Big quail season set for Oklahoma

STILLWATER – A mild summer and plenty of rain in the spring and summer is the recipe for a successful quail hunting season in Oklahoma.

The statewide population of quail for the 2015-2016 season was the highest it had been in a decade, and it just got better. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation conducted its annual roadside surveys in August and October, revealing the state’s quail population has increased for the fourth consecutive breeding season. The population is up nearly 40 percent from last year and almost 45 percent over the historical average.

“The amount of quail in the state is a good sign for hunters looking to hit the fields this weekend,” said Dwayne Elmore, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension wildlife specialist. “It’s good to see the quail make such a strong comeback after struggling through the drought several years ago.”

The 2016-2017 Oklahoma quail hunting season opened Nov. 12 and runs through Feb. 15, 2017.

“The numbers we have this fall are as high as Oklahoma has seen for at least 10 years,” Elmore said. “The ODWC surveys found more than 8 birds per 20 miles along the routes, which is up from 5.9 birds just last year.”

Since 1990, the ODWC has surveyed for quail by driving 20-mile survey routes to cover a total of 3,340 miles in August and October. The state is divided into regions, for survey purposes, which showed a significantly higher density of birds in the western two regions of the state. “While the numbers are way up for the western half of the state, hunters throughout Oklahoma should experience more favorable success than in years past assuming there is adequate habitat,” Elmore said.