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Discussion in 'Small Game Hunting' started by adam, Mar 1, 2003.
You are 100% correct! However, I do know a few people who have successfully introduced pen-reared quail into the wild. One must really do their homework for this to work! In addition, one must have the property with the right habitat and use birds that are disease free and "flight" and "weather" conditioned. Kentucky's past program would never work in a million years!!!
As far as hunting put-n-take pheasant -- I do hunt them once or twice a year in Indiana, mainly because of tradition. Unlike quail, pheasant have a better chance of "taking-off" in the wild under the right conditions.
Adam, I haven't heard anything about any release of quail for stocking programs. It wasn't mentioned during the last Wildlife Committee meeting. In fact, I have several letters on file from various folks in the Dept. saying exactly what your saying-that releasing quail is not fesible. I have one from Roy and it even tells of the expected survival rates, which is very dismal. It wouldn't surprise me if they expanded the pheasant releases to include quail, but think that it might have trouble with the Commission, unless these hunts start making some money. So far, they haven't paid for themselves. The are attempting to fix some of that with a change in the fee structure and making those drawn pay up front for the birds.
Adam, several years back when this quail stocking program was being tried I was heavy into bird hunting. Those bird hunters who had a friend or two in the DEpt were getting all the quail chicks they wanted free of charge. I know several people who did a poor job of trying to raise them and others who were successful with training young bird dogs with the ones they managed to raise. I have seen a few people of late that seem to do a good job of raising birds with flight pens and I released over a 100 birds in the past five years myself, now I know of only one nice covey of about 30 birds.
Expanding the pheasant release to include quail would be a major mistake! Like Adam stated in his original post, introducing pen-reared birds could diminish wild populations. Wipeout would be the more appropriate word.
and why were quail released at Central WMA?? when was the last time dept money was used to do this? no hunting season on quail at central, so why were they released...to try to build a sustainable population and work towards a huntable surplus, or to satisfy the field trial association? adam, what are your thoughts on the mowing of central? Why was it done? Will it continue every year? Did the field trial assoc. donate any money or labor to the quail release?
How about YOU answering the second question before we go into this any further???
Oh no not more snakes, I hate snakes.
Years and years ago we tried the pen raised idea with turkeys, and it was a collossal failure. I steadfastly believe that the only viable restocking means is to capture and relocate wild stock, and concurrently create livable habitat. In the sixties and early seventies, fields were smaller, fescue was virtually unheard of, combines were far less efficient, and in many areas the woods were in their early stages of second growth after significant timbering. Coyotes were few and far between. We had barn cats out the wazoo, but there were enough field mice, songbirds and pigeons around the barn to keep them entertained. The quail lived in areas that were tough, and the birds were wild. The cats had much easier meals elsewhere. We have undertaken extensive eradication of fescue on our place, coupled with edges enhancement. Those two factors have helped us see a vast increase in rabbits, and we are seeing more quail, although we only had one covey to begin with. What few were there are expanding. I'm convinced that if we could restock with wild birds, we would see turkey-like results.
Adam, I agree with your point about habitat first. As to trapping and relocation, the turkeys came from other states predominately, were put into top-flight habitat, such as Bernheim Forest, and birds were taken out over a period of time. Had we not had the habitat first, the birds would not have come on as they have, although we had some misconceptions as to what habitat was actually neccessary. Quail and turkeys do not differ as much as you might think as to predation, particularly during nesting and brood periods. Possums and coons are death on turkeys, and the poults are extremely vulnerable to avian predators. The larger hawks are significant predators of adult birds, although adult quail are much more vulnerable than adult turkeys, for sure. Pen raising is about all the quail hunter has for sport, and I've hunted pen raised quail and wild quail. There isn't any difference in the sport aspect of it, and I wouldn't equate it with kicking a chicken in the butt. I've also hunted pheasants from boyhood until as late as last fall in SoDak. Some birds are wild out there, some are escapees from pens, but I'll be darned if I can tell a bit of difference in them until they're on the ground and I'm looking at their beaks. My point was that I think it's pretty clear that restocking is a better means long term to restore as opposed to releasing pen raised birds, and I'd prefer my hunting dollars be spent on a relocation project as opposed to a raise and release program as a means to bring back quail populations. In the meantime, we need to look at providing hunting opportunities, and pen raising is the most viable program from that respect.
I intentionally "pulled forward" the original thread "Stocking Quail"
to be sure you had been exposed to some of the previous discussions.
Elimination of fescue and planting NWS grasses is just the beginning to bringing back the quail. Just like turkey <u>was</u> , there are large expanses of country that doesn't have quail. "The New Converted" habitat needs "seed". Trap and release of wild stock quail is the answer. There are places , such as waterfowl refuges, that are not quail hunted , to provide sources of "seed stock".(i.e.-Ballard,etc.)
The bobwhite quail needs "you young,full of piss'N'vinegar pups" involved to ever succeed.[:I][^]
Adam, I hope your bronchitis improves, but I hope you keep your attitudes toward habitat preservation and improvement. For those of us who were hunting quail before 1975, you bring some hope to our old jaded selves. Actually, I've seen tremendous improvement in attitudes over the past few years, not that we don't have a long way to go. Slow improvement is better than no improvement, which gives me the resolve to keep up the message. Kentucky is a difficult state with respect to habitat issues, for several reasons. First, the western part of the state is geographically different from the central which is different from the east. Soils, climate, topography and hydrology are all markedly different. Farming practices are vastly different. The fifteen most eastern counties are not even considered agricultural by the state. And, of course, habitat improvement takes money. Eradicating one hundred acres of fescue is expensive, and many farmers don't have sufficient alternative pastures to use while eradicating the fescue. My family was unusual in that my Dad had a town job. Now it's almost the other way around. Kentucky is the largest cattle producing state east of the Mississippi and with cattle prices being what they are, transition from fescue to NWS grasses is hard for cattle farmers to cost justify. And, of course, there's no state money to match the available federal money in order to ease the cost issue. And with the prices of corn and beans being what they are, most farmers can't justify leaving a single seed on the ground. On top of that, the deer are hitting them hard enough that they don't want to do anything that would indirectly benefit the deer population because for most that is money out of their pockets. Old agricultural practices were coincidentally small game friendly. A thousand acre corn or bean field, once harvested, becomes almost a desert for small game. They in turn become concentrated in the long fence rows, which makes them easier targets for predators. Plus, I am convinced that quail are much more sensitive to habitat than we ever imagined way back when. I saw some of that this fall in SoDak. There, the farmers were allowed to hay their CRP lands because of the drought. In one year the pheasant numbers declined drastically, and the birds concentrated heavily in what cover was left. It will be interesting to see the rebound rate once those lands go back into CRP. In Ohio, it wasn't the fescue that got the quail and pheasants, but the winters of 75 and 76. However, the fescue and diminished habitat retarded the rebound. Also, those winters got alot of other small field critters that were forage for predators, which put all that much more pressure on the quail and pheasants. In 1974, I got a limit of rabbits and quail every time I went out, and it didn't take long, either. In 1977, I might get one rabbit, and I hated to shoot them. If you saw quail, it was a single or pair here and there in areas where two years before you would kick up two or three large coveys. But I'm convinced the birds are slowly coming back and can come back to almost historic numbers if we are habitat smart. Thankfully we've got young guys like you carrying the ball. Keep on keeping on--you make us all proud.
Adam from what little I've read here, I take it you don't think stocking pen birds will work. OR IS THAT AN UNDER STATEMENT ON MY PART? I've been very successful in the past at restocking pen raised birds. Last year GSP and Grouseguy gave it a try, but had no luck. Spring was wet as hell. If you'll read the means I used, I think you'll see a different approach from turning young bird out for feed. This may be something that a young biologist with an open mind may want to look into. IT WORKS. Habitat is definitely a most.
I'll see what I can do this spring.[8D]