South Texas, long a prime bobwhite quail hunting destination, recently was designated the nation’s first “Legacy Landscape for Northern Bobwhite Conservation.”
The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative and its technical body, the National Bobwhite Technical Committee, announced the designation during the annual meeting of the nation’s bobwhite experts. Dr. Leonard Brennan, with the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, accepted on behalf of the legion of “dedicated, responsible landowners, resource managers, researchers, and quail hunters” who earned the designation, according to a news release.
Clayton Wolf, wildlife division director with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, also lauded the efforts of numerous people and entities.
“Texas Parks and Wildlife Department congratulates all the landowners, land managers and hunters of South Texas for receiving this prestigious designation recognizing their efforts to conserve this iconic game bird. TPWD, universities, conservation organizations and other agencies have a long history of working with private landowners and hunters in South Texas to address the conservation, research, and management needs of the northern bobwhite,” said Wolf, in the release. “Through these efforts, decisions on the best management approaches have resulted in bobwhite populations that continue to thrive even in the face of near record drought over the last several years.
“The support that TPWD provides in this partnership, and much of the support from others, would not be possible without the contributions of hunters, and specifically quail hunters that purchase Upland Game Bird Stamps. Above all, the persistence and abundance of the bobwhite on the landscape in South Texas result from a land stewardship ethic that is clearly the foundation for the success of this species and many others.”
Primary criteria for the designation include an extensive area of ecologically “contiguous” habitat that has for decades supported high densities of wild northern bobwhites, a long-term tradition of purposefully implementing or maintaining land use practices that support bobwhite habitat conservation, and landowners, hunters and other stakeholders who have demonstrated strong support for quail hunting, management and/or quail research over multiple decades.
Headquartered at the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture, the Initiative is an effort of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee to elevate bobwhite quail recovery from an individual state-by-state proposition to a coordinated leadership endeavor. The committee includes representatives of 25 state wildlife agencies, various academic research institutions and private conservation organizations.