Bobwhite quail can be scarce in your location for a number of reasons. But, the primary reason is typically a lack of good or adequate habitat.
In fact, I spend much more time and money building and manipulating the overall habitat than I ever do on the bobwhite quail and surrogator. And, while driving tractor and pulling machinery is fun…….loading, tending and releasing quail from the surrogator is More Fun!
If you’re in Texas, then the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch is your one-stop destination for all quail habitat information. Other states tend to rely on research and information from the state wildlife organization and their land-grant university.
Nevertheless, it’s worth saying clearly. If you don’t have the habitat or can’t improve the habitat you have, you won’t be successful repopulating wild bobwhite quail on your property.
My strategy is to reduce the invasive ground cover, increase the forbes and build habitat for nesting, brooding and feeding. I do this with a medium sized 55 HP tractor, a shredder, an antique drag disc and a rebuilt John Deere Model B seed drill. I run this equipment during the Summer to clear brush from new areas, in the Fall to plant winter seed crop (usually wheat) and then in the Spring to plant Spring seed crop (usually brown millet and some Hegari or milo).
The best location for your Surrogator is out in the field where you have the best habitat and under a shade tree. You’ll also want to position it along the prevailing winds so that the heating unit pilot light is protected from drafts.