April Sneak Peek
Rabbit Hunters Need To Embrace Quail Restoration
by Paul E. Moore
There is currently a big push for bobwhite quail restoration going on across much of the country. State wildlife agencies, various organizations, companies, and individuals are leading a charge to turn the tide on the decline of one of America’s most treasured game birds and a generations-old tradition of quail hunting. Many rabbit hunters are disconnected from this movement and others are indifferent, but everyone who loves to hear the hound music of a good race needs to jump on the quail restoration bandwagon and ride it wholeheartedly.
There could be many reasons put forth for this including helping fellow hunters, supporting hunting traditions, and being good stewards of our lands and game populations. But the selfish reason, for lack of a better term, rabbit hunters should support and push for quail restoration is a simple one. It is all about habitat. Quail restoration is virtually 100 percent reliant upon habitat restoration and every gain in habitat acquisition and improvement will directly boost rabbit numbers.
Both bobwhite quail and eastern cottontail rabbits have been on the decline over the past few decades in most areas of the country. Some people claim it is because of the increase in predators ranging from the influx of coyotes east of the Mississippi River to bobcats, feral cats, and birds of prey. Certainly these play a factor, but the underlying main cause is loss of suitable habitat.
John Morgan is the Small Game Coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR). He said, “Rabbits and bobwhite have declined over the last several decades due to widespread habitat loss. Clean, expansive farming, development, and managing for appearance have negatively impacted both populations.”
For the remainder of this article, check out our April issue!