Texas Quail Forecast
Statewide surveys were initiated in 1978 to monitor quail populations. This index uses randomly selected, 20-mile roadside survey lines to determine annual quail population trends by ecological region. In 2004 biologists began to record quail heard in addition to quail observed. Comparisons can be made between the mean (average) number of quail observed and heard per route this year and the 15-year mean for each ecological region. The quail survey was not designed to predict relative abundance for any area smaller than the ecological region.
Texas is one of only a few Western states that supports huntable populations of bobwhite quail. Other species that can be hunted include scaled (blue) and to a lesser extent Gambel’s quail. Quail populations can widely fluctuate from one season to the next. The primary drivers for these annual variations are weather and habitat. Weather plays a key role in the annual boom-bust cycle in these semi-arid regions where two to three consecutive years of favorable conditions usually results in a boom year. The winter, spring and summer weather patterns preceding the hunting season can have a big influence on the summer hatch. 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 these areas especially in the Rolling Plains where some places went without any precipitation for 100 consecutive days. 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.
Search for quail hunting opportunities on public & leased land with an Annual Public Hunting Permit.
Quail Survey Data in Major Ecological Regions
For quail survey data and information on a region, click its name in the list below.
Map of Gould Ecological Regions
List of Gould Ecological Regions
- Gulf Prairies and Marshes (Bobwhite Quail)
- Post Oak Savanna
- Blackland Prairies
- Cross Timbers and Prairies (Bobwhite Quail)
- South Texas Plains (Scaled Quail, Bobwhite Quail)
- Edwards Plateau (Scaled Quail, Bobwhite Quail)
- Rolling Plains (Scaled Quail, Bobwhite Quail)
- High Plains (Scaled Quail, Bobwhite Quail)
- Trans Pecos, Mountains and Basins (Scaled Quail)