Monday, October 7, 2013

NJ State set to release quail ahead of hunting season

Written by


The state is set to release a number of quail into two wildlife management areas within city limits beginning later this week, which could be a delight to small game hunters across the area.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife will release the quail in the Bevans Wildlife Management Area on Shaws Mill Road and the Menantico Ponds Wildlife Management Area on Ferry Road.

The stocking begins Friday and Saturday, and will continue each Saturday through October.
Altogether, the DEP will release a total of 880 quail in 11 wildlife management areas throughout the state. The quail and pheasant season officially begins Nov. 9.

The purpose of the stocking is for dog training. Hunters are permitted to train dogs at any wildlife management area from Sept. 1 until April 30.

“It’s something families like to do,” said Bob Considine, a DEP spokesman. “It’s part of the small hunting season. It’s an annual rite of passage.”

Sunday, October 6, 2013

WA Upland bird hunters should find abundant populations of quail 2013


Eric Barker Lewiston Tribune

Upland bird hunters should find abundant populations of quail and Hungarian partridge this fall, according to recent Idaho Fish and Game surveys, but pheasants will be scarce.

Quail and Huns are both up. Biologists counted 294 quail, a 103 percent improvement on 2012 and 43 percent above the 10-year average.

The surveyors counted 106 Huns, also known as gray partridge. That marks a 33 percent improvement on last year but about 5 percent below the 10-year average.

Biologists recorded a 67 percent reduction in large raptors compared to last year and a 40 percent decline in coyotes. Chukar surveys, which are done by aircraft, were discontinued a few years ago because of safety and budgetary concerns.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Private Donors Play Key Roles in Largest Quail Disease Decline Study Ever Undertaken

In June of 2010, Texas ranch owner and quail hunter Rick Snipes said he heard so many bobwhite quail calling in the mornings that he couldn’t even tell how many were in the area. It seemed he could expect excellent hunting by October.

That never happened.

By August, the silence was deafening. Snipes found about five birds for every hundred he had seen before. Other ranchers in the Rolling Plains around him had lost their birds, too. That meant big economic losses for this area and others that depend on the income generated by hunting.

This forensic mystery culminated into a historic effort dubbed “Operation Idiopathic Decline” to examine the role of diseases and parasites in the decline of quail. The foundation associated the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch (RPQRR) has donated a total of $2.75 million in private funding to the project. About half the proceeds have gone to The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) at Texas Tech University.

In this study – the largest quail disease research project ever undertaken – scientists at Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Texas A&M-Kingsville began looking for answers on 35 ranches or wildlife management areas located in 25 counties in West Texas and 10 in Western Oklahoma, as well as at the RPQRR’s 4,700-acre ranch near Roby. Project organizers estimate the total coverage area of this study includes about 19 million acres of land.

In the past two years, scientists have collected data from 1,240 birds. While the answers still remain elusive, some of the factors they already have discovered have surprised scientists and landowners alike.

In 2010, Texas Tech formed another quail research project called the Quail-Tech Alliance, a five-year, $1.25 million study. Scientists with this project hope to discover reasons for the area’s quail decline as well as develop new methods for landowners enrolled in the project to use to stabilize, maintain and even increase quail populations, said Brad Dabbert, research project manager and an associate professor at Texas Tech’s Department of Natural Resources Management (NRM).

The Quail-Tech Alliance is a partnership between Texas Tech’s NRM and Quail First, a nonprofit organization.

For more on Operation Idiopathic Decline, visit http://today.ttu.edu/2013/08/where-have-the-quail-gone/.



For more information on the OID project see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Djo5gzDjA2w .


Find Texas Tech news, experts and story ideas at www.media.ttu.edu and on Twitter @TexasTechMedia.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2013 Quail Habitat Conditions Report

Spring and summer brought welcomed change in quail nesting conditions throughout much of the country. As the saying goes; when it rains, it pours. The rains have fallen in overabundance for some, but many states have found refuge from drought stricken habitat in the form of these rain clouds.
A significant amount of upland habitat continues to be lost countrywide, and the bleeding has not stopped.  The Conservation Reserve Program enrolled only 1.7 million acres in most recent general sign-up, bringing this critical wildlife habitat program down to a 26-year low.

However, in the face of this habitat loss, literally thousands of concerned hunter-conservationists have picked up the upland conservation banner and joined Quail Forever as new members and volunteers. This year, Quail Forever reached an all-time “covey” record of more than 11,000 members with new chapters forming from California to Florida.

Enjoy these habitat reports and as hunting season approaches, consider lending a hand with your local Quail Forever chapter.

Alabama
Mild winter a boon for bobs

Alabama has had an abnormally wet spring/summer, with only a handful of central and southeastern counties experiencing an abnormally dry season – a drastic change from the recent severe summer droughts. Across the state, there’s been anywhere from 17-40” of rainfall reported for the year (as of the end of July) with temperatures remaining relatively low all the way through the summer months.

“On our public lands that are managed for quail we have seen more birds this spring/summer than in past years and heard from several hunters who were pleased with bird numbers,” says Carrie Johnson, wildlife biologist for Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.  “Also, I have had reports from landowners who say they have been hearing birds on their property for the first time in 10-15 years.”




This past winter Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries acquired new acreages on several management areas including Lauderdale, Lowndes, Barbour, and James D. Martin Wildlife Management Areas. Additionally, the Forever Wild program bought property that ties into James D. Martin WMA and Lauderdale WMA.

Arizona
A season worth gearing up for

It can be said even mediocre quail hunting years in Arizona are better than the best years in other areas of the country. “This year will be one worth getting out and hunting quail, but not one to write the relatives about,” says Johnathan O’Dell, small game biologist for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

According to O’Dell, the state received better amounts of winter rains this year, but it has been a particularly dry spring that started early. However, the summer monsoons did make a timely return. O’Dell also noted quail in southern Arizona started hatching on time, but birds in central Arizona were late.

The big three in Arizona (Gambel’s, scaled, and Mearns’ quail) all require precipitation at different times for nesting success. Gambel’s need winter precipitation, scaled spring precipitation, and Mearns’ the summer monsoonal rains.

O’Dell also noted spring call counts came in at 20% below last year’s numbers and below the 10-year average. The early, dry spring didn’t help scaled quail due to their typical nesting 2 to 3 weeks behind Gambel’s; however, on the upside, lots of habitat improvements have been made in southeastern Arizona to restore the native grasslands which are important to the scaled quail. Expect to see more Gambel’s quail than scaled quail in those areas this year for a below average season. Mearns’, hunters should be cautiously optimistic. It will take more than 2 good years in a row to bring numbers up, but the state is headed in the right directions. Expect a slightly below average season for Mearns’.

Read the full survey here: http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/small_game.shtml

Georgia
Excellent spring/summer production of food and nesting cover


Georgia received above average rainfall during late spring and early summer. This has resulted in excellent production of food and nesting cover on most quail managed landscapes. This rainfall doesn’t appear to have resulted in significant reductions in nesting success and brood production, particularly on the more well-drained sandy or loamy soils, says Reggie Thackston, program manager for Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Through the Farm Bill, Georgia has about 200,000 acres in CRP CP3A & CP 36 longleaf pine practices; 2,200 acres in CRP CP 33native field buffers; and 8,000 acres in the CP 38 SAFE Pine Savanna practice. Bobwhites and other grassland species benefit where these practices are appropriately maintained through mid-contract management, such as frequent prescribed fire or rotational winter disking.

Additionally, Georgia landowners may be eligible for practice cost  share to enhance bobwhite habitat through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Working Lands for Wildlife, Environmental Incentives Program and Conservation Stewardship Program. Within all of these programs, landowners may receive funding for practices that can be value added for quail if appropriately applied and maintained in the proper landscape context. Through the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division Private Lands Program, which includes the Bobwhite Quail Initiative, wildlife biologists are available to assist landowners with development of bobwhite management plans and details on habitat practice cost share availability.

In recent years in southwest Georgia, approximately 35,000 acres of new and intensively managed wild quail lands have been successfully established on private property through the technical guidance efforts of Tall Timbers Research Station.

Georgia WRD is in the process of finalizing the revision of the state’s Bobwhite Quail Initiative under the umbrella of the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative. This plan targets bobwhite restoration into strategic focal landscapes that often include a mix of both private and public lands.

Georgia’s BQI is funded primarily through the sale of a vehicle license plate along with direct donations and grants.

Idaho
Quail population strong heading into breeding season


Idaho experienced a very mild winter that was drier than average, so overwinter survival is expected to be high, reports Jeff Knetter, upland game and waterfowl staff biologist for Idaho Fish and Game.
While overwinter survival may be high, much of southern Idaho has been very dry during the spring/summer nesting season, so there are some concerns regarding brood survival. Unofficial reports have broods being observed thus far, so state biologists remain cautiously optimistic about another good year.

In terms of habitat, Idaho has been holding steady at approximately 670,000 acres enrolled in CRP/SAFE and has not seen a significant decline of acres like many other states.


Through state and local efforts, Idaho continues to promote the CP-33 buffers practice, as well as a new CRP SAFE practice in western Idaho focused on upland game birds. USDA and the Department of Wildlife are putting effort into promoting mid-contract management which will result in better game bird habitat on these acres.

Missouri
Reports of increased calling and broods observed


According to Beth Emmerich, agricultural wildlife ecologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, it appears quail came through the drought of 2012 and the lingering winter of 2012-13 in good shape.  “Initial nesting ran a bit later than normal this year due to an extremely cool, wet spring, but early indications are that we are seeing an increase over previous years,” Emmerich says.


Nesting and brood-rearing habitat should be in good shape this year after being knocked back by last year’s drought. Quail numbers on the state’s larger grasslands in western and southwest Missouri seem especially good this year.  In addition, staff members and cooperators north of the Missouri River also report an increase in calling males and brood observations.

Texas
Population increase expected compared to 2012


Although more rainfall is definitely needed across the core bobwhite range in Texas, enough rainfall events occurred over a large enough area to produce conditions favorable for reproductive efforts. Spring and summer rains occurred in almost every region offering some relief from drought and the following green-up provided bugs and limited nesting cover. “We expect populations to increase compared to last year but remain below the long-term average,” states Robert Perez, upland game bird program leader for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Winter conditions in north Texas did not present any challenges for quail. The region was, however, very dry up until spring and summer when many areas received enough rain to spur male bobwhite calling activity and subsequent nesting activity.
Most of the state has experienced long-term drought (2-3 years) and populations have been declining each year of drought; although, there have been some areas of the state that have fared better than others.

Texas’ quail roadside surveys are ongoing and preliminary information suggests production is up in many areas of the state.
Utah

Nesting and brood success high


“Utah is home to California and Gambel’s quail populations.  Gambel’s quail were in fair condition heading into the breeding season; however, California quail were below average ,” says Jason Robinson, upland game coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. “Early indications are that nesting and brood success have been high,” Robinson says.

The winter in Utah was cold and longer than average with snow and cold temps persisting longer than expected, which likely affected California quail populations, but had limited effects on Gambel’s quail.  Early spring precipitation was good, especially in May, with June extremely hot and dry, near record dry and hot.  July precipitation was higher than average, with average temperatures.





The 2013 Quail Habitat Conditions Report was complied by Rehan Nana, Quail Forever public relations specialist, with special thanks given to participating state agencies.

For the following states and the complete Quail Forever article click here

Arkansas
California 

Colorado
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Mississippi
Nevada
New Mexico
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
South Carolina
Virginia


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Texas Tech quail researchers receive grants

Grants received for quail research at Tech.

Researchers at Texas Tech have received grants totalling $244,000 to fund two different research projects investigating the rapid decline in the Texas quail population.

Ron Kendall and Steve Presley in the Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Tech have received awards totaling $133,700 for their projects investigating how a fungal toxin used in deer feed and a parasitic eye worm may be affecting the birds.

Brad Dabbert in Tech’s department of natural resources management received $110,000 for a supplemental feeding project that aims to increase survival and reproductive success of quail in the wild.


The grant money comes from Dallas-based nonprofit Park Cities Quail.

Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch field day set Sept. 27

Writer: Steve Byrns, 325-653-4576, s-byrns@tamu.edu
Contact: Dr. Dale Rollins, 325-653-4576, d-rollins@tamu.edu

           ROBY – The Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch will conduct its 6th annual field day from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch near Roby.

“Best Management Practices for Quail” is the theme.

           Individual preregistration is $10 until Sept. 20 and $20 thereafter. Student preregistration is $5. The fees include lunch, refreshments and field day abstracts. For more information or to preregister contact Dr. Dale Rollins, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service wildlife specialist and Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch  director, San Angelo at 325-653-4576 or e-mail d-rollins@tamu.edu .


           “The quail situation looks better this year than any year since 2007,” Rollins said.  ”With the adoption of good management practices, hopefully we can capture this momentum and get back to huntable levels across west Texas.”

Monday, July 29, 2013

Ex-mayor keeps working on putting 'Georgia Giant' quail in Putnam County, Ill.


NewsTribune Reporter

A familiar sight and sound is returning to a farm in Putnam County through efforts of three Spring Valley men raising quail.

In January, former Spring Valley mayor Cliff Banks, alderman Mark Actis and Spring Valley resident Gray Casper started raising quail on farmland in Putnam County. Banks owns 304 acres of the land where he raises and releases the birds into the wild.

About three weeks ago, the men released 165 quail onto the property. Banks said the birds can be seen throughout the day running across the lane between the corn and wheat fields to feed and shade themselves. The farmers have reported seeing the birds in their backyard at night, he said.

“Everything’s been going well so far,” said Banks.

Banks said the birds have been sticking around and have been flying and feeding OK. He also believes area predators have been leaving them alone. 

“That means we are doing something right,” he said.

Banks said they chose the area because quail used to be abundant on the land. In the past years, the population has fallen due to farming and other environmental factors, said Banks. 
Banks said there used to be lots of quail in his former hometown in southern Illinois and when he moved to Spring Valley he missed the “whistle” or bird call he use to hear. He said he wanted to bring that back to the area.

The men continue to raise more birds and will have another 200 ready to release in a few weeks, including 50 he wants to release on property in Streator. Banks said he had around 80 eggs that hatched this week and several others that would soon be ready to learn how to fly.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Preparing Quail For The BBQ - Video Recipe


We went hunting earlier that day and shot a good number of quail. Wanted to do a quick video on how I prepare quail for the grill.

Monday, July 22, 2013

PA Quail on the comeback?



The call of the whip-poor-will and bobwhite quail have something in common.

No, they don’t sound remotely similar, and one emanates from the forest at night while the other rises from the fields during the day.

What they do have in common is they are both sounds that are seldom heard in Pennsylvania anymore, and the Pennsylvania Game Commission is hoping to bring at least one of the species back.

Northern bobwhite quail were relatively common in parts of the state - particularly agricultural areas, until the mid-1940’s. The population dropped in the 1950’s, made a recovery in the early 1960’s and then plummeted to the near non-existent levels of today. Habitat change - namely the loss of grassland and brushy areas, is to blame.

It’s a similar decline as the wild pheasant, but Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas are providing hope that pheasants can be brought back.

Can the same thing happen with wild quail?

That’s what the PGC wants to find out, and it recently finished a 10-year management plan for the bobwhite quail with the main goal to restore wild breeding populations in suitable habitat across the state.

The first step, according PGC game bird section supervisor Ian Gregg, is to review bird count data and find where, if anywhere, quail have been heard or seen. The agency will contract out that work, Gregg said, and then review the findings. The work is expected to begin by the end of this year.

“It could show us clusters or scattered areas of quail, or it could tell us we don’t have many wild quail left in the state,” he said.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Quail Forever Names Wallace New Regional Representative for MO, AR and LA

Quail Forever (QF) and Pheasants Forever (PF) recently named John Wallace of Eaton, Ohio, as the organization’s new regional representative for Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana. Wallace will work out of his home in the Columbia area and focus his efforts on supporting Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever chapters and members—as well as their activities— in Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Wallace, a former Pheasants Forever farm bill wildlife biologist, looks to grow Quail Forever’s presence in the three states, which are currently home to 25 Quail Forever chapters, six Pheasants Forever chapters and more than 3,000 PF/QF members. He will work at raising and expending funds on wildlife habitat and conservation education, and also work with local, state, and federal natural resource agencies on behalf of QF/PF chapters.

Wallace grew up in west central Ohio, where he spent most of his childhood fishing, hunting, and camping with family. He and his family have been members of a local rod and gun club for his entire life. “Belonging to a local sportsman’s club really helped me understand and appreciate the importance of conservation and being a part of a group of folks that share a passion,” says Wallace. “Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever chapter volunteers share that same passion and dedication, and it’s exciting to be a part of it!”

Though Missouri is one of the leading states for quail restoration, Wallace says it’s important to continue connecting local quail hunters to Quail Forever’s habitat mission. “Over my three and a half years with Pheasants Forever, I dealt directly with the Conservation Reserve Program and local Pheasants Forever chapters, helping to realize wildlife goals and maximize chapters' efficiencies at banquets and other events. I look forward to using these experiences in Missouri, as well as in Arkansas and Louisiana,” notes Wallace.

Wallace and his wife, Jamie, have two sons, Adam (4) and Wade (2). They also have two dogs—both boxers—named Mya and Rush, and one cat. In their daily lives, the family tries to incorporate as many outdoor activities as possible. At their young age, their boys already enjoy camping, fishing, and T-ball. “We are looking forward to life in Missouri, as it will bring many more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors as a family,” says Wallace.

Quail Forever empowers county and local chapters with the responsibility to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds will be spent - the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure. As a result, chapter volunteers are able to see the fruits of their efforts locally, while belonging to a larger national organization with a voice on federal and state conservation policy.

Wallace can be contacted at Jwallace@quailforever.org or (937) 459-8085. For all other inquiries, please contact Rehan Nana, Quail Forever public relations specialist, at (651) 209-4973 or Rnana@quailforever.org

Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 135,000 members and 720 local chapters across the United States and Canada.

Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent, the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.


Rehan Nana (651) 209-4973 or email Rehan

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Youth Quail Hunt - CA - Youth Quail Hunt - October 5 - 6, 2013


October 5 - 6, 2013
Who can participate?
- All youth of legal hunting age 16 and under who have completed 
a hunter safety class and have the appropriate Junior Hunting 
License.
- Parents or guardians are encouraged to attend but cannot hunt.
- Youth will be paired with an experienced hunter who will 
guide youth in tracking and harvesting these elusive game birds.

What activities are included?
- Hunt with a guide all day Saturday: exact schedule to be 
determined. 
Sunday hunting is on your own.
- Practice hunting and wilderness safety.
- Learn more about Gambel's quail and apply this knowledge 
in the hunt.
- Learn field care and dressing of harvested game.
- Tour the Safari Club International's Sensory Safari exhibit trailer.
- Rangers will provide talks, tours, and camp activities.

What about meals?
- Meals are provided for Saturday breakfast and dinner.
- Bring your own lunch for Saturday and all meals for Sunday.

Where?
- Black Canyon Group Campground at Hole-in-the-Wall, 
Mojave National Preserve
- Directions: 20 miles north of I-40 on Essex and Black Canyon Roads.
- No hookups; water and pit toilets available.

How do I sign up?
- Space is limited to the first 50 youth to register. Late registrants 
will be placed on a waiting list.
- Additional information will be sent to successful registrants.

Read the original National Parks Service article

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Quail Forever Hires New Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist in Colorado

Position helping to further the organization’s habitat mission

Lamar, Colo. - July 02 -

Quail Forever (QF) and Pheasants Forever (PF) recently hired Brandon Dye for the position of Quail Forever’s farm bill wildlife biologist in Lamar. Dye covers Kiowa, Bent, Prowers, and Baca Counties. In this replacement position, Dye will continue to work with area landowners, farmers and ranchers to implement wildlife habitat conservation measures.

Quail Forever's farm bill wildlife biologist program is designed to educate farmers and landowners about the benefits of conservation programs, as well as assist those landowners after programs have been implemented. Farm bill wildlife biologists add wildlife technical assistance in USDA offices to assist the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA) and other conservation partners with delivering conservation programs to landowners.

“We are very pleased to have Brandon join the Colorado farm bill wildlife biologist team and have no doubt he will be delivering conservation on the ground with eastern Colorado producers,” said Sam Lawry, Quail Forever western regional director. “The Lamar position is made possible from funding through NRCS, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Colorado Pheasants Forever chapters. Their support has lent itself to furthering Quail Forever’s habitat mission in Colorado.”

Dye is a Colorado native, who returns to the Centennial State from Northeastern California. He graduated from Colorado State University in Fort Collins with a B.S. in Natural Resources Management. Prior to joining Pheasants Forever, Dye worked as a rangeland management specialist with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). There, he developed conservation plans in accordance with USDA standards, and provided in-office and in-field technical guidance and support for conservation planning and agricultural practices to landowners.

“Working for such a renowned organization like Quail Forever is a tremendous opportunity for me, and getting to do so back in my home state with great partner agencies, makes it even better,” said Brandon Dye. “I am looking forward to continuing habitat conservation efforts with Colorado landowners and working directly with our partners to further our legacy.”

Colorado is home to 16 Pheasants Forever chapters and 3,700 members. For more information on “The Habitat Organization” in Colorado, please contact Bob Hix, Quail Forever regional representative, at (303) 588-1542 or BHix@quailforever.org.

Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 135,000 members and 720 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent, the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.

Rehan Nana (651) 209-4973 or email Rehan

Monday, July 8, 2013

Views differ on restoring quail - VA


Quail experts from across the country are scheduled to gather at Hotel Roanoke July 23-26 as part of an effort by the National Bobwhite Technical Committee to restore this game bird that has declined precipitously over the past 30 years.

Participants don't have to look far to detect one of the major problems.

A couple miles up the road, there was an abundance of coveys in the 1960s, and I used them to train bird dogs on what now is Valley View Mall. This is an example of the loss of quail habitat as open agricultural land has grown up or been paved over.

All this renders restoration efforts difficult, but there will be people at the committee meeting dedicated to making it happen. Job one, in the opinion of many, is to restore habitat.

But there are other views about what needs to be done and how to accelerate the recovery. I want to talk about a couple of guys dedicated to them:

Bill Wilson is a lawyer and former member of the House of Delegates (1974-89), a quail hunter for 65 years who lives in Covington, an area where the call of a quail is seldom heard these days.

He believes contaminants - pesticides, acid rain - are a primary culprit in the rapid demise of quail, and would like to see researchers pay more attention to that through a baseline study.

Habitat is important, he agrees, but if quail are sucking in mercury when they sip the morning dew, then there is little benefit "to create a bed if there will be no birds to sleep in it," he said. "If habitat loss is the sole reason for decline, how do we explain the scarcity of quail in the many thousands of acres of cut-over land in Virginia? It doesn't make sense to me."

"I know Marc Puckett's patience is about at an end with me because I keep pestering him about the mercury poisoning issue," Wilson said.

Puckett is the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' head quail biologist. He is chairman of the quail technical committee's meeting in Roanoke. He is a strong advocate of good habitat and is one of the authors of the Virginia Bobwhite Quail Action Plan, the state's guideline for quail restoration.

"I personally believe habitat explains between 80 and 90 percent of the decline, but certainly not all of it," he said. "It does, however, represent the thing we can try to do the most about."

Wilson believes the General Assembly needs to appoint a legislative committee to probe the issue. Such a body could draw information from a broader base than the DGIF, he said. It could involve agriculture interests, VDOT, the forest products industry, utility companies and scientific organizations such as the Biodiversity Research Institute.

"If you are going to do something about this issue, you have to do it big and from the top down," Wilson said.

Charles McDaniel says you can't overemphasize the importance of habitat in the quail restoration effort, but he takes the process a couple of steps beyond that. The former chairman of the DGIF from Stafford advocates stocking birds, supplementary feeding and predator control, something many mainstream biologists have crossed off as futile.

So what does McDaniel do? He invites people to his 1,500-acre holding in King and Queen County to listen to the calls of cockbirds and to count the coveys flushed. Sometimes the count reaches 25.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Hiring - Technician – Bobwhite Quail: Indiana - Apply by 7/02

Technician – Bobwhite Quail: Indiana

Agency
Indiana DNR - Division of Fish and Wildlife

Location
Daviess County, IN

Job Category
Temporary/Seasonal Positions

website
http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/2344.htm

Salary
$9.89/hr

Start Date
08/12/2013

Last Date to Apply
07/02/2013

Description
The Indiana DNR - Division of Fish and Wildlife is seeking a research technician for a study on productivity and dispersal of northern bobwhite, from August 12, 2013 – March 28, 2013. Duties will include, but are not limited to: trapping, banding, and radio-marking bobwhite quail, conducting intensive radio-telemetry, vegetation surveys, covey call counts, data entry, GPS/GIS mapping, and assisting with other management programs where needed. The technician will work out of Glendale Fish and Wildlife Area in SW Indiana, but will also work at the DFW field office in Bloomington, IN, periodically. A state-owned vehicle and housing will be provided. 

To apply, please submit a formal coverletter, resume, and contact information of two references to: bveverka@dnr.in.gov, by 11:00pm EDT, Tuesday, July 2.

Qualifications
B.S. in wildlife management or related field. Previous field experience and radio-telemetry experience are preferred. Knowledge of herbaceous plants of Indiana, particularly grasses, aerial photography, and a basic understanding of ArcGIS are beneficial. Familiarity with the habitats and habits of quail and Navigation with GPS or map and compass are a plus. Individuals must have a valid driver's license and clean driving record. Must be able to lift 50 lbs. regularly. Must be able to work independently, without close supervision, but also work well as part of a team. Must be conscientious and have a strong work ethic. Must be willing to work outside in all field/weather conditions. Must be able to communicate well with supervisors, area staff, and local landowners.

Contact Person
Budd Veverka
Contact Phone
812-334-1137 x 3305
Contact eMail

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Covey of quails can be sheltered in 20-160 acres

The northern bobwhite is the native quail species found throughout Arkansas. These predominantly ground-dwelling birds are primarily found in areas that contain large amounts of edge habitat. Edges are boundaries between different habitat types or land use practices.

The home range of a quail covey can cover as little as 20 acres up to 160 acres. In that home range, quail require various types of habitat, including: escape cover, nesting habitat, brood rearing habitat and feeding and loafing areas.

So, what is a “covey headquarters” and how does it fit into the equation for great quail habitat? Covey headquarters are patches of escape cover with dense, shrubby canopy cover and little ground-level vegetation. Headquarters are used by quail on a daily basis to provide protection against severe weather and predators along with resting and loafing areas.

The percentage of the landscape designated as covey headquarters can range up to 20 percent of the total area, with the remainder set aside for the other habitat components needed by quail. Covey headquarters should be provided in clusters of not less than 30 feet by 50 feet blocks of shrubs that are not more than 150 feet apart, which will allow the quail to have quick access to their escape cover if the need arises.

Shrubs that serve well for this habitat component include: wild American and Chickasaw plum, fragrant and smooth sumac, rough-leaved dogwood, deciduous holly, cockspur hawthorn and American beautyberry. Plum thickets are an excellent example of quail convey headquarters and occur naturally on many properties across Arkansas.

Existing Thickets -- Protect and manage any existing plum or other shrubby thickets on your property. These shrubby thickets can be improved to better benefit quail. If invasive grass species take over the ground-level cover, those grasses should be treated with a herbicide, timing depending on whether they are warm season or cool season. This will re-open that ground-level cover making it easier for quail to move throughout the headquarters. Also, any over-hanging or adjacent trees to the plum thicket should be removed from the area. This strategy will help reduce predation from overhead predators and also provide a clear flight path for quail to escape from ground predators.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Quail Forever Adds Three Farm Bill Wildlife Biologists in Illinois

Illinois Quail Forever (PF) and Pheasants Forever (QF) recently hired three farm bill wildlife biologists (FBWB) in Illinois, bringing the total number of wildlife biologists in the state to five. The biologist positions are a result of a partnership between Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources with the intention of increasing wildlife and conservation awareness in “The Land of Lincoln.”

“Illinois is second only to Iowa in expiring CRP contracts over the next year,” says Aaron Kuehl, Pheasants Forever Illinois director of conservation partnerships. “The expanded farm bill wildlife biologist partnership will help provide the necessary wildlife expertise and conservation technical assistance to private landowners to protect and expand upland habitat.”

Quail Forever's farm bill wildlife biologist program is designed to educate farmers and landowners about the benefits of conservation programs, as well as assist those landowners after programs have been implemented. Farm bill wildlife biologists add wildlife technical assistance in USDA offices to assist the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA) and other conservation partners with delivering conservation programs to landowners.

Doug Gass – (Bloomington Area) - McLean, Dewitt, Livingston, Woodford and Tazewell Counties – Gass’ experience in wildlife conservation and management includes nearly ten years in agricultural and environmental fields with an emphasis on fire management, habitat restoration and outreach. Having participated in over sixty prescribed fires, conducting outreach activities in a variety of settings (most recently as a Peace Corps volunteer in Uganda) and carrying out a wide range of management activities in the Midwest and on the East Coast, Gass is a welcomed addition to the Illinois FBWB team and the state’s restoration efforts. Gass can be contacted at DGass@quailforever.org or via phone at (309) 660-3971.

“The farm bill wildlife biologist position is an ideal opportunity to use my skill set of habitat management to benefit Illinois’ wildlife, and I am looking forward to once again calling the Midwest home,” notes Gass.

Brandon Bleuer – (Galesburg Area) Rock Island, Henry, Knox, Warren, and Mercer Counties – An Illinois native, Bleuer is “familiar with the state’s landscape and ecology,” a knowledgebase he plans on using to improve upland wildlife populations in Knox and surrounding counties. Bleuer graduated from Upper Iowa University with a B.S. in Conservation Management. Prior to joining Pheasants Forever, Bleuer worked for Nahant Marsh as a Conservation Crew Leader and the Fayette County Conservation Board. Brandon can be contacted at BBleuer@quailforever.org or 309-660-3147.

Brandon Beltz – (Effingham Area) Effingham, Fayette, Cumberland, Jasper and Clay Counties – An Illinois farm bill wildlife biologist since 2010, Beltz transitions into his new position serving the Effingham area. Prior to this transition, Beltz worked as a farm bill wildlife biologist in the Champaign area providing technical assistance and promoting conservation programs to private landowners alongside local USDA, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, DNR employees, as well as local PF/QF chapters. Beltz can be contacted at BBeltz@quailforever.org or 217-853-0801.

Jason Bleich – (Champaign Area) Champaign, Vermilion, Ford, Iroquois and Douglas Counties – A new employee of Pheasants Forever, Bleich transitions into Brandon Beltz’s formerly held Champaign County Farm Bill wildlife biologist position. Bleich graduated from Southern Illinois University in 2010, where he majored in zoology with a minor in environmental studies. In addition, Bleich interned at the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas, the Iowa DNR, the Illinois DNR, and the Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.

“Throughout my education, I participated in projects with organizations and agencies such as Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, the Clinton Lake Waterfowl Association, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources,” says Bleich. “My experiences and volunteer efforts have helped me realize my passion for working in private land conservation. I feel that it is equally important to recognize and improve the quality of existing habitat as well as encourage and promote the establishment of new habitat. Now is a vital time to educate and communicate with landowners and producers how modern agriculture practices and wildlife habitat can co-exist and benefit one another.”
Prior to joining Pheasants Forever, Bleich worked for the Ford County Soil and Water Conservation District. Bleich can be contacted at JBleich@quailforever.org or 217-855-0496.
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s fifth farm bill wildlife biologist, Brady Wooten, covers Wayne, Jefferson, Marion, Hamilton and White Counties. Wooten can be contacted at BWooten@quailforever.org or (217) 853-9621.

Farm bill wildlife biologists are employees of, and supervised by QF, with daily instruction and leadership provided by Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Funding is provided by NRCS, the IDNR and local PF/QF Chapters. The farm bill wildlife biologist program began in 2003 with 4 positions and has grown to over 100 positions located throughout the country.

Illinois is home to 43 Pheasants Forever chapters, 18 Quail Forever chapters and a combined 10,400 PF/QF members. For more information on “The Habitat Organization” in Illinois, please contact Aaron Kuehl at (217) 341-7171 / email Aaron.

Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 135,000 members and 720 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent, the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.
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Rehan Nana (651) 209-4973 or email Rehan

Latest Quail Research Available in New Volume

The latest in peer-reviewed quail research is now available in a 386-page volume, Quail VII: Proceedings of the Seventh National Quail Symposium.

Latest Quail Research

Quail VII content is diverse, containing over 80 papers and abstracts—with 27 state and federal agencies, universities and institutes reporting on their work at the Seventh National Quail Symposium in Tucson, Arizona January 9-12, 2012. Geographically, the findings have implications for an area(s) bounded Oregon, Nebraska, New Jersey, and south to Florida and Brazil.

Quail VII covers a multitude of topics, including translocation of mountain quail and northern bobwhite, phylogeography of scaled quail and bobwhites (northern bobwhite, Yucat√°n bobwhite, spot-bellied bobwhite and crested bobwhite), hybridization of Gambel’s and California quail, Mearns’ (Montezuma) quail, nutrition, arthropods, exotic grasses, the Conservation Reserve Program, predation, parasites, eyeworms, survival, reproduction, thermoregulation, harvest prescriptions, climate change, economics, conservation planning, attitudes of private landowners, etc.

The research also covers a pervasive theme of quail management, pen-reared bobwhites. Two papers describe the actual efficacy of the Surrogator® system, and another describes a groundbreaking advancement, use of prenatal and post-hatch imprinting to improve survival of genetically wild pen-reared bobwhites.

Quail VII has the latest research and management on the endangered masked bobwhite.  The masked bobwhite is even closer to extinction than other gallinaceous birds recently in the news, the Gunnison sage grouse and lesser prairie-chicken.  Quail VII includes one of the most comprehensive reviews of masked bobwhite habitat and populations to date by species expert David E. Brown, plus the latest on natural and artificial restoration efforts in the USA and Mexico, and a review of effects of invasive grasses on masked bobwhite.

Quail VII also includes executive summaries of both the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative 2.0 (NBCI 2.0) and The Western Quail Plan, ensuring a permanent published record of these ground-breaking initiatives.

The Quail VII volume was made possible by contributions by Arizona Game and Fish Department, National Wild Turkey Federation, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy, Texas Tech Quail Tech Alliance and Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch. 

Copies are available for $40 at  http://bringbackbobwhites.org/donate-2/online-store.


Headquartered at the University of Tennessee, NBCI is a project of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) to elevate bobwhite quail recovery from an individual state-by-state proposition to a range-wide, policy-level leadership endeavor. The committee is comprised of representatives of 25 state fish and wildlife agencies as well as academic research institutions and non-governmental conservation organizations. NBCI is funded by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, two dozen state wildlife management agencies, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Southern Company. For more information, please visit www.bringbackbobwhites.org

Friday, June 7, 2013

Bobwhite Quail program Saturday 6/8/2013 in Houston TX

Post-Bulletin staff

A program on the bobwhite quail, which were once common around here but now rare, will be presented at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Houston Nature Center at the trailhead of the Root River Trail in northwest Houston.

Thurman Tucker, who has been working to restore bobwhite habitat for a few decades, will talk about the bird, its problems and how to help it recover.

This program is free and open to the public, but donations are encouraged. The Houston Nature Center is located one block north of the intersection of Minnesota highways 16 and 76 in Houston in Trailhead Park.

For more information, contact the Nature Center at 507-896-4668 or nature@acegroup.cc.

Original PostBulletin Article

Monday, June 3, 2013

Texas quail may get financial aid

By STEVE KNIGHT
outdoor@tylerpaper.com

Only time will tell if it makes a difference, but more money may be coming to help find an answer to what is happening to Texas’ quail and Eastern turkey populations.

If a budget proposal stands, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will have authority to spend not only the money it takes in annually with its Upland Game Bird stamp, but will also be able to spend down an almost $5 million fund surplus.

Of course nothing is simple when the Legislature gets involved, and that is certainly the case here. It started with Texas AgriLife Extension Service asking for $1 million a year during the next two-year budget cycle from the state’s general revenue fund to conduct bobwhite quail research and landowner education. Somehow that morphed into the money coming from TPWD’s Upland Game Bird stamp fund.

Then, answering calls for the fund surplus to be used, the Legislature has proposed allowing the department to spend not only its normal $1.5 million annually from the fund, but also an additional $2 million a year during the budget cycle on habitat work and other projects. This extra money is to be filtered out to universities and approved non-government agencies.

“Everyone has been worried about these balances. That takes care of them,” said Dave Morrison, TPWD small game program leader.

The Upland Game Bird stamp fund comes from a $7 stamp charged hunters who hunt quail and wild turkey or is included in Super Combo license. Previously the department has been authorized through the state budget to spend about $1.5 million annually primarily on projects on wildlife management areas.

Morrison said that TAES will be able to control how it spends the money, but it comes with the provision that TPWD must approve the programs. As the budget bill is written, TAES can use the money to research diseases and toxins affecting quail, develop diagnostic testing, do DNA mapping of the birds, conduct field studies and demonstrations and develop a central bank for quail research. TAES may also use some of the money to underwrite quail research conducted by other universities as well.

Even without the budget having been approved yet, TPWD is already looking for additional projects for the extra $2 million it could receive.

“We are working on it. We have focus areas and I have asked our guys for ideas of things to be done. This is a lot grander than we imagined,” Morrison said.

Morrison said the department is already asking universities and researchers to admit proposals in focus areas in Northeast Texas, the western portion of the Cross Timbers, nine counties in the Coastal Plains region and western Navarro and Ellis counties in the Blackland Prairie region. Research efforts and projects in Northeast Texas would focus on Eastern wild turkeys and will most likely involve the use of controlled burns. The area originally included just Bowie and Red River counties, but has been expanded to Camp, Cass, Delta, Hunt, Fannin, Franklin, Grayson, Harrison, Hopkins, Lamar, Marion, Morris, Rains, Titus, Upshur, and Wood counties.

“We are talking about doing things on private property,” Morrison said of the expected projects statewide.

He added that it could be difficult to come up with enough worthwhile projects to spend the entire amount on because starting in September when the state’s new fiscal year begins is an odd time for university researchers. Morrison said the money that isn’t used will go back into the stamp fund if it can’t be rolled over to 2014-15 projects.

A smaller attempt to fund projects in the focus areas last year showed the department the difficulties of the task it faces.

“We did a truncated list of projects last year to the tune of $130,000. We are going to have to think big,” Morrison said.
Some say the money is needed to turn around a quail population that has been in a decline for two decades. Morrison is among a group of biologists that believe two back-to-back years of normal rainfall will make a bigger difference.

In East Texas quail can almost be considered extinct as their numbers are so low and populations are so fragmented. Instead the department hopes it can bolster its turkey restoration program that is currently just hanging on in some counties. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Abilene KS among best bird hunting towns - selected for its abundance of quail.

Abilene has earned another “Top 25” honor.

Pheasant Forever has named Abilene as one of the top 25 bird hunting towns in America.

“Last year’s list of the 25 Best Pheasant Hunting Towns in America selected locales predominately based in the Midwest where the ringneck is king,” it said in its on-line blog at www.pheasantsforever.org. “Because Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever members hail from all reaches of the United States, from Alabama to Alaska, we’ve assembled this year’s list to include pheasants as well as multiple quail species, prairie grouse and even forest birds.

“The main criterion was to emphasize areas capable of providing multiple species, along with destinations most-welcoming to bird hunters. In other words, there were bonus points awarded for “mixed bag” opportunities and neon signs “welcoming bird hunters” in this year’s analysis. We also avoided re-listing last year’s 25 towns, so what you now have is a good bucket list of 50 destinations for the traveling wingshooter!”

Abilene was recently named one of the best small towns to visit by The Smithsonian.

Abilene was selected for its abundance of quail.

Here is the Pheasant’s Forever list of top bird hunting locations:
1. Pierre, South Dakota. This Missouri River town puts you in the heart of pheasant country, but the upland fun doesn’t stop there.
2. Lewistown, Montana. Located in the geographic center of the state, Lewistown is the perfect city to home base a public land upland bird hunt.
3. Hettinger, North Dakota. Disregard state lines and you can’t tell the difference between southwest North Dakota and the best locales in South Dakota. Hettinger gets the nod in this region because of a few more Private Land Open to Sportsmen (P.L.O.T.S.) areas.
4. Huron, South Dakota. Home to the “World’s Largest Pheasant,” Huron is also home to some darn good pheasant hunting. From state Game Production Areas to federal Waterfowl Production Areas to a mix of walk-in lands, there’s enough public land in the region to never hunt the same area twice on a 5 or 10-day trip, unless of course you find a honey hole.
5. Valentine, Nebraska. One of the most unique areas in the United States, the nearly 20,000 square mile Nebraska Sandhills region is an outdoor paradise, and Valentine, which rests at the northern edge of the Sandhills, was named one of the best ten wilderness towns and cities by National Geographic Adventure magazine in 2007. Because the Sandhills are 95 percent grassland, it remains one of the most vital areas for greater prairie chickens and sharp-tailed grouse in the country.
6. White Bird, Idaho. Hells Canyon is 8,000 feet of elevation, and at various levels includes pheasants, quail, gray partridge and forest grouse. Show up in shape and plan the right route up and down, and you may encounter many of these species in one day
7. Heppner, Oregon. Nestled in the Columbia Basin, within a half-hour drive hunters have the opportunity to harvest pheasants, California quail, Huns, chukar, and in the nearby Blue Mountains, Dusky grouse, ruffed grouse and at least the chance of running into mountain quail.
8. Winnemucca, Nevada. Winnemucca claims legendary status as the “Chukar Captial of the Country.” Long seasons (first Saturday in October through January 31), liberal bag limits (daily limit of six; possession limit of 18) and the fact that these birds are found almost exclusively on public land make chukar Nevada’s most popular game bird.
9. Albany, Georgia. Buoyed by tradition and cemented with a local culture built upon the local quail plantation economy, Albany has a reputation as the “quail hunting capital of the world” and a citizenry that embraces “Gentleman Bob.”
10. Milaca, Minnesota. There are places in Minnesota where pheasants can be found in greater abundance, ditto for ruffed grouse. But there are few places where a hunter may encounter both in such close proximity.
11. Sonoita, Arizona. Central in Arizona’s quail triangle – the Patagonia/Sonoita/Elgin tri-city area – the crossroads of U.S. Highways 82 and 83 puts you in the epicenter of Mearns’ quail country, and 90 percent of the world’s Mearns’ hunting takes place in Arizona.
12. Abilene, Kansas. A gateway to the Flint Hills to the north and central Kansas to the west, the two areas in recent years that have produced the best quail hunting in the Sunflower State.
13. Eureka, South Dakota. Legend has it the town’s name stems from the first settler’s reaction to all the pheasants observed in the area – “Eureka!”
14. Wing, North Dakota. Located just northeast of Bismarck, this town’s name is a clear indication of its premiere attraction. While primarily a waterfowler’s paradise, bird hunters looking to keep their boots dry can find pheasants, sharp-tailed grouse and Huns on ample public ground.

15. Redfield, South Dakota. By law, there can only be one officially trademarked “Pheasant Capital of the World” and Redfield is the owner of that distinction . . . and for good reason!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mississippi Officials hoping quail numbers will rebound

by Wally Northway

Wayne Ranson grew up in the Mississippi Delta with a passion for the outdoors. Quail hunting ranked among his favorite pastimes, and he once raised and trained pointers and could literally quail hunt from his home if he wanted.

But, that is just all a warm memory now.

“They’re almost all gone,” said Ranson, a retired timber executive, referring to the northern bobwhite quail. “It is sad — very sad.”


Once a staple of Mississippi’s countryside, the birds’ onomatopoetic “bob-bob-WHITE” call is relatively rare today as the quail’s numbers have plummeted here in the Magnolia State and elsewhere in the U.S. Researchers have numerous identified factors for the decline in quail coveys, the most significant being habitat loss.

John Woods, vice president in charge of economic development and training at Hinds Community College’s Eagle Ridge Conference Center, is an avid outdoorsman, frequent wildlife columnist for the Mississippi Business Journal and is well plugged into the state’s hunting industry. When it comes to quail, however, Woods has no answers.

“If somebody asked me right now where they could go next season for some good quail hunting, I’d have to call around to the WMAs (wildlife management areas) because I have not a clue,” Woods said. He said a couple of decades ago, he owned some land in Holmes County that had a couple of covey of quail on it, but he hasn’t seen a bird in years.

The northern bobwhite is Mississippi’s only native quail species. It is a non-migratory, ground-dwelling bird whose range stretches from the Caribbean and Mexico north to the Great Lakes, and from the Eastern Seaboard as far west as New Mexico and Colorado with a small pocket in the Pacific Northwest.

The bobwhite, a bird of open, weedy fields, actually benefitted from early American settlers’ cultivation of the land. They have long been a favorite of hunters, offering a challenging target as they erupt with a whir of wings from ground cover as well as providing a tasty dish.

But, their numbers began dropping in the 1800s, with a drastic decline beginning in the South in the mid-1940s. While such factors as hard winters can threaten bobwhite numbers, the principal challenge to the birds is habitat loss.

As land-use practices changed, the northern bobwhite went into serious decline. According to the conservation-mined organization Quail Forever, bobwhite numbers have plummeted 65 percent over the past 20 years alone. The Cornell University Lab of Ornithology has them listed as “near threatened.”

However, while the northern bobwhite population has thinned drastically, they are not extinct, and there is some good news.

In 1995, the Southeast Quail Study Group (now the National Bobwhite Technical Committee) was formed, and was charged with developing a recovery plan. This, in turn, led in 1998 to the establishment of the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative, which set the ambitious goal of returning the northern bobwhite population to what it was in the 1980s.

Research has shown that techniques such as the use of prescribed fires help create the grassland/weedy habitat bobwhites need to thrive, and through the efforts of wildlife agencies and others landowners have received information and support in adopting new land usage practices.

There is some optimism, including here in Mississippi, that these efforts are paying off.

According to figures from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP), the number of calling birds identified has risen across the state since 2009. The number of birds heard in South Mississippi more than tripled from 2009 to 2012 while nearly doubling in North Mississippi over the same time frame. The number of birds has increased every year in all three regions since 2009 with the exception of dip in numbers in Central Mississippi in 2011.

While hunting opportunities are limited, there are still places such as the Burnt Oak Lodge at Crawford that loudly and proudly claims to hold wild bobwhites.

Woods pointed out that the wild turkey was once threatened, and has rebounded in a big way here in Mississippi, and hunters are returning to the Delta for ducks, an industry that once flourish but has been declining over recent years. Why not quail, too, he asks, though he concedes it will take time.

“It won’t happen in my lifetime, but I am hopeful,” said Woods, adding that he recently heard his first bobwhite call in years. “It would just be a shame if we lost our quail.”

The MDWFP’s website offers information on bobwhite numbers, conservation/land use practices, hunting (Mississippi had an eight-bird bag limit last year) and more, including a Small Game Hunter Survey that researchers say is a valuable tool for quail management. For more information please visit home.mdwfp.com/quail, or call (601) 432-2199.


Where is the bobwhite? - Read the rest of the article

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Lectures on quail to be held Tuesday May 28th

ENID, Okla. — National game bird and wildlife expert Greg Koch will present a series of lectures Tuesday on bobwhite quail management.

They will be 6-9 p.m. in Convention Hall. They are free and are sponsored by the Bobwhite Quail Research and Legacy Foundation.

Lecture topics are:

• 6-6:45 p.m. — Early release systems and do they work. Discussion will cover the history of habitat enhancement and how to get the best results from any release systems.  Discussion also will cover whether early release systems are the best option.

• 7-7:45 p.m. — Native bird habitat enhancement. Oklahoma’s quail population has declined up to 85 percent. The lecture will include how to evaluate property for quail success.

• 8-8:50 p.m. — Research. Discussion will center around evaluation of past and present research projects and include a discussion on the future and direction of quail research.


Read the complete EnidNews article

Friday, May 24, 2013

Local Quail Forever chapter aims to boost bird population - Charleston SC

Many years ago, when I was first learning to hunt deer in the Francis Marion National Forest, I stumbled into my first experience with a covey of wild bobwhite quail. I was stalking through some piney woods, quiet as can be, looking and listening for any sign of white-tails.

The small, brown-and-white birds held tight in cover until I practically put my foot down on one. About a dozen birds exploded straight up, some practically flying up my pant leg.

I nearly screamed, and had to take a knee to catch my breath.
Those who have been fortunate enough to witness the rise of a covey of quail know the feeling. There’s nothing quite like it, especially if you’re holding a nice 20-gauge over-under with quality bird dogs on point. Unfortunately, few folks get that chance.

Once a beloved pastime throughout the South, quail hunting has faded to the point that many hunters who want to give it a try pay to shoot at birds that are raised in flight pens and released onto private preserves.

Lowcountry Quail Forever, a new Mount Pleasant-based branch of the national conservation organization, aims to change that. They’re starting in my old stomping grounds, the beautiful and still-wild Francis Marion National Forest.

Tim Long of Mount Pleasant, president of Lowcountry Quail Forever, said the local chapter’s efforts in the forest should yield wide-ranging benefits.

“Quail habitat restoration is not just beneficial for quail, but for all upland wildlife including songbirds, turkey, rabbits and the threatened red-cockaded woodpecker,” Long said.

The chapter, which met for the first time last week with about 20 starting members, will focus its efforts on creating brood-rearing habitat on about 80 wildlife openings, each 2-3 acres, throughout the 258,000-acre public forest.