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Is It Time For A Federal Quail Stamp?

Is it time for a "quail stamp?"

If you are – as I am – a waterfowler as well as a quail hunter, you know how important the federal duck stamp program has been to waterfowl production and habitat conservation since its inception in 1934.  Our system of national wildlife refuges funded by our duck stamp purchases is unique in the world as a shining example of theNorth American Model of Wildlife Conservation and is something we as hunters should justifiably be proud of.

But here’s a question I’ve been kicking around in my head for a while now: would it be possible to emulate the structure and the success of the duck stamp program, but with upland gamebirds as the target species? And if it were possible, would now be the time to do it?

I think the parallels between the basic problems facing ducks at the turn of the century and upland birds now are obvious: precipitous declines in populations brought on by a steep and ever-accelerating loss of habitat.

Of course, there are also some fundamental differences, too. Ducks and geese are migratory and therefore require a certain level of federal involvement, whereas most upland species are not. For lack of a better term (and for better or worse) upland birds like quail are “states’ rights” birds.

And to what uses or goals would those funds be applied and allocated? National wildlife refuges focused on upland habitat? Research? Education? And more importantly, what species?

Admittedly, there are a host of technical and ecological roadblocks to implementing a federal upland bird recovery program. Daunting, to be sure, but not insurmountable. And with the looming threat of federal involvement in the management of several threatened upland bird species, anyway, perhaps it’s time to look forward by taking a look back into history.

What do you think? Would you be in favor of a federal upland bird stamp structured like the duck stamp program? I’d buy a federal quail stamp, how about you?

Chad Love writes for Quail Forever (Pheasants Forever’s quail conservation division) from Woodward, Oklahoma. He is a lifelong quail hunter and “bird dog guy” who also writes for Field & Stream, including the magazine’s “Man’s Best Friend” gundog blog.

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2 Responses to “Is It Time For A Federal Quail Stamp?”

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  1. Jared Edwards says:

    I think its a great idea. Funding should be spread in order of importance. 1) Allocation should center around public hunting areas where the most impact would be the easiest — waning habitat that is near existing good habitat (would also result in high neighboring hunter support). 2) Next most important would be landowner education programs to encourage conservation easements where quial can survive year around. The current trend of park-like pastureland and weed-eating every fence row is eliminating upland habitat due to landowner neglegence. 3) The CRP program is in trouble and a partnership with DU would be easy and provide great bang-for-you-buck. Upland enthusiasts can encourage the use of native seeds on CRP lands to promote native upland game birds. Currently DU only cares about duck nesting cover, not seed production. Many current CRP fields are virtual quail deserts due to neglegent grass selection. Why? Because it’s more expensive to stockpile a variety of seeds for planting… funding would go a long way on this one for sure! There should be a native seed program stocked to provide available resources to plant CRP with good cover and seed baring CRP fields. This would allow money for improving native upland habitat to landowners through an already existing and successful program. ***Most important – all funding should focus on native species. This will improve the habitat for all upland species while getting more endagered species focued people on board. Bobwhites, Prairie Chickens, Blue Quail, ($ focued on historical data next to existing good populations so that the habitat will spread like wildfire instead of popcorn).

  2. Tim R says:

    I agree, altought I live and from Nebraska where I do my hunting. My wife is from Louisiana and I try to do some quail hunting down there when we vist her family. But it seems everything is a pay here hunt place, not very good public hunting.

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