Texas Bobwhite Quail Forecast
2019-20


Perspective

Statewide surveys were initiated in 1978 to monitor quail populations — Historical survey data, 1978 to 2019. This index uses randomly selected, 20-mile roadside survey lines to determine annual quail population trends by ecological region. Comparisons can be made between the mean (average) number of quail seen per route this year and the 15-year mean for each ecological region. The following table shows the annual mean number of Bobwhite Quail observed per route by ecological region from 2005 to 2019.

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Bobwhite Quail 15-Year Trend Data

Bobwhite Quail 15-Year Trend Data
Year Cross Timbers Edwards Plateau Gulf Prairies High Plains Rolling Plains South Texas Plains
2005 3.97 3.50 3.56 16.67 37.37 8.87
2006 2.57 0.87 4.00 5.71 13.98 3.10
2007 2.74 1.07 3.56 6.22 21.05 7.03
2008 3.32 0.57 9.67 1.63 18.53 6.58
2009 1.11 0.75 5.67 3.44 6.64 4.87
2010 0.74 1.94 4.56 2.43 8.02 8.42
2011 2.06 1.06 19.44 1.78 5.32 8.03
2012 0.23 5.13 8.00 0.11 3.48 7.74
2013 0.60 1.13 10.78 0.78 2.80 6.13
2014 1.34 4.81 19.90 5.89 7.52 13.77
2015 1.06 6.44 14.90 15.00 38.84 24.55
2016 6.14 11.67 4.60 33.22 52.52 13.97
2017 4.03 4.17 7.30 9.22 23.16 10.16
2018 0.17 0.83 1.30 9.22 3.66 5.06
2019 0.40 0.94 2.33 4.11 5.34 13.77
Long Term Mean 2.03 2.99 7.97 7.70 16.55 9.47

Bobwhite Quail Survey Data in Major Ecological Regions

Rolling Plains

This region has received favorable weather conditions since late winter through early July. Field reports indicate a very active rooster calling period in the spring and pairs spotted throughout the summer. There have been fewer reports of broods than expected but this may be linked to dense vegetation. The habitat in the Rolling Plains region as a whole looks great with plenty of nesting and brooding cover. Plants like doveweed (Croton spp.) and ragweed are plentiful and provide chicks with the protein-packed insects they need. Very hot and dry conditions that began in July likely put a damper on any late nesting attempts.

The average number of bobwhites seen per route was 5.3 compared to 3.7 last year. This is a well below the 15-year mean of 16.5. Dense roadside vegetation and higher temperatures likely resulted in a survey “underestimate”. Public hunting opportunities can be found at the Gene Howe and the Matador Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) where staff are predicting bobwhite numbers to at least rebound to their long term average. As always, scouting ahead is a good strategy to ensure a good experience. Overall, the Rolling Plains has the potential to have an average year. And an average year in Texas is better than just about anywhere else in the country.

Rolling Plains Bobwhite Quail chart
Line graph illustration of the TPWD quail roadside survey results for the Rolling Plains Ecoregion from 2005 to 2019. The mean (average) number of bobwhite quail seen per route for each year is represented by the black line. The 15-year mean (average) is represented by the blue line.

Scaled Quail in the Trans-Pecos

Bobwhite and Scaled Quail in the South Texas Plains

Bobwhite and Scaled Quail in the Edwards Plateau Bobwhite and Scaled Quail in the Edwards Plateau

Bobwhite Quail in the Cross Timbers

Bobwhite and Scaled Quail in the Rolling Plains

Bobwhite Quail in the Gulf Prairies and Marshes

Bobwhite and Scaled Quail in the High Plains

Bobwhite and Scaled Quail in the High Plains
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