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Quail

Uncle Jesse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2011
Messages
678
Location
Estill Springs
Anybody hearing any quail? Quail would come up in the yard during the summer months when I first moved to the house I'm living in now. That was 2000 and now I don't hear them anywhere around here
 

TNlandowner

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2006
Messages
804
Location
Carroll County
We had a flock with nearly 20 birds visit our bird feeders in 2019. The flock didn't live through the summer. Hunters took four bobcats from our farm the following season. I sure miss hearing the quail around the house.
 

Displaced_Vol

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2019
Messages
1,022
Location
Kentucky
Hearing quite a few all over the farm right now. It fluctuates year to year I’d say this is slightly above average. But, I learned that just because you hear them now doesn’t mean they’ll make it through to the fall. Still nice hearing them though.
One neighbor field is still enrolled in CREP for the next couple years and they mowed almost all of it this spring. It displaced quite a few birds into one of our fence rows. We were walking back to turkey hunt one day and about every 5-10 yards it seemed we were flushing quail out of that fence row, it was wild. First one gives you a heart attack and by the third flush you’re starting to walk awful carefully.
 

TheLBLman

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Joined
Jun 12, 2002
Messages
29,214
Location
Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN
Our native bobwhite quail in TN seem to be continuing their steady population decline. In most counties, you'll typically find little more than a remnant population surviving.

I can't put my finger on any single one thing that has driven this declination over such a broad area. But one of the larger factors was the conversion & displacement of so much our native grasses with fescue & Johnson grass.
 

GUNNERX2

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Joined
Apr 22, 2018
Messages
428
Location
Ridgetop, TN
I had a covey on the property when I moved here in 1993 but they most likely got killed by feral cats. Lots of feral cats around.
I do hear them on the neighboring properties on occasion but they are far away.
 

DoubleRidge

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2019
Messages
3,353
Location
Middle Tennessee
I heard quail on our place last summer for the first time in years....also saw a few cross the road last summer near the same area.... hadn't heard any this spring....sure wish they'd make a comeback.
 

tellico4x4

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Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Messages
932
Location
Killen, AL
Few years ago we had 8-10 small covey's on our place. Have always tried to leave stuff on edges for them. Last year I saw one lonely rooster 2-3 times. This year I've seen one hen so far & very little whistling...Have about 300 acres of one year old clearcut so hoping they'll increase a little again.
 

Buzzard Breath

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Joined
Jul 31, 2006
Messages
4,722
Location
Middle
I've been hearing them where I hunt in Hickman and Lawrence Counties. I'd never heard or seen them at the Hickman farm until a couple weeks ago. I've been hearing them daily while walking around the subdivision in Maury.
 

TheLBLman

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Joined
Jun 12, 2002
Messages
29,214
Location
Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN
Although quail are pretty much "home bodies" most of the time, I believe they may travel considerable distances during their spring mating process, and can take advantage of some better quail habitat.

Unfortunately they apparently need a much larger amount of contiguous good quail habitat in order to thrive, than they might need just to exist for a single generation. While a single covey might do well on only 40 acres of good habitat, it may take over 4,000 acres of good contiguous quail habitat surrounding that 40 acres for quail to thrive in the area. Even where such unusual conditions might exist (in TN), still doesn't seem to be happening.

When I was young, one of my childhood friend's family had a 180-acre mostly row-crop farm we regularly hunted after school. This farm most years had 5 to 7 coveys of quail thriving on it.

As the quail populations seemed to be steadily decreasing over time (1980 - 2010), my childhood friend steadily improved his farm for quail. Unlike the many thousands of acres of surrounding mostly row-crop farms, my friend actually "improved" his fence-row cover, moved to "less clean" farming practices, and even planted plots of lespedeza and several native grasses.

His farm today has much more abundant and better quail habitat than it had back in the 1960's & 70's, when there were a lot of quail in that TN county. But for over a recent decade, he had zero quail on his farm. In 2019, a pair appeared and produced a covey. In 2020, there was again none. This spring, he says he's heard some distant birds whistling on the adjoining property, but has yet to see one this year on his property.

I hope our native TN bobwhites don't go extinct, but they've sure been trending that direction in most our counties.

For those highly interested . . . . . .
 

Displaced_Vol

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2019
Messages
1,022
Location
Kentucky
Although quail are pretty much "home bodies" most of the time, I believe they may travel considerable distances during their spring mating process, and can take advantage of some better quail habitat.

Unfortunately they apparently need a much larger amount of contiguous good quail habitat in order to thrive, than they might need just to exist for a single generation. While a single covey might do well on only 40 acres of good habitat, it may take over 4,000 acres of good contiguous quail habitat surrounding that 40 acres for quail to thrive in the area. Even where such unusual conditions might exist (in TN), still doesn't seem to be happening.

When I was young, one of my childhood friend's family had a 180-acre mostly row-crop farm we regularly hunted after school. This farm most years had 5 to 7 coveys of quail thriving on it.

As the quail populations seemed to be steadily decreasing over time (1980 - 2010), my childhood friend steadily improved his farm for quail. Unlike the many thousands of acres of surrounding mostly row-crop farms, my friend actually "improved" his fence-row cover, moved to "less clean" farming practices, and even planted plots of lespedeza and several native grasses.

His farm today has much more abundant and better quail habitat than it had back in the 1960's & 70's, when there were a lot of quail in that TN county. But for over a recent decade, he had zero quail on his farm. In 2019, a pair appeared and produced a covey. In 2020, there was again none. This spring, he says he's heard some distant birds whistling on the adjoining property, but has yet to see one this year on his property.

I hope our native TN bobwhites don't go extinct, but they've sure been trending that direction in most our counties.

For those highly interested . . . . . .
It’s disheartening when you got somebody doing it the “right way” or at least best they can, and they still struggle to keep good numbers.
 

TheLBLman

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Joined
Jun 12, 2002
Messages
29,214
Location
Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN
It’s disheartening when you got somebody doing it the “right way” or at least best they can, and they still struggle to keep good numbers.
Tell me about it.
My friend has zero known quail currently on his farm, despite his farm being fantastic quail habitat, much better than in times past, and surrounded by other row-crop farms.

Also, this is in a TN county once known for an abundance of quail, with more the county residents hunting quail back then than hunt both deer & turkey today! It was just amazing how many residents, even living in "town", owned "bird" dogs for quail hunting.

Although wild turkey seem less fragile birds than quail, it's a legitimate concern that wild turkey populations may be declining for many the same reasons that quail have become near extinction.

My fear is that a few decades into the future, hunters may be talking about the near extinction of wild turkeys much like some of us are now talking about what was once an abundance of Tennessee's native bobwhite quail.
 
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Displaced_Vol

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2019
Messages
1,022
Location
Kentucky
Agree with those sentiments wholeheartedly @TheLBLman

I guess to add a positive outlook on it, because I’m feeling optimistic this fine Sunday, my hope is our biologists and more so the decades of experience will win out. If nothing else learning from how fragile the quail were will help (and already is I believe) insulate and maybe reverse the turkey trends. We recognize there’s a problem before it’s too late I guess.

I would love to see the day where quail are more abundant and that’ll be a much tougher hill to climb but we’re better at this now than we’ve ever been, so, just maybe we can make some inroads for them too. I know there’s a lot of stuff being done in Texas looking at disease/pest infestation & several southern focused initiatives trying to help put them back on the landscape. The economics are a tough part to overcome but who knows what we may be able to do that we couldn’t 10 years ago. I think awareness and interest in trapping and prescribed fires are two great, economical and fairly feasible ways we may get back in the game.
 

MickThompson

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2006
Messages
3,377
Location
Cookeville, Tennessee
Agree with those sentiments wholeheartedly @TheLBLman

I guess to add a positive outlook on it, because I’m feeling optimistic this fine Sunday, my hope is our biologists and more so the decades of experience will win out. If nothing else learning from how fragile the quail were will help (and already is I believe) insulate and maybe reverse the turkey trends. We recognize there’s a problem before it’s too late I guess.

I would love to see the day where quail are more abundant and that’ll be a much tougher hill to climb but we’re better at this now than we’ve ever been, so, just maybe we can make some inroads for them too. I know there’s a lot of stuff being done in Texas looking at disease/pest infestation & several southern focused initiatives trying to help put them back on the landscape. The economics are a tough part to overcome but who knows what we may be able to do that we couldn’t 10 years ago. I think awareness and interest in trapping and prescribed fires are two great, economical and fairly feasible ways we may get back in the game.
I think the aesthetics and peer pressure are harder for many to overcome than the economics are
 

Uncle Jesse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2011
Messages
678
Location
Estill Springs
Back in the 90's there was a guy named Bob White that raised quail, funny I know but true, and he would turn his birds loose on our land and train his dogs. I guess that's why we had so many there for a while. But they seem to be all gone now

I've always considered the habitat around here to be very good and after reading the comments, I don't think we can point to loss of habitat as the main cause.
 

MickThompson

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2006
Messages
3,377
Location
Cookeville, Tennessee
Back in the 90's there was a guy named Bob White that raised quail, funny I know but true, and he would turn his birds loose on our land and train his dogs. I guess that's why we had so many there for a while. But they seem to be all gone now

I've always considered the habitat around here to be very good and after reading the comments, I don't think we can point to loss of habitat as the main cause.
That's no surprise. Pen raised birds don't know how to be wild birds. They will have 99% mortality in the wild.

Where is "around here"? All it takes is a few poorly timed mowings (nesting season, late fall through winter) to eliminate cover. If there's no cover, they'll either move or get eaten. Either way they have no reason to come back.

This is good cover. Heard 3 in here. Not many folks will tolerate their place looking this "snakey"
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