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#2902792 - 08/10/12 11:36 AM Quail
chimneyman
4 Point


Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 177
Loc: blount co

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Just wanting to see what everyone.s opinion is on why they no longer exist. I have heard from TWRA and other experts that it;s habitat loss. BULL To show my age i remember when everyone had a couple Bird Dogs and it was possible to leave the house walking and kill a limit. Places i hunted 30-40 years ago still look the same today as they did then. I'm talking 5-600 acre farms planted in corn beans and briars. Catoosa and Chuck Swan used to have plenty of Birds never had to go that far though. The Habitat there sure hasn't changed and Birds can no longer hunted at Chuck Swan. In my opinion which is just that there has to be some disease or something that caused the birds to become sterile.There is plenty of good habitat left with zero birds With all the Deer hunters planting food plots etc there should be a covey in every plot ( i wish ) Whats your opinion Thanks
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#2902922 - 08/10/12 01:47 PM Re: Quail [Re: chimneyman]
JAD
4 Point


Registered: 07/04/02
Posts: 223
Loc: Murfreesboro,Tennessee

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I am certainly not an expert, but 40 years ago hawks and owls were routinely shot on sight (at least in some parts of the country). We also have coyotes now, but foxes were probably more plentiful back then. Just my guess.
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#2902965 - 08/10/12 02:33 PM Re: Quail [Re: JAD]
tellico28
Spike


Registered: 09/02/11
Posts: 62
Loc: blount

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I don't know if this is true or not, but I was told that a factor in low quail numbers is fire ants. Could be cause years back we always seemed to have quail on our property and now we don't. But we do have a lot of fire ants. It seems as soon as I think I have a mound killed out, another pops up.
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#2902985 - 08/10/12 02:51 PM Re: Quail [Re: tellico28]
turkeyhunter
6 Point


Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 921
Loc: collinwood tn

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same with turkeys in southern wayne co. they magically went from being everywhere to not very many. I agree about the hawk and owl idea. I had a hawk pick up my jake decoy last season.
There is a dove field near by. There are about 5 hawks out there dive bombing the doves daily. On my hunting lease last winter we had a cut over holding a large group of quail, morning noon and evening there was 3 or 4 hawks flying about 8 ft above cut over, they wiped them out. Hawks clean out game birds in a hurry.
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#2903000 - 08/10/12 03:06 PM Re: Quail [Re: turkeyhunter]
chimneyman
4 Point


Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 177
Loc: blount co

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Thanks for your replies. But there has always been Hawks and Owls and we had a lot of Birds. I can see Fire ants being a problem with just hatched birds but Georgia Texas etc had Fire ants and still had a lot of birds. I may be in left field but i think it's a fertilizer, Roundup or something fairly new that either killed the Birds or reduced hatch success. However our Grouse population in E Tn is about as bad as our Bird population which makes me think it may be a virus of some kind Bird Flu lol Thanks
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#2903275 - 08/10/12 07:59 PM Re: Quail [Re: chimneyman]
DntBrnDPig
8 Point


Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 2222
Loc: Cleveland, TN

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It's sad. I got a bird dog but have to pay ~$90 to get him on birds.
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#2903279 - 08/10/12 08:02 PM Re: Quail [Re: DntBrnDPig]
smstone22
16 Point


Registered: 01/11/04
Posts: 16928
Loc: Allardt, TN

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I wish I knew what the problem was so maybe it could be dealt with. I have one big covey that uses one of my properties and I try to help them out the best I can.
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#2903328 - 08/10/12 09:06 PM Re: Quail [Re: smstone22]
FOX FIRE
8 Point


Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1324
Loc: Mt. Eagle

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I remeber when I was a teenager (in the 80s) they were everywher, I could sit on the front porch & whistle them up, coveys could be heard all day long "talk'n" back & forth to each other.

As far as habitat changes thers been some but nothing major, with all the timber thats been logged out in the last few years ther should be plenty of new growth for them to hide in and open places for feeding & scratching in.

I think the predators have taken ther toll, hawks, foxes, coon, possum & now days coyotes, the predator population has exploded.
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#2904313 - 08/12/12 08:16 AM Re: Quail [Re: FOX FIRE]
blountcountyboy
8 Point


Registered: 03/30/03
Posts: 1374
Loc: Blount CountyTN ya know over n...

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No one traps any more and farmers want nice clean fence rows. Farm equipment that catches 95% of the crops doesn't help either. Coons and possums take a MAJOR toll on quail eggs and about any other ground nesting bird. Back in the 70's and 80's fur was still in and even thou by the 80's those animals were gaining in numbers they were still down enough to keep the quail numbers high. Grouse are a weird critter and have a 7 year high and low cycle. Google that for more information.
Fence rows that look nice to the human eye will not hold any type of wild life. The uglier, nastier, harder to get threw they are the more wild life they will attract.
The old combines were lucky to catch 75% of the grain that they harvested. I was at times worried about being accused of hunting over a baited field after some of these combines came through.
I have saw hawks catch quail from the air on more than once but, I don't believe that they caused much of a decrease in the quail population.

Something that I've saw as an increased trend is shooting out of complete coveys. People will get on a covey of 3-4 birds and simply wipe them out. Now, there are no breeding pairs left. Land is also becoming more fragmented and it's not as easy to chase birds all over creation. Birds aren't stupid and will move towards areas that aren't getting hunting pressure and that leaves more pressure on the fewer coveys that hunters can gain access to.

I gave up trying to quail and grouse hunt because of these issues. I could get out of high school and be on a covey of birds before it was supper time. I remember the 100+ bird covey that I kept to myself for years and only picked at them here and there not killing more than a couple before moving on. That covey stayed strong until a group of guys gained access to the property and killed dozens and dozens of birds hunting them every weekend relentlessly.
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#2904468 - 08/12/12 12:05 PM Re: Quail [Re: blountcountyboy]
FOX FIRE
8 Point


Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1324
Loc: Mt. Eagle

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Never gave the farm machinery a thought, I could see wher quail could benifit from that.

I miss get'n to listen to them in teh summer, I heard one lest year while fish'n & told my wife thats something you dont hear much anymore, she & my daughter didnt even know what it was, for me to hear it was nearly like a trip back in time.

Suppose the quail is in any better shape in different parts of the country ??
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When I was just a baby, my mama told me son, always be a good boy, dont ever play with guns.

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#2904567 - 08/12/12 01:47 PM Re: Quail [Re: FOX FIRE]
timberjack86
14 Point


Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 8153
Loc: Grundy county

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I was hunting this spring in bark camp barrens and there was quail everywhere. But I dont know how many will be left by fall. But they were whisteling and I could see them darting through the grass with my binos.
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#2905087 - 08/12/12 10:02 PM Re: Quail [Re: timberjack86]
DntBrnDPig
8 Point


Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 2222
Loc: Cleveland, TN

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I was working Bonnaroo, in Manchester Tennessee, a few years ago and had one waking me up every morning. It was music to my hears... the first day or two. But this dude would not stop. I wanted to go get my dog and take care of him.
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#2905571 - 08/13/12 12:37 PM Re: Quail [Re: DntBrnDPig]
tellico4x4
6 Point


Registered: 11/29/04
Posts: 939
Loc: Killen, AL

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We probably have 20-30 coveys on 3,500 acres, Just about every food plot now has a covey. For whatever reason, they have been on a steady increase at our place for the last 3 years. The population has increased enough that I even planted millet and other small seed for them this spring. I grew up bird hunting and it sure is nice to have them around again.
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#2905824 - 08/13/12 04:25 PM Re: Quail [Re: tellico4x4]
catman529
spiderboy
16 Point


Registered: 11/10/10
Posts: 17169
Loc: Franklin TN

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I know a covey in my neighborhood that is on HOA property and I would love to hunt them but that's out of the question since it's almost impossible without a shotgun... I have heard the bob-white call many times this spring/summer while fishing or working on bank access to fishing holes down there by the field where the covey lives.
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#2905961 - 08/13/12 06:39 PM Re: Quail [Re: catman529]
Kimberman
10 Point


Registered: 10/30/05
Posts: 3518
Loc: Knoxville

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Feral cats
Hawks
Fire ants
Coyotes
Loss of land


All of that stuff hurts quail.
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#2906018 - 08/13/12 07:28 PM Re: Quail [Re: Kimberman]
Diehard Hunter
CRAMP
12 Point


Registered: 08/01/08
Posts: 6904
Loc: East Tennessee

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There is one critter that has come on like gangbusters since fur prices dropped......raccoons. Raccoon numbers have been on the rise since the 80s. As a matter of fact, it was hard to find a decent coon population prior to the 80s. Now they are everywhere.

If you combine the lost of nesting cover like broom sedge, the improved efficiency of harvest machinery, the increase in predators, and the clean fence row/field edge mentality of farmers, it is no wonder quail numbers are down. They have been punched, kicked, starved and stabbed. It is a wonder we have any left.


Edited by Diehard Hunter (08/13/12 07:30 PM)
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#2906124 - 08/13/12 08:27 PM Re: Quail [Re: Diehard Hunter]
chimneyman
4 Point


Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 177
Loc: blount co

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It's true we have lost a lot of Habitat But where we still have good Habitat we don't have Birds One farm here in Blount Co owned by a long time Bird hunter (50 yrs plus) farmed with birds in mind leaving plenty of cover food etc has zero now where for years it had 6-8 coveys every year I guess i agree it;s probably a combination of several things i just wish i could let my Grandson walk into a covey flush behind a couple of good dogs
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#2907156 - 08/14/12 02:52 PM Re: Quail [Re: chimneyman]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19447
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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 Originally Posted By: chimneyman
. . . . opinion is on why they no longer exist.

IMO, the single biggest reason is FESCUE.
Some would say this falls under "habitat loss", but it's also a major food loss since the fescue has displaced so many once native plants that quail had evolved to thrive both living among and feeding upon. Not only do quail have little to eat with the invasion of fescue, but it's not good cover for them either.

Now add everything else previously mentioned to FESCUE, and it all adds up to very few quail compared to the pre-fescue days.

Perhaps no other plant has done so much harm to Tennessee wildlife as fescue.

 Originally Posted By: chimneyman
. . . But where we still have good Habitat we don't have Birds . . . .

I'd speculate the dominant grass in that otherwise good habitat is now fescue.

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#2907659 - 08/14/12 09:09 PM Re: Quail [Re: Wes Parrish]
Headhunter
10 Point


Registered: 11/14/00
Posts: 4005
Loc: LaVergne, TN USA

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House cats are one of the main enemies of quail. When I was younger I shot house cats on sight in the woods.

I believe farming techniques has something to do with it.

No doubt fescue does not help. If there was a quail population now like when I was in my late teen's early twenties, I would hunt them and almost nothing else. My nickname in high school was bird dog if that tells you anything.


Edited by Headhunter (08/14/12 09:10 PM)
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#2907920 - 08/15/12 06:55 AM Re: Quail [Re: Headhunter]
pressfit
10 Point


Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 3249
Loc: Giles Co. Tn

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I used to trap a bunch back in the 80's... listen to a bird hunter and us trappers were scum of the earth.. little did they know what a service we were doing to keep their bird population up.. when the fur price fell the quail numbers did also.. I havent seen one in giles county in a long long time... I never met a varmint that didnt love a nice mess of fresh quail eggs..
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#2907931 - 08/15/12 07:06 AM Re: Quail [Re: pressfit]
Headhunter
10 Point


Registered: 11/14/00
Posts: 4005
Loc: LaVergne, TN USA

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pressfit, I am one bird hunter that never said a bad word about a trapper and I have never heard any of the guys I hunted with say anything bad about trappers. Now we got upset with deer hunters, mainy because of them getting places and all quail hunting would end because they did not want their deer bothered.

Edited by Headhunter (08/15/12 07:08 AM)
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#2908808 - 08/15/12 06:48 PM Re: Quail [Re: Headhunter]
birddoginQ
4 Point


Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 171
Loc: Knox, TN

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I am a bird hunter and dog owner myself. I almost count myself lucky to have never known the "glory days". In fact, bird hunting to me is almost about going out and watching my dog run and most of the time finding nothing. I hunt, or hunted, with several guys who have quit and sold their dogs because of how it has become. But in walking the farms that they used to hunt, and hearing their stories, I understand why. But also in walking those farms it really is not hard to see why the birds where or werent there. The introduction of fescue to the farms for hay or grazing, massively overgrown fence rows that probably once held birds but now are inpenatrable, Blackberry thickets that have a foot of old canes on the ground that even a rabbit wouldnt walk across... the habitat has changed since those glory days. The places where the birds once were, they can no longer be. "Well they used to be all in this fence row when I was your age". Well 20 years ago I bet the overgrown fence row was a good place. But now it is to thick for birds to move through. Same thing with grandpas old corn field. For the several years after he quit planting it, it was great habbitat. But when Uncle Fred decided to plant it in fescue it got to thick to move through. The examples are endless.

Quail have certain very specific habitat needs that were once provided incedentally by farming practices and also the conversion of old fields and fence rows. That habitat has now been cleaned up, over grown, converted and parceled up. And each tract is different My favorite place is now a subdivision.

Imagine standing standing 8 inches tall and having two inch legs. Next time you look at "prime" habitat where bird "once" were, imagine moving through there at the height of a bird.
I am sure each tract is different and on some predators and pests may be a factor, in other parcel size may be. But by in large, habitat loss is the majority of the problem in most areas. Now a days I would say it takes work, management of some sort, to keep them around.
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#2909836 - 08/16/12 01:13 PM Re: Quail [Re: FOX FIRE]
AcornHead
4 Point


Registered: 11/29/01
Posts: 290
Loc: Oliver Springs, TN , Roane

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Fescue and cleared fence rows. They cant walk around in the fescue and cant nest in a clean fence row. They have lost their habitat to feed and nest.
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#2910240 - 08/16/12 05:42 PM Re: Quail [Re: AcornHead]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19447
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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I'm also thinking that quail highly prefer to nest in stands of broom sedge. While a little sedge can still be found, it seems to mostly be growing in fescue!
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#2910567 - 08/16/12 09:52 PM Re: Quail [Re: Wes Parrish]
Chaneylake
Brownsville Mafia
16 Point


Registered: 12/18/07
Posts: 16662
Loc: on the wings of a snow white d...

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from a common sense standpoint it has to be some factor besides habitat, I state this because Ames Plantation does not have that many quail
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#2910796 - 08/17/12 07:44 AM Re: Quail [Re: Chaneylake]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19447
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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 Originally Posted By: Chaneylake
from a common sense standpoint it has to be some factor besides habitat, I state this because Ames Plantation does not have that many quail

Oh, I totally agree, just saying I believe the single biggest factor is loss of habitat, particularly the displacement of native grasses with fescue. Moving beyond this factor, the next biggest factor might be more predators, particularly hawks. Obviously, Ames does not have the habitat problem, but they do have one heck of a predator problem, particularly with hawks.

I'd bet when Chaneylake was a boy there were relatively few hawks? Now they are sitting around everywhere in relatively large numbers.

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#2912963 - 08/19/12 03:17 PM Re: Quail [Re: Wes Parrish]
Chaneylake
Brownsville Mafia
16 Point


Registered: 12/18/07
Posts: 16662
Loc: on the wings of a snow white d...

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 Originally Posted By: Wes Parrish
 Originally Posted By: Chaneylake
from a common sense standpoint it has to be some factor besides habitat, I state this because Ames Plantation does not have that many quail

Oh, I totally agree, just saying I believe the single biggest factor is loss of habitat, particularly the displacement of native grasses with fescue. Moving beyond this factor, the next biggest factor might be more predators, particularly hawks. Obviously, Ames does not have the habitat problem, but they do have one heck of a predator problem, particularly with hawks.

I'd bet when Chaneylake was a boy there were relatively few hawks? Now they are sitting around everywhere in relatively large numbers.


good bet, back in the late 60's we would ride around on Sunday afternoons and shoot them with a 22-250. I have never been a bird hunter but the avid ones in my area will still kill a hawk
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Living somewhere between this world and the other, Legends of the Fall

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#2913016 - 08/19/12 04:35 PM Re: Quail [Re: Chaneylake]
chimneyman
4 Point


Registered: 06/30/11
Posts: 177
Loc: blount co

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I agree with Chaneylake Why i started this topic it has to be something other than Habitat although loss of Habitat has hurt for sure. But if there are no Birds at Ames or other WMA which are managed for wildlife Something sure did kill em. I'm sure Hawks will kill one if given an opportunity but in 50 years hunting i've never seen one catch one. I'm sure Coons, Skunks etc would love to eat a nest but i bet they would love a turkey hatch just as well and turkeys are doing great Thanks
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#2913444 - 08/19/12 09:30 PM Re: Quail [Re: chimneyman]
BowGirl
6 Point


Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 729
Loc: Tennessee

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We used to have alot of quail here. See very few anymore. The habitat here has actually improved significantly. I see the high predator population as a problem but the turkey population here is unbelievable.

Interesting topic for sure.

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#2913480 - 08/19/12 10:06 PM Re: Quail [Re: BowGirl]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19447
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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 Originally Posted By: BowGirl
We used to have alot of quail here. See very few anymore. The habitat here has actually improved significantly.
I "suspect" quail may need a much larger amount of contiguous good habitat to thrive over time, than has been previously believed (even without the obvious increase in hawks and other predators). We had much more of this contiguous good habitat prior to the 1960's. Yet, even a place like Ames which has it today, quail are not thriving like they did prior to the 60's. The situation today at Ames alludes to predators being a bigger problem on quail populations than in times past.

In a sense, turkeys are kinda like just big quail, but they seem to have a much greater range (making them less vulnerable to localized habitat problems), and they're large enough to more easily escape many of the predators that can easily take adult quail.

Unlike most other birds, quail live and die a natural life in very close proximity to where they're hatched. If anything goes wrong, all the quail in an area can die off (or be killed), and there are none going to migrate down with the next cold snap up North.

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#2914053 - 08/20/12 02:15 PM Re: Quail [Re: Wes Parrish]
BowGirl
6 Point


Registered: 07/20/09
Posts: 729
Loc: Tennessee

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 Originally Posted By: Wes Parrish
 Originally Posted By: BowGirl
We used to have alot of quail here. See very few anymore. The habitat here has actually improved significantly.
I "suspect" quail may need a much larger amount of contiguous good habitat to thrive over time, than has been previously believed (even without the obvious increase in hawks and other predators). We had much more of this contiguous good habitat prior to the 1960's. Yet, even a place like Ames which has it today, quail are not thriving like they did prior to the 60's. The situation today at Ames alludes to predators being a bigger problem on quail populations than in times past.

In a sense, turkeys are kinda like just big quail, but they seem to have a much greater range (making them less vulnerable to localized habitat problems), and they're large enough to more easily escape many of the predators that can easily take adult quail.

Unlike most other birds, quail live and die a natural life in very close proximity to where they're hatched. If anything goes wrong, all the quail in an area can die off (or be killed), and there are none going to migrate down with the next cold snap up North.

Great stuff Wes, thanks for the info. That clears it up some. I know the predator population is extremely high here as well. I need to thin some coons, feral cats and possums. I bet that's the biggest problem here.

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#2914280 - 08/20/12 06:14 PM Re: Quail [Re: BowGirl]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19447
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

Offline
I do think coons are breaking up more quail nests than in times past. Just seems on all fronts, quail have a lot more going against their surviving. My grandfather was a big bird hunter back in the 30's, 40's, 50's, and into the early 60's. Another thing they didn't have back then (where there were a lot of quail in West TN) was skunks. There simply were no skunks, and skunks are also known to love quail eggs and break up many nests today.

There were also no coyotes, although I don't think the coyotes themselves are as much a factor as some of the others. There were foxes, and the coyotes tended to displace much of the fox, so we now have coyotes eating quail instead of foxes eating quail.

Not sure if I've previously mentioned this, but I am seeing quail making somewhat of a native comeback on some of the large timber-tract holdings in Middle TN where there is very diverse habitat that includes lots of clear-cuts. One thing in particular many of these areas do not have is, guess what, fescue. There are thousands of acres in many tracts essentially void of fescue. Interestingly, when these tracts were more mature forest, even back in the 50's, they were almost void of quail except for the farmlands surrounding them. Now, the surrounding farmlands (fescue and all) are almost void of quail. Much of what little hope I see in TN having some ongoing quail populations is coming from those large clear-cuts in the middle of what was more recently mature forests.

IMO, fescue remains the worst thing going for Tennessee's wildlife, particularly quail.

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