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New Publication Gives Ins, Outs of Quail Habitat Monitoring
Writer: Paul Schattenberg, (210) 467-6575,paschattenberg@ag.tamu.edu
Contact: Jim Cathey, (830) 278-9151,jccathey@tamu.edu
Robert Lyons, (830) 278-9151,rk-lyons@tamu.edu
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UVALDE – Successful wildlife management depends on good habitat management, according to the new publication, "Habitat Monitoring for Quail on Texas Rangelands," by Texas Cooperative Extension wildlife and range specialists.

Dr. Jim Cathey, Extension wildlife specialist at the Texas A&M University System Agricultural Research and Extension Center here and co-author of the publication, said habitat monitoring provides quail managers with data on rangeland potential.

"The goal of this publication is to guide managers beyond just reading the landscape to actually quantifying conditions for producing quail," he said. "The process is similar to taking inventory in a retail business so you know your products and how to fine-tune the operation."

The 18-page publication addresses the why, what, where and when of quail habitat monitoring, and describes the equipment and activities for three different levels of monitoring, he said. The publication contains instructions and data sheets for monitoring.

"The level-one approach is for basic quail habitat monitoring by landowners and managers," Cathey said. "Level-two is for those who want go beyond the basics and gather additional information. Level-three is for operations which have more ‘ambitious' resource managers. People can adopt the practices that best suit their schedules."

The key factors needing to be monitored are vegetation change over time, precipitation, potential nesting sites, vegetation cover, grass stubble heights, and forb and grass diversity, he said.

Dr. Robert Lyons, Extension range specialist and publication co-author, said there is greater emphasis than ever before on wildlife management.

"You can't have good wildlife management without good habitat management," Lyons said. "This publication shows what indicators to look for, plus ways to monitor the management of quail and assess the suitability of the habitat."

With the increasing economic worth of quail hunting, more landowners are becoming interested in how to monitor quail on their property, said Dr. Dale Rollins, Extension wildlife specialist in San Angelo and noted quail expert.

"Texas Cooperative Extension's 'Quail Decline Initiative' received a state appropriation back in 2002 to help reverse the decline that the state's quail populations have suffered over the past 30 years," Rollins said. "This publication helps toward that end by helping foster a better understanding of how to manage quail habitats."

Involving landowners in managing habitat is vital to any sustained effort to increase the number of quail in the state, he added.

The publication costs $7 and may be ordered through http://tcebookstore.org , using reference number B-6172. The cost is $5 each for quantities of 25 or more.

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