LOUISIANA QUAIL HUNTING FORECAST 2019

cc93fef9-0696-4303-a351-066f457d1ba6 By Curtis Niedermier

Though quail populations and the number of quail hunters have been declining over the last several decades in Louisiana, biologist Cody Cedotal says there are a few areas with moderate-to-good populations left in southeastern and western Louisiana where a hunter can enjoy the flush of a covey of wild bobwhites. Toss in some of the country’s best woodcock concentrations when the winter migrations arrive, and you have a great opportunity for mixed-bag upland hunting.
 

WEATHER AND HABITAT

Winter weather conditions in Louisiana are typically pretty mild and have less of an impact on populations than in other states, so there’s really no news on that front. The nesting and brood-rearing seasons have also been favorable, with Cedotal receiving more anecdotal reports of quail broods sighted this year than in recent history.
“Thus far, we have had what seems to be a good mix of rainy and dry periods,” Cedotal adds. “The primary issue impacting quail populations in Louisiana is loss and lack of quality habitat. The amount of available habitat for quail is very low compared to what was once available across the state”
 

TOP SPOTS

In western Louisiana, Cedotal recommends quail hunters visit Fort Polk WMA and Peason Ridge WMA. Both have a mix of habitat types, including long-leaf pine. However, because both are U.S. Army properties, be sure to research regulations before planning a hunt.
Sandy Hollow WMA is a good spot for quail and woodcock. Also, the Kisatchie National Forest (KNF) is one quail hunters should learn more about. 
“We currently are partnering with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative to develop and manage a Quail Emphasis Area [QEA] located within the Vernon Unit of Kisatchie National Forest in western Louisiana,” says Cedotal. “The area is approximately 6,000 acres in size. Within the KNF Vernon QEA we implement practices to improve habitat specifically for quail as well as conduct standardized population monitoring each year.”
Though bird numbers are down in the Pelican State, the quail are still out there, and there’s enough public land to keep hunters in birds. Cedotal’s best advice: “Scout for areas of good habitat, check regulations, be persistent and manage expectations.”
 

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