Deer hunters make up the majority of hunters in the Carolinas, yet many will frequently chase a turkey, duck or a covey of quail during other seasons. Deer hunters with control of a big network of food plots can greatly benefit quail reproduction by planting a warm-season mix in all of their food plots.
Typically, most food plots dedicated for quail are small grain crops planted in narrow strips. While these benefit quail as a food source and as escape corridors, the narrow strips can be counterproductive and only provide quail with a portion of their needs. Quail need areas at least 100 feet wide to keep them protected from predators during roosting, brooding and nesting. And the best food plots for quail are over an acre in size.
Large food plots typically dedicated for fall deer season with cool season annuals are ideal places to plant a warm-season mix. The grass mix supplies plant foods and insects for quail during nesting/brooding, one of the most-important seasons for bobwhite quail productivity. After nesting/brooding ends in September, hunters can repurpose their food plots back into their fall planting mix for deer.
The best spring mixes for quail will contain a mixture of warm-season grasses, native wildflowers and legumes. A typical mix would contain bluestem, orchard grass, Indian grass, red clover, sweet peas, vetch and some native wildflowers. Warm-season plantings should be from late April through early May for the best results. Plantings should be mature and ready for the beginning of the nesting season in May.