LINCOLN, Neb. – Northern bobwhite abundance increased compared to 2016, indicating that populations in Nebraska continue to rebound from the severe winters of 2009-2010 and the severe drought of 2012-2013, according to a whistle count and July rural mail carrier surveys.
Results of the whistle count survey show statewide, within the quail’s range, the mean number of males heard calling in 2017 was higher than in 2016.
In addition, the 2017 July Rural Mail Carrier Survey shows that relative abundance of quail was higher compared to last year. The relative abundance of pheasant, wild turkey, cottontail and jackrabbit was slightly lower, but was comparable to 2016 estimates. The survey showed abundances of pheasant, quail and jackrabbit were above the five-year average.
The mail carrier survey, conducted July 5-8 as 340 rural mail carriers observed species while traveling 147,629 miles of rural roads in 79 of Nebraska’s 93 counties, does not provide information on population size or density, but it is an index of relative abundance. The whistle count survey, conducted June 15-July 15, does not provide information on quail population size, but it is an index of breeding male abundance. A better insight to the coming hunting seasons will be provided later in August when the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission releases its Upland Game Outlook.
To view the full surveys, visit outdoornebraska.gov/upland.