What is in this article?:
- Quail populations up
- Still below long term mean
- Carryover is a key
Since 1978, TPWD has conducted annual statewide quail surveys to track population trends. This index uses randomly selected, 20-mile roadside survey lines to determine annual quail population trends by ecological region. This trend information helps determine relative quail populations among the regions of Texas. Comparisons can be made between the average number of quail observed per route this year and the long term average for quail seen within an ecological region. The quail survey was not designed to predict relative abundance for any area smaller than the ecological region.
Following are summary prospects for each region this season:
This region received timely winter, spring and summer rainfall resulting in excellent breeding conditions for bobwhite quail. The summer rains extended the window of opportunity for nesting. If a hen failed in her first attempt, there was ample time for a second. The limiting factor was the number of birds available to breed. Field reports indicate that quail have made a strong comeback in areas that held birds last year. Other areas have improved as well but to a lesser extent. It's a good idea to scout ahead to be sure the areas you plan to hunt are holding birds.
The average number of bobwhites observed per route was 8.0 compared to 6.6 last year. This is well below the Long Term Mean of 21.5. Despite low counts, enough young birds and coveys have been anecdotally reported that we suspect hunters will be able to find birds. Public hunting opportunities can be found at the Matador and the Gene Howe Wildlife Management Areas.