Texas Neighbors Winter 2017 : Page 18

TEXAS NEIGHBORS | WINTER 2017 s and as Park x e T f esy o o court Phot Department. e Wildlif By Gary Joiner Editor A remarkable recovery of bob-white quail and scaled quail has taken flight across Texas. Turkey and white-tailed deer numbers are not far behind. Consecutive years of above av-erage rainfall and lower than av-erage summer temperatures can produce quail “boom” years. That’s exactly what has happened in the Rolling Plains, South Texas and Trans-Pecos regions of Texas where both bobwhite and scaled quail (aka blue quail) have made a dramatic comeback. Landowners and state wildlife biologists are quick to thank fa-vorable weather and improved habitat for the quail rebound. “There are millions of acres of rangelands in these regions where the most common land use of livestock production is generally compatible with quail,” said Robert Perez, quail program leader of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). “Good land stewardship and proper grazing are important to the persistence of these highly prized game birds, but even the best conservation efforts can-not overcome long-term excep-tional drought.” Consecutive years of dry sum-WWW.TEXASFARMBUREAU.ORG

The Birds are Back in Town

Gary Joiner

A remarkable recovery of bobwhite quail and scaled quail has taken flight across Texas. Turkey and white-tailed deer numbers are not far behind.

Consecutive years of above average rainfall and lower than average summer temperatures can produce quail “boom” years. That’s exactly what has happened in the Rolling Plains, South Texas and Trans-Pecos regions of Texas where both bobwhite and scaled quail (aka blue quail) have made a dramatic comeback.

Landowners and state wildlife biologists are quick to thank favorable weather and improved habitat for the quail rebound.

“There are millions of acres of rangelands in these regions where the most common land use of livestock production is generally compatible with quail,” said Robert Perez, quail program leader of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). “Good land stewardship and proper grazing are important to the persistence of these highly prized game birds, but even the best conservation efforts cannot overcome long-term exceptional drought.”

Consecutive years of dry summer and winter conditions are especially problematic for short-lived birds like quail because they rely on each year’s crop of young to replenish the population.

Quail counts in the Rolling Plains are at an all-time high since Roadside Surveys began in 1978. South Texas numbers were slightly below the long-term mean, but the low numbers from the survey could be partially related to quail actively nesting during the August survey period.

Turkeys are doing exceptionally well. Turkey harvest in Texas was at an almost 10-year high this past season. TPWD Upland Game Bird Specialist Jason Hardin said there were also a ton of 1-year-old turkeys running around this past spring, which should mean a great spring season in 2017.

For white-tailed deer, the last several years of abundant precipitation translated into great habitat conditions across most of the state. Deer are in excellent body condition as a result of the range conditions, and hunters are seeing the benefits in terms of antler quality and numbers of deer.

TPWD White-tailed Deer Program Leader Alan Cain said he’s seen and heard about quite a few exceptional bucks being harvested in South Texas and other areas of the state, including a 258 B&C buck in Frio County and another buck scoring around 240 B&C taken in the Collin County area. He said several hunters from the Hill Country told him this was the best year on their lease in 20-plus years.

Read the full article at http://texasneighbors.texasfarmbureau.org/article/The+Birds+are+Back+in+Town/2681030/374045/article.html.

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