Predator Control for Landowners
During our conversation they often blame predators for the decline. Raccoons, red-tailed hawks and house cats get the blame. I don't care much for house cats either.
I do care about raccoons and red-tailed hawks and all the other animals that occasionally eat quail. Let me stress occasionally. No predators single out quail. I don't see many hawks with bumper stickers that say "Eat More Quail" or "Quail, the Other White Meat."
Now back to the phone call... after talking with the person for a while, I quickly learn they are truly concerned about Missouri's quail population--for that matter, the nation's. They'd love to see quail numbers like we had in the 70s and 80s. It must have been good if people can still talk about it 30 years later. Unfortunately, things have changed. Check out some of the old pictures of Missouri quail hunting (the pictures are to the right).
A lot of folks want to control predators or stock birds. Stocking doesn't work. Read my old blog on quail stocking and what purpose it serves today. Three things to remember about quail stocking. One, pen-raised birds are good for dog training and kid training. Two, pen-raised birds do not address the issue of habitat quality and quantity. Three, pen-raised bird don't survive very long in the wild, especially in places with bad habitat. There's a lot of poor habitat out there.
I've had several folks ask me to write a blog on predator control. I hesitated for a while because I don't think predators are the problem for quail. What is a problem is bad habitat. Poor habitat makes the birds susceptible to weather, starvation and eventually predators. Make good habitat, and life is a little easier for quail.
Here's my advice on predator control for the three most vicious quail predators. Warning, there's a little sarcasm in the rest of this article.
This "animal" makes quick work of hard woody cover and vital nesting cover. Dozers often cause indirect mortality--a very slow and painful death because the birds are exposed to the elements. Eventually the birds die from starvation, predators or the elements. Last year I watched a dozer scrape out a quarter mile plum thicket that was home to two coveys. Where did those birds go without good woody cover? I guarantee they had a hard