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 2006 to 2020.
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
Texas quail live “on the edge”. On the edge of feast or famine. Texas is such a big state, there can be a quail boom in one area and a quail bust not too far down the road. The number of birds you start with in February (population density), the amount and timing of rainfall received, and the amount of suitable habitat available through time and space are the three key factors driving quail populations.
While scaled quail numbers fell from last year, there appears to have been enough breeding stock and nesting to provide optimism for an average season. Fair conditions coming out of winter allowed scaled quail to nest early. Despite rains abruptly shutting off in mid-May, many hens were able to put chicks on the ground.
The average number of scaled quail seen per route in the Trans Pecos was 14.1 compared to 25.5 last year. This is below the 15-year mean of 18.2 and is predictive of a slightly below average year in the Trans Pecos. Public hunter opportunities can be found at Elephant Mountain and Black Gap Wildlife Management Areas. Staff predict slightly below average conditions at Elephant Mountain WMA but there is more hope for Black Gap WMA where summer rainfall has resulted in more broods.
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 2006 to 2020. 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.