Quail opportunity in South GA

Thread starter #1
Hello,

I have a Boykin Spaniel x Munsterlander mix who I am thinking about training to do alittle bird hunting. He is a natural retriever, very well behaved, and has a giant love for birds.. Have a son that is only about a month old and I think this would be a good hobby for us when he gets older and a good excuse to take some yearly hunting trips.

We would be after more than just quail but I was just wondering what the opportunities for quail in South Ga are. I know they are here but it seems like you have to pay to go hunt a plantation or get drawn for a quota hunt. Most hunting clubs seem to focus more on deer and turkey. Just curious if there are more public land opportunities or hunting clubs around geared more towards birds.

Thanks in advance,
C.J.
 
Most of these guys on here know more than I do but my first thought is to find someone who has a pointer or pointers and yall become good friends. The pointer will do the pointing and your dog will do the retrieving post shot. The problem in South Georgia is besides the plantations not many people do the controlled burns like they used to in the past so I feel like the numbers just aren't there to hunt wild birds. You and this new friend can split the cost and buy birds of course just like most of the plantations do. Finding good land conducive to bird hunting may be a problem as well unless you have your own.
 

spring

Senior Member
Lots of wild birds in South Georgia but the vast majority are on private lands that actively manage for Gent'man Bob. Such management generally requires disregarding the best economic use of that land, and in areas with the most birds, you'll find a substantial year-round financial commitment. As a result, opening their private lands to the general public just isn't a common occurrence.
That said, the State does have a couple of spots in South Georgia where quail management is a focus and public hunting is offered. The number of birds is modest, but they are there.
 

GLS

Classic Southern Gentleman
As for the private lands, look at Google Earth with Thomasville, GA, Iamonia, and Tallahassee, Florida on the same viewing screen. Note the lack of production farming in the area between the towns. It's about 20 x 30 miles. You'll see numerous small food patches. Zoom in and note that the entire region is checker-boarded ("blocked") under the pines and in the brown fields, usually 30 x 30 yards or slightly more. This facilitates hunter movement allowing a gun in each lane surrounding the uncut vegetation with the dog handler going into the uncut vegetation to flush the pointed birds. It also allows food trails to be established to spread sterile milo year round without concentrating birds for easy pickens' for predators, airborne or four legged. These folks are serious about wild quail and money is no object. Gil
 
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trad bow

Senior Member
Already burning here in middle Georgia. Good thing is it’s before the quail nesting season but it’s at the start of turkey nesting season. And when do the resident woodcock nest? Waterfowl nest are affected as I came across several nest on WMA that got burnt. Why not start the burning at the end of year or first of January. Is it the biologist determining when the burning starts once the available seed/food supply is depleted? I don’t know just wondering.
 

spring

Senior Member
One of the objectives of burning is to control hardwoods. Burning kills the scrub oaks after the sap begins running, which is usually late March. Cool weather burns work well on younger pine plantation stands where you're trying not to kill slash or loblolly pines. For low basil area tracts managed for quail, late March and April burns, typically before it greens up too much to be effective, work best.
 

Mark K

Senior Member
Ours generally start as soon as quail season ends. The only good news is areas are alternated. Whats burned is left surrounded by blocks of cover. It’s done way prior to any quail nesting but does take the occasional turkey nest out. But, the turkeys will renest. Been done this way on this particular property for 15 years and it still has the turkeys. The burns attract them with Plenty of food left on the ground and the new growth attracts them even more. Most areas around here are managed for the quail, but the deer and turkey thrive.
 

spring

Senior Member
We used to begin burning somewhere around the second week in March, but the scrub oak kill didn't turn out nearly as well as when we waited about another 2 weeks. Frustrating to see scrub oaks budding out after a burn. Many of our area plantations burn in April and you can get an incredible oak kill then. Problem is, you're running the risk of it greening up too much by then, or getting into a lot of spring rains, either of which can make a good burn a lot harder to get.
Ichauway burns all spring and typically into June. Their research, which follows the Tall Timbers findings, shows a lot of benefit to summer burns, but few other places follow that practice.
 

Mark K

Senior Member
Most plantations here are afraid of destroying quail nest if they wait to late. Same with blocking in the Fall...never before October. But then again, most have their land the way they want it and just burn to maintain. Different sections are burned at different times just for that reason. The wiregrass areas are generally burned later to keep them standing taller longer. Then again the burn itself can be used to control unwanted species of trees and vegetation.
The beauty of quail is it’s possible to get multiple successful hatches throughout the year. I’ve seen almost full grown coveys and coveys that could barely fly the first week of September.
 

coveyrise

Senior Member
Do not be afraid to use fire in May if your object is to kill hardwood incroachment. I did more in one day with a hot fire than I could have done in weeks with Thousands of dollars worth of Garlon. Have the best stand of native grasses now also. Late burning incourages native grasses. Lot more good than bad. Quail renested and we are having a great year.
 

coveyrise

Senior Member
And in about a month you’ll see nothing but smoke plumes from the burnings that take place every year.
Just once in your life you should go up in a small plane when all the burning starts in early March. It is a unbelievable site to see all the plumes from a plane. Very neat when you can see them all from one vantage point.
 

Mark K

Senior Member
I know planes fly over all the time when burning...we’re down there laughing saying them guys are looking and saying that is not 75ac their permit is for!

I bet seeing it from the air is a sight to see though. I really look forward to burn season. Coyotes show up and sheds are real easy to find.
 

coveyrise

Senior Member
I know planes fly over all the time when burning...we’re down there laughing saying them guys are looking and saying that is not 75ac their permit is for!

I bet seeing it from the air is a sight to see though. I really look forward to burn season. Coyotes show up and sheds are real easy to find.
I am worried that we are going to get cut off early this year because of smoke if everyone starts burning those piles from the storm at the same time. This year could get ugly with all the fuel load on the ground. This could be 10 times worse than the bug out fire in the swamp years ago.
 

twtabb

Senior Member
What was that look Remy gave you after your shot. I can tell y’all have been together a while. My woods looked like that before the hurricane. Now it looks like a big game of pick up sticks.
 
Do not be afraid to use fire in May if your object is to kill hardwood incroachment. I did more in one day with a hot fire than I could have done in weeks with Thousands of dollars worth of Garlon. Have the best stand of native grasses now also. Late burning incourages native grasses. Lot more good than bad. Quail renested and we are having a great year.
Man knows what he speaks of. Burn in May one year, two years later burn the same stand in early March. Diversity in timing promotes diversity of herbaceous plants.
 
I think the OP was looking for public land to hunt. I hunt South Georgia plantations, and it is not cheap, public land, short of a WMA, for quail hunting is hard to find. My Advice would be to do some traveling and talking to folks on the back country roads. Ask enough and you can find some places to hunt.
 
Good advice KyDawg. I will add you can’t find birds or kill them sitting at the house. Got my pup loaded up and headed to a local WMA. Just gonna finish this last cup of java
 
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