Jackson, Missi. – Mississippi’s statewide bobwhite quail hunting season will open November 24, 2011. The season closes March 3, 2012. There is a daily bag limit of eight quail. Hunters should be sure their hunting licenses are current, and should always review applicable regulations before hunting.
Several public lands around the state offer quail hunting opportunities, but hunters should be prepared to put in some time to find birds. “Some of the best places to find quail during the hunting season are in or near thicker cover patches or edges associated with agricultural lands and upland forests with a grassy ground cover component,” said Dave Godwin, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Small Game Program Coordinator. “We believe the quail hatch has been fair to good where local habitat conditions are favorable. However, high quality habitat is often limited.”
Many sportsmen and women have observed the decline in quail populations throughout much of their range. Biologists suggest the primary cause of the decline has been loss of habitat due to changes in land use and management. The declining use of prescribed fire as a land management tool has also contributed to loss of quail habitat. However, a national effort among states in the bobwhite range is under way to restore quail populations to levels found in the early 1980s. More information on the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative can be found at www.bringbackbobwhites.org.
MDWFP biologists are working to reverse this trend by improving habitat on public and private lands. “Quail habitat quality on agricultural and upland forest lands can be improved with appropriate management practices. We have to provide suitable habitat on adequate scales to provide sustainable hunting opportunities though,” said Rick Hamrick, MDWFP Small Game Biologist.