Summer Quail Report: Oklahoma

ef0d26eb-5983-4cc8-be29-e9091a53ace9 By Chad Love, Editor - Quail Forever
 

Weather

The Sooner State started off spring in a bit of a precipitation hole, according to Allan Janus, research and GIS Supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “Anecdotally, we also had one of the lowest tornado seasons this state has experienced,” says Janus. “While no tornado's is a good thing, it can also be extrapolated to not getting rain during a crucial time in April and May. However, rains did come in June to the panhandle, and we are faring a bit better. It’s a little early, as nesting seemed to get going in late June, but we should have quail chicks hitting the ground shortly or have just recently hatched.
  

Habitat

Janus says habitat looks to be in line with past years. However, northwest Oklahoma has experienced some large, destructive wildfires in the past few years, and  this year was no exception.  
“While property damage is unfortunate,” says Janus. “If there’s a silver lining, it’s that many areas that were infested with eastern redcedar burned,  and a lot of quail habitat was created in its place. If we can work with landowners to manage those areas, we can see some significant gains for grassland birds, while also lessening the risk of future fires.”
  

Programs

“In Oklahoma we are entering the second year of our version of a private land program that opens the land to public hunting, we call it OLAP,” says Janus. “We are excited to sign up more landowners, while also creating more areas open to hunting.  Last year, I went around for opening quail with my son hunting those areas north of Stillwater, and I saw numerous other families taking advantage as well.  I think this is a great opportunity to promote hunting in areas where we haven’t always had places to go, and make it about family, which is how many of us started.”
  

Prospects

“Again, we came into this year in a bit of a hole in regard to precipitation, so some areas that didn't get rain are still waiting. However, the panhandle, has gotten rain and that area rivals, or is among, the best areas in the US for quail when it is good. Also, we haven't had many, if any, hot days over 100 degrees, which also is a positive,” says Janus. “If we can get some more rain, stay below 100 and get grasshoppers and other insects in abundance for those quail chicks, we might be in shape for a season that is better than last year and may be the type of year that leads to an even better year the following year."