Mississippi Quail Hunting Forecast 2017

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Mississippi quail need more habitat, but hard-working hunters should find some birds

“Our summer turned out to be very wet, and temperatures stayed reasonably mild,” says Rick Hamrick, habitat/small game biologist for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. “Vegetation condition has been very good, even into the late summer. Consequently, insect and other arthropod populations should have been e abundant and, provided they were accessible, this should have been good for nesting hens and chicks.”

“Earlier, I was concerned we might have had too much rain,” he continues, “but there have been good reports of brood sightings during the summer, so I am optimistic that the hatch has been pretty good. However, that optimism is moderated somewhat in that large-scale habitat suitability still remains a limiting factor for significant population growth.”

Hamrick hasn’t yet updated the population trends for the state’s wildlife management areas with upland habitat potential – the state conducts bobwhite whistle counts on selected WMAs during June – but early reports suggest things may be looking good.

“All in all, the call count trend remains fairly stable for areas where we have several consecutive years of data for comparison,” he says. “A good summer of production could boost local populations heading into fall and the hunting season.”


FINDING MISSISSIPPI QUAIL

The southeast part of Mississippi should offer the best options for public-land hunters looking for suitable quail habitat. There’s an abundance of national forest land and some state wildlife management areas. Hunters also will find quail in the northeastern and northwestern parts of the state where they can find suitable patches of cover, Hamrick says.


MISSISSIPPI QUAIL HUNTING TIPS

“Our season is open from Thanksgiving Day to the first Saturday in March,” says Hamrick. “Most quail hunters in Mississippi tend to hunt more in the later part of the season. Many years, the first few weeks of the season are still relatively warm.”

“Hunters will have to cover a lot of ground to find birds,” says Hamrick. “In forested areas, look for areas that have a grassy ground layer (particularly areas that recently have undergone prescribed burning). Birds may feed in these areas early and late in the day and move back to thicker cover. Don’t overlook working around areas where small acorns are available.”

“By January and February, birds tend to stay close to thicker, heavier brush cover as vegetation breaks down,” Hamrick says.
 

LINKS

Mississippi Quail Page

Mississippi Public Land Quail Hunting