Fall Covey Counts don’t bode well

By November 1, 2019 Articles

by Daniel King

RPQRR conducts fall covey call counts every year in October. We conduct these call counts at twelve predetermined points on the ranch. We arrive at the day’s point 45 minutes before official sunrise. We then listen for the familiar “koi-lee” covey call of the bobwhite. We continue listening for twenty minutes after the first call is heard. During that time we attempt to discern how many distinguishable coveys we hear. Our staff conducts two counts at each of the points and averages those counts together, then we compute the overall ranch average. This provides us an index with which to assess the relative abundance of bobwhites on the ranch. This year’s ranch average was a meager 3.54 coveys/stop. This estimate is similar to the quail doldrums observed in 2011-13, and last year’s count. It is in stark contrast to the highest average of 13.0 coveys per stop recorded in 2016. This is a sobering commentary to our already somber outlook for this season. On the ranch, we now move on to baiting for our annual fall trapping session in late November. It is via trapping that we will attain the best estimate of our quail population (what we refer to as our “Minimum Known Population.”) I still hold hope that we will be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

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