Wild Bob-White Quail Populations?


9 Years
Sep 18, 2010
I heard a Bob-white quail call this afternoon for the first time in 20 years I think. Granted, during part of that time I lived in the city, but we've been in a rural area for 7 years and I've never heard one. I love their call, it's the soundtrack of my childhood summers. I am in the SC Midlands. So, do you hear them in the wild near you? I've even thought about buying them to raise and release. Thoughts on this? I have no interest in hunting them, keeping them, etc., would just like to increase wild populations. Any comments welcome.
Like you their call is a memory of childhood. We did hunt them, could always find a covey around even without a dog.

Had not seen or heard a wild bird in many years until this fall. My wife had mentioned seeing quail on the road as she drove to work. I dismissed her, "she don't know one bird from another". We went to dinner along her route and she pointed out said covey of birds as we drove by. I turned the car around and got down in the ditch to flush them. They were quail and they did appear to be wild.
Not in my area, the suburbs of Detroit. They were quite common here in the 1970's and then all disappeared. Of course, during that time, the area changed from semi-rural to suburban. But, even in more rural areas of Michigan, I've read on our DNR web site that bobwhite populations have fallen by 90% since the 1970's.

I think the last time I saw a wild quail was probably around 1980/1981.
Raising Bobwhites for release into the wild to increase populations of quail is not an easy task. (I know, I tried this the first year I got involved with quail). There are many issues that arise when you raise them yourself... they become imprinted on humans, they don't learn from their parents how to raise young or how to survive on their own. You need licensing from your state to release hand raised birds because of them coming into contact with the native species in your area. The state will come and do inspections of your facilities, etc..

You would have to release hundreds and hundreds at a time in hopes that a few may survive, and the chances are slim. (predation, starvation, can't find water, hunters, etc.) You can't go from feeding them in pens and release them expecting them to procreate and find food, etc... I know that there are many release programs going on around the country, many of them specifically for hunters, but for the restocking of land in hopes of survival, has not been very successful.

I am sure there are areas in certain states where gamebirds/quail are successfully reintroduced, but quail are having a harder and harder time surviving in this expanding world.
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Here in Southern ohio , we have a few wild bobs, lucky here we can release them. What i have done , that works best for me, i raised a few in very large flight pens with auto feeder and waters, on the ground, after they begin laying i will release a few pairs at a time, so some can nest, but keep in mind still lucky if 20 % make it, but sure nice to hear the wild bobs in the spring.....i even saw a bob with chicks this week.
LIKE TO ADD DON'T put out feeders.....thats just a feeding area for predators then, plant wild feed , and if you throw feed out don't do it in the same area
I didn't even think about licenses or anything. My concern was just with the thought of getting the populations going again and any of them having a prayer of survival. Thanks! I have listened for them for so many years and hearing them today was absolutely a blessing! It's like hearing whip-poor-wills at night and them being gone. So many times I've heard a Mourning Dove and thought it was going to be a Bob-white and then being disappointed. I know they calls are dissimiilar, but they are so distinctive. I'll have to look into it more.

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