“Wild quail are tough to find these days, but private land and leases can be turned into your own personal ‘plantation’ for working dogs and shooting put-out birds.
When I grew up in the late 50s and early 60s, my house, in a suburb of Jacksonville, Fla., backed up to a large pine forest with underbrush that was about knee high but not too thick; perfect quail habitat. I can remember waking to the sound of the northern bobwhite quail calling to each other from the brush. And many mornings I would see a covey of 20 or more birds casually grazing in my backyard. Quail were numerous in the rural south in those days, and a quail hen leading her line of chicks across a road to safety was not an uncommon sight.
As a young boy, I had visions of walking a field with a good dog and double barrel shotgun in search of a covey rise. My dad was not a hunter, and I didn’t have the means, dog or gun to go on my own, so those visions never materialized.
Time moved on and I went on to college, the military, a family and a career, and decades later I still hadn’t realized the dream. During those years, the quail population in the South experienced a steady decline until wild birds very nearly ceased to exist. This happened for a number of reasons. Farming practices called for larger open fields and reduced areas of brush that served as protective habitat, chemicals impacted natural food sources, and forestry practices replaced the slow-growing longleaf pine with faster-growing versions, thickening the canopy and reducing the underbrush.
Conservation programs are helping, but the impact on quail recovery has been limited.”
The full article can be found here.
Photo Credit: Original Author