wildlife. In addition to intensively managing a number of special Quail Emphasis Areas, Department staff implements management on nearly 150,000 acres each year that benefits rabbits, quail and other grassland birds.
While quail may never become as numerous as in times past, hundreds of landowners from the Bootheel through the Ozarks to the open prairies are helping quail make a comeback. Managing for quail in landscapes dominated by woodland, grassland or crop fields present different challenges, and these committed conservationists put the right practices to work to make the most of their land and produce more coveys. Habitat is the key, and you can learn more about providing what quail need by visiting www.mdc.mo.gov/node/3678.
2010 Bobwhite Hunting Season at Robert E. Talbot CA
Frank Loncarich, wildlife management biologist Southwest Region—Lawrence County Wildlife Management Biologist Frank Loncarich is on a mission to increase quail on the Robert E. Talbot Conservation Area in Lawrence County, and his efforts are paying off. Intensive quail management including prescribed burning, patch-burn grazing, tree removal and savanna restoration coupled with favorable nesting conditions led to good numbers of birds available for hunting during 2010. Area staff observed numerous broods during routine activities and coveys were observed using newly grazed areas for the first time in 20 years. During 2010, 174 hunters reported taking more than 100 birds, and the number of birds bagged per hour hunted has remained consistent since 2007. The focus at Talbot CA will remain on implementing proven grassland and savanna management practices to increase useable space and brood rearing habitat.
Landowner: Steve Remspecher (left) Ted Seiler, MDC private land conservationist Northeast Region—Randolph County
When Steve Remspecher purchased his 150-acre Randolph County farm a few years ago he found only one or two coveys of quail. The farm includes brome CRP uplands as well as bottom ground that is about half CRP wetland and half bottomland timber. Like mostlandowners, Steve has to carefully budget the time and money that goes into managing his farm.
When Steve began working with Private Land Conservationist Ted Seiler, he expected to plant food plots and build brush piles. He admits being surprised when Ted recommended setting back a third of the CRP planting in broad strips and burning about half the farm the following spring. Steve followed through with the plan, though, and good results were almost immediate as the farm gained three coveys in one year. Convinced he was on the right track, Steve sprayed another third of the CRP and burned more during spring of 2010. Steve’s farm now boasts seven to nine coveys. Amazingly, this rapid increase occurred during three of the wettest years on record. And not only quail have responded: rabbits, deer, turkey and a number of grassland songbirds have shown big increases in his CRP planting.