Quail management meeting for Babcock-Webb WMA
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Media contact: Gary Morse, 863-648-3200
Quail management for the Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area
(WMA) in Charlotte County is the topic of a public meeting on Oct.
5, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Charlotte County Extension Service
office, 25550 Harbor View Road, Port Charlotte (941-764-4352).
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) staff
will discuss tentative plans to improve quail populations on
Babcock-Webb by integrating habitat and harvest management
practices across the entire 65,758-acre WMA.
"Recent research on Babcock-Webb WMA suggests that modifications
to harvest and habitat management are needed to increase the
population of quail," said the FWC's small-game project leader,
McKelvy said the research also points at limiting quail harvest
- up to approximately 15 percent of the pre-hunt, fall population -
to sustain or allow the population to grow. The new recommendation
would reduce harvest but continue to allow hunting. The FWC's
objective is to increase quail numbers while maintaining the
heritage of quail hunting on Babcock-Webb WMA.
Also on the meeting agenda is an introduction to a new quail
research project on Babcock-Webb WMA that will focus on burn unit
size, comparing larger versus smaller prescribed burn areas and the
effects of the burn unit size on survival and reproduction of
quail. The research project, scheduled to start in January 2012,
will be led by Bill Palmer of Tall Timbers Research Station and
Land Conservancy. The project will help provide direction for the
future of quail management on Babcock-Webb WMA.
The Tall Timbers research project is particularly important
because prescribed fire is an important tool used by wildlife
managers to benefit quail populations. Regular prescribed fire
helps produce quality quail habitat by creating a diverse plant
community that is dominated by a wide variety of low-growing,
seed-producing plants and grasses. This plant structure and
composition provides the essential elements for year-round food and
cover for both escape and nesting.
The FWC encourages anyone interested in quail management on
Babcock-Webb WMA to attend this meeting. Those unable to attend the
meeting may provide comments to Chuck McKelvy at firstname.lastname@example.org.