Bobwhite Quail In Decline?
Northern bobwhites hold a special place in Georgia’s outdoor culture and wildlife heritage. In fact, Georgia has been known as a premiere quail-hunting destination for over 100 years and the Georgia General Assembly designated the bobwhite as the State Gamebird in 1970. Back in the quail boom years of the early 20th century, Georgia's landscape was a "sea" of usable habitat for quail due to extensive low intensity farming and forestry with little urban/suburban development. However, Georgia’s quail population has declined by more than 85% since the 1960’s and consequently the number of quail hunters has declined by over 80%. This drastic decline is due primarily to the loss of quality early successional habitat (i.e. native grasses, legumes, weeds, briars, bugs and shrubs). Restoring this habitat type across Georgia’s landscape benefits quail, numerous songbirds, rabbits, wild turkey, deer and many other wildlife species, improves water quality, reduces soil erosion, and can enhance local economies by stimulating quail hunting and wildlife viewing.
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