We went to the cabin this weekend and did some exploring in the Jeep. Driving down some higher elevation roads we saw more mountain quail in two days than i saw all year last year In one spot we saw a hen with a brood. This is a very rare sight, and a very encouraging one. All of them were between 6000 and 8000 feet elevation. I didn’t get any pictures, unfortunately.
Mountain quail fertility rates are very sensitive to water availability. Snowpack was better this year than last year in the Sierras (though still below average). The point is, conditions are better for quail, and that means they are probably better for mule deer as well.