Quail population declining in Missouri and other states

For a quail (Coturnix coturnix), survival isn’t easy. That’s important to emphasize as we head into Missouri’s quail season, which runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 15. The daily bag limit is eight and the possession limit is 16. It may seem ironic to discuss quail survival in the same story that talks about hunting these birds. However, quail hunting and the overall survival of the state’s quail population aren’t as closely related as some might assume. Anyone who’s followed the story of quail in Missouri knows the population of this once-popular game bird has been declining for several decades. Current surveys show bobwhite numbers aren’t exactly booming anywhere in the state. Quail decline isn’t just a Missouri problem; bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) populations are declining in a number of states. However, these studies indicate hunting pressure has a relatively small impact on overall quail population numbers. This was clear in a North Carolina study that showed a hunting mortality rate of 14 percent and an overall mortality rate of 93.9 percent. Put another way, the majority of quail don’t live longer than a year regardless if they’re hunted or not.
Source: Springfield News-Leader, November 2, 2016