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Quail Hunters

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by lizziedog1, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. lizziedog1

    lizziedog1 Well-Known Member

    We have a pretty good quail population here. When I lived in California, there were also some areas with good quail coveys. However, the population of hunters for them seems sparse out here.

    Not that I am complaining, I don't have to worry about running into other guys.

    Waterfowl, that is a different story. Even though I live in an area with a small population, it seems as though every able-bodied hunter is out on weekends trying to bag ducks and geese.

    No problem with me. I don't much care for waterfowl hunting.

    This is a question for hunters in different parts of the country.

    Is quail hunting popular where you live? I just wonder if certain regions of the country attracts more quail hunters than others.

  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    It was the unofficial state sport here in Kansas when I grew up in the 50's & 60's.

    More recently,?
    I haven't seen a covey of quail in so long I can hardly remember the last time.

    Some, including the KF&G people, blame it on "plant to the center of the road" farming practices, or global warming.

    Some others, myself included, blame it on the introduction & stocking of wild turkey by KF&G starting in the early 70's.
    Now 40 years later, we are over-run with them.

    Today, I think the turkeys eat the eggs & baby quail faster then the quail can reproduce.

    At any rate, we don't have enough quail to hunt where I used to find 7 or 8 coveys in one morning when I was a teenager.

  3. lowerunit411

    lowerunit411 Well-Known Member

    The quail population in Virginia is in bad shape. If you see a covey, its a topic of conversation..sad as not so long ago it was decent.
  4. lizziedog1

    lizziedog1 Well-Known Member

    What a shame!

    Quail hunting is one of my favorite. They are one of my favorite game birds to eat also.
  5. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Well-Known Member

    I love hunting quail! I love working a dog on them. I have a Brittany, and she is a hoot.

    Unfortunately, the little birds have been suffering in AZ, and I don't see so many of them most of the time.

    Saw three small coveys while on my deer hunt, of course ... always how it goes ... no dog, no shotgun, more birds than I've seen in months. I'm sure if I go back to the same area, I'll see nothing, or not much. LOL.
  6. lizziedog1

    lizziedog1 Well-Known Member

    Ain't fun to bust a covey and watch them scatter every which way?

    I'm glad you use a dog. I have downed quail that I wouldn't have found if it wasn't for a dog. I heard a old timer hunter say that dogs could be considered conservation tools.;)
  7. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Well-Known Member

    Yep! 'Bout gives me a heart attack every time, even when I know exactly where they are, and can almost pinpoint exactly when they're gonna bust. :D
  8. kbbailey

    kbbailey Well-Known Member

    I am a recovering quail hunter-aholic. I still have a bird dog(Brittany). I hunted to excess. My dad had bird dogs. My grandad had bird dogs.
    In the '50s and 60's when there were fencerows and lots of birds, there were lots of hunters. Not very many hunters left now.
    My pard and I only shot over points. I evenually graduated to hunting with a .410 Wingmaster. I took the limit with it a few times.
  9. kbbailey

    kbbailey Well-Known Member

    BTW rcmodel....
    I made my trip to Coffeeville Ks several years ago too. Eventually wound up down around Medford Ok that year.
  10. 308win

    308win Well-Known Member

    I haven't seen nor heard a quail since we moved to Ohio in 1982.
  11. gbran

    gbran Well-Known Member

    I Jeep (or ATV) hunt quail in the lower Sierra's, just cruise off-road trails, spook a covey, jump out and shoot. Then chase them on foot sometimes. No dogs needed.

    A good day covers a lot of area and often fills a limit for 2-3 of us.
  12. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    Here in the South, wild bobwhites are almost thing of the past. Nowadays, it is plantation-style hunting, usually with planted birds or birds only released a little earlier in the season.
    Very few make it after that, due to home encroachment, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, coyotes and about 100 other predators, including red ants

    I miss the quail hunting near Carson, Lizzie, it was always fun and the birds were great. SIL lives north of Reno and the area has no hunting due to people, but is spread out enough the quail eat with the chickens and are bigger than softballs
  13. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    Most of the quail hunting around here is plantation hunting. It’s fun, but it’s not the same. There’s still several wild coveys around that I know of. Most are on power lines and non-productive farms. What they seem to have in common is native grasses (like broomsedge) and small pines. The two main ag grasses used around here are bermudagrass and fescue. Bermudagrass has a thick thatch and the birds can’t run through it. Fescue creates a fungus that is harmful to quail (can be harmful to livestock too). For decades, 2-4-D was sprayed on about every farm, now it’s graze-on (probably better than 24D). Fire ants have hurt populations and I also think fire ant pesticides put a real hurting on them back in the 80’s. I would think the huge population growth of coyotes has hurt our quail too. As far as predators go, a regular house cat is about the most efficient quail killer out there. Not saying I would blast a house cat, but I just might blast a house cat.;)
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2011
  14. woodsrunner38

    woodsrunner38 Active Member

    My comments are directed strictly to Bobwhite Quail in the Deep Southern States, the area that I'm experienced in, and not with any other species of quail in any other area.

    MtnCreek, you and I are in the same area and I understand your frustration at the low numbers of our bird population which isn't probably 10% of what it was 10-20 years ago. I'll mention some possible/probable causes for this, but in all honesty those wildlife biologists who have and are studying the decline don't always agree on the what and why.

    Fireants: If you've ever experienced these critters you would logically think that mortality would be high on young chicks. It isn't, however, and fireants can be discounted as being harmful to nests or young. A detailed study at, I think it was, Auburn Univ. in Alabama found no measurable mortality caused by this insect. The insecticides used years ago to control fireants, and also insects in cotton crops, however, probably have had a very bad affect on quail but I am aware of no studies that will prove this probability.

    Coyotes, feral housecats, fox, bobcats....these are not important predators on either mature birds or nests. Sorry, but that's a proven fact! The major predator on mature quail to the tune of over 90% is the FEMALE Coopers Hawk! Hands down, this is the meanest, most vicious and most refined predator of mature quail that exists. Even a male Coopers Hawk is deathly afraid of the female, and frequently becomes dinner when the mating act is consumated! (If a female Coopers Hawk weighed 75-100 pounds I wouldn't go to the woods :eek:)

    If there is any interest in expanding on what I have said I'll be glad to go on with sources of information and studies, but otherwise I'm going to be quiet ;).
  15. 308win

    308win Well-Known Member

    We have a Coopers Hawk that hangs around our house in a wooded property line - very efficient predator. I would be interested in reading more about their impact on quail populations.
  16. kbbailey

    kbbailey Well-Known Member

    I once had a point on a red-tailed hawk that was in the process of eating a quail, not ten feet from the rest of the covey. We had several hawk encounters while quail hunting. Once a dead quail fell from the sky.....we looked up, and there was a hawk.

    .....They take their toll of quail.
  17. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member


    Do you have a link for the Unv Auburn Study? I would like to check it out when time allows. Also, it looks like I don't know my hawks very well. I think the coopers hawk is what I call a pidgin hawk. Whatever it’s called, I know for a fact it will attack a mojo-dove.:)
  18. woodsrunner38

    woodsrunner38 Active Member

    I pulled some of my notes out of "retirement" and took another look and here's what I'm seeing.

    Remember what I said in my first post that the wildlife biology boys don't always agree on causes for the decline? Fireants point this out! The study that I thought originated out of Auburn was actually a study by the Texas Game Commission, and even here conflicting reports/opinions are given. One study gives mortality of young chicks at just under 2% which would be virtually nothing considering that pipping chicks are not going to be 100% healthy and strong. Another study gives the mortality at up around 70+%, but little is said about ground conditions, etc, things that might make a difference??? Likewise, a study done down in the central part of Florida by the state game commission shows mortality figures as high as 38%, yet other studies in the state show zero percent with no significant difference in numbers of fireant colonies present! The one study that I am most familiar with was done right here in north Florida less than a mile from my small farm, and believe me we are overrun with fireants! In this study the loss of chicks to fireants was zero. This study was done by Tall Timbers Research Station, a private non-governmental research station and one of the premier leaders in quail research and reasons for the declining numbers. So what is the main cause(s) of chick mortality if fireants aren't a major player as most of the expert research boys think? The Tall Timbers study probably sheds a lot of light on this. Very briefly:

    A total of just over 140 video cameras were set up over this number of nests for three nesting seasons from, IIRC, 2008, 2009 & 2010...the study is just over. These cameras recorded 24 hours a day during the entire time the parent bird was sitting on the nest. Notice I said parent "BIRD"! Before this study it was unrecognized that the male bird incubates the eggs and protects the nest 'till the chicks hatch. The female will mate with a male, build a nest, lay eggs then she takes off to mate with another male and repeates the process. She may do this 3-4-5 times during the spring breeding/nesting season, and will keep her last nest for herself to prove that she is a good, carring mother! The photographed nest predators were also a great surprise.

    Not a single nest-between 420 and 430 total-was lost to a coyote, fox, bobcat, feral cat, etc. (we have no feral hogs close by thank God!). The predators that we always thought of as being major destroyers aren't, and plenty of them are here in the study area. What destroyed the nests?

    Armadillos, possums and coons took out about 45% of nests. Other small mammals, mice, field rats, mink, weasels took out another 10%, and non-poisonuous snakes ie Garter snakes, Rat snakes, Black snakes etc took out a whopping 45+%! The interesting thing about snake predation is that the snakes would locate a nest then monitor it daily waiting until the eggs started hatching before consuming the pipping chicks maximizing available food protein! (IMO,if you want to find the Creator, the Supreme Architect of the Universe, study Nature!)

    This study opens up a whole new ball game in Bobwhite knowledge and management. It needs to be replicated over the entire range of the bird, however, before we can accept it as gospel in every respect. The study of predator/prey relationships is one of the most interesting that you can make, and it's also one of the least understood by most of us....just my thoughts right or wrong!
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  19. woodsrunner38

    woodsrunner38 Active Member

    MtnCreek, you know your hawks as good as I do! Being as we're both good ole Southern Country Boys, hawks-all hawks-are CHICKIN' HAWKS, right? We used to shoot heck out of 'em 'cause they caught your chickens that ran loose all around the yard. Can't do that legally anymore. We don't have as many birds as we used to, do we? Wonder if there's a connection....? Actually what you would call a pigeon hawk probably is a Coopers Hawk. They're fast....fast enough to knock a pigeon out in flight....eat breakfast in Albany, lunch in Atlanta and back down to Waycross for supper!
  20. lizziedog1

    lizziedog1 Well-Known Member

    We have quail out west, just different species.

    I am not sure if our predatation problems are the same out here.

    When I lived in central California, I used to frequent the American River. It has a pretty neat trail system that runs along side it. I used to take my dog to have her release some steam.

    The first couple of years of going there, we would see many, many feral cats. Not many birds though.

    Then one year, the coyotes moved into this area. In fact, the park department was even posting warning signs around coyote mating season. The females with dens would become aggressive. They would even attack dogs that were being walked on leash.

    After the coyotes moved in, I noticed that we were not running into nearly as many feral cats as we had before. I also noticed we started to see more birds, including quail.

    There might be a connection.

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