Monthly Archives: October 2016

How Many Quail, Coveys?

How many quail are in a covey? That number can vary, but it’s also important to know how many coveys are on a property. Many quail managers and hunters know they have quail, but probably do not have an estimate of the total number of quail or the average number of quail per covey on their hunting grounds.

This information, data about the number of local birds, could be a major determining factor in whether the location is worth hunting this fall and winter. Completing fall covey count surveys can be a valuable tool to help resolve these difficult hunt/no-hunt that quail hunters face each fall.

Bobwhite Coveys

Bobwhite quail begin forming coveys in early August. By September, these groups communicate through early morning “wake-up” calls. The seasonal calling peaks around mid-October and offers an opportunity to for hunters and managers to collect quality data regarding the number of quail on a specific piece of property. This information can be used to determine the number of coveys that call the property home.

Fall Call

In the fall, quail make a “koi-lee” whistle which is brief call that averages around 30 seconds, or less. It’s made early in the morning, typically beginning about 30 minutes before sunrise. Depending on the number of coveys that may be present, the calling lasts only a few minutes. Get there early or you may miss it!

When it comes to estimating the number of quail coveys on a property, clear mornings with light breezes are the best time to survey. Once the calling session ends, flushing the coveys is the best way to determine the size of the covey. It will also help you get an about where the quail roosting habitat on the property is located.

Fall quail surveys can help with overall quail management decisions. They can be a valuable tool for managing quail and covey numbers and can help with harvest decisions. Completing fall covey count surveys is recommended for anyone interested in quail management. Here’s how you do it:

Setup Call Points

Establish listening call count points at least 1,000 yards from each other. This guards against coveys being counted more than once if multiple persons are listening from different locations during the same morning. It helps to printi an aerial map of the property and mark the points before hand.

Listen for Calling Quail

Observers need to arrive at the point at least 45 minutes before sunrise and listen for each covey’s call up until sunrise. Marking the time of the call and the approximate location of each calling covey on a map helps provide a clearer picture of the number of coveys which may be present. It’s best to be conservative in the number of individual coveys.

How Many Quail Coveys Do You Have?

Evaluate Covey Data

Crunch time — time to analyze the results. Enter data into a Fall Covey Count Data Sheet, an adjusted fall covey index can be determined for each survey point. In addition, if a covey/s are flushed, the number of quail per acre can be estimated with this form.

Survey accuracy is improved when numerous points are established on a property, or at least the ones that exist are counted several times. Small properties may only allow for one survey point while larger ones are only limited by size and suitable quail habitat.

So how many quail and coveys do you have? It’s an important question for folks interested in quail, but a small investment (time) can provide valuable quail hunting and management information for the fall and beyond.

Why Do Deer Dig Up Lawns?

Deer Can Dig?

Yes, deer can dig to some extent. Actually, they can dig more than you might expect for an ungulate, an animal with hooves. Deer may be the smallest members of the North American deer family, but they care adept at getting to want they want. White-tailed deer as well as mule deer and exotic deer can all use their hooves to excavate the earth. In some cases, the holes they make can become quite large.

Deer Attracted to Lawns

Deer are attracted to yards for a number of reasons. First, many residential yards are irrigated. This means lush vegetation is going to be found there. Before they even dig up your lawn, they are already attracted to it because it looks good.

Lawns are typically fertilized, as well. This means that the plants found growing in your yard will also taste good to a deer. Wild animals such as deer can taste increased nutritional content. It’s how they were built; deer are designed to seek out the most nutrient-rich foods.

Deer Dig Up Foods

Deer are herbivores that browse. They will eat weeds as well as the leaves and stems of trees and shrubs. White-tailed deer, in particular, consume very little grass. They spend most of their waking hours searching for something to eat.

Deer are different from grazing animals such as cows in that they need high quality foods, foods that are easily digested. Deer foods must be energy-rich. Grass is not easy to digest so it does not make up a large part of their diet. So when deer visit a yard they are not looking for grass. If that were the case some suburban areas with high deer numbers would have zero grass cover.

Deer will consume plant parts rich in energy that grow underground, such as bulbs, which is why deer are often digging up yards, irrigated lawns and flower beds. There is something good for them to eat down there! Deer have got to eat, right?

Prevent Deer Digging in Yards

If you see digging in your lawn the first thing to do is identify the animal doing the damage. There are a number of animals will dig in a yard, with the most obvious ones being armadillos and wild, feral hogs. Armadillos create a number of small digs, maybe 2-4 inches in diameter, throughout a yard. Feral hogs can make large holes approaching 1-3 feet or even more in diameter!

The most important part of preventing damage to you yard or residential lawn is to pay attention to why deer are there, digging in the first place? Food. Remove what they want. Look at what they are digging up. The best offense is a good defense. Do not replace dug up plants with the same species. Switch gears completely and go with plants that are not attractive to deer. If they are eating your bulbs then it’s time to plant something else.