Effectiveness of Surrogators As A Propagation Tool for Northern Bobwhites In South-Central Texas




Kinsey, John C.

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Attempts to restore populations of northern bobwhites (Colinus virginianus) using game-farm quail have been documented since the early 1900s. Low restoration success rates are likely to the result of low post-release survival rates (8-15 days) and long distance dispersal from release sites averaging 2.33 km. Claims have been made that Surrogators®, a quail propagation tool, has increased success rates in both these areas. Following steps outlined in the Wildlife Management Technologies 2009 Surrogator System Guide, I tested the effectiveness of surrogators on bobwhite survival, dispersal, and habitat selection. I accomplished this by raising 1,000 bobwhites in two surrogators and conducting two trials per year in 2009 and 2010 on a 990-ha ranch in Wilson County, TX. Twenty bobwhites from each surrogator were fitted with transmitters 12 h before release. I attempted to locate each bobwhite daily for 3 weeks, followed by a reduced effort of three times per week until mortality reached 100%. Transmitter attachment techniques used during 2009 failed; thus no data were recorded on mortality and dispersal. Bart and Robson’s Maximum Likelihood Estimators of daily survival rates calculated for bobwhites released from surrogators A and B during the first trial 2010 were low (0.87 and 0.96, respectively). Daily survival rates of bobwhites calculated for surrogators A and B in the second trial of 2010 were also low (0.83 and 0.87, respectively). Mean distances traveled by bobwhites post-release during the first trial of 2010 were 401 m and 1,416 m for surrogators A and B, respectively. Dispersal statistics were not calculated for the second trial of 2010 because of small sample size (n < 2). There was no difference in habitat use. My results do not support the use of surrogators as an effective means of restoring wild populations of northern bobwhites in southern Texas.



quail, surrogator, dispersal, survival, pen-reared quail, propagation, habitat, Bobwhite


Kinsey, J. C. (2011). Effectiveness of surrogators as a propagation tool for Northern Bobwhites In South-Central Texas (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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