Birds are holding their own across the country, and Kansas may be the best hunting bet this year.
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No state is reporting a massive turnaround in bobwhite quail populations. But there are many small habitat success stories helping birds throughout the nation, and they are big steps forward in producing more quail.
States are reporting bobwhites resonding well to Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) “Bobwhite Buffers”. There are over 210,000 acres nationally in this program - and there are many new CRP “State Acres For wildlife Enhancement” (SAFE) sites designed specifically for quail. Many states also have made improving and restoring bobwhite quail habitat a priority through new initiatives, which combined with federal conservation programs and the ever-expanding presence of Quail Forever, bodes well for birds.
Shotgunners still looking to set-up a hunt should note Kansas looks like the premiere quail destination this year, and virtually all western states will have strong quail numbers and plenty of mixed bag opportunities.
The following state-by-state forecast comes from Quail Forever (www.quailforever.com).