I’ve heard several good reports of quail, pheasant, and turkey broods throughout Missouri. I have personally seen four turkey broods, two quail broods, and one pheasant brood in the northwest part of the state. Now is the time you should be seeing all types of young wildlife.
Weather conditions during the nesting season have a big impact on nesting success. At my house, located near Maryville, I’ve been keeping track of rainfall amounts the last three years during the nesting season (May-September). So far this year, from mid-May to August 1, I’ve had 6.5 inches at my house. This compares to 14.4 inches in 2011 and 8.6 inches in 2010. Will the reduced rainfall amounts combined with the mild 2011-12 winter result in a bumper crop of young birds? They early reports hold promise.
Conservation agents conduct roadside quail and pheasant surveys August 1-15. 110 of Missouri’s 114 counties are surveyed. The following high-density urban counties are not surveyed - Clay, Jackson, St. Louis, and St. Charles. Each agent counts the number of quail and pheasant observed while driving <20 miles per hour along permanent 30-mile road routes. Agents conduct counts beginning at sunrise on clear, dewy mornings with light winds. Quail and pheasants are more prevalent along roadsides during times of heavy dew.
This survey provides regional and long-term population trend data which is used for managing Missouri’s quail and pheasant resource. The roadside survey routes are located almost entirely through private land, so the quail index is a reflection of conditions on Missouri’s private lands. To see how these data are used in combination with other information, go to the MDC public site for last year’s quail and pheasant status reports.
Look for the 2012 quail and pheasant report on the MDC website in October. In the meantime, how many quail, pheasant, and turkey broods have you seen and in which counties?