What do you call it when you get 175 landowners, biologists and quail researchers together? A SUCCESS!
The Missouri Bobwhite Quail Summit held at the MU Bradford Research and Extension Center outside of Columbia was indeed a success. Landowners from as far away as Minnesota came to learn about the latest in quail conservation and habitat improvement techniques. This partner-driven Quail Summit was the brainchild of the Conservation Federation of Missouri’s Quail Committee (Tom Lampe, chairman, and Elsa Gallagher, vice chairman). In a resolution developed from the annual meeting, the tinder for the Quail Summit was fashioned. Partner groups such as Quail Forever, the Missouri Department of Conservation, Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation, Quail Unlimited, The Natural Resources Conservation Service and the University of Missouri blew on this tinder until it became a living, breathing entity. The full conflagration was realized on Thursday, June 16, at Bradford Farms.
With more than 10 expert speakers and a packed house of attendees, there was something for every quail enthusiast at this event. A highlight for many who attended were the field tours of common agricultural practices including Conservation Practice 33 (CP33) – Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds, native plant demonstration sites and the economics of farming for wildlife, among many others.
Attendees overwhelmingly enjoyed the Quail Manager’s Creed--in a program given by Scott Sudkamp, Private Land Conservationist for the Missouri Department of Conservation:
One attention-grabbing program by Elsa Gallagher, regional biologist with Quail Forever, compiled the recent studies of pen-reared bird-release systems done by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Georgia DNR and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Following the talk, one landowner from Southwest Missouri approached me with the following: “I’ve used the Surrogator™ on my farms, and it was just like you were showing in your program; we didn’t find hardly any of the birds alive when it came to hunting season.” His follow-up question was, “Do you know anybody who wants to buy a pair of Surrogator™ units?”
Arvil Kappelmann, a landowner in Franklin and Gasconade counties, was a part of a four-landowner panel discussing the successes they have had on their respective farms. Kappelmann spoke eloquently about the difference having this diversity of grassland birds and small game on his farm has made for his family. “The improvement in the quality of life that you get from having quail on your farm is worth the amount of work you need to do to get them there. It’s about family and how we use the farm, how my son comes out and rabbit hunts on the farm now and we spend time together each year working on the farm.” Kurt Marquart, Jeff Churan and Tom Lampe rounded out the landowner panel with discussions of the successes they’ve had on their farms with quail populations. One key theme during the landowner panel was that “if you build it, they will come.” The stories of starting with one or two coveys and now ending with double digits were common themes to these landowner success stories.
The torch has been lit to pass on to the next exciting event. Mark your calendars for the Quail Classic--a national quail event to take place in Kansas City this winter (Feb. 17, 18 and 19) just prior to the CFM Annual Convention. For information on the Quail Classic, please check it out at www.quailclassic.org.