2014 Stubble Quail Season
The Stubble Quail is the only native quail species that can be legally hunted in Victoria. A number of introduced game birds (eg. pheasants, partridges) may also be hunted, however, most of these introduced game birds are only found on licensed game bird farms.
Stubble Quail is the most common quail species
occurring in Australia and is found in Queensland and much
of south-eastern and south-western Australia, across a range of habitat types.
Quail prefer areas of tall, dense ground vegetation, particularly natural or
improved grasslands, as well as areas
of other low cover, including cereal crops, stubble and
Generally, quail hunting occurs on private property in stubble paddocks and grasslands, however, 16 State Game Reserves are open to Stubble Quail hunting (see below for details).
The 2014 Stubble Quail season opens on Saturday 5 April and closes on Monday 30 June 2014.
The bag limit is a maximum of 20 birds per day.
Stubble Quail may be hunted with a shotgun only, not exceeding a 12 gauge.
hunting of Stubble Quail is only permitted from half an hour before sunrise to
half an hour after sunset during the
The use of gun dogs for hunting Stubble Quail
The use of a trained gundog has the potential to increase hunter success while enabling the hunter to participate in and appreciate an age-old tradition.
Gundogs can be particularly useful when hunting quail in long grass and to locate downed birds, which may otherwise be lost.
Wildlife (Game) Regulations 2012 allow for four new breeds of gundog. For
further information on the new breeds and quail hunting, please visit the DPI
hunting website at www.depi.vic.gov.au/fishing-and-hunting
or download the free
new Game Hunting Victoria App from the iTunes Store or Google Play.
Stubble Quail hunting on State Game Reserves
Stubble Quail may be hunted on the following 16 State Game Reserves:
TITLE OF RESERVE
10 km west of Stanhope
10 km north of Colbinabbin
10 km north of Colbinabbin
15 km south-west of Yarrawonga
Jack Smith Lake
30 km east of Yarram
20 km east of Sale
5 km south of Bairnsdale
12 km north-east of Sale
10 km south-east of Sale
20 km south of Bairnsdale
South-east of Geelong
5 km east of Sale
10 km west of Natimuk
40 km east of Edenhope
10 km north-east of Horsham
For a map of these reserves, please visit the DEPI website at www.depi.vic.gov.au
Non-game quail and Plains-wanderer
All native quail species are protected in Victoria and, with the exception of the Stubble Quail, may not be hunted. In addition, the threatened Plains-wanderer, a separate species that sometimes resembles a quail, also occurs in Victoria and is fully protected.
The Plains-wanderer is a small ground-dwelling bird found in north-western and central Victoria, especially around Mitiamo. The species was formerly much more abundant and widespread, however, changes to agricultural and pastoral practices have eliminated the bird from many areas, reducing its range.
In Victoria, the Plains-wanderer is considered to be critically endangered and is listed as threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. Should factors causing their decline continue, it could become extinct. The Plains-wanderer is a plump, tailless bird with brown plumage, straw-yellow
legs and is sometimes mistaken for a quail. The Plains-wanderer inhabits sparse native grasslands, old stubble and grazed pasture.
Plains-wanderers are fully protected in Victoria and must not be shot. Although hunting is not regarded as a threatening process, hunters should be aware that Plains-wanderers may be present in their hunting area.
How to recognise the Plains-wanderer
The Stubble Quail and Plains-wanderer show distinctively different flight characteristics which can be used to distinguish birds in the field. Stubble Quail flush with a loud whirring of wings at a shallow angle to the ground, fly straight, far and fast, just above cover, twisting slightly then dropping tail-down into cover. The Plains-wanderer has a laboured, fluttering flight and often its long, yellow legs can be seen trailing behind, in much the same fashion as a coot.
When hunting, you may encounter several other quail species that could be mistaken for the Stubble Quail. Those most commonly encountered include: Brown Quail; King Quail; Painted Button Quail; and Little Button Quail. These birds are protected all year and may not be hunted.
Distinguishing between Stubble Quail and non-game quail
It is important that hunters can readily distinguish between Stubble Quail and protected quail species while hunting. You should pay particular attention to: the size and flight characteristics of the bird; the habitat that you are hunting in; and the social organisation of the birds.
Below is a general description that can be used by hunters as a guide to recognising the differences between the Stubble Quail and non-game quail species. Remember, if you are not sure, DON'T SHOOT.
Large, plump bird (compared to other native quail species).
Generally smaller than Stubble Quail (except Brown Quail which is slightly larger).
Bold, pale streaks on shoulder, back and breast.
Uniformly darker wings (King, Brown, Little Button).
Prefer open grasslands (improved and natural), cereal crops, stubble, lucerne and often found along weedy margins of irrigation channels. Avoid woodlands or areas with many trees.
Found across a range of habitat types including: woodlands; rank, dense grasslands; swampy coastal heaths; bracken; scrublands; grassy forests.
Mostly found singly or in pairs and, occasionally, small groups.
Often found in small groups or coveys (Brown Quail may be found in groups of up to thirty birds).
Never vocalise (call) when flushed.
Often chirp or chatter when flushed.
Loud whirring of wings when flushed. Fly with fast wing beats and may travel as far as 500 metres.
Quieter wing beats, not as rapid. Often fly only a short distance.
Never glide when flying. Curved flight before dropping tail-down into cover.
Glide in flight (Brown, King) may drop head-first into cover (Brown).