Quail roadside survey shows populations up 21 percent
statewide over last year
It is still early, but all indications point to a good season for Oklahoma quail hunters. August roadside surveys conducted by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation show a statewide increase of 21 percent over the 2002 survey.
"The surveys don't necessarily predict what quail season is going to be like, but they do give us an idea of how productive the spring breeding season was for quail. The October counts should provide important information about this fall's quail population," said Mike Sams, upland bird biologist for the Department. “Although drought conditions persisted through out much of the early nesting season, June rains appeared to have slowed down any negative effects on reproduction."
The statewide quail index is up 37 percent from the previous 13 year average.
The August surveys showed increases in quail numbers over last year in all regions with the exception of the southeast region. The largest increases were observed in the south-central and southwest regions. Quail sighted in the southwestern, south-central, northwestern and north central regions exceeded the previous 13 year averages. The southeastern and northeastern regional survey numbers remain well below their 13 year averages.
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation biologists have conducted the roadside surveys during both August and October for the past 14 years. The surveys, which consist of 20-mile routes, give biologists an index of quail abundance. Observers count the number of quail seen to provide an index of quail abundance and reproductive success. There are 83 routes with at least one route in every county except for Tulsa and Oklahoma counties.
Running Nov. 8 - Feb.15, quail season is one of the most popular events in the state, drawing hunters from all over the nation to enjoy some of America's finest bird hunting. For more information about quail hunting, log onto www.wildlifedepartment.com.
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