Quail Quest 2 - West Central Missouri
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.