Arkansas Quail Hunting Forecast 2020

395ad59b-f0aa-4471-bb66-d3faeba06a8d Editor's Note: If you’re reading this forecast, that means you have a passion for quail. Turn that passion into support by joining, renewing, or upgrading your membership Quail Forever. We are in the business of making habitat for the birds you love. Since its inception in 2005, QF has impacted over 1 million acres of habitat through its chapter volunteers, staff and partnerships. We ARE making a difference, and with your help, we can ensure our children will know the thrill of a staunch dog and a rising covey. Give back to the birds that give us all so much and show your support. Join, renew or extend your membership, and for a limited time get an awesome QF hoodie as our special gift to you! 

Quail Forever chapters, volunteers, staff, and partners have been putting in some serious effort to restore bobwhite quail populations in the Natural State. Thousands of acres of both private and public land have been impacted through the application of timber thinning, prescribed fire, and pollinator plantings. And it appears this hard work is starting to pay off: A combination of higher-than-average brood survey results and the creation or restoration of thousands of acres of quail habitat have given Arkansas quail hunters something to smile about for this upcoming season.   


“Overall, winter conditions were mild, which led to numbers of bobwhites increasing statewide with the Gulf Coastal Plains, Ozarks, and Arkansas River Valley seeing decent gains compared to last year,” reports Marcus Asher, quail program coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. “Early nests may have been negatively affected by the substantial rainfall in May, but dry conditions during the traditional nesting time in Arkansas, which are June, July, and August, made up for those poor early conditions, as average numbers of broods and chicks are being reported.”


Going into fall, all that hard habitat work seems to be paying off. “Tens of thousands of acres of habitat has been restored on public and private lands in the last three years,” says Asher. “Those areas are showing three to five trend increases in quail numbers on our annual population surveys. The number of chicks and adults seen during our brood surveys are up in the Gulf Coastal Plains, Ozarks, and Arkansas River Valley regions of the state.  When combining all the ecoregions, overall chick production increased in the state this year and has for the last three years in a row.”
Arkansas also does call count routes and focal area bird counts, but as of press time those results had not been tabulated.


According to Asher, the Arkansas River valley, the Quachitas and the Ozarks are the main quail areas. “Poteau/Cold Springs Ranger District, Moro Big Pine WMA and Fort Chaffee WMA are all good bets,” says Asher.


“Seek out fields and open woodlands that have been burned in the last year or two, as movement is easier for quail in these areas and seed producing plants such as partridge pea, native lespedezas, other native legumes, and ragweeds are more abundant,” says Asher. “Also, Arkansas has lots of open wooded tracts and in good mast-producing years, bobwhites can be found feeding  on small acorns such as post oak and blackjack oak. “


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