
Local duck production remains a little bit of a mystery because some of the states potholes were drier than usual. Irrigation lands provided plenty of nesting areas in the state, so the bet is that there will be plenty of local birds for opening weekend.
Mallards are everywhere. Mallard population, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report, is 10.6 million a 15-percent increase over 2011 and a 39-percent increase over the long-term average of 7.6 million.
The Pacific Flyway is getting good predictions for fall migrations.
Geese Geese are everywhere and hunting should be excellent for those with access to fields, which are typically on private land. Local production has been good and hopefully northern birds follow.
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors