Proceeds from a Jan. 24 banquet to be held by the newly formed Uwharrie Conservation Society will be dedicated to bobwhite quail habitat restoration efforts. The society formerly was known as the Uwharrie Quail Unlimited chapter.

The banquet will be held at Snyder's Farm Restaurant at 6 p.m. near Randleman and will feature a 6 p.m. social hour, 7 p.m. seafood buffet, raffles, silent and regular auctions, during which attendees can bid on quail hunts, outdoor artwork, Seagrove pottery, Klaussner's furniture, and other outdoor gear and accessories. There also will be door prizes for men, women and children.

"One hundred percent of the proceeds of this banquet will be given to the N.C. Wildlife Habitat Foundation's Quail Endowment Fund," said Eddie Bridges of Greensboro, director of the North Carolina Wildlife Habitat Foundation. "These funds, plus other fundraisers, we hope will be able to raise $100,000 for the quail fund before (NCWHF's) Extravaganza in March."

The fact is that bobwhite quail are in trouble in North Carolina, and have been for a long time. It's been decades since a boy could get off his school bus, grab his dad's shotgun, unleash his pointer or setter, walk a "round" near his home and come back at sunset with a jacket full of plump quail.

The state's wildlife commission has tried to be proactive. It activated a CURE (Cooperative Upland Habitat Restoration and Enhancement) program in 2000 designed to marry public and private properties (mostly game lands and large adjoining farms) so the agency's biologists can attack the lack of quail on a "landscape" scale.

But results have been problematic, given the expenditures.

However, private moves are afoot to aim restoration efforts at individual farms and land holdings in the hope quail will become established and spread to adjoining properties.

Several Tar Heel Quail Unlimited chapters have joined the NCWHF to make a joint effort at improving quail conservation.

The NCWHF's Quail Habitat Fund will return to donors their contributions in order to improve habitat on their own land for quail and supply technical advice as to how to manage property for small game.

"It will benefit not only quail but other small game like rabbits, song birds and other wild birds," Bridges said.

Adding field-edge cover also provides food and cover for wild turkeys.

Bridges said with $100,000 in start-up funds coming from this banquet and other functions he would ask the NCWHF to transfer $25,000 from its general fund to the Quail Habitat Fund,

Snyder's Farm Restaurant is located on Beckerdite Road two miles south of N.C. 311 just west of Randleman.

Tickets are $35 per adult and $15 for children younger than 12 years old. Organizers are asking for pre-event ticket purchases. Contact Julian Butler (336.676.8753) or Darius Luck (336.302.1198), and make checks payable to NCWHF.

Attendees who plan to bid on auction items should remember to give their name, address and phone number when arranging to purchase tickets.