Quail Research

In order to manage game species effectively it is important to quantify the numbers harvested.

The Game Management Authority conducts the following research on Stubble Quail across the state.

Get involved in the Stubble Quail wing collection program
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Over the upcoming 2022 Stubble Quail season, GMA will be piloting a new research project investigating the age and sex (demographics) of Stubble Quail harvested by licenced hunters in Victoria.

This research will provide eligible hunters with the opportunity to mail in harvested quail wings, allowing GMA to identify the age and sex of harvested quail. This research will contribute to a better understanding of the demographics and reproductive rates of Stubble Quail within Victoria. Similar demographic research projects on game species are successfully conducted throughout the world, including the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, and Denmark.

Together with the data gathered from the Stubble Quail monitoring program, this information will greatly aid our understanding of this important game species and allow us to model the population to predict trends and assist in the development of sustainable management practices.

The wings returned from harvested stubble quail will be assessed at the end of the 2022 quail season. Data on the sex, age and stage of moult of harvested stubble quail will be published on the GMA website.

This report identifies key features that can be used to determine age and sex of nine game bird species (eight ducks and the Stubble Quail).

These age and sex characteristics were identified by examining museum skins, and wing and tail specimens obtained from hunters during opening weekend of the 2017 and 2018 duck hunting seasons.

The report doubles as a field guide with commissioned paintings showing the differences between males and females, and between adults and juveniles.

This information can be used to inform decisions about the hunting season, such as the duration of the season and daily bag limits.

2020

Estimates of harvest for duck and Stubble Quail in Victoria 2020 (PDF version)


2019

Estimates of harvest for duck and Stubble Quail in Victoria 2019 (PDF version)

Hunter's Bag Survey: 2019 Victorian duck hunting season (PDF version)


2018

Estimates of harvest for duck and Stubble Quail in Victoria 2018 (PDF version)

Hunter's Bag Survey: 2018 Victorian duck hunting season (PDF version)


2017

Estimates of harvest for duck and Stubble Quail in Victoria (PDF version)

Hunter's Bag Survey: 2017 Victorian duck hunting season (PDF version)

Estimates of harvest for deer, duck and quail from 1985 to 2015: Combining mail and telephone survey results (PDF version)


2016

Game Birds

Estimates of harvest for duck and quail in Victoria (PDF Version)

Hunter's Bag Survey: 2016 Victorian duck hunting season (PDF Version)


2015

Game Birds

Estimates of harvest for duck and quail in Victoria (PDF version)

Hunter's Bag Surveys: 2014 and 2015 Victorian duck hunting seasons (PDF version)


2014

Estimates of harvest for deer, duck and quail in Victoria (PDF version)


2013

Estimates of harvest for deer, duck and quail in Victoria (PDF version) (Word Version)


2012

Estimates of harvest for deer, duck and quail in Victoria (PDF version) (Word Version)


2011

Estimates of harvest for deer, duck and quail in Victoria (PDF version) (Word Version)


2010

Estimates of harvest for deer, duck and quail in Victoria (PDF version) (Word Version)


2009

Estimates of harvest for deer, duck and quail in Victoria (PDF version) (Word Version)

In January 2022, the GMA commenced a new annual Stubble Quail monitoring program which will provide critical data on abundance and distribution of this species and allow us to track trends over time.

Designed by wildlife scientists at the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, the monitoring program will be trialled in 2022 and survey more than 60 sites across four different Stubble Quail habitat types throughout Victoria. We intend to increase the number of sample sites in time.

Habitats to be surveyed include native tussock grasslands, dryland crop, non-native pasture, and seasonal herb wetlands. Contracted ecologists will walk 4km transects and use a method known as distance sampling to estimate density at each site. An estimate of total abundance can then be determined based on the extent of habitat throughout Victoria.

Together with data gathered on the upcoming Stubble Quail demographics (age and sex) project and existing harvest surveys, we will develop a better understanding of this important game species, its response to the environment and land use practices and the impact of harvesting, all of which will assist in the development of sustainable management practices.

Research investigating the efficacy of quail callers in attracting Stubble Quail (Coturnix pectoralis) was recently conducted across western Victoria. The study aimed to test the efficacy of electronic quail callers (or electronic acoustic lures) under field conditions and during the hunting season at attracting and concentrating the birds.

Electronic acoustic lures have the potential to negatively impact the sustainability of hunting due to their effectiveness and have already been regulated or prohibited in many countries (e.g. Canada, USA, Mexico, UK and some European countries) around the world for other gamebirds and waterfowl. Animal densities often increase around the caller and can significantly increase a hunter’s harvest.

This study used a method known as distance sampling to measure the density and abundance of Stubble Quail in response to ‘active’ callers (Stubble Quail calls played continuously for 48 hours) at 79 sites of known quail habitat across western Victoria.

Results showed there was a significant difference in the densities of quail in response to active callers when compared to control sites (P <0.01). Eight Stubble Quail were detected during pre-treatment surveys at control sites and five were detected at active sites. However, while only seven quail were detected at the control sites during post-treatment surveys, 488 Stubble Quail were detected at active sites where quail callers were turned on. The distance sampling survey data allowed for density estimation, which was estimated at 0.57 quail per hectare in control treatments (callers off) and 16.56 quail per hectare in active treatments (callers on); an approximate 30-fold increase in density. The majority of quail detections also occurred within 30 metres of the quail callers.

These findings demonstrate the obvious efficacy of quail callers in both attracting quail to an area and then concentrating them close to the caller, as such providing enhanced conditions for successful hunting.

This research was led by a team of Environmental Scientists at Deakin University, with support from the GMA. A manuscript titled “Assessing the efficacy of quail callers in attracting stubble quail and non-target predators” co-authored by scientists from Deakin University and the GMA has been submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal and is currently under review.

Page last updated: 11 May 2022