As you stand on Alvin Dody’s Southwest Missouri property observing the mosaic pattern of quail friendly habitats and hearing bobwhite quail whistling in the distance you soon realize how dedicated Alvin has been in restoring the quail habitat on his property. Alvin bought his first 80 acres in 1994, and when asked why did you purchase the property Alvin’s reply, “I needed something to do when I retire from my television service and sales business.” Since then Alvin and his son Darren have purchased additional properties and now own 275 acres.
Alvin’s farm primarily consisted of fescue and brush. Alvin began his quest to improve the habitat by enrolling 20 acres into the WHIP program. He received guidance on converting fescue to more wildlife-friendly native grasses from the Missouri Department of Conservation and Natural Resouces Conservation Service.
When the Department launched the Private Land Services Division, Alvin contacted Stan Sechler, private land conservationist for Cedar County. The initial on-site visit has led to a long-lasting working relationship. According to Sechler, “Alvin has a good understanding of what the habitat needs are for bobwhite quail. I have been able to provide additional guidance on other habitat practices that can be conducted to enhance his property.” Since 2002 Alvin has utilized the Department’s Landowners Assistance Program to help with offsetting the cost of converting 46 acres of fescue grass to stands of wildlife-friendly native warm-season grasses.
Not only has Alvin established warm-season grasses, he has planted shrub thickets for escape cover and annually burns portions of the native grass fields to maintain the full wildlife benefits that native grasses provide. In addition, Alvin has disturbed areas with a disk to create good brood rearing habitat and plants grain food plots .
Alvin’s hard work is paying off. When he purchased the farm he would have two to three coveys of quail on his farm. Now it is common for Alvin to have six to eight coveys. Whitetail deer are also taking advantage of Alvin’s hard work as their numbers continue to increase.
Alvin looks forward to fall every year. He and Darren will spend much of their free time at the farm, getting their exercise, following Darren’s bird dog searching for another covey of quail.