Thursday, July 31, 2014

Southern California Seminar Series Helps Bird Hunters Find Public Land Places To Hunt Quail, Dove And Chukar

Do you have enough good places to hunt doves, quail, and chukar on public lands in Southern California? Do you know where the guzzlers are located in our local deserts and mountains? Are you positive you are hunting on legal hunting ground when you go out? Do you believe there are more good places to hunt gamebirds than there are upland hunters left in the region? 

If you answered “no” to any or all of these questions, Jim Matthews, a long-time WON writer and editor of the highly-acclaimed Western Birds newsletter, is doing a series of 20 seminars from Ventura to San Diego in August and September to help beginning, intermediate, and even veteran hunters find more places to hunt game birds and help them be more successful in the field.

The first seminar will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Aug. 9, at the Fountain Valley Turner’s Outdoorsman store, and that will be followed with another 10 a.m. to noon session on Sunday, August 10, at the Oxnard Turner’s Outdoorsman. The seminars continue thought October 4. There is a complete list of times, dates, and locations on Matthews’ website,

Cost for each seminar is $50 per family (all members in the same household), and it includes a trial two-issue subscription to Matthews’ Western Birds hunting newsletter, which he calls the “most detailed scouting report published in the world.”

For more information about the seminars or the Western Birds newsletter, call Matthews at (909) 887-3444 or go to his website at

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Five ways to create bobwhite quail habitat: funding available to Virginia forest landowners

Bobwhite quail populations have plummeted in recent years due to loss of appropriate habitat, which includes fallow lands, field and forest edges, and brushy, weedy areas. Forest landowners who want to create good habitat for bobwhite quail, which prefer sunny and open areas, have a new source of funds to support their goals.

Funding is available to forest landowners in 15 Virginia counties to implement beneficial forestry practices that promote healthy and productive forests and also create good habitat for quail. The five eligible practices include: vegetation management; commercial thinning in small acreage stands; planting of shortleaf or longleaf pine; non-commercial thinning, and prescribed burning in forest stands. Landowners can receive up to $10,000 in cost-share funding.

This program is designed for private, non-industrial forest landowners in the counties of Augusta, Bland, Culpeper, Essex, Greene, Greensville, Halifax, King and Queen, King William, Madison, Orange, Rappahannock, Southampton, Sussex and Wythe.

Funding is provided by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and the program is administered by the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF).

Program registration is underway now.   To sign up, or to learn more about this program, contact your local VDOF office or visit the Agency’s website at

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Rainfall, mild weather create optimism for quail Oklahoma populations

Timely rainfall and milder temperatures this spring have sparked excitement and anticipation not seen in years about the prospects for a rebound of bobwhite quail in Oklahoma.

"We're seeing better conditions now than we've seen in the past two and a half years," said Scott Cox, upland game biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

"There are a lot of birds being heard that haven't been heard in the past two or three years. We're optimistic that we're looking at a good nesting season," he said.

Department personnel have been hearing from landowners across the state indicating they have been hearing the quails' characteristic "bob-white" whistle more frequently this spring than in past years. That is an indication that more birds are on the ground and are looking to nest this year.

In the past 60 days, most areas of Oklahoma have received more than 6 inches of rain, according to the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. The state's southeast region has recorded close to 12 inches of rainfall since mid-April, and the parched western regions have seen between 5 and 8 inches of rain in many areas.

"Last year, the birds weren't nesting until we got some timely rain and milder temperatures. This year, birds are on the nests right now," Cox said.

Last year in mid-June, researchers who were tracking birds in northwestern Oklahoma had not recorded any birds nesting at that point. This year, people in western Oklahoma reported seeing quail chicks in mid-May.

This spring's rainfall has created good growing conditions for ground-cover plants, which quail use as nesting habitat. "Due to lower cattle numbers, nesting habitat ought to be really good this year," he said. "Up to now, we're about as good as it gets as far as nesting and forbs production in most parts of the state. The Panhandle is still behind in isolated areas, but it's looking better than in the past few years.