Quail Hunting Trends
The Small Game Program conducted surveys of hunters pursuing wild quail from the mid-1990s to the 2011-2012 hunting season. However, we began to receive too few data to obtain useful information given the time and expense required to administer the survey. The MDWFP has conducted random, statewide surveys of hunting license holders almost yearly since the early 1980s (with some periodic surveys prior to that). The data below are from these surveys conducted since the 1980-1981 hunting seasons. These data do not separate wild and pen-raised, released quail. It is assumed that a large proportion (perhaps more than 80%) of the more recent quail harvest is pen-raised quail. The dramatic decrease in harvest and number of hunters is a result of quail being harder to find due to less suitable habitat for birds to thrive in. Although wild quail are seldom found in numbers suitable to provide significant hunting opportunity, wild quail still persist in small populations throughout the state. Habitat management allows those populations potential to increase. However, it must be realized that habitat must be enhanced over more than a few hundred acres to have a large-scale effect on a local populations. Therefore, conservative harvest and promoting habitat management across multiple land holdings is important for sustaining huntable quail populations. See the Quail Management Information section or contact a wildlife biologist for more information about quail habitat and population management.
Figure 1. Trends in quail harvest estimated from surveys of licensed, resident hunters.
Figure 2. Trends in quail harvest estimated from surveys of licensed, resident and non-resident hunters. Data for non-resident hunters were not available prior to the 1994-1995 season.
Hunt, K. M. 2012. Trends in Resident and Non-resident Hunter Effort and Harvest for Quail in Mississippi: 1980-81 to 2010-11 Seasons. Human Dimensions and Conservation Law Enforcement Laboratory Technical Document # 131, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS.
Responsive Management. 2012. Mississippi Resident and Nonresident Hunter Harvest Survey 2012, Harrisonburg, VA.