Statewide surveys were initiated in 1978 to monitor quail populations — Historical survey data, 1978 to 2020. 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 2006 to 2020.
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Bobwhite Quail 15-Year Trend Data
|Year||Cross Timbers||Edwards Plateau||Gulf Prairies||High Plains||Rolling Plains||South Texas Plains|
*Gulf Prairies 2013 data correction: In an effort to improve internal efficiency and communication, TPWD migrated to a new quail survey database in 2020. At this time, all data were reviewed for accuracy. In the course of this review, 2 errors were found in the 2013 Northern Bobwhite quail count dataset. As a result of correcting these errors, the mean number of quail per route in the Gulf Prairies changed from 10.78 (incorrect) to 9.70 (correct) in 2013. To date, this is the only error we have identified.
Bobwhite Quail Survey Data in Major Ecological Regions
This region experienced good weather conditions from late winter through early spring. Staff reported frequent calling activity early on but relatively few broods. By mid-summer temperatures had consistently pushed over 100 degrees and most nesting activity was curtailed. With low breeding stock from last year and a shortened nesting season this year, bobwhites in the Rolling Plains were never able to gain momentum in 2020. While there are reports of ranches and counties primed to run dogs and see covey rises, most of the Rolling Plains will again experience below average hunting conditions.
The average number of bobwhites seen per route was 3.25 compared to 5.3 last year. This is well below the 15-year mean of 14.3. Public hunting opportunities can be found at the Gene Howe and the Matador Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) where staff are reporting some late season breeding resulting from timely rainfall. We expect these WMAs to provide average public hunting opportunities. As always, scouting ahead is a good strategy to ensure a good experience.
Line graph illustration of the TPWD quail roadside survey results for the Rolling Plains Ecoregion from 2006 to 2020. 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.