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. 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 scaled quail seen per route by ecological region from 2005 to 2019.
Scaled Quail 15-Year Trend Data
|Year||Edwards Plateau||High Plains||Rolling Plains||South Texas Plains||Trans-Pecos|
Scaled Quail Survey Data in Major Ecological Regions
It’s well known that bobwhite and scaled quail populations in Texas can shift dramatically from year to the next. These shifts are largely driven by habitat and weather. First and foremost, quail need suitable habitat to persist through good times and bad. Large, contiguous acreages of habitat offer the greatest protection against local populations blinking out. Secondly, weather conditions over the past year impact: how many adults survive to the breeding season, when pairing begins, how many nesting attempts are successful and how many chicks survive to the Fall.
With few exceptions, last quail season was not very productive. This translates to fewer adults available to breed compared to better times. Even so, quail have an uncanny ability to quickly bounce back when conditions are good. This past spring a weak El Nino weather pattern formed and has continued into early July. For most of the scaled quail range in Texas, this has translated to average to above-average rainfall and below average temperatures. Land managers and staff observations suggest an average to slightly above average scaled quail season for most of the Trans Pecos region. The High Plains region looks better in areas above Interstate 40 where more rainfall was received.
The average number of scaled quail seen per route in the Trans Pecos was 25.5 compared to 10.9 last year. This above the 15-year mean of 19.6 and is predictive of an above average year in the Trans Pecos. Public hunter opportunities can be found at Elephant Mountain and Black Gap Wildlife Management Areas.
Search for quail hunting opportunities on public and leased land with an Annual Public Hunting Permit.
Line graph illustration of the TPWD quail roadside survey results for the Edwards Plateau Ecoregion from 2005 to 2019. The mean (average) number of scaled quail seen per route for each year is represented by the black line. The 15-year mean (average) is represented by the blue line.