Georgia Quail Hunting Forecast 2020

77862a74-bb21-4b89-896c-da34a0b6fa06 By Oliver Hartner

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A persistent wet winter might have delayed nesting in some areas, but mild temperatures and agreeable amounts of rainfall through spring and summer helped the reproduction cycle for late-season birds, giving Georgia quail hunters average to above-average survival rates for the 2020 fall season on well-managed habitat.
 

WEATHER AND CONDITIONS

 
According to Dallas Ingram, State Quail Coordinator for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), “Winter 2019-20 was mild and wet, but we saw a very good survival rate going into spring.  Some of our northern areas experienced very high rainfall last winter which delayed or prevented some habitat work from being completed.”
  
Cool and wet conditions in early spring might have resulted in delayed nest initiation in some areas, but by spring and summer conditions improved. “Most areas of the state had adequate rainfall for most of the spring and summer. The areas that experienced periods of drought conditions still managed to maintain decent cover,” Ingram believes.
 

HABITAT, BROODS, AND COUNTS

 
Most quail hunting in Georgia takes place in southern portions of the state, but in other areas where habitat management projects and initiatives are taking place, the outlook becomes more positive every year. Anecdotal evidence suggests stable numbers for the 2020 fall season due in no small part to years of effort from wildlife biologists with the Georgia DNR, Quail Forever Focus Area biologists and volunteers, and private landowners dedicated to conservation. 

Ingram says, “We have had good late season rain and cover looks good. We are still seeing some late season reproduction and overall nest success, and survival appears to be average or above average.” Hard data gathered this past spring continues showing a correlation between land management and year-to-year stability or improvement in the quail population. “We do spring breeding bird counts in May and those results were average and above average, and we will conduct our fall covey counts for 2020 beginning in mid October.”
 

TOP SPOTS


Southern parts of Georgia have a rich quail hunting tradition, but Ingram suggests there are great opportunities on public land all across the state. Ingram explains, “Most of the public land opportunities are under quota.  You can apply for a quota hunt through Oct 15 here. If applying for quota hunts, don’t overlook DiLane Wildlife Management Area (WMA). There are also a lot of youth quota opportunities for those under 16.  They can bring up to two adult guests and, if you don’t get drawn for a quota hunt, there is still a lot of public land open if you are willing to put in the effort required to hunt it.”
   

INSIDER TIP


Ingram says, “December is a great time to hunt in Georgia.  A lot of people come south later in the season after opportunities shut down in the northern states and deer season ends.  Any time of the season, you should be prepared for warm temperatures and high humidity.  Take plenty of water for you and your dog.” 

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