Summer Quail Report: Texas

bb1da2b4-eacb-4496-bef3-ce0984b0cf00 By Chad Love - Editor, Quail Forever
 

Overall Weather

"The Rolling Plains, South Texas and the Coastal Sand Plain are the regions where the bulk of hunting occurs but there are usually productive areas in parts of the Gulf Coastal Prairies as well. This past winter was exceptionally dry across all of these areas especially in the Rolling Plains where some places went without any precipitation for 100 consecutive days,” says Robert Perez, upland game bird program leader for Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. 

“Unfortunately, these conditions can reduce the availability of foods like winter greens which are needed to get quail into breeding condition. Spring was also dry over much of these areas with few exceptions. Fortunately, quail are opportunistic when it comes to the breeding/nesting season and can take advantage of the rains even if they come late like they did this summer.”
 

Habitat and Prospects by Region

ROLLING PLAINS

Perez says field reports from the Rolling Plains are mixed primarily due to differences in the amount of rainfall received in June and July.

"The first broods reported contained few young, which indicate limited success," says Perez. "Later broods have been larger and more common in areas that caught more rain. The northeast panhandle is one of these spots and is really looking good. The general area around Abilene also looks good. In contrast, the central panhandle from Paducah to west of Lubbock has been drier than most other areas and reproduction is expected to be limited. Scouting ahead will definitely pay off this season. There will likely be some good hunting opportunities where good habitat and rainfall overlap. The region as whole is looking like an average to slightly below average year. Just depends on how well these late summer broods hold on."
 
SOUTH TEXAS

Similar to Rolling Plains, reports from south Texas vary widely depending on where you’re standing.
"The northeast portion of south Texas including and just south of Hondo, Sabinal, and Knippa looks great," says Perez. "Rainfall was more frequent and spread out across the summer resulting in excellent habitat conditions. Reports are of good-sized broods and multiple age classes. The least amount of production reported includes most of the western half of south Texas where late summer rains were not enough to offset July high temperatures. Few broods have been reported although there are some exceptions.  The Coastal Sand plain is nestled within the region and has once again fared better than areas further from the coast. This region is known for some of the best quail hunting and reports from land managers suggest an average year."

GULF COAST

In the Gulf Coastal Prairies region, Perez says although the amount of native prairie that remains is relatively small, it’s not uncommon to find some hot spots, especially around Goliad, Refugio, and Victoria area.

"Unlike the other regions, too much summer rain can be a problem on the coast where flooding can destroy nests and lower chick survival," says Perez. "Late June/early July rains may have hurt some nesting activity but it’s still early enough in the season that there is time to re-nest and pull off a late hatch. Look for areas of native prairie interspersed with with woody cover."