Tennessee Quail Hunting Forecast 2017

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Tennessee re-charging its quail program

Tennessee is in the midst of “recharging” its quail program, according Roger Applegate, wildlife population biologist for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. As a result, it’s “very hard to know” where the best quail-hunting prospects are in the state, though Applegate believes areas in the northeastern part of the state will be better than elsewhere.

“Typically, middle Tennessee is another productive area for quail,” says Applegate. “West Tennessee can be good, but the more mountainous areas are less productive.” 

The state has completed quail counts on four focus areas in Tennessee, but those results aren’t yet available. Conditions on the ground will play a big role, of course, though it remains to be seen exactly how they’ve affected the birds.

“For most of the state, the summer was wet,” Applegate says. “In mid-September, we had extensive rains as Tropical Depression Harvey passed over a large part of the state. Portions of eastern Tennessee continue to be slightly drier, but the rest of the state is wet.”

“I don’t know how this all bodes for quail,” he says, “except that areas of good quail habitat are often associated with streamsides, and many streams reached flood stage and beyond.”

Hunters looking to target Tennessee’s quail would be well served by planning their hunt in November, when bird numbers are at their peak, he says.

“Late-season hunting is not only not good for struggling quail populations, but populations have already been reduced by winter weather and predators, including human hunters,” Applegate says. 

“Tennessee is at an important point in quail restoration,” concludes Applegate, “in that we will be revamping our existing quail plan and working toward stronger implementation of the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative.”
 

TENNESSEE HUNTING TIPS

* “Old fields – fields that have extensive mixed herbaceous plants with clumps of shrubby plants – are truly quail habitat,” says Applegate. “The most successful place will be a block of this habitat several acres in size. Fairly wide field margins of this habitat will be next best.”

* “Mixed herbaceous and low woody cover in an open woodland is also good,” adds Applegate, “but is scarcer than the other habitats.”
 

LINKS

Tennessee Quail Page

National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative