The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will join a host of other entities to present the seminar "Quail Restoration in North Texas: An Active Approach," from 9:30 a.m. until noon on Jan. 4 in the Dallas Convention Center.
The seminar is part of the Dallas Safari Club's annual convention.
"It's no surprise to anyone who spends much time outdoors to learn that wild bobwhite quail numbers are at an all-time low across most of Texas," says Dr. Dale Rollins, AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist at San Angelo. "The demise of the iconic bobwhite from much of its historic range across North and West Texas is frustrating to all concerned. Habitat loss or land fragmentation is easy to blame east of I-35, but that argument doesn't hold up over much of the Rolling Plains.
"No one else can say for certain what's caused the precipitous decline in quail numbers," he adds. "I can list 20 or more hypotheses, and they all have some credibility, but none holds up across the board in my opinion. A combination of poor weather, namely record drought and heat, along with increasing numbers of feral hogs, fire ants, and other predators are having some effect.
"The Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch is midway through a three-year effort to assess diseases and parasites. All we can say right now is that millions of acres of apparently suitable habitat have few if any, quail on them, hence the desire to try some active restoration approaches."
Rollins says that while good habitat is important, the seminar will focus on identifying active approaches to restoring quail populations.
"Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Bill Palmer from the Tall Timbers Research Station in Tallahassee, Florida," Rollins says. "The efforts there have restored not only quail, but also renewed hope among quail hunters and plantation owners in northern Florida and southern Georgia."
Rollins and many other wildlife experts also will speak. Two continuing education units from the Texas Department of Agriculture can be earned for those with a private applicator's license.
There is no charge for the seminar, itself, but Rollins says participants likely will want to attend the Dallas Safari Club convention, too, which is $20 per person. Last year's convention drew about 30,000 hunters and featured more than 1,000 exhibits. This year's event will feature a special section called Wingshooters' Wolrd.
For more information, contact Fred Burrell, AgriLife Extension agent in Dallas County at 214-904-3050, or by Email to firstname.lastname@example.org or Rollins at 325-653-4576, or Email to email@example.com.