Conservation News

Quail Forever and Partners Dedicate First Major Land Acquisition Project in Southeast Quail Range

774-acre Bobwhite Hills WMA expands quail habitat and public access in South Carolina

Quail Forever’s Build a Wildlife Area® Program is proud to announce the acquisition of the 774-acre Bobwhite Hills Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Lee and Sumter Counties, South Carolina. The property, featuring longleaf pine savannah in the heart of the northern bobwhite’s southeastern region, was officially dedicated today amongst an enthusiastic group of partners and supporters. Quail Forever is currently working with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) to create a management and access plan incorporating objectives for hunting, wildlife viewing, hiking, and ecological research.

Bobwhite Hills WMA marks the first property Quail Forever has acquired east of the Mississippi River and located within the renowned Southeast region of the quail range where the historical relevance of bird hunting has deep ties. Likewise, this purchase provides a major lift to quail hunting prospects in The Palmetto State. “This acquisition will double the number of opportunities for public draw hunts for quail in South Carolina,” said Michael Hook, Small Game Program Leader at SCDNR.  Public hunting opportunities will commence in the 2023-2024 season due to existing leases on the property.

The sprawling property abuts a 2,000-acre leased Wildlife Management Area and is a focal point of the USDA NRCS – South Carolina Longleaf Pine Initiative, the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative, and is identified as a medium priority focus area of the South Carolina Conservation Bank, a major contributing partner to the property’s successful purchase.

“The bobwhite quail is an iconic game bird that even as populations declined, continued to bring together generations of sportsmen and women,” commented Raleigh West, executive director, South Carolina Conservation Bank. “The acquisition of Bobwhite Hills represents not only an opportunity to grow the native quail populations, but also it sets a backdrop for continuing our state’s rich sporting traditions.”

Dedicated to preserving bobwhite habitat in their historical range, the property was attained from ardent conservationist Mooney Player, the fourth all-time-winningest high school football coach in South Carolina history with a record of 154-34-7, and among the top 100 coaches in the nation.  For several years, Coach Player searched for an entity to maintain and improve upon the conservation work he has completed, while perhaps expanding opportunities for future South Carolinians to experience a wild quail hunt – Quail Forever answered the call.

“There’s a long list of important individuals and partners who, through their dedication and passion for this incredible resource, made Bobwhite Hills WMA possible,” said Matt Holland, Grants Director for Quail Forever. “Special thanks to the Conservation Bank, South Carolina DNR, Kenny Barker, Tim Askins, the South Carolina Chapter of Quail Forever, Allen Bell, and Mooney Player for their vision of a future filled with the whistle of bobwhite quail.”

The Bobwhite Hills WMA is a Build a Wildlife Area® permanent habitat protection project contributing to the goals of Quail Forever’s Call of the Uplands® national campaign – a monumental initiative to save America’s uplands and cultivate the next generation of conservationists and hunters. Click here for more information and aerial footage of Bobwhite Hills WMA.

About Quail Forever
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever make up the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. This community of more than 400,000 members, supporters and partners is dedicated to the protection of our uplands through habitat improvement, public access, education and advocacy. A network of 754 local chapters spread across North America determine how 100 percent of their locally raised funds are spent — the only national conservation organization that operates through this grassroots structure. Since its creation in 1982, the organization has dedicated more than $1 billion to 567,500 habitat projects benefiting 22 million acres.

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