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26
Illinois is Home to Quail Forever’s Second Chapter

Chapter forms within an hour’s drive from country’s first QF chapter in St. Louis

St. Paul, Minn. – August 25, 2005 – Nearly two dozen quail enthusiasts gathered in Bunker Hill, Illinois last night to form the country’s second chapter of Quail Forever (QF). The chapter will be known as the Macoupin County Quail Forever Chapter. The country’s first QF chapter was formed on August 13th in St. Louis, Missouri, which is less than an hour’s drive from Macoupin County, Illinois.



“I’ve been hunting quail in Illinois since the 1950’s and I’ve seen the populations plummet with every fence row removed here,” explained Ron Hamp, a Shipman, Illinois resident and the chapter’s president. “Every time a fence row is taken out, a quail covey disappears.”



Hamp said the chapter will hold an annual banquet this spring to raise funds for conservation education and habitat projects within Macoupin County. “We’re excited to put the Quail Forever model to work,” added Hamp. QF’s unique model allows its chapters to decide locally how to spend 100% of the net funds they raise for habitat and education activities.



Hamp discussed a chapter focus on four fronts. First, he identified nesting cover as the number one limiting factor for quail in southern Illinois and the chapter plans to work with farmers and landowners to complete nesting cover projects. Second, they identify the conversion of fescue grasses to native grasses and forbs as an important step to bringing back the birds. Third, they plan to focus on the Conservation Reserve Program’s CP-33 component known as the “bobwhite buffers initiative.” And, fourth, they plan to engage area youth in quail hunting and conservation through mentor hunt events and sponsorship of area hunter’s safety courses.



The CP-33 is of special interest to QF, especially in Illinois. Last summer, the CP-33 component was created to provide a tool for establishing edge habitat areas critical to quail. The program was budgeted at 250,000 acres nationwide. Illinois was targeted with 20,000 of those acres. Within two months of CP-33’s launch, Illinois’ 20,000 acres were completely enrolled. To date, Illinois is the only state to reach full enrollment. As a result, there is growing demand in Illinois for additional CP-33 acres.



“CP-33 is definitely a key component to successfully recovering quail populations in Illinois,” said Tom Schwartz, QF’s director of conservation for Illinois. “Enrolling our 20,000 acres in only two months certainly speaks to that. I think we are also seeing how passionate people in this part of the country are about quail. Our first two chapters are literally within 40 miles of each other. Illinois and Missouri are two states deep in the tradition of quail hunting. These people care about the resource and are stepping up in a big way to bring the quail back.”



To learn more about starting a Quail Forever chapter in your area, please contact the Quail Forever national office toll free at (866)457-8245 or contact Jim Wooley at (641)774-2238 or via email at jwooley@quailforever.org. To learn more about the Macoupin County QF Chapter, contact Ron Hamp at (618)836-5439 or via email at rhamp@frontiernet.net .

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