Biologists for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation are not for sure what to expect going into the upcoming quail season. One thing is for sure, weather will be the key.
"Reports indicate good production across the state early in the year due to mild temperatures and above average rainfall," said Mike Sams, upland game biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "Our roadside surveys indicate numbers are up as well."
The roadside surveys are run by Department biologists every year during August and October. They consist of 20-mile routes, and give biologists an index of quail abundance. There are 83 routes with at least one route in every county except for Tulsa and Oklahoma counties.
"The surveys are not meant to predict what quail season is going to be like. They just give us an idea of the year's production at that time,"
Sams said. "The August numbers were up in the west part of the state, while down slightly in the central and eastern regions. Department personnel and the general public have also reported numerous quail broods throughout most of the state, but it is still too early to tell.
"We had good weather during the early breeding season, but the recent drought may hurt the success of the second hatch. The second hatch usually occurs in early to mid September, and will effect overall numbers.
It often determines the difference between an excellent season and an average season," Sams said.
"We really won't know anything until we run the October surveys,"
Sams added. "We are trusting the drought is going to have a minimal impact and that bobwhite populations are going to be in good shape heading into this fall."