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Originally Posted by Hammergun
I own a small farm on the Maryland eastern shore. I am managing it for wildlife and am particularly interested in bobwhite quail. Since converting the former farm fields to meadow and encouraging native plants that support quail we have wild birds reproducing on our land. There are more quail on the shore than most people realize but not in numbers that support hunting. The MD DNR seems to be stuck in a time warp as their quail season and limit haven't changed since the 70s. I did ask the local extension agent for some guidance in planting native plants for quail but only received a flyer about generic wildlife planting. Not helpful at all. So I will continue to plod along and try and keep the quail supported. They have it
pretty rough between the predators and the intense farming practices.


Good job on working to improve the habitat. That is the clear starting point that will ultimately make the difference.
I’ve done some native grass plantings and it can make a difference in some spots. I purchased a piece of property that jutted into my farm that had previously been a cattle operation all covered in Bahia and coastal Bermuda grass. It was tough to kill but we did it. Immediately afterwards I planted the area in 4 different grasses and 2 flowering plants It was stunning how quickly the area turned into almost a quail rookery; simply full of birds, especially during the long summer nesting season.
The choice of species I used could be easily duplicated and has been by others. The seeds come from a place in Kentucky.
All of that said, your soil is probably already full of native grass seeds that have been simply waiting on the right conditions to emerge and flourish. A combination of winter discing and spring burning will jumpstart it all for you without you having to buy the first seed.
Good luck!

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Spring-Thanks for the tip. I do know the fellow who does burns for the state and he has offered to do a burn on my land if needed. I just might give it a try.

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Originally Posted by Hammergun
They have it pretty rough between the predators and the intense farming practices.

If you edited it to read 'intense farming poisons'....I could agree with you.

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Funny how the quail were doing just fine before we started improving their habitat.

Back when quail were thick as thieves all around Ames Plantation I can't recall seeing one single burn.

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Before Europeans arrived in America, fire was used by humans to manage the pine forests in the Southeast. The practice was later adopted by the newly arrived farmers, but was discouraged as timber interests began to campaign against woods burning. In 1924 Herbert Stoddard endorsed the use of fire in the quail woods of the Red Hills of Georgia for both timber and quail management. His publication in 1931 "The Bobwhite Quail..." detailed his research. While Aldo Leopold is considered by many to be the father of wildlife management, he acknowledged later in life that it was Herbert Stoddard who was among the first of the game management pioneers because of his work in recognizing the importance of controlled burning in the wire grass and longleaf forests of SW Georgia. According to Leopold: "Herbert Stoddard, in Georgia, started the first management of wildlife based on research." The longleaf pine evolved to withstand and flourish after natural fires were caused by lightning strikes. Fire is critical for the survival of longleaf pines as it removes forest litter which impedes the growth of longleaf seedlings, removes fire intolerant competing pines and controls blight which can sicken the longleaf pine. Gil

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Good on all of the members who improve the habitat on their land for wildlife. You probably don't get thanked enough for your efforts.


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To see hundreds of thousands of acres of private property managed for bobwhite quail, bring up Thomasville, GA and Tallahassee, FL on the same screen in Google Earth. Note the dearth of pivot irrigation or agricultural fields in a wide zone between the two cities. The appearance of this land from high altitude easily contrasts with the agricultural fields outside of the zone between the two cities. In over 600,000 acres between the two cities, the land looks different. Now zoom into one of the brownish areas that doesn't look like a forest. Get to about 400 feet. Note what appears to be a checkerboarding of the landscape. That's "blocking" wherein lanes are cut through the grasses that allow bird hunters to approach the dogs along clear lanes. The squares are typically 25x25 yards. The birds are in the squares of uncut taller grasses and shrubs. These are wild birds on a grand scale. These wealthy owners are not only stewards of the land, but also of wild quail. A "course" is a route that hunters on foot or horseback can cover in a half day or whatever the landowner desires. The courses are hunted not more than 4 times a season on many places to protect the wild coveys. Gil

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Originally Posted by GLS
To see hundreds of thousands of acres of private property managed for bobwhite quail, bring up Thomasville, GA and Tallahassee, FL on the same screen in Google Earth. Note the dearth of pivot irrigation or agricultural fields in a wide zone between the two cities. The appearance of this land from high altitude easily contrasts with the agricultural fields outside of the zone between the two cities. In over 600,000 acres between the two cities, the land looks different. Now zoom into one of the brownish areas that doesn't look like a forest. Get to about 400 feet. Note what appears to be a checkerboarding of the landscape. That's "blocking" wherein lanes are cut through the grasses that allow bird hunters to approach the dogs along clear lanes. The squares are typically 25x25 yards. The birds are in the squares of uncut taller grasses and shrubs. These are wild birds on a grand scale. These wealthy owners are not only stewards of the land, but also of wild quail. A "course" is a route that hunters on foot or horseback can cover in a half day or whatever the landowner desires. The courses are hunted not more than 4 times a season on many places to protect the wild coveys. Gil

Here's a video, Gil, that I'm sure you've seen but I always enjoy watching again. It was done by a real estate group in Thomasville and filmed on Pinehaven Plantation, which is barely into Florida just south of Thomasville. I've hunted on Pinehaven twice; it's a special place.


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I had not seen the video. Thanks. I noted the traditional white vests worn by some of the hunters. The only places I've seen that still wear the white vests are in the Red Hills where tradition never dies. Gil

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If you live rural and want to burn your habitat, the local fire dept will probably do it for you. I had a couple acres worth of prairie grass and pollinators that needed burning. The local guys did a good job; great training for them. No charge. But I gave them a $100 donation.

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