Quail habitat has been in steep decline in Virginia over the past forty years – often in direct correlation with widespread development across the Commonwealth. By some estimates the quail population is down by 80%. Not surprisingly, the number of quail hunters is down even further with a 90% decline over the same period. The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) recently noted, “The quail hunting culture is fading from the heritage of rural America. Once as much an integral part of rural life as barbeque, barn-raisings and bream fishing, quail hunting in many states is becoming restricted to plantations and commercial preserves. For all the meritorious restoration successes of modern wildlife management, the once-ubiquitous bobwhite remains unfinished business.”
We couldn’t agree more. The experience of working the open fields and pine savanna with the hopes of flushing coveys is one that’s hard to describe. In addition, quail are an indicator species. Areas where you find healthy habitat and multiple coveys present are almost always indicative of a larger, healthy ecosystem. Aside from groups like NBCI and Quail Unlimited, the NRCS is leading a quail recovery initiative, and also offers cost-share programs funded through the USDA for quail habitat restoration. Learn more about the population decline and recovery efforts in Virginia by watching the video below.
For more information regarding bobwhite recovery efforts: