“You’re a mean one Mr. Grinch!” Many quail hunters ask how we could go from “riches” (2016) to “rags” (this season) so quickly. The 2016 season was a record-setter, and so is this season, but at opposite ends of the quail continuum. Was anyone (in the Rolling Plains anyway) spared such an implosion? What factor(s) was (were) responsible? Should I be hunting my quail this season? One doesn’t unravel such intricate questions with a short-term Master’s or Ph.D. study; it takes studies over the long haul. That’s where our investment in RPQRR will continue to yield a good dividend.
Here’s the “tale of the tape” from RPQRR.
Bobwhite abundance at RPQRR is down roughly 95% since 2016. All of our various metrics for counting quail heralded the bust. Spring whistle counts were a bit lower but by themselves don’t result in the “check engine” light coming on. These call counts indicate the availability of breeding males but are only about 50% accurate in estimating fall abundance at RPQRR.