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Strong quail season forecast

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  • Strong quail season forecast
    COURTESY PHOTO A hunting dog that helps flush coveys of quail out of wooded areas is pictured after a hunt alongside two quail that had been downed. Quail season in Texas started on Saturday, Oct. 26, and is expected to be a good

Quail hunting season started Saturday, Oct. 26, statewide, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wildlife biologists expect average-to-above-average prospects for hunters this year across most of the state.

“Habitat and weather can cause dramatic shifts in bobwhite and scaled quail populations from one year to the next,” said Robert Perez, quail program leader for TPWD.

“Although last year’s quail season was not very productive, quail have an uncanny ability to quickly bounce back when conditions are good. Thanks to favorable weather conditions earlier this year, hunters can look forward to productive quail hunting across most of the state this season,” Perez said.

For the core quail range in Texas, this year’s El Nino weather pattern translated to above average rainfall and below average temperatures, resulting in an above average bobwhite quail season outlook in most of South Texas, average-to-slightly-above-average scaled quail season for the Trans Pecos region and good prospects for scaled quail and bobwhite in the Panhandle above Interstate 40.

“Favorable weather conditions spurred calling and pair formation in the majority of South Texas counties, and land manager and staff reports suggest an average-to-above-average season,” Perez said. “Scaled quail in the Trans Pecos also look better than average, so it’s a good year to put on some tennis shoes and chase this elusive game bird.”

Quail hunting season runs through Feb. 23.

Quail are found on land that has a combination of open land and woody cover. Fields that have diverse vegetation, such as annual weeds with native grasses that provide quail with the seeds they feed upon, are likely locations for the birds to inhabit.

Officials said over the past few decades there has been a decline in the habitat and in the quail population. Fortunately, hunting ranches surrounding Bandera offer quail hunting excursions and guided quail hunts.

The daily bag limit for quail is 15, with 45 in possession. Legal shooting hours for all non-migratory game birds are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. The bag limit is the maximum number that may be killed during the legal shooting hours in one day.

Hunters who want the convenience of purchasing a license online can do so securely from the official parks department’s license site.

Access it directly from the department’s website at www.txfgsales.com.

Hunters can also purchase a license in person at sporting goods stores and other retailers or by calling the TPWD License Section at 1-800-895-4248.