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General Education FAQ

What has been accomplished so far by Quail-Tech™?

Broadcasting supplemental feed into the habitat has demonstrated benefits to increase bobwhite survival and reproductive efforts. These successes have already been published in the scientific literature and include:

Increased October to April survival an average of 22% over a 4-year experimental study of hundreds of bobwhites including wetter years.

  • 22% more hens to start the nesting season

Improved reproductive performance

  • Tripled the number of renesting hens (42% vs 15%) during 2012

  • 15% of fed hens tried a third nest; no control hens during 2012

  • Lengthened the breeding season by 39 days

Predator reduction also shows promise to increase the number of successful nests and chicks. After 4 years of study and hundreds of nests examined, predator reduction has increased nest success by about 10%.  

Quail-Tech has provided the landowners, managers, and hunters of Texas specific techniques to increase the survival and reproduction of Bobwhites.  See the individual research pages about these studies to learn more specifics.

What should you look for when considering various opinions about factors that
affect quail populations?

A good scientist has more than opinions. We start out with hypotheses, which are basically opinions about what causes the biological phenomena that we see.  The scientific process allows us to use experiments and data collection to support or refute these hypotheses. When you see statements about what influences quail populations, you should look for statements based on data. In our case, this data is largely based upon radiotelemetry studies, where quail is fitted with a radiotransmitter that allows us to track its movements and determine its fate. 


This same technology allows us to monitor nests and chicks. Using this technology, we can estimate the survival rates of adults, nests and chicks and measure the relative influence of environmental factors on them. Additionally, we can use this technology to test the effectiveness of different treatments within experiments to improve survival. That is exactly what we do at Quail-Tech. Results seen in the laboratory are often not reality when faced with the complex and multifaceted nature of the real world. 


At Quail-Tech, you will see survival rates and other data as it is acquired by real birds in the field. In some instances, management decisions must be made on opinion, because the relevant data are not available. At Quail-Tech, we will transparently tell you when our statements are still hypotheses that need to be tested. With your support, we can move forward and test them.

From how far away should weather records be kept?

Before the advent of modern gas detectors, miners carried canaries with them in small cages while they were mining.  Because canaries have a higher sensitivity to toxic gases such as carbon monoxide than humans, they served as an early warning system for miners that the air in a mine was not safe.  Our Anchor Ranch system was designed to act like canaries in a coal mine. Spread across the Rolling Plains of Texas, the monitoring that occurs on our Anchor Ranches allows us to see and respond to problems that occur across the 22-million-acre area.  All of our Anchor Ranches benefit from the knowledge, as well as the general public.  Despite the challenges that distance provides, our dispersed ranches have provided a priceless data set that a single research site cannot provide.

How can a ranch be part of research in only one of five years and provide a good research result?

Though a single ranch will host an experiment for only a year, the experiments themselves will be replicated on multiple ranches for 2 - 5 years. This provides adequate replication of results. The design of the Quail-Tech Anchor Ranch Program strongly supports this approach, because it provides the potential for experiments to be replicated in the central, northern, southern, eastern and western areas of the 38 county research area (approximately 22 million acres). Several Quail-Tech studies (e.g., economics of quail management, genetics, population dynamics, and food variability) will attempt to collect samples from all 38 anchor ranches for all 5 years of the study.

To whom would we be providing access to our ranch? For what purposes?

Quail-Tech requests access for their investigators, graduate students, and undergraduate technicians for the purpose of gathering data for experiments designed and conducted in consultation with individual landowners. In a separate request, Quail-Tech may ask for landowners to participate in a field day by allowing Quail-Tech personnel and the general public to tour research areas of their property as a member of the field day tour. However, granting access for field days is not a requirement for participation in the Quail-Tech program.

What does it mean to adhere to study guidelines and how can I agree to that if I do not know what they are when I sign up?

Research projects will be designed in consultation with individual landowners. No research topics and no specific protocols will be forced on any landowner. However, once study guidelines are agreed upon between the Quail-Tech science team and an individual landowner, we ask that landowners do everything within reason to adhere to these guidelines.

To whom would we be providing access to our ranch? For what purposes?

Recruitment is defined as survival of young-of-the-year individuals until they can be considered members of the fall population (some would say until they are capable of breeding). Recruitment is measured as the young-to-adult ratio and these data can be obtained by aging a sample of birds. Northern bobwhite and scaled quail are aged using specific characteristics of their wing feathers. Successful recruitment is indicated by a relatively high young-to-adult ratio. High young-to-adult ratios can be achieved when there is some measure of success in breeding hen survival, egg laying, nest survival during incubation, egg hatching, and chick survival to enter the fall population. A low young-to-adult ratio indicates a failure in one or more of these components of the life-cycle.

FAQ about Anchor Ranches

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