Tip: Quail “Pockets”
Why is it in years with lower quail numbers, it seems that only pockets of quail are found? The answer to that can involve fluctuations in food source, cover, roosting areas, and other reasons, but one reason is due to what takes place during the breeding season. Certain habitat is much more desirable to quail than other habitat, so when the breeding season takes place and the males establish a territory, if there is a higher concentration of males in a particular area, some will move off into more marginal habitat to establish a population there. In years with less quail, and therefore fewer males, there is less expansion of the coveys resulting in pockets of quail.
In years with good back-to-back hatches, quail are much easier to locate because any good quail habitat will have enough coveys that can be located even just driving back roads. In years with lower quail numbers, even if you are in good quail country, you may not find quail unless you hunt hard and come across a pocket.