leader in habit and quail success

lonejackfool

New member
i thought missouri was the leader for habitat and quail comeback success a year or two ago. southern quail were supposed to be 100% higher than 2021. this years pheasant forecasts said dramatic increase north and northwest, and quail should be good. it sure is quiet on here
 

Weimdogman

Well-known member
Tell us more. How did this come about ?
What are the numbers like? Going from 10 to 20 is a 100 % increase.
 

birddude

Well-known member
Every time I come through southern/central Missouri; I notice it looks like good quail country. I talked to some locals a few years ago and they told me the quail were all but gone so I too would be interested...
 
That's great to hear! My family owns a pretty large property just northwest of Kirksville along the Chariton River. We see some occasionally. In spring turkey season this year we heard a few. We have been approved for a forest management plan, major thinning and burning of the understory. Should be good for them. I got my dad to call the NRCS office about putting some CP33 buffers in, but when he called the rep, she said that it needs to be near water. I thought CP22 (riparian buffers) had to be within 120 feet of water. I thought CP33 could be any field edge with trees right against the field. Thoughts on this? I have a hard time believing that the NRCS rep doesn't know what she's talking about but this just doesn't sound right.
 

lonejackfool

New member
my original post was meant to poke my fellow missouri quail hunters into reporting how great the hunting is. i had noticed the article that said pheasant dramatically up nw and nc, and southern quail were up 100%. when i decided to post, i looked up the article again to make sure i had the right state, right biologist, and the right year. it must have been a dream, sure can't find it now.

with this years heat, and extreme drought, i decided to give up my small cow calf operation, and tried to get into the fescue pasture eradication, and establish warm season grass with pollinators cost share this year. of course it was too late for nrcs. i decided that i didnt need help, so i went all in on the best quail farm that i can build. if it produces one wild covey, i will call it a success. i used to have 3 coveys. if not, maybe pen raised birds will survive more than a few days.

i really believe the issue is lack of insects from ag insecticides, disease, fungus, parasites, and ridiculous predator/nest predator overpopulations. i don't think food and shelter is the issue.
 

Weimdogman

Well-known member
I wondered about your op ? As for your efforts they are to be applauded! There is a true symbiotic relationship between cattle and prarie birds. Obviously birds are effected by all ag practices but the cow-bird relationship is under appreciated. Here in s.dak. the 3 C's are corn-cattails-cattle. When you find those you find birds.
 
I wondered about your op ? As for your efforts they are to be applauded! There is a true symbiotic relationship between cattle and prarie birds. Obviously birds are effected by all ag practices but the cow-bird relationship is under appreciated. Here in s.dak. the 3 C's are corn-cattails-cattle. When you find those you find birds.
I'm not much of a farmer so correct me if I'm wrong. But I definitely agree that cattle or any grazing species for that matter, just so happens cattle are prevalent and make some money (on good years), are essential for bobwhites. However the stocking density has to be just right. Too many for too long, you have no cover. Too few for not long enough, it's too thick. Commendations on the effort LJF, people like you are why quail still exist at all.
 

Weimdogman

Well-known member
Yes way to often the cattle guys overgraze the pastures. It is made even worse because they do it to the same ground year after year.

In my area almost every farm had cattle and many also had horses and or sheep and goats. It wasn't uncommon to see pigs running around in a pen as opposed to a confinement building. Chickens turkeys and other fowl also provided eggs and sustenance. Now there are fewer farms/ farmers and almost none like the aforementioned ones.
 

lonejackfool

New member
from my observations, in west central missouri today, the normal cattle farm is a spring, summer, early fall, fescue based operation. typically around november 1st, depending on your stocking rate, it turns into a fescue based hay and supplemented grain operation. with a really dry start to 2022, pastures didn't allow grazing until mid may, a full month late. with our extreme drought by august, most farmers were feeding hay by august, almost 3 months early. with that combination, the description of alot of fescue pastures were, and are now, "wouldn't hide a mouse". these conditions for me just added up, that its time for me to quit chasing my tail, kill off all the fescue that i can, establish all warm season grass with pollinators, and escape cover pastures. then give up on the cow-calf, system, and try to come up with a good steer or heifer to grass ratio, and only keep them during the green season. do only enough hay to sell during drought years, and keep back a couple beef thru the winter. then decide when to burn, when to mow, and what stocking rate will produce the perfect pasture disturbance to bring back quail. i'm small time, but from what i can tell, the cost and labor to keep a cow herd year round, get them pregnant, keep them pregnant, have a healthy calf, and then raise that calf to weaning to sell vs buying and selling some pasture disturbers every growing season will be negligible. the smile on my face if i can bring back one covey of quail, priceless.
 

birddude

Well-known member
from my observations, in west central missouri today, the normal cattle farm is a spring, summer, early fall, fescue based operation. typically around november 1st, depending on your stocking rate, it turns into a fescue based hay and supplemented grain operation. with a really dry start to 2022, pastures didn't allow grazing until mid may, a full month late. with our extreme drought by august, most farmers were feeding hay by august, almost 3 months early. with that combination, the description of alot of fescue pastures were, and are now, "wouldn't hide a mouse". these conditions for me just added up, that its time for me to quit chasing my tail, kill off all the fescue that i can, establish all warm season grass with pollinators, and escape cover pastures. then give up on the cow-calf, system, and try to come up with a good steer or heifer to grass ratio, and only keep them during the green season. do only enough hay to sell during drought years, and keep back a couple beef thru the winter. then decide when to burn, when to mow, and what stocking rate will produce the perfect pasture disturbance to bring back quail. i'm small time, but from what i can tell, the cost and labor to keep a cow herd year round, get them pregnant, keep them pregnant, have a healthy calf, and then raise that calf to weaning to sell vs buying and selling some pasture disturbers every growing season will be negligible. the smile on my face if i can bring back one covey of quail, priceless.
That sounds like a pretty good plan. Fescue was the first nail in the quail coffin!
 

Hutcho

Active member
I'm a little late to the Convo but I'll go ahead and add how our season is going in southwestern Missouri. Joplin area to be slightly more specific. I've only got to get out a handful of times but we have got in to birds each time. Actually on youth weekend we got in to 3 really nice sized coveys. I went back to that spot later and the parking lot was littered with bird parts and the field had spent shells everywhere. Did find a covey but we only took 2. Got to go to another spot yesterday morning that our new QF regional rep saw a couple covies and had one of the weirder hunts I can remember. We saw 3 birds the whole time and they were all 3 singles. And the cover they were in was the thinnest grassland there, not the woody cover like we would've thought. Had 3 guys and 4 dogs on the ground so it got covered pretty good. I did find the weirdest deer shed I've yet to find, kinda fits with the hunting lol! Anyway, not a lot of birds in the bag down here but just seeing them is a win to me so I guess we are doing alright down in this part of the country. 1000000441.jpg
 

Lointer man

Active member
I'm a little late to the Convo but I'll go ahead and add how our season is going in southwestern Missouri. Joplin area to be slightly more specific. I've only got to get out a handful of times but we have got in to birds each time. Actually on youth weekend we got in to 3 really nice sized coveys. I went back to that spot later and the parking lot was littered with bird parts and the field had spent shells everywhere. Did find a covey but we only took 2. Got to go to another spot yesterday morning that our new QF regional rep saw a couple covies and had one of the weirder hunts I can remember. We saw 3 birds the whole time and they were all 3 singles. And the cover they were in was the thinnest grassland there, not the woody cover like we would've thought. Had 3 guys and 4 dogs on the ground so it got covered pretty good. I did find the weirdest deer shed I've yet to find, kinda fits with the hunting lol! Anyway, not a lot of birds in the bag down here but just seeing them is a win to me so I guess we are doing alright down in this part of the country. View attachment 4870
Good report, glad u had success and nice shed!
 

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Hopefully missouri stays on the upswing. Pheasant numbers were down but I thought quail numbers were very good in both missouri and Kansas. Covey sizes were impressive. I think people and conservation dept. have finally figured put what they need. This year, if the habitat was there, so were the birds.
 
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