Quail Numbers Drop in Texas, Hunting Seasons in Limbo

Quail populations have declined by 2.8 percent each year over the last 20 years in Texas and now wildlife managers are considering making sweeping changes to hunting seasons and regulations.

Yesterday, Texas Parks and Wildlife commissioners decided to hold off on making any major changes to the quail hunt until they are able to get more data. Changes that were on the table included splitting the state into two zones, lowering the bag limit in the eastern zone from 15 to 5 and shortening the season by a month.

The commissioners are expected to make final decisions on these measures in August.

"We're all concerned with quail and I think waiting (to propose and set rules) is a good idea," Commission Chairman Dan Friedkin told the Austin Statesman. "We need to organize our data differently and develop different data ... find out where we're missing research so we can make regional decisions (on quail regulations)."

While hunting has been made part of the resolution to quail's declining numbers, the cause for the population slide has been largely due to loss of habitat.