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 “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, 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.

Cows & Quail Workshop in June - Create Healthy Habitat for Livestock & Wildlife with Holistic Grazing - Henrietta, TX

Create Healthy Habitat for Livestock & Wildlife with Holistic Grazing

June 7-8, 2013
North Texas
Holman Center and Birdwell & Clark Ranch, Henrietta, TX

Our North Texas workshop is part of HMI’s Cows & Quail Series. Ranchers, land managers, and anyone interested in building and sustaining healthy habitat will find this workshop, taught by local wildlife and ranch management experts, to be a great learning opportunity.
Join others from North Texas in this interactive, hands-on workshop to find out how Holistic Grazing can be used as a tool to not only benefit agricultural operations, but help preserve habitat for wildlife conservation and hunting.


8:00Welcome and Introductions
8:15What is Holistic Management & Who is HMI – Peggy Cole
8:30About Birdwell &Clark Ranch & Management – Deborah Clark
9:00Habitat Needs of Quail, Deer and Other Wildlife – Kelly Reyna
10:30Habitat Needs of Cattle, the Holistic Management Process – Guy Glosson
11:15Management Tools and Effect on Ecosystem Processes, Research Findings – Dr. Richard Teague
12:00Lunch and move to the BIRDWELL & CLARK RANCH (own transportation)
1:00Field Exercises & Group Discussion– We’ll make 3-4 stops to evaluate the habitat for quail, deer, and cattle
5:00Dinner, The Long Grill – steak on the grill at the ranch
8:00The Holistic Management Process, Fundamental Ecological Principles, and Holistic Grazing – Guy Glosson
10:30Management Tools and Effect on Ecosystem Processes and Research Findings Continuation – Dr. Richard Teague
12:00Lunch & Move to BIRDWELL & CLARK RANCH
1:00Field Exercises – Planning & Monitoring : Forage Evaluation/Stocking Rates – Guy Glosson, Richard Teague & Kelly Reyna
4:00Discussion, Summary, Q&A

Register Button Green LargeRegistration

Register now as space is limited to 40 participants. On-line registration closes, Wednesday, June 5th at 4pm. Non on-site registration. The fee is $250.  (includes some meals & learning materials). Each paid registrant may bring two free guests. You can register on-line by selecting the button on the right. If you are unable to register on-line, you can fill out the HMI Event Registration Form, and mail along with your check or money order to:
Registration Dept.
5941 Jefferson St. NE, Ste B
Albuquerque, NM 87109
Cancellation Policy
Cancellations received up to 30 days prior to an event start date will receive a full refund. Cancellations received up to 14 days prior to an event start date will receive a 40% refund. No refunds will be given otherwise, unless in the event of dire emergency. This policy is required due to financial obligations incurred by HMI in planning these events. We appreciate your understanding.


Best Western, Henrietta
70.99 per night double occupancy
816 U.S. 287, Henrietta, TX 76365
(940) 538-6969


Holman Conference Center
211 North Clay, Henrietta Texas
Just North of Hwy. 82 on North Clay


Guy Glosson, Holistic Management Certified Educator & Manager, Mesquite Grove Ranch, Kent County, TX

Guy has been repeatedly recognized for outstanding land stewardship and livestock handling. He has over 30 years of experience in ranch management, low-stress livestock handling and consulting to farmers and ranchers.  Down to earth, with an engaging style, Guy has coached hundreds of people in his successful management methods.  Under his holistic approach to land stewardship, he has enhanced the fertility and profitability of the ranch where he has been a manager for the past 26 years.  In 2011, he was recognized for his success with the award for Outstanding Leadership in Ranching from the Quivera Coalition, an organization dedicated to bringing together ranchers, environmentalists, scientists and public land stewards in the American West. Mesquite Grove Ranch, under Guy’s management, received the prestigious Lone Star Land Steward Award from Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Dr. Richard Teague, Associate Director and Professor, Sustainable Rangeland Management Program,Texas A&M AgriLife Research

Richard has researched the advantages of multi-paddock grazing. His philosophy is that research must provide the link for land managers to make informed decisions for sustainable management. His goal is to use a systems approach to land and livestock management that sustains natural rangeland resources. Much of his research focuses on what grazing practices help mitigate drought and other issues of global climate change.

Dr. Kelly Reyna, Professor, University of North Texas & Founder, UNT Quail

Dr. Kelly Reyna grew up in North Texas where he developed his love for wildlife while hunting and fishing with his dad and uncle. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy having served as a nuclear reactor operator on board a ballistic missile submarine. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology from Tarleton State University studying the nesting ecology of Rio Grande wild turkeys. He obtained a Master’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries from Texas A&M University studying the population dynamics of northern bobwhites. He earned his Ph.D. in Developmental Physiology at the University of North Texas by studying the effects of drought conditions on developing bobwhite quail. He has served as the coordinator of the Texas Quail Index and Senior Manager of Quail and Grassland Birds for Audubon Texas. His research centers on the integrative ecology of quail and prairie chickens, and he currently teaches the first ever Wildlife Ecology and Management course. Dr. Reyna also serves on several state and national wildlife advisory boards.

Emry Birdwell & Deborah Clark, Co-Owners, Birdwell & Clark Ranch

Emry Birdwell became involved with intensive managed grazing practices in the early 1980s after studying with Allan Savory and HMI.  He applied what he learned on leased ranches in Palo Pinto County, Jack County and New Mexico.  He spent the last 30 years adapting the practices and principles of planned grazing to work with his stocker operation.  In 2004, Emry and his wife, Deborah Clark, purchased 14,000 acres in Clay County and began a new ranching enterprise, the Birdwell & Clark Ranch.  They began stocking the ranch with 2,000 head and have grown to a single herd of 3,000 – 5,000+ depending on weather conditions.  The primary focus of the grazing practices has been to consistently improve range conditions while monitoring impact on wildlife and enhancing habitat.

Peggy Cole, Project Manager, HMI

Peggy Cole has been with Holistic Management International since 1989, first attending then producing hundreds of conferences/classes/field days in her roles as newsletter producer, events registrar, executive director and program director of HMI Texas (formerly Holistic Resource Management of Texas). Now, as Project Manager, Peggy produces learning opportunities wherever the need arises. Peggy’s warm, personable approach and extensive networking expertise makes her a favorite with the Holistic Management community. She has been a breeder of Arabian horses and German Shorthaired Pointers in the Texas hill country with special emphasis on learning to apply Holistic Management to small acreage ranchettes.

Special Thanks

Thanks to the Grazing Lands Conservative Initiative Texas Coalition, Quail Forever San Antonio Chapter and our host ranch for their generous support.



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Thursday, May 23, 2013

17 Landowner Habitat Tours Across Nebraska Hosted by Quail Forever

Nebraska Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever (QF) wildlife biologists from across the state are hosting 17 different landowner habitat tours during the next four months. These tours are designed to demonstrate habitat management practices, available conservation programs, the financial benefits of conservation programs and how to create the best results on your next habitat project.

The tours, which are free of charge, kick off on Thursday, May 16 with the Cedar Tree Removal for Recreation & Wildlife Tour at Camp Moses Merrill in Linwood and conclude with a Rangeland Management Workshop on the 16 of August in Holt County. Click here to view the complete landowner habitat tour schedule.

Notable dates during the landowner habitat tour circuit include five tours June 18 through June 21 as part of National Pollinator Week. (Pheasants and quail share a common need for habitat featuring flowering plants with pollinating insects like honey bees, butterflies, beetles, and bats.) Click here for all tour locations and descriptions.

The wide range of topics being offered this year cover many different wildlife management topics and will offer opportunities to see first-hand results of local habitat projects. A sampling of tour topics includes Co-existence of Pheasants, Quail and Agriculture; Pollinators and Habitats; Making Your Farm or Ranch Operation Work with Wildlife; Fire in the Pine Ridge; and Habitat Hayrack Ride: CRP Upgrades and Long Term Management.

In addition to Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, the 2013 landowner habitat tours are made possible with support from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Nebraska Environmental Trust. The tours are free of charge and a free meal is also provided. To register for any of the 17 habitat tours go to or contact Pheasants Forever's Pam Grossart at (308) 850-8395 / email Pam.

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

Original QuailForever Post

Friday, May 17, 2013

Man Catches Flying Quail With Bare Hand While Hunting - Video

Two words you don't not expect to hear from your partner during a quail-hunting trip: "Sweet catch!" But then it's not often--and it might be unprecedented--that a hunter reaches into midair and clutches a fast-flying quail with his bare hand. And if you're wondering whether the accompanying footage is real, consider that it was uploaded by the Austin Stone Community Church in Texas.

Also, the hunting partner making the "Sweet catch!" remark is San Francisco 49er quarterback Colt McCoy.

The man fielding the incoming quail, casually, with his shotgun in his other hand, is Senior Pastor Matt Carter.

"It is totally real," Travis Wussow, executive director of teaching ministries at the church,  told GrindTv Outdoor. "While filming [the church uses creative storytelling, including films, to spread the gospel], inexplicably this bird takes off and stupidly flies right at Matt, and he grabbed it. It’s unbelievable…
"I was there and watched it happen. It’s totally unbelievable."
There was a film crew on site and it captured hunting's version of the "Immaculate Reception" from three angles.

What's not clear is what Carter did with the quail or, if he kept it, whether barehanded capture is a legal method of take.

Read The Rest Of The Article