Texas – Hit or Miss for Texas Quail Hunters

Forecast: According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Division, “There was very limited production in the spring and summer of 2011 as Texas endured “Extraordinary” drought conditions. Many ranches opted not to hunt last season in hopes to aid recovery. The 2011 season was well below average in most regions with some new record lows in the survey. For these reasons the quail population was sparse heading into the breeding season. But most of the core Texas quail hunting regions did in fact receive rainfall in the spring of 2012 which resulted in a flush of new vegetation and insects. We received numerous field reports of calling males even in areas where quail were thought to be absent. Looking forward, climatologists report the beginning of an El Niño year that could mean a wet winter and spring. This scenario could significantly improve rangeland conditions and lead to greater quail densities.”

The Department continues, Bobwhite quail hunting can be hit or miss in Texas considering these birds exist here on the very western edge of their distribution in the U.S. There are still vast expanses of suitable bobwhite habitat in the rangelands of South Texas and in the Rolling Plains, where in some years over a hundred thousand hunters flock to pursue these wary game birds. Bobs are limited in these regions by rainfall, more specifically the lack thereof.

Rolling Plains: The average number of bobwhites observed per route was 3.52 compared to 5.32 last year. This is well below the LTM of 20.5 and is a new record low. Despite low counts, pockets of quail remain in areas with residual cover that received timely rainfall. Public hunting opportunities can be found at the Gene Howe Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) and at the Matador WMA.

South Plains: The average number of bobwhites observed per route was 7.9 compared to 8.0 last year. This is well below the LTM of 17.9 and is predictive of a below average hunting season. The Chaparral and the Daughtrey Wildlife Management Areas provide public quail hunting opportunities. Surveys indicate little change in population compared to last year and still below average across the region. The best opportunities will be on well managed sites with good nesting cover.

Trans-Pecos: The average number of scaled quail observed per route was identical to last year at 6.3 birds. This is below the LTM of 16.1. Public hunter opportunities can be found at Elephant Mountain and Black Gap Wildlife Management Areas

For more information see the full report HERE.

Season Dates: October 27, 2012 through February 24, 2013
Daily Bag Limit: 15
Possession Limit: 45
Field Notes: Texas' Annual Public Hunting Permit provides access to more than 1 million acres of public hunting lands. Additionally, permit holders may take children under age 17 hunting free of charge on these public hunting lands, thereby making them aware of the need for proper management of wildlife resources and introducing them to the sport hunting ethic.

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