Monday, March 17, 2014

2014 Fur, Fish, Game Magazine - Dixieland Bob and NBCI

Beautiful Cover Art - and Timely Too, 
for the March 2014 edition

Like turkey hunting, quail hunters get to walk across the land as they go, and this reveals so much about the natural world to the observant outdoorsman. While I love to sit in a tree stand and wait for deer to appear, and I cherish time spent in a duck blind, they cannot match the feeling of physical exertion that comes with an ambulatory quail hunt in the Southern pines. You carry your gun, your game bags gets heavy with each added quail, and yet with each hunt your stamina builds to a level where the hunt routine becomes easier and easier.           
With an English Setter now five years old and in his prime, and pine woods that have been thinned, burned and sprayed to at least emulate quail woods, the best days may yet lie ahead. During the summer mowing season a return of bobwhite quail calls came from many different directions including the pine woods, the back of the pasture and even in the neighbor’s yard. If the bobwhite is poised to make a comeback, then others and myself are taking the management steps to steward them during their recovery journey.
I am waxing poetic about the positive news as it concerns,
Gentleman Bob
The 2013 State of the Bobwhite report by the NBCI announces that S.C. will begin a new plan in 2014 aimed at broader quail population recovery in the Palmetto State. These landscape-scale projects are important to identifying quail strongholds. “We’ve formally established these NBCI focal points based on the analysis of bobwhite habitat potential,” said Billy Dukes. “We’ll use public lands as anchors for the focal areas and build the habitat out from there in partnership with landowner cooperatives.”
South Carolina isn’t alone in the plight of the downward bobwhite quail population trends, but with public efforts underway like the SouthEast Study Group to restore their early successional habitat it seems better than average that the whistle of the bobwhite quail will be returning to many different tracts of upland in the near future. But it will take time. Quail numbers have been declining since the 1960’s and like the prescribed fire corollary above, it may take just as many years to restore quail numbers.
Whether quail restoration reaches complete recovery or not, the anticipation for each coming quail season is being looked forward to with renewed vigor. When bird dogs and double guns are once again a regular part of the conversation between hunters, then the challenges highlighted by the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative and others will have been heard. The good old days for small game and quail hunting may soon come around again.

There is no link to read this feature article in its entirety. Seek out the March issue to do so.

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