Sunday, January 24, 2021
I have hunted quail for most my adult life and I thought I knew as much about the little brown bomber as anyone, When I say quail, I mean is the American Bob White, which has five subspecies.
For years I have believed that based on the weather a covey could have up to three hatches in the spring and now I find through research that is a myth. It turns out that Bob White will have one brood and only brood per year. The entire process from breeding to hatching, takes about fifty days, and involves one male and one hen. The male, a devoted husband does not play around and will even help in the construction of the nest and raising of the young birds. The hen starts laying a couple of days after the nest is finished and will lay up to fourteen eggs on an average of one a day. Incubation starts as soon as the last egg is laid and will hatch out on the twenty-third day.
So, what about all these twenty-five to thirty bird coveys that we occasionally run across while hunting. These are two or sometimes three coveys that have come together because they are covey near one another.
Quail do not covey during the spring, they break off and build nest. The hen tends the nest and the male fights off bachelor males. Seventy to eighty percent of the covey will die off each year whether they are hunted or not and there is a ratio of ten to fifteen percent more males than hens which means that there are an awful lot of bachelors. A two-year-old quail is considered a senior citizen (smile). The average number of quail per covey counting mom and dad is fifteen. Also, when they shuffle together in the fall coveys occasionally merge (there is safety in numbers).
If I find out that I am wrong about something, I will be the first to set the record straight; like so many of my quail hunting friends I fell victim to “Charlie’s Law”. I may get out one more time this week, the season comes to an end next Sunday the 31st. Make it a great day!