Chasing Gentleman Bob – Quail of the Rolling Plains

By: Justin Bryan

Bobwhite quail are a boom and bust species. With an average life expectancy of one year, their reproductive ability must be able to make the most of a good situation. For us in the Rolling Plains region of Texas, a “good situation” is defined by maintaining 100% usable quail habitat on any given property. This includes an abundance of nesting sites, escape and loafing cover, and praying for cooler than normal, wet summers. Fortunately, we can control the range conditions (i.e., quail habitat) through proper grazing, unfortunately we cannot control the weather.

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Below is data collected by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which represents the mean number of quail observed along defined routes per year for the Rolling Plains.Notice the “booms” and “busts”? Those once again are tied to range and weather conditions and more importantly represent years you can hunt and years you likely should not. As quail enthusiasts, we would like to hunt good populations of wildlife quail every year.

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Our goal as quail managers is minimize the drop in the “busts” and maximize the increase in the “boom”. We do this by implementing mechanical, chemical, prescribed fire and judicious grazing techniques to enhance the habitat and then pray it rains. For more information on quail habitat management in Texas, contact Justin Bryan at 325-260-5883.

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