Ohio Quail Hunting Forecast 2020

8be0aaad-631b-4420-80d3-7377c8428a48 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! 

While bobwhite quail in the Buckeye State continue to decline, there are some bright spots, habitat-wise, thanks in part to the efforts of dedicated Quail Forever volunteers and staff and the implementation of regional Quail Focus Areas.

According to Nathan Stricker, a wildlife biologist with the Ohio Division of Wildlife, the population of bobwhite quail in the Buckeye State is estimated to be around 10,000 birds. While those numbers may seem small, the season is still open in the southern part of the state. 


"Ohio had a relatively mild winter," says Stricker. "However, research in the last decade has shown that even during mild winter years quail survival is not good. Populations continue to decline because of habitat loss and low winter survival, but the rate of decline is slower than in a bad winter year."
Poor spring nesting conditions, however, negated whatever small break the mild winter gave Ohio’s bobwhites.
“Ohio’s spring was cold and wet, which does not bode well for quail and pheasant reproduction,” says Stricker.


Stricker says the remaining upland habitat in Ohio is dwindling each year. However, Quail Forever is actively engaged in habitat work to reverse that trend, including programs such as the Fallsville Quail Heritage Area in southern Ohio. As for bird numbers this fall, Stricker says the whistle counts have declined from last year. 
“Ohio does a spring roadside whistle count, but counts have progressively lessened, and the most recent quail estimate in 2019 was that Ohio has about 10,000 quail,” says Stricker.


Stricker says Ohio private-land quail populations are highly fragmented and generally difficult to find, so scouting is key.
“With the exception of two locations, quail hunting on public land is closed and only allowed on private lands during our 24-day season,” says Stricker. “The public land exceptions include Tri-Valley Wildlife Area in Muskingum County, which is the site of field dog trials, and Crown City Wildlife Area which is available only through controlled hunt lottery.”


Given the poor nesting success this year, Stricker suggests taking extra care when hunting Ohio quail this season.
“If you are fortunate enough to harvest wild quail from a covey private lands this season,” says Stricker, “consider leaving that covey alone for the rest of the season to give the population a chance to survive into the next year.”


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