Quail Hunting Season Underway

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

Quail hunting season started Saturday and according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division the forecast for the 2013-2014 season is well above average across the state.

Last week, hunters had a chance to chat live online with Private Lands Program Manager Reggie Thackston.

Thackston outlined some tips for success this quail hunting season and he also talked about the long-term bobwhite decline.

Thackston said the DNR is currently involved in an active program to continue to increase the Bobwhite population back by working with local land owners where quail hunting is most common.

“We’re trying to get property owners to form cooperatives to provide a larger landscape for quail,” Thackston said. “And we have within these focal landscapes we have core bobwhite habitat that exist now and support these huntable bobwhite populations. What we want to do is build on those focal areas.”

Thackston said the plan is very targeted and based on the best science the DNR has.

According to the DNR, the best parts of the state for hunting quail include Georgia’s Upper Coastal Plain in Southwest, South Central and East Central Georgia, which is the primary region of extensive bobwhite habitat and populations.

Thackston said the quail population through efforts by landowners and scientists has increased some 15 percent since 2012.

Georgia’s statewide extends through February 28, 2014 with a daily bag limit of 12 birds per day.

Thackston said there a number of excellent areas in Georgia to hunt quail.

“One of the things I think is really unique for Georgia is that we have about 500,000 acres of wild quail managed private lands,” Thackston said. “These lands are managed very intensively for quail where quail is the objective. And some of these lands have been in existence since before the Civil War and they have kept detailed records of their quail populations.”

In addition to private lands, there are a number of wildlife management areas in the state where quail hunting is allowed.

For a list of quail hunting areas, as the rules and regulations for hunting bobwhite, you can go online to www.gohuntgeorgia.com.