Looking to Improve Property's Quail Potential

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Looking to Improve Property's Quail Potential

Postby luie b » Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:06 pm

My grandpa owns about 200 acres of ground that it mostly farmground with draws of timber and some overgrown pasture on it. The trend in west central illinois has been the decline of the quail population because farms just like mowing way too much and don't want to keep any fencerows and just bulldoze them. Anyway there's really not many quail on the property anymore but there's a couple small coveys on the property. In the overgrown pasture area it is overgrown with cedar trees closely packed together that don't allow the tall grass to grow. I'll need to post pics to really let you look at the situation over there. So my idea is to thin out the cedar trees, but not all of them just so my grandpa can't get in there with the mower and tractor because if he can, he'll mow it if he's bored. Then with the trees I cut I want to put them in brush piles as cover for the quail and rabbits, etc. Then the fencerows that are overgrown with those POS cedar trees I'm gonna cut out of there so the fencerows can get grass and such grown in as better cover. Something else I've thought about, is how can you make the timber edges more brushy because that's usually good habitat unless the trees have shaded out all undergrowth. I'm just looking for any tips any of you have or advice from people that have managed your property for quail.
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Re: Looking to Improve Property's Quail Potential

Postby vtcupped'n'locked » Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:33 pm

I would recommend working with your local Pheasants or Quail Forever chapter. I am a biologist and if you need additional info please PM me and I can give you some specific contact information for your area.
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Looking to Improve Property's Quail Potential

Postby Coleman24 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:29 am

^^agreed, pheasants forever would definitely be a good group to contact... I am sure their are some quail conservation groups out there, they too would be good to contact.
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Re: Looking to Improve Property's Quail Potential

Postby waterdogds » Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:44 am

Along with your habitat management, you should consider the significance of your predator population. As with the lay of the land, predator control is crucial. Have you considered control burning if its allowable in your area? Just a few suggestions. The previous two post are great places to start. Good luck.
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Re: Looking to Improve Property's Quail Potential

Postby TomKat » Fri Mar 30, 2012 5:26 am

You need to hinge some of those trees over and leave them attached to the stump to give the coveys protection from avian predators. You are also going to need weeds for them.
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Re: Looking to Improve Property's Quail Potential

Postby apexhunter » Mon May 21, 2012 8:56 am

In South Georgia several plantations plant ragweed areas as tightly as it can be planted. This provides ample cover from predation until the chicks are self sustaining. Once the birds fledge they mow and/or burn the ragweed to scatter the birds to other areas of the farm. But there are brush piles and ditch bottoms available for cover and plenty of wild weed seed for food. Like you mentioned, quit mowing fence rows and ditched tight to provide the necessary cover & food and with ample predator control the birds will prosper.

Tall standing grass is also good habitat in young tree areas until the trees are large enough to make hunting impossible and then it takes several years and some thinning until they are mature to provide open areas underneath suitable for shooting.
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Re: Looking to Improve Property's Quail Potential

Postby tenfingergrip » Tue May 22, 2012 6:34 pm

Two plantings that I always incorporate into any quail habitat development for my clients are bicolor lespedeza and switchgrass. I also generally toss some partridge pea seed in and amongst the bicolor seedling plantings to add a secondary cover story for avian predator protection as well as seed production. Bicolor lespedeza is probably the quail's most favorite food. Switchgrass is a great loafing and nesting cover warm season native grass. These actions, along with control burnings of pine stands and mixed stands, with predator control, leaving ditchbanks uncut, and several years of good management techniques go a long way toward establishing a viable quail population. A maximum population would be one covey about every 30 acres, under prime conditions.

A good indicator of acceptable habitat land is the occurance of rabbits on the land. If you have rabbits in good numbers, the land is usually quite suitable for quail establishment and development.
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Re: Looking to Improve Property's Quail Potential

Postby TomKat » Tue May 22, 2012 8:31 pm

tenfingergrip wrote:Two plantings that I always incorporate into any quail habitat development for my clients are bicolor lespedeza and switchgrass. I also generally toss some partridge pea seed in and amongst the bicolor seedling plantings to add a secondary cover story for avian predator protection as well as seed production. Bicolor lespedeza is probably the quail's most favorite food. Switchgrass is a great loafing and nesting cover warm season native grass. These actions, along with control burnings of pine stands and mixed stands, with predator control, leaving ditchbanks uncut, and several years of good management techniques go a long way toward establishing a viable quail population. A maximum population would be one covey about every 30 acres, under prime conditions.

A good indicator of acceptable habitat land is the occurance of rabbits on the land. If you have rabbits in good numbers, the land is usually quite suitable for quail establishment and development.


WARNING! LESPEDEZA SERICEA IS A VERY BAD PLANT!!!

Totally invasive and hard to get rid of (voice of experience)

There are 39 other varieties of Lespedeza, but I feel like everyone should know about the evil sericea variety, it is HORRIBLE.
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Re: Looking to Improve Property's Quail Potential

Postby tenfingergrip » Wed May 23, 2012 1:17 pm

Tomcat,
Read before you speak....nowhere did I say anything about Sericea. I recommend BICOLOR Lespedeza for anyone wanting prime, permanent, perennial plantings for quail. It produces many, many seeds that definitely attract quail. It is the Bobwhite Quail's favorite food source. It grows to about 8 foot tall and provides great overstory protection as well as great seed production. Sericea Lespedeza is an obnoxious plant that is only good for holding the earth together.
Last edited by tenfingergrip on Fri May 25, 2012 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Looking to Improve Property's Quail Potential

Postby TomKat » Wed May 23, 2012 2:49 pm

Right back at you tenfingerdiscount. I think your reading comprehenson is lacking.

No where did I say anything bad about your suggestions. In fact I specified sericea and then mentioned there were 39 other varieties. It was implied that the reader would be sharp enough to see that difference, although I may have over estimated the reading audience's attention to detail. Did you notice that I did not mention any other variety?

You should read before you write, speaking is a verbal form of communication.

Don't feel bad. Not everyone enjoys the benefit of an accredited university education.
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Re: Looking to Improve Property's Quail Potential

Postby aunt betty » Fri May 25, 2012 9:22 am

How much success has there been in re-introducing wild quail into an area where they have disappeared from?(in Illinois)
I heard that it's incredibly difficult.
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Re: Looking to Improve Property's Quail Potential

Postby tenfingergrip » Sat May 26, 2012 10:00 am

AB,
I have incorporated a system called the Anchor Covey Release System (Covey Base Camp) on a couple of client's properties that were supposedly devoid of wild birds and had limited/marginal successes. Any supplemental program such as that, still requires proper habitat management techniques and owner/farmer cooperation. I much prefer to develop properties where there are some wild birds present and improve the habitat to increase the covey population. Unfortunately, this is a long, drawn out affair. Generally a 5-7 year strict management program where you can see some results.

The covey release system, costly and labor intensive, provides immediate results, questionable long-term establishment of quail, but opportunities to immediately provide the owner with hunting of birds. A critical part of quail management, besides providing natural and developed habitat, is predator control. Some areas are worse than others. All have predators which create havoc on quail populations. Using the Covey System, I have given up on 2 client's properties due to black bears destroying the base camps!

If you are interested, you can check out Quality Management's web site and their system. ( I am not endorsing nor affiliated in any way with these folks)

http://www.qualitywildlife.com/
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Re: Looking to Improve Property's Quail Potential

Postby vtcupped'n'locked » Sun May 27, 2012 9:36 am

AB,
I am going to agree with everything that he has said. Unfortunately there is no silver bullet to quail restoration. There are several studies out there, that show that roughly 1% of pen raised birds will survive more than several weeks, with the majority of the pen raised birds succumbing to exposure, predation, or starvation. Due to this it is not cost effective to release birds with the intent of reestablishing a wild population. If you have questions feel free to pm me.
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Re: Looking to Improve Property's Quail Potential

Postby luie b » Mon May 28, 2012 8:39 pm

aunt betty wrote:How much success has there been in re-introducing wild quail into an area where they have disappeared from?(in Illinois)
I heard that it's incredibly difficult.

They haven't disappeared from Illinois, they are still prevalent but in really bad decline in population. So no reintroduction is necessary just habitat improvement. I'm starting to see lots less grass mowed in my area so I'm thinking this is going to help tremendously.
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Re: Looking to Improve Property's Quail Potential

Postby GAbirdhunter » Tue Jan 29, 2013 10:29 pm

Bicolor lespedeza was pushed by many quail biologists years ago, and we have since spent thousands in Garlon to suppress it. It works fine in certain soil types, but spreads quite quickly here in south Georgia and smothers out al other vegetation, and to top it off, you won't shoot wild birds in a large area of it, they simply run to the other side and then fly. Good luck with your restoration project, quail are one of my favorite birds.
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Re: Looking to Improve Property's Quail Potential

Postby mcclinj » Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:09 am

You can find a lot of valuable information by reading the NCBI management plan available on their website. Also, whichever grass you decide to plant, make sure it's not to thick. Quail do better with tufts of grass which allow them to move freely within the cover. I believe if you can't roll a ball (baseball I think) through it, its too thick. -John
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Re: Looking to Improve Property's Quail Potential

Postby Calibogue » Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:47 pm

tenfingergrip wrote:Two plantings that I always incorporate into any quail habitat development for my clients are bicolor lespedeza and switchgrass. I also generally toss some partridge pea seed in and amongst the bicolor seedling plantings to add a secondary cover story for avian predator protection as well as seed production. Bicolor lespedeza is probably the quail's most favorite food. Switchgrass is a great loafing and nesting cover warm season native grass. These actions, along with control burnings of pine stands and mixed stands, with predator control, leaving ditchbanks uncut, and several years of good management techniques go a long way toward establishing a viable quail population. A maximum population would be one covey about every 30 acres, under prime conditions.

A good indicator of acceptable habitat land is the occurance of rabbits on the land. If you have rabbits in good numbers, the land is usually quite suitable for quail establishment and development.


You have much to learn if you think bicolor is a preferred food source much less a favorite.
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Re: Looking to Improve Property's Quail Potential

Postby Bigpuddin43 » Tue May 28, 2013 9:40 am

Go with a good mixture of native grasses and Forbes. The Forbes provide the food and the grasses provide cover. Maintenance is required every 3-4 years to keep the grasses from taking over. Don't do monoculture stands of anything I prefer to go native as that is what these birds have adapted to survive in. The most important thin we can all do for quail is fescue eradication. If you don't have the money to do a good native grass mixture glyphosate and prescribed fire can bring good habitat back thru natural regeneration. But key is killing the fescue usually takes two to three burn downs with glyphosate.
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