Discussion in 'Small Game and Bird Hunting' started by HoosierEric, Jan 16, 2018.

  1. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    Quail are like the shad of land - everything eats them. AR used to have a lot of quail in what g&f would call marginal habitat. Now, quail wont hardly make it in perfect quail habitat. G&F’s steadfast refusal to consider predation as a consideration in quail management will most likely defeat the project. Perfect quail habitat is their answer to predator management. Unfortunately, not very many folks are going to commit significant acreage to make perfect quail habitat. Also unfortunately, perfect quail habitat is also pretty dang good predator habitat.
  2. y hunt

    y hunt Super Moderator Staff Member

    Seems like there is a lot more burning now than when there were good numbers of quail.
    I agree with swamp they are on birds of pray, many fur bearing, and a big one house cats preferred dinner list.


    ARKBRDHNTR Well-Known Member

    Not sure about more burning where you are but in my part of the world there is hardly any, even timber companies are now using some kind of chemical burn (herbicide spray) that kills everything for the entire year until they plant seedlings. One cutover I hunt had 3 coveys prior to the spray but this zero.

    I walk into a coffee shop during bird season and all the old timers ( I'm getting there) always want to talk birds and without exception the first thing they blame is the high number of coyotes now. While I am sure that they will take out a nest or chicks I am no longer convinced that they are not somewhat helpful in that they also kill more possum and raccoons as well as some other nest predators. Don't get me started on hawks, there are more each year and show up earlier and stay longer.

    During Arkansas' highest quail numbers in the 50's and 60's they bragged on 1.2 birds per acre. In those days, lespedeza(sp) was king, everything was burned early each year ( cheaper and faster than bus hogging at the time), everyone that night hunted killed whatever was treed( including skunks), all hawks were shot on site( chicken protection), fence rows were not clean( many relied upon the thick growth more than the wire).

    My point in this, another rambling post, is that the current state of quail is multifaceted and of all the things we do know I am sure there are many we do not. What many think is great quail habitat really isn't, grasses quickly become too thick for feeding or movement. Some kind of disturbance is a must, whether by fire, grazing, or disc then there must be adequate escape cover nearby in the form or thick briars, brush, or woods.

    At best only 25% of quail born will survive until the next breeding season. The more I learn the more amazed I am that there are any out there at all.
    Bodcau boy, truck24hr and scarhead like this.
  4. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    I agree - it is multifaceted. I never had the opportunity to hunt overgrown fence rows or field corners on private ground. All my hunting was on commercial forests - clear cuts, pine plantations and the like. They do not burn as often as they did back in the 70's and 80's. I don't know if the chemicals used now are harsher than they were back then - I know a lot of chemicals are now banned that were used years ago. At Florida's Tall Timbers Plantation, on average, snakes may be the worst predator on nests and hawks on adult birds.

    It is multifaceted - that is the problem. You have to consider food, cover, water - and predators - not ignore them. I think if the quail population was high, they might survive the predation. It is hard to imagine them overcoming predation to re-establish.

    I think most private owners of large blocks of private land are going to be very hesitant about converting productive crops or cattle land to quail habitat. It will be a tough task. We cant hardly grow turkeys in this state - and I see their management as slightly more forgiving than quail. I don't think private owned land is where they should concentrate their efforts, anyway. Most landowners in AR will never have enough land to have enough quail to hunt. Commercial timber lands could - but all those lands are pretty well leased now and only available to the few on that lease.

    It is a tough path G&F has chosen. Hogs were the hot topic a few years ago. I wonder if anyone thinks there are less hogs in the state now than when G&F started their hog protection program? Now quail are the in thing for SE US wildlife managers. Alabama is all wrapped up with finding out what has caused a 50% drop in their turkey harvest. Maybe they will figure it out since Arkansas pretty well ignores it. Hopefully, it wont involve predation - because if it does, our state will ignore it.

    To be fair, G&F has a tough row to hoe - trying to successfully manage an animal that has all but disappeared and just about every predatory animal wants to eat, that exists mostly on private land, and only a handful of people honestly care about. I wish them well - but think their efforts could be better directed.
    MSWING12 and scarhead like this.
  5. scarhead

    scarhead Well-Known Member

    Both posts above are pretty much spot on, and I don't see our game and fish commission successfully handling one of the above issues, no chance in you know where of them taking care of all of them.
  6. y hunt

    y hunt Super Moderator Staff Member

    I don't know they flew a helicopter around a few WMA's a couple weeks ago and killed over 600 hogs.
  7. Kodiac

    Kodiac Well-Known Member

    I don't know, but I would take a guess that the AGFC left those hogs where they laid. That only improves predator populations.
  8. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    To put that in context, we have killed 53 hogs off 60 acres since the end of September and I cant see any kind of noticeable decline. Pond Cr refuge personnel trapped/killed 800 hogs off Pond Cr last year and even they admit there are more now than five years ago. But, every hog counts.;)
  9. Luv2hunt

    Luv2hunt Well-Known Member

    From what I’ve been told, as far as restoration, they are asking land owners to leave 20’ on each side of a fence for habitat when mowing for hay or planting crops. I think that’s their “restoration plan”.
    Onetrakd likes this.
  10. Luv2hunt

    Luv2hunt Well-Known Member

    I’m right there with except I’d keep my deer hunting gear. I started hunting with my dad at 7 behind his bird dog. Loved bird hunting, watched the dog lock up on a run. Flushing a bird from under the belly of that dog!! It was awesome. If it wasn’t for quail hunting , I’m not sure I’d be a hunter because that was my dads passion. I don’t even know anybody with a working bird bog these days. Oh, to relive those days!! Would really like to hear bobwhite calls again on a summer day.
    Onetrakd likes this.
  11. SwampCat

    SwampCat Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    I think if quail came back, it still wouldnt be the same as it used to be. A lot of the better quail hunting was on private ground. Good luck getting that access now days.
  12. Thenarwhal

    Thenarwhal Well-Known Member

    I don't think quail hunting will ever be what it was, but it could certainly be better than what it is.
    Bodcau boy, Luv2hunt and SwampCat like this.

    ARKBRDHNTR Well-Known Member

    That is what I have been hoping for many years but understand I am mainly dreaming.

    AGFC could start on ground they control and possibly get timber companies to participate to some level even if the land is leased. Even if it is not always accessible to the general public it would aid in seed birds.

    There are miles of right of ways that could be managed as habitat if at least not planted in something that has no benefit to game species. Just burn or disk it and the weed regrowth is all that is needed.
    Bodcau boy likes this.