Providing a welcoming habitat for quail and other upland game birds can benefit soil health and your bottom line (originally published in Noble Rancher).
The first sharp, upward trill of a bobwhite quail in southern Oklahoma marks the sure sign of a new season. It’s a signal that marks time and fond memories for Noble Research Institute Ag Consultant Will Moseley.
“That classic bobwhite call is such a special part of springtime in the country,” Moseley says. “Most people enjoy seeing and hearing these birds, and hunting them is an important part of our social and cultural history and heritage in America.”
Bobwhite and other quail, along with varieties of wild turkey, pheasants, dove, grouse and more, are considered upland game birds, depending on classifications by state fish and game commissions. Often, their prime habitat is found on private ranch land.
“If you see those species on the landscape, you know you’re probably doing a good job of managing for healthy ecosystems and healthy soil,” Moseley says.
The game birds may also add an economic value to your ranch. In southern Oklahoma and Texas, “It’s not unheard of to get $10-$20 per acre per year for a recreational lease,” he says. Lease rates vary depending on the location and targeted species, but still, “that’s a lot of money sitting on the landscape.”
Here are Moseley’s tips to capture these social, ecological and financial benefits of managing for upland game birds on your regenerative ranch.