Saving the quail.... is it possible?

darkthirty

Old Mossy Horns
Wow. That is just amazing. I assume it was a group of trappers that set all the traps, since it was so many traps, and just the one guy who did the trap checks?

Nope. One man. All the properties had networks of roads throughout separating the “quail courses” and 99% of the traps were set within 10’ of a road.
 

slugoo

Six Pointer
A good start, aside from increased habitat, would be an open season on hawks & kitty-cats. Quota on the hawks and unlimited on the cats. 😎
The cats can go, but hawks are supposed to be here. Unlike coyotes and the neighborhoods.
 

nccatfisher

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
The cats can go, but hawks are supposed to be here. Unlike coyotes and the neighborhoods.
Yeah they are supposed to be here, but like everything else, man stuck their nose in and almost eradicated them. Then they stuck their nose in deeper and now they are so many they have tipped the scale the other way. Someone has to be smart enough to figure out a happy medium or give up wanting to take part in harvesting things they like to eat.
 

Justin

Old Mossy Horns
Yeah they are supposed to be here, but like everything else, man stuck their nose in and almost eradicated them. Then they stuck their nose in deeper and now they are so many they have tipped the scale the other way. Someone has to be smart enough to figure out a happy medium or give up wanting to take part in harvesting things they like to eat.

💯..... you can’t kill enough on places trying manage for small game and upland birds to knock a dent in the over all population.
Just because something is illegal doesn’t make it “wrong”.

whether you chose to participate is up to you, seeing as how some people don’t understand nature and want to uphold the law and prosecute to the fullest extent
 

darkthirty

Old Mossy Horns
💯..... you can’t kill enough on places trying manage for small game and upland birds to knock a dent in the over all population.
Just because something is illegal doesn’t make it “wrong”.

whether you chose to participate is up to you, seeing as how some people don’t understand nature and want to uphold the law and prosecute to the fullest extent


Yep. And in the “list of things you never hear large acreage land owners say”, you can add
1. “We couldn’t do it like xxxx because it’s against the law”.
And
2. We had a predator issue because the law said we couldn’t shoot them”.

Kinda like the time my wife was invited down to a very large farm in South Georgia as a guest due to them being a supplier for vegetables for her company. The owner told her to “tell your husband to bring his rifle and we’ll ride around about dark and shoot stuff”. After looking for alligators in their irrigation ponds and riding miles and miles and miles of dirt paths looking for hogs, he looked at me and said “how many deer do you wanna kill?” His wife said “what’s the game warden to say to you if we get caught?” He looked at her and said “he’ll say the thing to us that the state troopers say to you when they pull you or our daughter over, oh we’re sorry Mrs xxxxx, I didn’t realize that was you, have a good day!”……………….
 

darkthirty

Old Mossy Horns
The lack of quality hunting drove it that way, and I think we are seeing that with ducks now as well. I would argue the prevalence of the game is driving the “class” that can afford to pursue it, not the other way around.

I think the biggest difference there would be if I dam up a creek or flood a field, I will have ducks, maybe not many, but enough for a shoot or two each season. If you build the perfect place for bobwhites, and I mean text book perfect, if you or your neighbor didn’t have’em before you built it, you will never ever ever have wild bobwhites.

And your right about “class”. I know of a place on the fla/ga line that is intensely managed for quail and although I’ve never been there, I know a guy who worked there. There covey finds averaged 4 per hour. It is $5000 a day per person to hunt there and they are booked up 3 years out……I can’t even fathom that……
 

timber

Twelve Pointer
I agree with nccatfisher dont think fire were the problem. Just saw the first fire ant mound on the farm a few monts ago. Fairly sure they got a ride here from a construction crew working on a substation for the power company. They sat some of there equipment in edge of my field where saw first fire ants. The quail population has been in decline for years way before fire anta got here. While numbers of quail are down think probably there are more than a lot think. Use to stay in these thickets alot bobcat and fox hunting and would flush coveys. Most those places you wouldn’t think about trying to bird hunt
 

woodmoose

Administrator
Staff member
Contributor

sky hawk

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
I got a burgeoning quail population, but it took converting a lot of deer woods into "not easy to hunt deer" area to do it.
I wish I had the acreage to give it a real effort. How much land are you managing?

Between pine plantations, crop fields, and pastures with clean fences, our landscape has become very stale. The diversity in our habitat is pitiful. Even other eastern states, such as those in the NE have more brushy hedgerows, wild apples/crabapples, overgrown homesteads, etc. Here, it seems all of the forestry and habitat management is done for either money or aesthetics. Personally, I think if you could pinpoint the disappearance of quail to the one most significant factor it would be Roundup.
 

surveyor

Twelve Pointer
I wish I had the acreage to give it a real effort. How much land are you managing?
I'm working about 45 acres out of 120 specifically for quail and woodcock.

Maintaining planted pines and rotating cutting of larger trees/ under growth in between pine rows ir order to keep varied levels of 0 though 3 year cover, basically a cut row, a 1 year undergrowth row, a 2 year under growth row, a 3 year row, repeat. Next year, I'll cut the 3 year row.

Some areas of pine have been left to mature naturally, and they hold a lot of the birds as well.
 

para4514

Eight Pointer
Contributor
I'm working about 45 acres out of 120 specifically for quail and woodcock.

Maintaining planted pines and rotating cutting of larger trees/ under growth in between pine rows ir order to keep varied levels of 0 though 3 year cover, basically a cut row, a 1 year undergrowth row, a 2 year under growth row, a 3 year row, repeat. Next year, I'll cut the 3 year row.

Some areas of pine have been left to mature naturally, and they hold a lot of the birds as well.
Sounds like an interesting approach. We just had our 40 acre tract thinned, but they did not remove as many trees as I wish they would have.

Did you clear cut your "deer woods" and replant pine? How old are the pines?

When you say burgeoning quail population how many coveys are you talking about?
 

Lee

Six Pointer
All I know for certain is our family land had multiple coveys in the 60's and 70's. While there is some difference in the timber and crops now, the greatest difference is the number and type of predators. My uncles and Grandfather had a zero tolerance policy for predators. Feathers, fur, wild or semi-domesticated they were all given a quick trial, found guilty and sentenced.
 

timekiller13

Twelve Pointer
Loss of habitat. Plain and simple.

The 50s and 60s may have been great quail days. Ask those old timers to take you to their quail spots now. I bet you my next paycheck there is a housing development there. Massive subdivisions have replaced quail habitat. That habitat is not coming back.
 

surveyor

Twelve Pointer
Sounds like an interesting approach. We just had our 40 acre tract thinned, but they did not remove as many trees as I wish they would have.

Did you clear cut your "deer woods" and replant pine? How old are the pines?

When you say burgeoning quail population how many coveys are you talking about?
Some areas clear cut, some select, some were old pasture that were planted.

I usually don't get a decent count of covey till I start more fall walking, but within a 10 acre area I've been walking on way to bow stands, I have 3 covey's, maybe 4.
 

Duckmauler dhc

Ten Pointer
Farming practices would have to change in order for quail to thrive again, IMO.


Yep, wayyyyyyyy too much strip farming and pesticides. 90% of the quail habitat has been gone for a long time. Quail have so many thing going against them. And yes they could come back but the things that would need to be changed and the effort/money needed would never happen across the board.
 

John Henry

Six Pointer
I started working on a 120 acre farm 7 years ago with the intention of having good down east habitat. It has taken until this year of managing an already pretty decent place before the first bobwhite showed up. We have burned 5/7 years, created forest gaps, daylighted roads, planted soft mast, increased his CRP acreage, and are currently awaiting a seriously needed first thinning. I have no idea where the birds came from, but there were at least 4 males singing during peak calling and 2 successful nests. Who knows if they will be around next year, but it was pretty amazing to have one come walking out of the bushes towards the front porch of the house in response to my whistle.

And additional thought that sometimes gets lost, when we are managing wildlife and creating habitat, it is habitat for all wildlife. And sometimes it means there are bobcats, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, etc. enjoying that habitat right along with the turkeys, deer, quail, and rabbits.
 

JONOV

Twelve Pointer
every bio I have talked to says that,,,,,,,,,,





but there ya go,,,,
An employee of RGS told me that part of the issue is that when one makes relatively small areas of habitat improvement, you also create a "predator sink." That's a challenge in national forests in Western Carolina. There's a critical mass of acreage where it becomes less relevant, no idea what it is, but it seems like it would have to be on a relatively large scale.
 

surveyor

Twelve Pointer
An employee of RGS told me that part of the issue is that when one makes relatively small areas of habitat improvement, you also create a "predator sink." That's a challenge in national forests in Western Carolina. There's a critical mass of acreage where it becomes less relevant, no idea what it is, but it seems like it would have to be on a relatively large scale.
Yeah, I did have to up my management of Coyotes after I started the bird habitat.

Can't keep them all off, but there are a few areas that I know that have served as dens in the past that I check often and shoot everything I can before running them off.

Also have one specific area that seems to hold bobcats more than normal as well.
 

billyf

Four Pointer
Since Quail are struggling and the NCWRC is managing 2 million acres of gameland, why are they not managing some of this gameland to be some of this magical habitat that supports good quail populations. That way the rest of us landowners can see how its done.. I know they plant dove fields.....
 

timber

Twelve Pointer
The gov has had programs to try to enhance quail populations. Don’t remember if it was in the WHIP or EQIP to gram that would pay landowners to plant borders for quail habitat. I checked into it some years back but ones I have talked to about it said it never really worked. The ones I saw that tried it have put the land back in cultivation.
 

shurshot

Eight Pointer
Years ago, the NCWRC Division of Wildlife Management worked with Terry Sharpe, a wildlife biologist, to conduct an in-depth study/assessment regarding the decline of bobwhite quail in NC. The CURE program was later initiated and implemented in an effort to understand what was going on and tried to establish better habitat through both private and WRC managed lands.

Below is some info regarding Terry and the CURE Program. If you’re truly interested in quail, this is a good read.

 

JONOV

Twelve Pointer
Since Quail are struggling and the NCWRC is managing 2 million acres of gameland, why are they not managing some of this gameland to be some of this magical habitat that supports good quail populations. That way the rest of us landowners can see how its done.. I know they plant dove fields.....
All of the wild quail I've seen in this state have been on gamelands, and Ft Bragg.
 
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