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Small Game Management in Georgia

Summary of Primary Quail Management Recommendations

  • Prior to implementing management practices:  determine specific harvest and habitat management objectives.
  • Use combinations of winter disking, planting, burning or herbicides to establish and maintain fallow fields, field borders, hedgerows, field corners, ditch banks, wetland borders, forest openings, widened roadsides, thinned pine stands and other habitats in a mixture of erect weeds, cultivated plantings, clumped native grasses and briars.
  • Convert portions of exotic grass pastures and fields to native warm season grasses and implement rotational haying or grazing.
  • Within its original range, favor longleaf pine over other pine species.
  • Use wide seedling spacing, such as 8 feet by 10 feet or 8 feet by 12 feet when regenerating pine stands.
  • Thin pine stands regularly to maintain 40-60 percent of the ground in direct sunlight.
  • Prescribe burn so that 50-70 percent of the area is burned yearly.
  • Manage forest stands on long rotations.
  • Establish 15-40 percent of forest stands in openings that are 2-5 acres in size.
  • Maintain openings as fallow fields with combinations of winter disking, planting, burning and herbicides.
  • Do not disk, mow or otherwise disturb field borders, openings or other fallow habitats during the April through October nesting and brood rearing season.

More quail can be produced through management, but the old saying, "you can't get something for nothing" is all too true. Effort and money are required. The amount required is based on the habitat development needed and the density of quail desired. Where maximum quail production is the objective both direct costs and opportunity costs can be great. However, huntable populations can be sustained at reasonable costs to the landowner provided that there is enough appropriately located land with suitable soils and vegetative cover.

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