December 2, 2010
Quail hunting season runs through March 5
Mississippi’s statewide bobwhite quail hunting season opened November 25. The season closes March 5, 2011.
There is a daily bag limit of eight quail. Several public lands around the state offer quail hunting opportunity, although hunters may have to cover a lot of ground to find birds.
Hunters should be sure their hunting licenses are current and always read and understand applicable regulations before hunting. Visit the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) website at www.mdwfp.com for information on seasons, hunting licenses, and more, or call 601-432-2400.
“Based on reports from around the state, we believe the quail hatch has been fair to very good where local habitat conditions are favorable,” said Dave Godwin, MDWFP turkey and small game program coordinator.
“However, given that habitat conditions for bobwhites are relatively poor statewide, quail will still be hard to find in many areas. The best places to find quail are larger tracts of agricultural or upland forest land with abundant grassy cover and moderate brush cover. Hunters who do find birds are encouraged to harvest conservatively, especially toward the later half of the season when birds tend to be more vulnerable to other losses.”
Quail populations have declined throughout much of their range, and the primary cause of the decline has been habitat loss due to changes in land use and management. A number of other game and nongame wildlife species with similar habitat needs have also experienced population declines. Abundant quail populations were once a product of land use, but as agriculture, forestry, and other land uses became more intensive and efficient, quail habitat was lost as a result. The declining use of prescribed fire as a common, rural land management tool has also contributed to the loss of quail habitat.
“Quail habitat quality can be improved on agricultural and upland forest lands through appropriate management practices,” said Rick Hamrick, small game biologist with the MDWFP. “We believe quail population levels similar to those experienced in the early 1980s are achievable in many areas through moderate habitat management at appropriate scales. However, this will often require multiple, local landowners working towards the same goals.”
The MDWFP provides technical assistance to private landowners interested in managing quail and other wildlife habitat at no cost.
For more information on quail management and hunting, visit the website, mdwfp.com/quail.
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