The new North Georgia Chapter of Quail Forever will hold its first public meeting Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. at SpringBank Plantation, 301 Hall Station Road, Kingston.
The chapter, which is the ninth of its kind in the state, was formed earlier this year in order to help preserve Georgia’s declining Bobwhite Quail population. According to the Georgia DNR’s website, the early 20th century saw a boom in the statewide quail population, but due to development and related factors, the numbers have declined by over 85 percent. Quail Forever, a division of national organization Pheasants Forever, works to reverse this trend in a variety of ways.
“Quail Forever is dedicated to the conservation of Quail, Pheasants and other wildlife through habitat improvement, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs," said Regional Representative Talbott Parten via email. “Our focus in Georgia is to support increased management for quail and native habitat on key public lands in Georgia and to [involve] youths in the outdoors, shooting and gun safety.
“QF has a unique model; local chapters maintain 100 percent control over all locally raised funds,” Parten continued. “This way, they are able to support quail management in GA and youth hunting and shooting in their local communities. We have partnered with [the DNR], [Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission], and Tall Timbers research station to form the FL/GA Quail Coalition to better manage quail on public lands and involve you [in] the outdoors.”
North Georgia Chapter President Lyle McClure — who is also plantation manager at SpringBank — said he is currently unsure how many people will show up to the meeting, but said any outdoors and hunting enthusiasts may be interested in attending.
“The word’s went out to a lot of folks,” he explained. “We don’t really have a number [of people] that we’re expecting. We’ve had a lot of people contact us about it. ... From a hunting standpoint, it’s a great opportunity for folks to get out and give back to the conservation of quail right along with ... the camaraderie of what we do. ... It’s going to be a great group of folks that are kind of like-minded in what we do, so it should be great time.”
Parten said anyone should attend who has a “desire to see more quail, wild flowers, native songbirds and plants. Anyone who loves the outdoors, conservation, hunting and shooting should join.”
Quail season will kick off at SpringBank Plantation and other designated private grounds during the first weekend in October. Part of Barnsley Gardens, the 1,800-acre SpringBank site offers hunting and clay shooting. The quail hunting season begins statewide Nov. 14.
According to http://www.quailforever.org/, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 140,000 members and 700 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Quail Forever is described as “a diverse group of hunters, farmers, ranchers, landowners, conservation enthusiasts, and wildlife officials. The common thread is all [of them] want to make a difference for wildlife by conserving or creating habitat.”