Texas Quail Hunting Forecast 2020

3af78be3-8fde-48df-bd16-6745255bc6fc By Ted Gartner

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Trying to forecast quail numbers in Texas is a daunting task. While one 30,000-acre ranch might have received perfectly timed rains, their neighbor might not have gotten a drop. That’s life in the Lone Star State - while the surveys don’t look particularly encouraging, there are always localized bright spots.
 

Weather and Conditions

Overwinter conditions were good for the core bobwhite and scaled quail regions of Texas. Biologists saw no significant mortality events or shortage of food/cover. Things were shaping up nicely for Texas - and then summer arrived.
 

Habitat, Broods and Counts

“Come summer, things really dried up in the Rolling Plains region and production likely came to a halt,” says Robert Perez, quail program leader with the Texas Department of Wildlife and Parks. “Later in the summer, insects appeared to be less available for chicks. The region was already starting from behind, so it has been a hard hill to climb.”
 
But again, Perez stresses that isolated, pop-up thunderstorms providing some timely rainfall may offer some decent hunting opportunities in the Rolling Plains. South Texas may be the best bet for quail this season.
 
“There were at least three different significant rainfall events over the summer that should lead to some improved production and differing age classes of broods. We might even see some late hatches,” Perez says.
 
The average number of bobwhites seen per route in the Rolling Plains region was 3.25 compared to 5.3 last year. This is well below the 15-year mean of 14.3. On the South Texas Plans, the average number of bobwhites seen per route was 3.8 compared to 13.8 last year, with the 15-year mean being 9.1 birds.
 
For scaled quail, the average number seen per route in the Trans Pecos was 14.1 compared to 25.5 last year - and below the 15-year mean of 18.2 birds. Blue quail also inhabit portions of the Rolling Plains
 

Top Spots

Perez says the Chaparral and Daughtrey Wildlife Management Areas provide public quail hunting opportunities in South Texas. If possible, do a little advance scouting and make some phone calls to habitat managers. Because Texas is so predominantly privately-owned land, you may want to do some online research and find a guide.
 

Insider Tip

 
“Don’t be afraid to call a local chamber of commerce in areas you have an interest in going to. They may have some information or be able to introduce you to some people that  you might not find online,” Perez says.

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