Quail season opens Saturday in Decatur County

Published 12:09 am Saturday, November 16, 2013

Quail season for Southwest Georgia opens Saturday, Nov. 16 and will extend through Feb. 28, 2014.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is reporting the forecast for the season is well above average across landscapes with quality habitat.
Quail hunting plantation owners and operators in Decatur County are saying that forecast is accurate, as they have heard chatter of more birds this year in the area.
Tim Smith, owner of Southwind Plantation said his quail-hunting lodge has been open for quail since Oct. 15 because the land is part of a reserve. He said what hunting has been done so far could be a good indication of what is to come for the rest of the season.
“The weather has been wonderful and we are having record November sales and we are excited about what everyone is saying is going to be the coldest winter in 20 years,” Smith said. “With all of the rainfall over the summer, the woods are just gorgeous. Everybody that I have talked to around here said there has been a lot of wild bird hatch. I have seen a lot more wild birds around, and talked to friends around, who said they have seen more birds this year than in years.”
Woody Warr who owns Brentwood Plantation in the county, similarly said he expects a record amount of birds from the wet summer.
“Anytime you have a wet summer, that usually leads to higher concentration of quail than dry summers,” Warr said. “Everyone we know that is managing quail and plantations in Thomasville and Tallahassee — everybody is having a great catch on quail so far this year.”
Private Lands Program Manager Reggie Thackston spoke with the Georgia DNR Thursday in a live chat session to tell Georgia quail hunters more about managing land for quail. He spoke about what variables affect their decline and the forecast for this season.
“They are at the bottom of the food chain and everyone likes to eat them, including me. But predation is a factor and that is what drives the mortality in Bob White populations,” Thackston said about animals such as coyotes.
But Thackston reassured that the state has a restoration plan in place and they have had one since 1999. Bob White quail, he said, are in decline because of the lack of specialized habitat available to them.

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