Call me crazy, but July is a great month to walk your fence lines, woody draws and CRP (conservation reserve program) fields. Why, you ask? Now is the time when several quail-friendly plants are flowering or producing seed and are relatively easy to identify.
Why do you need to be able to identify quail-friendly plants? To become a better quail manager! The end result of most management practices, such as prescribed burning, disking and edge feathering, is to create a diversity of plants.
A great way of evaluating your quail management practices is documenting the plant response. Did you disk a field to promote ragweed and end up with foxtail? This could be a sign that you disked too late--likely in March or April. Did you burn your warm-season grass field and can’t find any broadleaf plants? This could be a sign that you burned too late--likely in April. The point is that if you learn a few of the many quail-friendly plants, you can adjust your management to better promote these plants. Your quail will thank you for it!
A great source to assist you in identifying these plants is “Quail-Friendly Plants of the Midwest.” It is published by the University of Missouri Extension in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation. Download or purchase this book at the following Web address: http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=mp903. The book goes into great detail on the various grasses, wildflowers and woody plants that quail prefer.
Get outside and learn your quail-favored plants and become a better quail manager. Be sure to take insect repellent and a camera to document your plants.