Alabama – June 24, 2008 – Alabama quail enthusiasts have stepped up their quail conservation efforts through the introduction of two new Quail Forever (QF) chapters. The Alabama Covey Rise Chapter of QF and the Black Warrior Chapter of QF – located in central and west Alabama, respectively – are aiming to restore quail habitat while introducing youth conservation education programs within Tallapoosa, Coosa, Tuscaloosa, Bibb, Hale, Greene, Pickens and Fayette counties.
“With both of these chapters focusing their efforts within the central and western regions of Alabama, there is an opportunity to create a lot of progress in the advancement of better land management practices, and this will ultimately help the quail and other wildlife in the area,” explained Andy Edwards, Regional Wildlife Biologist for QF. “When you combine the newly passed Farm Bill legislation with the efforts of these two chapters, the benefits for quail will be tremendous.”
Alabama Covey Rise Chapter of Quail Forever
In taking their name from the popular Covey Rise publication, the Alabama Covey Rise chapter will expand upon the quail conservation efforts that they have already started with members of the magazine. Focusing their habitat restoration projects within Tallapoosa and Coosa counties, this chapter hopes to improve what is currently unsuitable habitat into the model quail habitat conditions of the past.
“Back in the 1950’s and 60’s, a person could walk around this part of Alabama and find plenty coveys of quail,” explained Kim N. Price, publisher of Covey Rise, a QF National Board member and charter member of the Covey Rise chapter, “But that isn’t the case anymore. We grew up here, our fathers and grandfathers hunted here and we feel a great desire to bring back the quail to this area. That is why something has to be done about the condition of the local habitat.”
By working closely with local community members and landowners, the Alabama Covey Rise chapter wants to bring about awareness to the importance of wildlife habitat while also administering habitat restoration and management practices. “People in this area have to go to a private preserve to hunt in order to enjoy bobwhite quail,” said Price, “Wild bird hunting is an amazing thing to do and our goal is to one day have that be an option around here, but it all starts from the ground up, the habitat has to come first.”
Northern Bobwhite populations in Alabama, like much of the bobwhite’s range in the Southeast, have declined in many cases as much as 90 percent due to loss of habitat, fence-row-to-fence row farming practices, loss of Conservation Reserve Program acres and timber issues like overgrown canopies. Price said the group will work with the Alabama Quail Council to implement step down plans from the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative.
“We are really excited about the prospects for this chapter, recruiting new members in this part of Alabama and getting new quail habitat on the ground,” said John Thames, the chapter’s president, “Most of us have to hunt at game preserves to get a chance to shoot quail, and even those of us who work dogs, seldom find suitable habitat where quail still exist. We know with the enthusiasm at the chapter level that we can overcome these habitat issues.”
The Alabama Covey Rise chapter has also elected Kelly Waldrop as vice president, Will Thames as treasurer, Steve Forehand as habitat chair and Joey Holley as the youth/education chair. Members are currently in the midst of planning a fundraising banquet to take place in September. To join the chapter or for more information, contact John Thames at (256)749-1301of via email at John@thamesconstructionllc.com.
Black Warrior Chapter of Quail Forever
Chapter president Kevin Adams started the Black Warrior chapter with long time hunting partner and newly appointed treasurer, Carl Dooley, in order to stop the local quail populations from diminishing any further. The chapter will be focusing their conservation efforts within the west Alabama counties of Tuscaloosa, Bibb, Hale, Greene, Pickens and Fayette.
“Carl is lucky enough to remember wild quail living in this area, but I’ve only ever heard stories from older friends and family,” explained Adams, “I really haven’t shot that many wild quail but I’ve always had a heart for conservation. It’s become clear to me that changes have to be made in order to save the quail population in this region.”
The chapter plans on promoting wildlife habitat preservation through a primarily education based agenda. By making people aware of the shrinking amount of habitat and the diminishing numbers of quail and other wildlife species, the importance of conservation and proper land management practices will be brought to the forefront of the community’s consciousness.
“We are going to extend our hand to local landowners and farmers so we can educate them on how to create better wildlife habitat,” said Adams, “It is incredibly important to show area farmers it is possible to preserve habitat and care for their lands’ wildlife while at the same time not having it impede their livelihood.”
The Black Warrior chapter has also elected Michael Bollard as the habitat chair and Austin Dooly as the youth/education chair. To join this chapter or for more information about upcoming meetings and events, contact Adams at (205)310-8232 or via email at email@example.com.
For more information on QF in Alabama, to start a chapter or join one of the state’s four existing chapters, contact Andy Edwards, QF Regional Wildlife Biologist for, at (931)638-9478 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
From 1980 to present, bobwhites declined range-wide by an average of nearly 70%, and much more in specific states. In fact, the Northern Bobwhite Quail topped the National Audubon Society’s List of Top 20 Common Birds in Decline. The National Audubon Society stated the northern bobwhite quail has declined by a staggering 82 percent during the past four decades. Nationwide, quail numbers have fallen from an estimated 31 million in 1967 to just 5.5 million today.
Pheasants Forever launched Quail Forever in August of 2005 to address the continuing loss of habitat suitable for quail and the subsequent quail population decline. QF chapters promote local, state, and federal conservation programs that help landowners protect environmentally sensitive acres for quail and other wildlife. They also employ the organization’s unique model of empowering local chapters with 100 percent control of the chapters’ locally-raised funds to complete habitat and youth education projects in the chapters’ own communities.
Since the organization’s inception, over 100 QF chapters have formed in 26 different states. The QF mission is accomplished through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, education, and conservation advocacy.
For additional information about Quail Forever, please visit www.QuailForever.org