Northern Bobwhite Quail
Northern Bobwhite are considered by many to be the premier game bird, and many enjoy hearing the familiar bobwhite whistle in the late spring and early summer.
Bobwhite populations reached peak numbers in the mid-to-late 1940's in Mississippi and were high through the early 1970's. Over the last 30 years, however, our quail population has dropped by more than 70 percent to historically low levels. The decline can be attributed to many causes including predators, diseases, parasites, pesticides, and other factors. While all of these may affect quail, the most significant cause of population decline has been loss of quality habitat.
There is a direct cause and effect relationship between changes in land use and this population decline. Ideal habitat consists of a balanced mixture of bare ground, native clump grasses, annual weeds, woody cover, and seeds and insects for food. Imported pasture grasses, clean farming, and reforestation to dense tree stands are some of the land-use changes that are negatively impacting quail populations.
Bobwhite quail can be produced successfully in Mississippi. Landowners who have made the necessary habitat improvements are enjoying 15-covey days!
JACKSON -- Landowners, managers and hunters wanting to learn how to develop their land for turkey and quail can take part in a seminar on Feb. 27.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks are organizing the workshop, which will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. Sessions will conclude at 3 p.m. The Jackson chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation is sponsoring the event.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Young hunters will learn about quail hunting and conservation at an upcoming daylong event in Lowndes County.
Quail Forever is organizing the Nov. 13 event with help from the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. Applications for the limited openings are due by Nov. 1.
Participation is free and open to youth ages 12 to 18. Lunch will be provided.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Young hunters will learn about quail hunting and conservation at two upcoming day-long events in Clarke and Clay counties.
Quail Forever is organizing the Feb. 27 and March 6 events with help from the Mississippi State University Extension Service, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, and the 2009 Youth Participation Initiative Program. Applications for the limited openings are due by Feb. 10. Participation is free and open to youth ages 12 to 18. Lunch and dinner are provided.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Declining populations of quail led Mississippi State University researchers to a grant to study the effectiveness of programs that restore habitat for this traditionally popular game bird.
Wildlife researchers hope to turn around the Northern bobwhite quail's population decline by recreating elements of historic land conditions. The potential exists for quail hunting to once again become an economically significant sport.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A free, half-day quail management workshop will teach participants ways to improve bobwhite quail habitat on rural property.
The March 29 workshop will take place from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Environmental Education Center at the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge in south Oktibbeha County. Interested participants are encouraged to register by March 26. Lunch will be provided to those who preregister.