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#6504773 - 10/20/16 08:29 PM Quail Drowning
Will Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 09/01/04
Posts: 308
Loc: South TX
Our family ranch is in south west McMullen county. All year I have been seeing tons of quail, bobs and blues. About 3 weeks ago, we had 6 inch rain come in about a 12 hour span. This kind of rain is very unusual for this area. Since the big rain, I have seen almost zero quail. I have seen some blues, but the bobs have disappeared .

So can bob white quail drown in a fast, heavy rain? Doesn't seem possible, but something has happened since the rain. I was seeing 10-15 covies just driving out of the ranch in the evening, and last week I saw one covey of blues.

The ranch does have more grass than I've seen in 30 years, so they could be out there, and I'm just not seeing them on the roads.

Any thoughts?
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Always chasing grey bullets.

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#6504837 - 10/20/16 09:16 PM Re: Quail Drowning [Re: Will]
Coldwind Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 08/13/08
Posts: 107

Rain is always, always better than drought or no rain. The quail definitely did not drown, they are surely hiding safely in the tall green grass, that is loaded with fat insects and small seeds, so they don't have to move a lot. Six inches of rain in 12 hours can easily be absorbed by the ground, ditches and creeks. In addition, quail are strong tough birds, six inches of rain will not drown them.

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#6504880 - 10/20/16 09:41 PM Re: Quail Drowning [Re: Will]
MS1454 Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2924
Loc: Houston/Sealy
I have heard from an old quail farmer making a comment once about quail drowning so I believe its possible. I would think it would need to be more like several days in a row of down pour but I dont really know.

I have a lease there so I hope they come back or are just in the grass!
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Originally Posted By: Fooshman
I'll take a Black Female every time.


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#6504931 - 10/20/16 10:25 PM Re: Quail Drowning [Re: Will]
Mundo Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 02/03/15
Posts: 238
We have a lease in McMullen County south of Fowlerton. Been there for years, had a number of rain storms like you describe, lots of flooding, doesn't seem to impact the bird population. Unless the they are on the nest, or chicks before they can fly, I wouldn't think it would be a problem. My guess is the birds are still there but don't have to travel much for food or loafing areas so aren't seen as much.


Edited by Mundo (10/20/16 10:26 PM)

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#6505097 - 10/21/16 07:36 AM Re: Quail Drowning [Re: Will]
CCBIRDDOGMAN Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/16/07
Posts: 10284
Loc: CEDAR CREEK LAKE
I should probably bring my dogs out there and check it out for you. You know, just to make sure. grin
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Originally Posted By: bill oxner
Haven't had it in years but never spit any out.

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#6505182 - 10/21/16 08:38 AM Re: Quail Drowning [Re: Will]
bill oxner Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 40896
Loc: Katy-Fulshear
I've seen it flood out nesting areas.
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Quail hunting is like walking into, and out of a beautiful painting all day long. Gene Hill









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#6505219 - 10/21/16 09:06 AM Re: Quail Drowning [Re: CCBIRDDOGMAN]
MS1454 Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2924
Loc: Houston/Sealy
Originally Posted By: CCBIRDDOGMAN
I should probably bring my dogs out there and check it out for you. You know, just to make sure. grin


haha, good one
_________________________
Originally Posted By: Fooshman
I'll take a Black Female every time.


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#6505378 - 10/21/16 10:54 AM Re: Quail Drowning [Re: Will]
Mr. Clean Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 07/27/06
Posts: 18941
Loc: Corinth, TX
Chicks will drown, adult birds will not....all this years hatch should be old enough to survive with the rest of the covey.
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#6505401 - 10/21/16 11:03 AM Re: Quail Drowning [Re: MS1454]
Barny Topwater Offline
red bone Bob

Registered: 11/22/09
Posts: 3078
Loc: New Braunfels TX USA
Originally Posted By: MS1454
Originally Posted By: CCBIRDDOGMAN
I should probably bring my dogs out there and check it out for you. You know, just to make sure. grin


haha, good one

See what you get when you try to be helpful? laugh
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There is time, and you must take it, to lay your hand on your dog's head as you walk past him lying on the floor or on his settle, time to talk with him, to remember with him, time to please him, time you can't buy back once he's gone" GBE

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#6505528 - 10/21/16 12:29 PM Re: Quail Drowning [Re: Will]
dune2218 Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 02/09/16
Posts: 246
Loc: Temple, tx
This is the exact issue why I will not lease land starting after deer season unless I can go on it and see if there are any quail left (in Jan)....... how many quail in Oct has nothing to do with how many will be there in Jan.
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Donald ------ the only real/knowledgeable bird/duck hunter on this site.

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#6505755 - 10/21/16 03:50 PM Re: Quail Drowning [Re: Mr. Clean]
John Humbert Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/13/10
Posts: 1666
Originally Posted By: Mr. Clean
Chicks will drown, adult birds will not....all this years hatch should be old enough to survive with the rest of the covey.


This. Quail can fly, so aside from washing away chicks or nesting areas - the rain will be a good thing.

That being said, if there is bad flooding, and the water persists - the birds may relocate off your property.

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#6505757 - 10/21/16 03:57 PM Re: Quail Drowning [Re: Will]
TXPanhandler Offline
Tracker

Registered: 09/12/12
Posts: 506
Loc: Texas Panhandle
Did the storm include hail? We have problems in the panhandle with quail being killed by large hailstones during heavy downpours.
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#6506322 - 10/22/16 08:35 AM Re: Quail Drowning [Re: Will]
colt45 Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 08/19/06
Posts: 7333
Loc: bastrop county
never say never
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#6506952 - 10/22/16 06:45 PM Re: Quail Drowning [Re: Will]
Will Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 09/01/04
Posts: 308
Loc: South TX
Thanks for all the replies. For anyone curious, I was there again today and saw zero quail driving in or out of the ranch.

However, we did a game survey by helicopter today. We always count number of covies flushed along with normal deer counts. 51 covies moved for the helicopter. That number is up from 47 last year.

I believe there is so much thick grass that I'm just not seeing them. Never thought I'd say that about this country. Rain does amazing things.

I'm not sure if we will hunt it much this year, not sure how I would manage without good pointing dogs.
_________________________
Always chasing grey bullets.

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#6940245 - 10/30/17 09:35 PM Re: Quail Drowning [Re: Will]
eyeball2 Offline


Registered: 03/31/09
Posts: 8
We had 2 nice years of good blue quail hunting after 4 years of almost no birds. The rabbit population exploded in those same years in West Texas and South Eastern NM.

Last quail season the rabbits, jacks and cottontails seemed to be in herds, as in, the most ive ever seen. After goid conditions this spring and summer it appeared we were set for a bumper year in quail, something last seen about 10-12 years ago.

Middle of Sept son and I hunted doves west of Andrews in the eastern edge of The Great American Desert. Prairie, sandhills, msequite choked shallow draws and shinoak. We had very few doves but a good bit of jacks, cottontails and quail. We passed on the cottontails in the warm Sept but reduced grass predation by popping some jacks. We saw about 8 coveys of quail that afteroon in a couple hours of driving around on a big spread trying to find doves.

Now at her first weekend of quail season and we hunted them over half the day. Result:1 covey spotted. 3 quail killed, no jacks seen a one cottontail seen.

A fellow told me last year that we would have lots of quail when there are lots of rabbits. Few rabbits-few quail. Anybody ever hear that?

WTH. Well, 3-4 weeks ago we had a wet cool front with no sunshine for 6 days, and either rain, mist or drizzle for that entire time. Well, i had an old west Texas rancher from out near Monahans come in two weeks ago. He had invited me out to hunt quail last year but i was too busy hunting quail.

All right, i figure, ill see if the offer still holds. I asked him how the quail were doing on his place. He said, well, before that week of rain i had the most quail (blues) that i have ever seen ( hes 80). Then he tells me he has no quail now. In 3 weeks, most quail to no quail. Even tbe tame house covey he feeds is gone.

He said they had some good long rains during the week long wet, cool spell and the quail sit there with their heads up and the rain goes down their nostrils or mouths and drowns them. He said he has seen it happen a few times before in his long life as a rancher.
Of course, i didnt believe him then. Now i kind of do, but that wouldnt explain the rabbits dying out though.

I also ran into the Andrews rancher while out hunting this weekend. He hasnt seen any quail since the deluge.

Now i hear from folks who say turkeys will die by drowning like that.

Talked to Sandbilly, from near Carlsbad and hes still seeing lots of quail in SE NM.

So, now im wondering if there may be a virus hitting the quail and rabbits and i am wondering if this may sweep the southwest.

Mudhen, Barry, et al, do you have any ideas?


Edited by eyeball2 (10/30/17 09:43 PM)

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