Oklahoma Quail Hunting Forecast 2020

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When it comes to quail hunting, the Sooner State is a bit of a sleeper, but Oklahoma has long been a destination for quail hunters in the know. With a number of quality public hunting areas combined with a new and popular walk-in hunting program that has opened up even more access, Oklahoma’s quail hunting opportunities are on the rise.
While drought affected some portions of the state, a mild winter and an uptick in brood reports this spring and summer give hope for another good season.


Oklahoma had a pretty mild winter in 2019-2020, with limited snowfall and shorter periods below freezing than normal,” says Tell Judkins, upland game biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “As a result, bird numbers appeared to hold steady coming out of winter.”
However, that mild winter was negated somewhat by droughty spring conditions across some of the better quail regions in the state.
“This spring at the beginning of the nesting season we saw drought in the northwest portion of the state,” reports Judkins. “As the nesting season moved forward we saw that drought shift to the southwest part of the state. Central and eastern Oklahoma appear to have had a pretty decent spring and summer, weather-wise.”


Going into fall, Judkins thinks the state is comparable to where it was last year, habitat-wise. One of the problems, however, with predicting habitat conditions in a state as varied as Oklahoma is the sheer number of different habitats where quail are found within the state borders.
“Quail are found statewide in Oklahoma, which includes more than 10 different ecoregions,” explains Judkins. “Each region in the state has its own habitat concerns, but generally speaking most habitats in Oklahoma could use invasive woody plant management to improve grass/forb biodiversity. That being said, this year most of the state looks equal to or better than last year habitat-wise. The southwest region is a little worse due to drought, and there are areas in the northwest that were also negatively impacted by drought.”
As for quail numbers, Judkins says he’s getting many more brood reports this year from across the state than he did last year.
“Oklahoma State and ODWC also created a Brood Survey App,” explains Judkins, “and this year we had quite a few more quail brood reports than last year come in via the app as well.”
Regionally speaking, says Judkins, the north-central and southeast regions were up over 2019, all other regions appear to be down in the August Surveys.
“But keep in mind that August surveys don't always reflect what we see in October or what we see once the season starts,” says Judkins. “I am still optimistic for the October surveys; I expect to see higher numbers in most regions of the state over 2019.” 


“Quail hunting in Oklahoma is a broad statement,” says judkins. “Quail are generally found in most counties. Northwestern parts of the state are well known for good quail hunting, areas such as Cooper, Beaver River, and Cimarron Hills WMAs, but southeastern WMAs like Three Rivers can provide a decent opportunity for a challenging hunt in the difficult terrain of the pine forests.” 


“The main tip I would provide is to enjoy yourself. Oklahoma is full of unique landscapes and history. Quail can be pretty sneaky, especially late in the season, so work some ground, trust your dog, and make a memory. Enjoy the Oklahoma Outdoors!”


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