By Oliver Hartner
Dwindling habitat in North Carolina continues to present problems for their bobwhite quail populations. Populations remain low this year especially in western parts of the state. However, there are glimmers of hope in southeastern corners where intense land management practices and continued work by Quail Forever volunteers helps stabilize populations in this region of the state.
WEATHER AND HABITAT
North Carolina quail are still in steep decline regardless of good or bad weather patterns. More detrimental to quail than any particular weather patterns seems to be habitat loss. Christopher Kreh, Upland Gamebird Biologist for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commissions, says, “Anecdotal reports have indicated modest to average reproduction, but we really don’t get a lot of reports for quail. We don’t do any quail-specific surveys or track annual changes, but information about the bobwhite in North Carolina can be found at https://www.ncwildlife.org/Learning/Species/Birds/Bobwhite-Quail
In places where habitat is being managed in southeastern parts of the state, there are still opportunities for quail hunters in North Carolina. Kreh says, “Best quail populations are in the coastal plain, especially in areas that have a mix of active forestry and agriculture. Southeastern NC, where longleaf pine stands are more common, is likely a hunter’s best bet. Hunters may want to consider special permit quail hunting opportunities on Murphy-Brown Corporate and Voice of America Game Lands."
Details about applying for permits can be found at https://www.ncwildlife.org/Licensing/Permit-Hunting-Opportunities
. Deadline for application is October 1st each year.