Below-average populations expected this quail season


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- With quail season set to open on Saturday, October 30th, Big Country hunting experts say they are expecting “below-average” numbers this Fall.

Game Warden James Cummings said that the heavy rainfall in spring and early summer affected their population counts this year.

Cummings also said that he is unsure if the February freeze did to the population.

Quail are ground-nesting bird, so with damage done to vegetation across the area, it made it difficult for them to breed or they began breeding late.

According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, there was minimal carryover for breeding quail early in the year, but they are hopeful they will see a population spike heading into 2022.

Cummings said that, like most wildlife, they are cyclical. Right now, he believes we are in the down swing with quail, after a population boom five years back.

For local lease owners, like Shawn McDonald of Salt Fork Ranches, they are shutting down for quail season to allow populations to grow and re-establish themselves for next season.

Fortunately, they are still able to make an income with deer season right around the corner, as well.

If you are planning on getting your feet on the ground this quail season, hunters are allowed 15 Bobwhite, Scaled, and Gambel’s quail per day for a total of 45 birds per day. Quail hunters will also need an Upland Game Bird endorsement along with a hunting license. You can read more about those requirements here.

You can also purchase an annual permit for public lands for $48, here. It allows hunters access to over one million acres of land. As always, hunters on public lands will need to wear orange blaze gear. Blaze attire must include headgear and must cover your chest and back. Hunters on private lands are also encouraged to wear the bright orange gear for safety. 

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