Summer Quail Report: Virginia

5d86dded-979b-4d03-ab84-099effd6e2e1 “Last year our avid quail hunters did slightly better than the year before, but overall the number of hunters was lower,” reports Marc Puckett, Small Game Project Leader with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. “Our long term harvest numbers are comparable to the last 3 to 5 years.”

“Our winter was extremely mild,” adds Puckett, “and we feel the quail population going into the breeding season was better than in many recent years.”

“The hatching weather and rainfall have been excellent,” he says. “We have had good rains, but not too much. Temperatures have been good, insects seem abundant … we expect a great hatch.”

“Overall, we continue to hear good reports from hunters in areas where habitat work has been done,” says Puckett. “Some pockets of increase have been noted. Habitat is improving in some areas, and we feel optimistic about Virginia bobwhites.”

“Generally speaking, southeast Virginia, and some of what is known as the peninsular counties north of the James River, are best,” says Puckett. “Hunters need to find timber-harvested areas in young regeneration, or properties that have been well managed for quail. We have had some good reports from south-central Virginia – but hunters will need to scout, make local contacts and do some homework to find birds.”

“Our partnership with the NRCS via EQIP and now the Working Lands for Wildlife program have helped quail a great deal,” says Puckett. “We estimate over the last seven years there over 35,000 acres of habitat have been created or maintained under these programs.”

“We also partnered with local soil and water conservation districts where we offered a number of incentives for several years,” adds Puckett. “This program resulted in over 2,500 acres of habitat work and our latest program with our Virginia Department of Forestry has resulted in another 3,500 acres of habitat creation."

Click here to review the report out of Tennessee.

Tom Carpenter is Digital Content Manager at Quail Forever.