July 29, 2011
National Quail Hunting Forecast 2011 Released
By Chad Love
If you're a quail hunter wondering about the success of mid-summer nesting in the area or areas you're considering hunting this year, Quail Forever has just released its latest state-by-state nesting report. It's definitely worth a look, and as you might expect, it's a mixed-bag, even within the same region. Some of you will sing, while others will be crying into your strap vest. For example, in the wild bob strongholds of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, it appears that if you want to find birds this fall, you're going to have to follow the rain...
From the report:
The majority of regions have felt below average temperatures and rainfall this spring, which has not allowed for much in the way of new growth of grasses or forbs, according to Quail Forever’s team of Kansas Farm Bill Wildlife Biologists. A few timely spring rainfalls across the state will likely help localized quail initiatives and lead to a successful nesting season. Throughout the landscape there are still plenty of areas providing decent nesting cover. These areas, coupled with fresh forb growth and wildflower enhanced CRP fields, are providing the necessary conditions for young broods to survive the summer months.
Oklahoma's quail hunting prospects for 2011 are not looking too optimistic, reports Doug Schoeling, Upland Game Bird Specialist for Oklahoma's Wildlife Department. While the birds are pairing up well, the weather is already hitting triple digits. The western part of the state, Oklahoma's best quail hunting region, has received very little rain this year. If the birds that have found mates can get a break in the weather, the outlook could improve.
Unfortunately for Texas quail hunters, the primary hunting regions in Texas are the Rolling Plains and South Texas, and these areas remain drought stricken, according to Robert Perez with the Texas Park and Wildlife Department. There are a few south Texas coastal counties, however, that have the benefit of frequent morning dew/ moisture that tends to help the quail, and the residual cover, CRP and stunted crops will likely keep adult birds going. But without soil moisture and insects, Texas will likely have less than average production. "It's still too early to tell how production will go. Unlike turkey and pheasant, bobwhite quail in Texas can respond late in the season to rainfall. If tropical storms bring rainfall to Texas, quail will initiate calling activity," says Perez. This activity has been documented as late as September.
How's it looking in your area? Are you seeing any chicks at all?