Quail season has opened across the state with a bang. Bird populations are up in most of the state, and hunters enjoyed some good weather and quality dog work opening weekend.
"While involvement in deer black powder season and rainfall has limited quail hunting participation thus far, reports from those participating have ranged from fair to very good," said Mike Sams, upland game biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "The general consensus is that bird populations are better than they have been in a couple of years and most hunters are seeing good numbers of coveys."
It does not appear that the late-summer drought is going to hurt the hunting this fall. The habitat looks in reasonably good shape and recent weather systems have improved the chances of finding birds.
"Although we've experience a number of rainy days so far, the weather is definitely better than it was for the opening of last years season. Subsequently, hunters have reported good dog work and for the most part birds are holding well," Sams said.
Regional hunting appears as follows: NORTHWEST - Hunting has been good. "Moderate winds and good moisture during the opening weekend resulted in good dog work," said Dave Kirk, District 8 chief of law enforcement for the Department. "Most hunters are reporting good numbers of coveys and good numbers of bird in each coveys. I am expecting a pretty good season" SOUTHWEST - Hunting success is fair to good. Dog work and bird response varies with weather conditions. "Numbers of birds appear better than we've seen in several years and the season looks encouraging," said Rod Smith, southwest region wildlife supervisor. Hot, dry weather during the summer and different land management practices have resulted in a variety of ground cover conditions throughout the region.
SOUTHCENTRAL - Summer weather negatively affected habitat conditions over much of the southern portions of the region. "Ideal hunting conditions have been hampered by rainfall during the first week of the season," said John Herd, central region wildlife supervisor. "Yet bird numbers still appear higher than what we've seen the previous two seasons."
NORTHCENTRAL - Bird populations are up from last year in this part of the state, said John Herd. Despite a summer drought, habitat conditions remain in fair to good shape from our above average spring precipitation.
SOUTHEAST - Bird numbers seem to be about the same as last year, said Dave Robertson, lands biologist. Good quail hunting in the region is spotty due to substantial losses of quail habitat. Hunter participation has been low and hunters are reporting success as poor to fair.
NORTHEAST - Bird numbers appear higher than they have been in a couple of years, said Craig Endicott, northeast region wildlife supervisor. Hunting during the first week of the season has been hampered by the wet conditions.