Quail

panhndlpoke

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Got a little hunting this morning but didn’t find any. Numbers are down this year.

many one else have any luck on quail this year?
 

Pokes15

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I haven’t heard of anyone in the last 10 years have success on quail. At least anywhere south of OKC. Sad deal.
 

Dally1up

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3rd or 4th worst year ever according to surveys. Pheasant are pretty pathetic as well.
 

panhndlpoke

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Our quail population 3 falls ago was about as good as it had ever been since I've been alive. Then we had a bad blizzard in April and killed off a lot of the birds. We sort of have a weird quail dynamic here, too. We have both blue (scaled) and bob white quail, but rarely do we have both in any numbers at the same time. Blues usually flourish in the drier years and bob whites in the wetter years. We're currently in a wetter transition from a drier time and that has dwindled both populations. The blues have decreased and the bob whites haven't become numerous, yet. I think next year, if conditions allow, could be a solid year.

Our pheasants are pretty good. Not great, but definitely the best they've been since the drought killed them off. They're in a situation much like the quail. If the next year has conditions like last year, then they'll be very good next year.

Basically, if we can avoid an extreme weather situation for 365 more days, we may have some very good hunting.
 
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Rdcldad

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Our quail population 3 falls ago was about as good as it had ever been since I've been alive. Then we had a bad blizzard in April and killed off a lot of the birds. We sort of have a weird quail dynamic here, too. We have both blue (scaled) and bob white quail, but rarely do we have both in any numbers at the same time. Blues usually flourish in the drier years and bob whites in the wetter years. We're currently in a wetter transition from a drier time and that has dwindled both populations. The blues have decreased and the bob whites haven't become numerous, yet. I think next year, if conditions allow, could be a solid year.

Our pheasants are pretty good. Not great, but definitely the best they've been since the drought killed them off. They're in a situation much like the quail. If the next year has conditions like last year, then they'll be very good next year.

Basically, if we can avoid an extreme weather situation for 365 more days, we may have some very good hunting.
thanks for thoughts and report

when you get time could you give a few anecdotal thoughts on the impact of the drought on wildlife in general
 

panhndlpoke

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I don’t have any real data to back this up and I know you said anecdotal so here it is.

I can’t comment too much on all droughts but in general, droughts are equal opportunity killers. Grasses don’t grow or put on seed pods. Grasshoppers don’t have stuff to eat. Pheasant and quail chicks don’t have seeds or hoppers to eat and survive at lower rates. Hens and roosters die more readily because they have less food and less cover to protect them. The foods they eat have less moisture (quail get around 80% of their water from metabolic sources rather than drinking it from a puddle) and they dehydrate. Coyotes and hawks have fewer prey animals and starve. It just kills everything. This last one killed about 97% of the game species, according to our local game warden. I don’t know if that is factual or if he was estimating, but it would be a fair estimate in my opinion.

As the area affected by drought pulls out of it and gets rain, grasses grow, insects come back, and all of a sudden, there is a wealth of food for the bottom totem pole animals. They’re largely prey animals and have exceptional reproductive rates, like mice, quail, and to a lessor degree, pheasants. They repopulate at a much higher rate than predators because 1) large numbers of offspring 2) lack of predators & 3) abundant food and shelter. Predators can’t really recover until after prey repopulate. Then there is a massive amount of prey and the predators overpopulate and the normal cycle starts up again.

we’re in the overpopulation phase of coyotes right now. They’re everywhere and many are going to die this winter. The hawks and other raptors seem to be in what I would call a normal phase but the blizzard a couple April’s ago killed a lot of ground dwelling prey birds and I think it kept them from getting too overpopulated with the coyotes.

Deer are still recovering. They only reproduce in 1-2 fawns a year and just take a long time to get back to “normal” levels. With the coyote population being so high, I bet the fawns’ survival rate is lower than would be typical with the resources available to them. It will take 10 years to get back if the population really started at 3% of normal. In times like this, no doe kills help the population recover a lot.

The state can’t really react like they should, but game seasons should have been suspended for a few years after the drought. Does should still be off limits out here.
 
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