Quail Season Opener Oct. 27
October 17, 2018
Editorial Staff (264 articles)
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Quail Season Opener Oct. 27

2018-19 quail forecast for Texas has some hope

By Will Leschper

Where have all the quail gone?

That seems to be the lingering question as quail hunting in Texas has largely been hit or miss for the better part of the past two decades.

The 2016 quail counts were off the charts in places like the Rolling Plains while the 2017 figures were notably down.

Robert Perez, upland game bird program leader for TPWD, noted that back-to-back years of dry winter and summer conditions are a real issue for quail due to the fact that one bad crop of production can have a significant impact on multiple years’ prospects.

While it wasn’t a bad year by any stretch last year, it paled in comparison to the 2016 boom in bobwhites, especially in the Rolling Plains. The average count along the randomly selected 20-mile survey lines was 50 that year, which is the highest count ever.

Last year’s count in the Rolling Plains was about 23. While down more than half, it still was higher than the long-term average of nearly 21.

The survey average from the High Plains also dipped significantly, from just over 21 to just over 9 in the same time frame. South Texas also saw the bobwhite average fall from nearly 14 in 2016 to just over 10 in 2017.

Overall, there are sure to be some areas with huntable populations of wild birds, though a lingering drought through the summer is never good for native wildlife, especially those that rely on native vegetation that quickly can dry up.

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