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Author Topic: How many quail to leave in covey?  (Read 6344 times)
britguy33
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« on: April 27, 2004, 01:44:17 AM »

How many quail is a good number to leave in a convey? I have heard lots of diff. numbers just wanting to know anyone's ideas.
Lets say there are 15 birds in one covey and 12 in another. How many do we leave in each before putting them offlimits for the rest of the season?
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Redhorse
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« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2004, 08:38:17 AM »

The average number of birds necessary for a covey to over winter is 12-15. If there are multiple coveys in an area, they will shuffle their numbers around so that each one has at least the minimum number of birds to make it through the season. If the winter is mild, smaller coveys can survive. If it is severe, only larger coveys will make it. It also depends on the state you live in, these #'s are for Ohio I believe. This is what I was told in my wildlife management classes for this region. :)
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britguy33
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2004, 11:48:21 AM »

so I should leave them all? I am in southern Ill.
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Redhorse
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« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2004, 01:48:53 PM »

If there are only between 12-15 in each covey, I would leave them alone. There should be some surplus birds by fall. If you want to have a covey there for next year don't take them down any lower. :wink:
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redlevel
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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2004, 12:24:10 PM »

Are we talking Bobwhite?   Here in Georgia, back in "the good old days,"  we would leave 6 to eight birds in a covey.  We hardly ever saw more than 12-15 birds per covey.  We had lots of those size coveys, though.  I don't know what rule of thumb would apply now, given habitat depletion, increased predator pressure, etc.
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Mark

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britguy33
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2004, 12:36:45 PM »

yeah bobwhites
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Redhorse
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« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2004, 02:36:10 PM »

Georgia doesn't get as cold as Ohio. Not only does the covey help protect against preditors by giving the birds a 360 degree alarm system, it also protects against the cold. The birds share body heat by overlapping their fanned tails. This holds heat in the center and shares it between all the birds in the covey. I'm sure in some states far less birds are needed to maintain warmth through the winter. As anyone up in this part of the country knows, the quail have pretty much been non existant since the blizzard of 78-79. A covey can only be so large also. If there are too many birds, their tails cannot overlap properly and heat is lost, I think that number is somewhere around 20 or so. Wild birds will shuffle their #'s around to make it right. In cold weather 2 small coveys will get together, or if a couple birds are lost from one covey a couple from an adjacent covey will "transfer" into the one that needs them. :D
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theweave
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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2004, 10:56:29 AM »

Britguy, I'm with you.  Here in S. Illinois we see covey size of 12-15 birds as average and we aren't going to leave them alone.  Small covies of eight or less, we might shoot at rise and nothing else.  Anything over that and we never take more than half.  If 15 birds get up and we shoot five or six out of it, we might just stop there regardless if they spread out and gave us some good single work.
Not really in it for seeing how many we can shoot as I am at just watching the dogs work.  If we want to shoot, we turn out 40-50 quail on Thanksgiving and hammer them hard with everyone in the group limiting out.  That's the meat hunt!
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britguy33
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2004, 01:29:50 AM »

10-4 buddy that is same as we do. I take my buddys and leave my gun at the house alot. Just love watching a good dog on point.
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Redhorse
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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2004, 12:24:59 AM »

There are only 11 counties in the state of Ohio where hunting wild Quail is legal. I have never hunted wild Quail because by my way of thinking if there aren't enough for the entire state...why go shoot them where they are doing good? I finally broke down and paid to hunt pen raised Quail this past season. It helped my dog, and it was the first time in my life I had ever shot a Quail (tasty critters). Even if I establish coveys in my back yard, I cannot legally shoot them in my county. When you have an area with several coveys, they will reduce down to one or two to make it through the winter. Then when young are hatched the next year, new coveys will be established. I guess I am just a little on the conservative side. :)
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birdinwithblue
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« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2004, 08:56:34 AM »

i live in north east missouri and we try to leave 10 -12 birds . if i find a covey of 12-15 and blue points them i'll kill one bird for him and move on .if i dont he's PO'ed all day  :lol:  most coveys around here are 20 + bird . i can hear one down by the lake now
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quailman
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« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2004, 02:33:39 PM »

This is my theory.  If you have a covey of 20 birds in the fall before season starts, half of that covey will be dead by spring whether they are hunted or not.  Predators, owls, hawks, and such will kill some of them and some will just die over winter.  That puts the covey down to ten.  If you and a buddy go out and hunt that covey and shoot two each on the rise and let the rest go, that puts the covey down to six.  Figuring that 1/3 of the covey is roosters that only leaves four hens to hopefully successfully nest in the spring.  So my theory goes that if your coveys are  smaller than twenty you better leave them alone.  

BTW I shoot probably 90% pen raised birds.  I mainly go after wild birds to get away from home and even then I don't try to shoot a limit I just enjoy watching the dogs work and quail flush.  Pen raised birds put meat in the freezer and are a lot cheaper than wild birds (gas, time spent walking, travel time, etc.)plus I don't feel bad about shooting a limit each weekend.

This is just my opinion.
Good hunting.
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chizekfarm
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« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2004, 09:18:32 PM »

i agree with quailman,  but i also release 5-7 week old birds threw the summer and they really adapt  well. i have several other customers that are doing the same thing.   last weekend was youth weekend. i took my 12 year old daughter and we kick up a covey  50 that i released 2-months ago.  she missed but it was exciting to see the birds  and  see the dog work.  better this weekend  i hope. the regular season opens.   good  luck everyone. and lets work on the next generation of  hunters.
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Redhorse
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« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2004, 08:20:28 AM »

:D I'm working on that next generation of hunters next month. Got a buddy who is a certified state hunter's safety instructor. Got him to volunteer his time and drive out here to put on a class for 4 of the cubscout dens in our pack. Thinking of organizing a trap shoot for some of the older boys.
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Redhorse
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« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2004, 10:36:31 AM »

Got the Hunters safety course done last weekend. Didn't have as much participation as we would have liked. There were 13 students who recieved their cards Saturday evening. I guess that's better than none. Have to get some of those kids out and hunt some birds now! :D
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