What is in this article?:
- Quail populations up
- Still below long term mean
- Carryover is a key
Wildlife biologists at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are cautiously optimistic about quail prospects this season, which gets under way Saturday, Oct. 30 statewide.
This past winter a two-year drought in the major quail hunting areas of the state was finally broken. Range conditions and more importantly, according to TPWD, nesting and brood rearing habitat greatly improved, setting the stage for a marked increase in production. Unfortunately, after two years of unfavorable weather, the number of quail available to breed had become quite low. In general, quail rebound fastest from the remaining pockets of survivors from last season.
“Low carryover is the biggest obstacle to recovering quail populations,” said Robert Perez, TPWD upland game bird program leader. “Quail species are hardwired to take advantage of good reproductive environmental conditions. It's part of their survival strategy. So many are consumed each year, the species relies on a high reproductive output in order to persist on the landscape. We expect a greatly improved season over last year but a hen can only do so much in one year. Given another wet winter and spring we could expect a much stronger rebound next season.”
Perez said ranches that managed habitat for quail during the extended dry spell will likely see more birds this season, which runs Oct. 30-Feb. 27.
The daily bag limit for quail is 15, with 45 in possession. Legal shooting hours for all non-migratory game birds are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. The bag limit is the maximum number that may be killed during the legal shooting hours in one day.