“Quail hunters and biologists’ hopes were high for quail nesting conditions coming into the spring of 2012. A combination of increased population carryover from a mild 2011 winter and productive nesting conditions in early spring across the country gave quail managers hope of a more productive year. But as temperatures increased, rains decreased and now most of quail country is locked in drought. This will inevitably lead to a decrease in quality habitat due to lack of forb activity, abnormally high temperature pressures, and with emergency grazing on Wildlife Management Areas and Waterfowl Production Areas in many states, reductions of critical habitat.
“Most of the quail biologists are still optimistic that the early 2012 nesting start may have given the birds a few extra weeks to gain a wing up on the summer heat. Should the heat break and rains increase through the rest of the summer, populations could even see late breeding season growth in some places.
“Quail are resourceful and will make use of what they can, so the full story remains to be written for this year. Quail Forever’s complete quail hunting forecast will be released in September.” Read state-by-state quail nesting roundups HERE.
A group of 30 conservation organizations, led by NBCI, has asked USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack to consider requiring any public programs used to help replant pastures affected by the current drought be required to ensure that 20-33% of the affected acreage is replanted in drought-resistant native, warm-season forage grasses, which provide quality wildlife habitat. Read more about the groups’ request and how a conversion of a percentage of pasture grasses could help both livestock producers AND wildlife.
“When the windows are open, from spring to fall, bird song wakes. Avian love songs and territorial calls, a chorus of diverse voices, make for one of the joys of rising in Augusta County.But we sorely miss a distinctive soloist’s performance. Bobwhite quail long ago left our neighborhoods as well as most of Virginia’s rural “soundscape.”
“…On our acreage in Augusta County, Debbie Wright has lent her expertise to bring a few birds back. Most of what I know of quail this private lands wildlife biologist with Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries taught me.”
Read more of Bruce Dorries’ column about the plight of the bobwhite in Virginia at the Staunton News-Leader website.
The 2012 quail nesting season in South Texas got off to a great start because of some late winter and early spring rains. The month of June was extremely hot and dry. Those tough conditions probably curtailed a good bit of nesting activity. As I type this—in mid-July—we have had two weeks of unsettled weather with frequent but widely scattered storm cells throughout South Texas. Technically, we are still enduring drought conditions. Biologically, however, we received enough rain to get the quail production engine started, and keep it running, in at least some places. Thus, we have a basis for some cautious optimism this coming hunting season….Read more about quail management in South Texas here.
“A national initiative to restore the population of bobwhite quail is coming to the Silver Lake Wildlife Management Area in Decatur County…” Read more about Georgia’s planned role in the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative’s national strategy in a story by Carol Heard in The Bainbridge Herald.
USDA Farm Service Agency is accepting applications for the Deputy Directory position of FSA’s Conservation and Environmental Programs Division (which administers the Conservation Reserve Program) at FSA national headquarters in Washington, DC.