If you have ever heard a cheerful “Bobwhite” call coming from a field or fencerow, chances are you would like to hear it again. There are a variety of ways to invite Bobwhite to your farm. 

Why Quail?
Most people that are interested in bringing quail to their farms have some sort of historical tie with the land or fond memories of quail hunting in yesteryear, explained Andy Humble, Private Land Conservationist for Christian, Stone and Taney Counties. Avid hunter and outdoorsman, Jeff Roussell, from Christian County recalls that one of his fondest memories was “just being out with a bunch of friends, having a good day in the field and seeing lots of quail.” One reason is the economic benefit for landowners that are approved for cost-share programs.

Getting Started
Cost-share programs are available for landowners that are interested in quail conservation. These programs are offered through the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and other foundations such as Quail Forever. If you are serious about participating in cost-share programs, you are required to contact the MDC and apply to the program to be accepted prior to starting work. MDC provides onsite assistance to help landowners create prime quail habitat. Areas will be evaluated to see what exists and what improvements can be made. Landowners accepted into the program will spend the money up front to create their quail habitat and once they are finished, they will be reimbursed for 50 to 75 percent of the costs.

Forget the Fescue
One of the best things you can do to create and improve quail habitat, whether you participate in a cost-share program or not, is to get rid of fescue grass; it’s too dense for quail. Andy suggests replacing fescue with native grasses, such as Little Bluestem, Big Bluestem, Indian Grass and Sideoats Grama.

The Big Three
There are three things that must be included in a quail habitat in order for them to thrive:
1.    Shrubby cover to escape predators.
2.    Feeding areas that provide insect and seed snacks.
3.    Brood rearing areas to raise young (These areas should be open enough for quail chicks to get around, but should also include some cover for protection.)

If You Build It. . .
After you have created your quail habitat, it can take up to a year to see results. It depends on the area and results vary. Something to keep in mind is that controlled burning can help improve quail habitat, as can being conscientious of how you mow and brush hog, says Carl Huffman, a quail enthusiast from Greene County. There will normally be one covey per 40 acres, but again, results can vary. Creating quail habitat on the farm takes work and dedication, but knowing that you are contributing to quail conservation for the generations to come makes it worthwhile.


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