Wild quail seminar slated for March

A wild bobwhite quail surveys a field near Jamestown. File/Matt Winter

Bobwhite quail populations in South Carolina and the Southeast have been declining steadily over the past 60 years due to major land use change and reduction in suitable habitat. The 27th annual Wild Quail Management Seminar, sponsored by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, is designed to instruct landowners and land managers in the proper techniques of creating habitat that will support native populations of bobwhite quail.

This year there will be only one expanded seminar which can accommodate 35 participants on March 5-6 at the Webb Wildlife Center (1282 Webb Ave., Garnett). The registration fee is $85 and includes meals, overnight accommodations and seminar materials. If 20 participants are not registered by Feb. 10, the seminar will be canceled. For more information, write Quail Management Seminars, DNR, PO Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202, or call the DNR Small Game Project in Columbia at (803) 734-3609, or email castinep@dnr.sc.gov.

“Properties that consistently carry medium-to high-density wild quail populations are actively managed to provide quail with all the habitat components necessary throughout the year,” said Willie Simmons, DNR Small Game Project Supervisor. “These seminars are designed to improve quail habitat management skills and the information is presented so that anyone with an interest can implement these practices on their property regardless of size.”

Field demonstrations and classroom instruction will focus on habitat practices including firebreak establishment, prescribed burning, forest management, brush control, discing for natural foods and supplemental food patch plantings. Presentations will be given on wild quail natural history, biology, diseases and parasites, predation and other factors that may be contributing to the population decline. An update on current research will also be presented. Speakers will include wildlife and forestry professionals from state and federal agencies.