From the Texas A&M Extension Service:
It’s shaping up to be a jubilee quail year
Writer: Steve Byrns
Contact: Dr. Dale Rollins, 325-653-4576, email@example.com
SAN ANGELO – From seemingly teetering on the brink of extinction to roaring back with a vengeance, wild quail seem to have made a miraculous comeback across Texas, said one wildlife expert.
“The 2015-16 quail season is going to be the best we’ve seen since at least 2008 and in some areas even longer than that,” said Dr. Dale Rollins, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service coordinator for the statewide Reversing the Quail Decline Initiative at San Angelo. “It’s shaping up to be a good to great year depending on where you are.”
Rollins said the populations of both bobwhite and scaled or “blue” quail have benefited in most cases from the widespread and timely rains last fall that returned and continued through early summer. The relatively mild, wet winter also contributed to the quail boom, he said.
“This is what I call a jubilee year,” he said “There’s a lot of forgiveness happening out there this year, and the quail have been recipients of that.”
The rains helped quail on several fronts, Rollins said, including better nesting habitat and cover from predators. May and June provided perfect hatching conditions and set the stage.
“We make or break a quail year with a June hatch,” he said. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJbEoPwWoDk&feature=youtu.be
“We’re seeing strong numbers in a lot of areas. Some of the best areas are parts of South Texas and from just northeast of San Angelo on up into the lower part of the Rolling Plains, roughly anywhere west of U.S. Highway 83.”
Rollins said blue quail, like bobwhites, have “come back with a vengeance,” with reports from the Permian Basin and Trans-Pecos region touting good quail numbers.
“So if the wheels don’t fall off — and anybody you’ll talk to adds that caveat — this should be a banner year,” he said. “This should be a year that you not only get your shotgun out on opening day, Oct. 31, but also take some new people quail hunting and introduce them to the sport.”
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will be releasing its annual quail hunting forecast in mid-September. At that time, go to their website at https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/planning/quail_forecast/forecast/
, view the projections broken down by ecoregions. Click on those and find the current forecast as well as what the last 20 years’ results have been.
“AgriLife is also hosting the Statewide Quail Symposium Sept. 16-18 in Abilene,” Rollins said. “If you are a ‘student of quail,’ as I call them, you’ll want to be there. The symposium will include a summary of what we’ve done over the last two years with the legislatively funded quail decline initiative research dollars.”
Rollins said the symposium will start with a tour of the Trail Ranch near Albany on Sept. 16.
To learn more about the symposium go to http://statewidequailsymposium.com.
Rollins can be reached at 325-653-4576, or firstname.lastname@example.org.