Quail Quest 2 - West Central Missouri

Published on: Dec. 7, 2013

During the early part of quail season, I try to concentrate on hunting public land, because most private landowners won't let me hunt quail til after rifle deer season. So during the second weekend of quail season, I headed with a friend to west - central Missouri to hunt one of our public land prairies. These areas are great for quail as there are typically drainages filled with shrubs and several of the prairies are grazed, which increases the suitability of the cover for quail and other wildlife. It also increases plant diveristy when done appropriately.

My friend and I annually head to this prairie at least once before deer season. Since 2004, we have always run into at least one covey during a morning hunt. But this year there were more the coveys than ever due in part to the drier summers over the last two years. We ran into our first covey within 3 minutes of leaving the truck. We found two other coveys during our morning hunt and had some grand dog work on the singles.

What was really unusual was that two of the coveys were composed of birds that had hatched in September. Once we discovered the birds were so young, we just let the dogs work the singles and didn't harvest another bird from those coveys. We will wait til those birds get a little older with a late season hunt.

Many broods and late nests were caught in the excessive rain that hit southern Missouri in August with places in the Ozarks reporting over 14 inches of rain. This event may be why we saw so many September hatched birds on our hunt. The bobwhite just won't stop trying to produce a successful brood and may nest up to 3 times a year to get it done.

 

Key Messages: 

Conservation makes Missouri a great place to hunt and fish.

Comments

On December 11th, 2013 at 12:29pm JOHN HEITKAMP said:

I HAVE TO ADMIT AT TIMES I HAVE BEEN MIFFED WITH THE MDC THAT THERE IS STILL FESCUE ON C/A PROPERTIES BUT TO BE FAIR I HAVE SEEN A LOT OF IMPROVEMENTS IN THE LAST 5 YEARS OR SO .I JUST HUNTED A CENTRALLY LOCATED C/A THAT IS QUITE LARGE AND ONLY HELD A COVEY OR TWO BUT WAS FULL OF FESCUE LAST WEEK AND FOUND THAT IN THE LAST TWO YEARS EXTREMELY LARGE AMOUNTS OF FESCUE HAD BEEN KILLED OUT AND NUMEROUS FENCE LINES HAD BEEN FEATHER EDGED FOR QUAIL AND RABBIT IMPROVEMENT.I WISH I COULD SAY I FOUND QUAIL BUT I DID NOT BUT FEEL IT WAS MORE WEATHER CONDITIONS THEN THE QUAIL NOT BEING THERE.THANKS FOR THE GOOD WORK AND HOPE I SEE MORE OF THIS ON OTHER C/A

On December 10th, 2013 at 1:17pm Anonymous said:

Back in 60's in the Ozarks there was plenty of Quail and Rabbits but at that time they started spraying Timber and Dozing it out for Fescue. Back then there was much more Grain Farming even though it was very hard work concerning the rocks. I know we will never see numbers like back then but a person can always hope.

On December 10th, 2013 at 10:03am smitht2 said:

Anonymous: We do clear woody plants, including invasive exotic shrubs, from old fields to maintain them as open areas. We would like to eliminate tall fescue from all conservation areas but it takes time and money to convert. If we let those areas grow up in woody species, it will be even harder to re-establish open habitat with early successional native species. If you wish to identify the conservation area where you observed the removal of woody stems, I will be happy to get back with you on the plans for that particular area. The area managers are always happy to discuss their management goals and activities as well.

On December 9th, 2013 at 4:51pm Anonymous said:

That is great . . . until MDC employees come through and destroy covey headquarters. I have got to go find ANOTHER place to hunt AGAIN this year. They tear up good quail cover and leave fescue alone. Fescue must be an endangered plant species. Preach one thing for private land and do another on public ground. Thanks a lot.
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