By Kyle Johnson, Quail Habitat Biologist
Nov. 12 is the start of another quail season in Oklahoma, and based on statewide surveys, another good quail season is expected. Along with this anticipation comes the opportunity for area biologists to collect valuable quail harvest information from their wildlife management areas (WMAs).
Biologists at Kaw WMA in north-central Oklahoma, Cross Timbers WMA in south-central Oklahoma, and Pushmataha WMA in southeastern Oklahoma hope to obtain some important data including hatch dates of young-of-year birds, juvenile vs. adult quail harvest numbers, and important fall and winter food sources for 2016-17.
In addition, researchers from Oklahoma State University also are collecting quail wings as part of the ongoing quail research being conducted on Beaver River and Packsaddle WMAs in northwestern Oklahoma.
Hunters' voluntary donations of one wing and the crop or crop contents of birds harvested on these specific WMAs will allow biologists to assess the success of early-, mid- and late-season nesting attempts and obtain knowledge about WMA-specific food resources that are important to consider when making management decisions. The quail on these WMAs are already receiving extra attention through the use of annual spring and fall whistle count surveys as well as detailed habitat assessments, but this additional data will help provide a broader picture of how quail use these WMAs.
Hunters can look for wing collection boxes at area entrances or at some parking areas. In addition, hunters may contact the area biologist or quail habitat biologist to schedule a pick-up time and location. To obtain the most useful data, it is recommended that wings and crops be kept frozen in sealed bags if not deposited in collection boxes or delivered to the area biologist the day of the hunt. Hunters are asked to fill out a donation form (see below) that will determine the approximate hatch dates of young-of-year birds.
For more information about voluntarily donating quail wings and crops from Kaw, Cross Timbers and/or Pushmataha WMAs, call Kyle Johnson, quail habitat biologist, at (405) 684-1929 or the WMA biologist for each respective WMA.