Small game hunters long for the day when the occasional covey of wild quail will be a part of their mixed bag of feathers and fur. Tall Timbers is a leader in quail research and they have come to South Carolina to steward land managers about how best to reach their goals of returning bobwhite quail to the landscape.

The 2010 South Carolina Quail Project field day was held November 5 in Williamsburg County. Jerald Sholar of Andrews is the S.C. Project Coordinator and he welcomed more than two hundred quail enthusiasts to the field day. Working closely with plantation manager Craig McFadden, Sholar led several discussions in the field so that land managers could see, touch and get a feel for what working quail habitat should be like.

"It's great to be here in South Carolina, where we see that quail restoration efforts similar to those throughout the Southeast, are being successfully implemented," said Dr. Bill Palmer who is the Director of the Tall Timbers Game Bird Program. The Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy is based in Tallahasee, Florida but has done extensive work in Alabama and Georgia and is now turning its attention to the quail hunting heritage in South Carolina.

"This property has disproved the theory that lands in South Carolina cannot sustain huntable populations of wild bobwhites," said Jerald Sholar. "Tall Timbers has both short-term and long-term formulas for bobwhite recovery management practices like control of invasive hardwoods and the creation of brood habitat." One message that hit home with land managers during the field day was that large blocks of brood habitat are necessary for quail cover.

While Williamsburg County has remained a stronghold for wild quail, the management techniques applied here have been duplicated with success in Georgetown, Hampton, Colleton and Jasper Counties. Land managers from the Midlands have also had some remnants of wild quail populations, and the S.C. Quail Project looks to work with anyone that wants to join in the restoration of quail habitat. Sholar can be reached at 229-343-4304.

Prescribed fire seems to be one of the main keys in successful quail habitat management. "Frequent fire is as natural, and as important to healthy upland ecosytems as sunshine, rain and wind, so we are mimicking a natural process," said Lane Green, Executive Director of Tall Timbers. Green and other staff members made the trip to South Carolina to support Sholar and the renewed interest of quail management in the Palmetto State. For more information on the organization that recently celebrated its 50th anniversary visit www.TallTimbers.org.

To view more photos from the field day or too leave a comment visit the Events and Announcements forum on SouthCarolinaSportsman.com here.