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The last 20 to 30 years have been pretty sad for Texas quail hunters.

The quail populations have dropped as much as 70% in that time and it’s one of the reasons that the storied traditions of quail hunting has dropped as well.

The number of quail hunters in Texas has dropped too. The decline in licensed hunters has dropped by about 80% since the early ‘90s. During the last two decades there have been nothing but steady declines in both quail populations and hunters in the field.

For the hunters that remember quail hunting back in the ‘60s and ‘70s it’s been a sad state. Hunting for quail has long been a form of enjoyment for many hunters. Many hunters would start by heading out to the field with their father or grandfather to chase after the birds. You could take your well-trained dog and when they would hold steady on a bird you would get all excited in anticipation of a flush.

These traditions have been on the decline for a variety of reasons. Things cycle naturally in nature as the land changes and the climate changes. There have also been other factors like more expansion from humans into quail habitat and changes in farming priorities.

But this year things have been looking up. There was good rain in the spring and that has led to some great habitat for the quail. This could be a good year compared to the last few. Now, that’s not saying things are getting back to the way it was 20 years ago, but it’s a positive sign.

It’s a popular saying in Texas that there is nowhere to go but up for quail in the state, but as landowners realize that quail habitat is a good investment there is hope for the future.

Don’t quit on the quail hunting traditions just yet. The bird is known as one of the most resilient of any upland bird and they just might make a strong comeback here in the next decade.

It will be a welcome sign for all those old quail hunters that remember the good times.

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