Weight And Age Characteristics As Criteria For Harvest Of Bobwhites In North Central Texas

Bobwhite age and weight data were collected from 5 study areas in North Central Texas to determine characteristics contributable to optimal harvest. A total of 24,324 bobwhites were aged and 12,735 were weighed and examined during December and January (hunting season), 1962-67. The_peak in nesting as shown by molt patterns occurred prior to July 15 each year. The mean weight of all birds was 176.2 - a standard error of .5 grams. Weights increased through December and began to decline during the final 3 weeks of January. Average weights of January-killed birds did not decline below the average weight for the study period. It is submitted that bobwhite weight and physical condition can be utilized as criteria for harvest and subsequent management of the species. The harvest beginning date should coincide with the average date on which 90 percent of juvenile birds reach the 150 gram acceptable size. This date during the period in North Texas was November 25. Bobwhite weight and physical condition were shown to remain well within acceptable limits during late winter indicating that these factors are not prime considerations for determining the season closing date.

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