Missouri Quail Hunting Forecast 2017

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Missouri’s late quail broods may provide some good hunting

Dave Hoover, small game coordinator for the Missouri Department of Conservation, anticipates quail numbers for the upcoming season in Missouri will be – at best – on par with last year.

“Northern Missouri was dry during the early portion of the nesting season with several June reports of broods in areas with good habitat. Torrential rains in northwest and north-central Missouri in early July, however, likely will result in many later-than-normal hatches,” Hoover says. 

“Southern Missouri was hit hard with flooding rains during the early portions of the nesting seasons,” he adds, “with documented losses of adult birds. Since mid-June, however, the weather has been better with several reports of August and early September broods.”

According to results from summer brood surveys, quail numbers are up this year in northwest and north-central Missouri (west of Highway 63 and north of Interstate 70) compared with last year. “This portion of the state was up approximately 140 percent over 2016 and 60 percent over the 10-year average,” Hoover says. “Quail numbers were down across nearly all of southern Missouri, likely resulting from the heavy flooding during early portions of the nesting season.”

Hoover predicts the best hunting opportunities will be found in northwest, northeast and west-central Missouri. He offers hunters the following tips:

• Reports of late broods are coming in from northeast and west-central Missouri, Hoover says. If mild weather persists during the fall, “local quail populations in areas of good habitat could receive a welcome late boost,” he says.

• There must be good habitat if hunters expect to find good quail numbers.
 

MISSOURI HUNTING TIPS

* From a habitat perspective, the key in Missouri is to locate areas with good woody (shrubby) cover, grass and an abundance of forbs (weeds). If the grass is so thick it’s hard to walk through, or so short as to preclude hiding a softball, hunters likely won’t find quail. 

* Other good habitat includes well-managed grasslands, including CRP or pastures with a good distribution of shrubby or low-growing tree cover, and crop fields with native grass borders and/or draws with shrubby cover.

* “Hunt the cover slowly and quietly – especially on public lands – as quail are as likely to run and/or flush early as they are to hold for your dogs,” Hoover says.
 

LINKS

Missouri Quail Page

Quail Management in Missouri

Missouri Quail Season

Missouri Quail Emphasis Areas

Missouri Quail Hunting Areas