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Habitat- Help for the Bobwhite

Habitat- Help for the Bobwhite

Habitat- Help for the Bobwhite

STORY BY Chad Love
PHOTOGRAPHY BY John Doty

Habitat- Help for the Bobwhite

STORY BY Chad Love
PHOTOGRAPHY BY John Doty

Habitat- Help for the Bobwhite

STORY BY Chad Love
PHOTOGRAPHY BY John Doty
‘‘

It wasn’t a classic quail-hunting scene, unless you consider a clueless, dogless, 14-year-old kid stomping his way through an overgrown shelterbelt classic, but that bird will stay with me forever. I hardly remember the covey rise, it happened so quickly, and I don’t remember the shot at all. But for some reason the image of holding that handsome cock bird in my hand has remained with me all these years.

It wasn’t my first quail, but it was the first quail I had ever shot on that place, an old half-section farm just outside the city where I grew up. The farm had long since seen its last harvest, and like so many others, it soon would be planted in a new crop: neatly laid-out subdivisions of single-family homes. But until then, it was mine to roam, and roam I did, spending one glorious fall tramping its hedgerows, its fallow, weed-choked fields and its unkempt fence line, chasing rabbits and quail, always the quail.

And then it was gone, and so were the quail. I still sometimes ride by the ghost of that old farm when I visit my hometown. I drive through the neighborhoods and try to imagine where, exactly, I shot that long-ago quail. I haven’t yet found it.

When I think back on that scene, what strikes me now is not just the moment itself, but also the setting and the circumstances that made the moment possible. Environmental and social conditions at that time allowed quail to flourish with little effort, management or guidance from the hand of Man. Quail were seemingly always there, had always been there and would always be there. But that was then, and this is now. Things have, to put it mildly, changed.

The bobwhite quail is in trouble, and what worked in the past does not work the way it used to. Gentleman Bob faces management requirements that are vastly different from those of yesteryear. Overcoming these challenges requires a new…

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Habitat- Help for the Bobwhite

It wasn’t a classic quail-hunting scene, unless you consider a clueless, dogless, 14-year-old kid stomping his way through an overgrown shelterbelt classic, but that bird will stay with me forever. I hardly remember the covey rise, it happened so quickly, and I don’t remember the shot at all. But for some reason the image of holding that handsome cock bird in my hand has remained with me all these years.

It wasn’t my first quail, but it was the first quail I had ever shot on that place, an old half-section farm just outside the city where I grew up. The farm had long since seen its last harvest, and like so many others, it soon would be planted in a new crop: neatly laid-out subdivisions of single-family homes. But until then, it was mine to roam, and roam I did, spending one glorious fall tramping its hedgerows, its fallow, weed-choked fields and its unkempt fence line, chasing rabbits and quail, always the quail.

And then it was gone, and so were the quail. I still sometimes ride by the ghost of that old farm when I visit my hometown. I drive through the neighborhoods and try to imagine where, exactly, I shot that long-ago quail. I haven’t yet found it.

When I think back on that scene, what strikes me now is not just the moment itself, but also the setting and the circumstances that made the moment possible. Environmental and social conditions at that time allowed quail to flourish with little effort, management or guidance from the hand of Man. Quail were seemingly always there, had always been there and would always be there. But that was then, and this is now. Things have, to put it mildly, changed.

The bobwhite quail is in trouble, and what worked in the past does not work the way it used to. Gentleman Bob faces management requirements that are vastly different from those of yesteryear. Overcoming these challenges requires a new…

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