Bird Dog Training Area's

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Eroc33

Senior Member
So what are the bird dog training area's like near you? How is the habitat set up? Is it realistic cover you would encounter hunting wild birds?

I usually go to Joe Kurz and at first glance it looks good, but then when you get close most of the grass is so thick it's hard to see the dog, or train the dog, and my small dog has a hard time getting thru it. So except for one or two areas that are mowed so low you can't plant birds, the only other useable space is the pines. Now the understory is growing up in the pines, and it is getting to thick.

I am probably expecting a lot from a basically free training area, but it has a lot of potential. In my opinion they should have native grasses or row crops. the only other area I have seen was at beaver dam during turkey season, and it looked totally different.

There may native grasses planted at Joe Kurz I don't know, but it needs to be burned, or at the minimum some strips mowed into in my opinion.

Also I want to reach out to someone at the DNR, but I'm not sure who to talk to does anyone have a contact other than Dallas Ingram, I have already mentioned something to her.
 
She is the only one at the DNR I talked to. The closest one to me is Hartwell and it is somewhat like quail habitat, but could be improved. I understand there might not be enough available funds to improve these areas. I think a solution would be if they would allow volunteers to do it. I know bird hunters who would be glad to do the work. I would be more than willing myself. Not only would I like to see the current areas improved. We need those areas on more WMAs..This would, of course, be only on the WMAs that don't have any wild populations. If you find out anything we can do, let me know.
 
I agree with what you guys are saying but be careful someone will come along shortly like always and say that you are just wanting too much for free. And probably recommend that you should just start your own venture on private land. It can def. be discouraging if you have limited resources and rely on being a public land prowler. You have to be willing to continue to reach out and make a difference. Ga. is def. not a bird hunting friendly state if you rely on public land.
 
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Eroc33

Senior Member
She is the only one at the DNR I talked to. The closest one to me is Hartwell and it is somewhat like quail habitat, but could be improved. I understand there might not be enough available funds to improve these areas. I think a solution would be if they would allow volunteers to do it. I know bird hunters who would be glad to do the work. I would be more than willing myself. Not only would I like to see the current areas improved. We need those areas on more WMAs..This would, of course, be only on the WMAs that don't have any wild populations. If you find out anything we can do, let me know.
Yes I agree, and if there are no wild birds in the area they need to be open in the summer for off leash exercise, and training. To me the rules aren't very clear, but Mrs. Ingram said she was working on some clarifications for next years reg book. I would volunteer also, I wonder if we can get the Quail forever chapters involved? I know they don't have money this year because of the lack of banquets, but maybe they have time.


I agree with what you guys are saying but be careful someone will come along shortly like always and say that you are just wanting too much for free. And probably recommend that you should just start your own venture on private land. It can def. be discouraging if you have limited resources and rely on being a public land prowler. You have to be willing to continue to reach out and make a difference. Ga. is def. not a bird hunting friendly state if you rely on public land.
I Know, and I just joined a club (mainly so I have a place to exercise my dog in the summer), but the grounds aren't ready for the season yet due to all of the rain in August. Just because I am in a club doesn't mean the state shouldn't manage their land that we all pay for, so I can use it too. Also I want my dog to experience different habitats for training that are hopefully similar to the habitat he will hunt wild birds in. Joe Kurz has the equipment and money to plant 100+ acres of dove fields, I think they could put a little more effort in the training area.
 
I agree with all this. Beatle Stace is right, somebody will say we need to join a club or go to a preserve. I do all those things, but it doesn't mean we should give up on public land altogether. The steps we have proposed wouldn't cost a lot.
 
I think it is truly strange when you look at other states to plan an out of state trip and often you see an additional bird hunting stamp you have to purchase. Texas is an example. Exremely limited public land options esp. taking into account land size. But they charge this fee at license purchase and put the generated money back into upland bird programs and support on public land. Ga. is similar with a lot of land but a large percentage being privately owned The question is why cant something similar be instituted here ?Most upland and small game hunters would gladly support license increase if they see results being accomplished.I totally understa Money has to be generated somehow why not give hunters a chance to generate Gauging interest could be accomplished by a voluntary survey to be be completed during annual license purchase.
 
I think it is truly strange when you look at other states to plan an out of state trip and often you see an additional bird hunting stamp you have to purchase. Texas is an example. Exremely limited public land options esp. taking into account land size. But they charge this fee at license purchase and put the generated money back into upland bird programs and support on public land. Ga. is similar with a lot of land but a large percentage being privately owned The question is why cant something similar be instituted here ?Most upland and small game hunters would gladly support license increase if they see results being accomplished.I totally understa Money has to be generated somehow why not give hunters a chance to generate Gauging interest could be accomplished by a voluntary survey to be be completed during annual license purchase.

They have for years for migratory birds, and it makes zero difference with waterfowl. There just aren't enough ducks passing through to make any difference, even if every hunter in the state (even though not hunting waterfowl) bought a state waterfowl permit. It wouldn't matter. There are even less quail and quail hunters, and 99.9% of the birds killed in the state are domestic animals, not wildlife. What is it you expect them to do?
 
Well there you have it then lets just fold up and cancel all bird hunting on public land in Ga. And while we are at it lets stop managing for deer and doing any deer specific food plots on public land. These practices provide zero benefit to deer herd and deer do fine on their own. I wonder how that would go over? I guess we should not expect anything to be improved on public land with that mindset.
 
Well there you have it then lets just fold up and cancel all bird hunting on public land in Ga. And while we are at it lets stop managing for deer and doing any deer specific food plots on public land. These practices provide zero benefit to deer herd and deer do fine on their own. I wonder how that would go over? I guess we should not expect anything to be improved on public land with that mindset.

You are acting like my wife. I ask a question, and you immediately get defensive, start bringing other stuff up that has nothing to do with the question, and never answer the question I ask. Again, my question is what is it that you are expecting the DNR to do?

I think it was Tall Timbers that released a research paper a couple of years ago where they studied quail in the best quail hunting land the state has to offer in the Thomasville/Albany/Tallahassee area. Being a bird enthusiast, I'm sure you are familiar with the area of which I am speaking. The management cost for the plantations there were determined to work out to over $500 (I think it was closer to $600) PER BIRD that made it to hunting season. If you have ever looked at the cost to hunt at one of these places, it makes sense.

There are ~600,000 hunters in the state including deer hunters and all. If you charged every single one of them $5 dollars for a quail stamp, even if most of them have never or will never hunt them, you would have ~$3,000,000, which absolute best case scenario on the best habitat available would yield ~5,000 birds per year. Considering they don't have anything like the guys in Thomasville, they wouldn't get that many. It just isn't doable.

I grew up hunting quail with my grandfather and like hunting quail as much as the next guy, but deer and turkey aren't on WMAs because the DNR planted a food plot on it. They are on WMAs because the habitat on the thousands upon thousands of acres around the WMA support deer and turkey. If the WMA is in an area of the state with lots of deer it typically provides better deer hunting than WMAs in the mountains. The overall number of deer on the WMA has way more to do with the land around the WMA that it does what the DNR did to "manage it." If they never managed a thing for deer and never planted a food plot, it wouldn't change a thing in 99% of cases, and on much of the WMA land they don't do anything now.

The reality is that the habitat across the state is no longer "quail habitat." I wish it was, but it isn't. That is why 99.99% of the birds dogs will point this year will be from a flight pen and the cost to hunt wild birds in the state will run you about $2000 per person at the plantations who's costs are mentioned above. Call me negative, Debbie Downer, or whatever you will, but when unlimited money and resources in South Georgia looses 75% of hatched quail before hunting season and does good to get densities in the quail per acre range, I really don't have any expectation that the GA DNR, that is on a shoestring budget to begin with, is going to somehow create a quail stamp, wave a magic wand, and produce a bunch of quail hunting opportunities on public land. It is what it is. It is pretty amazing that they have Di-Lane and the like to provide the opportunities that they do. Like I said, realistically, what are you expecting them to do?
 
Your reference to the studies you mention are well founded and I have read them. We all know that SW Ga. is where vast amounts of money is spent to attempt to provide some type of realistic wild bird hunting to those that can afford to pay to play so to speak. And I see your point about being tough to ever provide and sustain truly open access wild bird hunting on state public land. But the fact is a lot of money would be generated by a quail habitat stamp that could truly improve habitat for all small game species. you don't have to be a Debbie downer but there is options to be explored.
 
Your reference to the studies you mention are well founded and I have read them. We all know that SW Ga. is where vast amounts of money is spent to attempt to provide some type of realistic wild bird hunting to those that can afford to pay to play so to speak. And I see your point about being tough to ever provide and sustain truly open access wild bird hunting on state public land. But the fact is a lot of money would be generated by a quail habitat stamp that could truly improve habitat for all small game species. you don't have to be a Debbie downer but there is options to be explored.

I'm not arguing for the sake of argue, I promise, but again, what is it that you and others would expect the DNR to do? You can't just say the DNR should sell a stamp and improve public quail hunting opportunities. That is like saying politicians should end poverty, world hunger, and establish world peace. It sounds great in theory, but in actuality it isn't feasible. What would be you plan? I'm a numbers guy, and I don't care how you slice it, the number don't work. As I mentioned in the post above, you could make every hunter in the state by a quail stamp and it wouldn't matter. If every small game hunter in the state paid $25 or even $50 for a stamp, you still are no where near generating enough money to even move the needle. The best public opportunity the state has to offer is probably Di-Lane, and it isn't great by any stretch. If you dropped every dime of the generated money from a stamp into that one WMA, it still doesn't get you anymore hunting opportunities than the state has now. I get people like to quail hunt, and if you put enough time and effort into it, you can find a few on public land here in Georgia. You won't find a lot of birds, but there are very few private places in Georgia that have a lot of birds, and 99% of the private land with some birds doesn't have enough to hunt repeatedly. I guess that is the part I don't get. It isn't like every private tract in the state has quail, and the state has done something to the WMAs to make them worse than everywhere else. I would understand the griping in that scenario, but there aren't really many quail anywhere in the state, ad the ones in South Georgia cost $570 a bird to manage. How would you expect the DNR to manage a WMA to provide more and better hunting opportunities than the private land surrounding it? It isn't going to happen.
 
It is true that even most private land here in state of Ga. besides intensively managed plantations have low quail numbers and a lot of this is due to poor habitat and management. No need to argue but we all know horns is the state cash cow on both private and public land. Most private land owners have no interest in investing big money for quail when they can get just collect the money and provide a lease to a group of deer hunters WITH NO investment of time nor money. But help me understand how in Tx. on state owned Matador WMA that is approx. 20K acres that they can sustain huntable numbers with heavy pressure. A bad year there means 4.5k birds harvested, lets not even mention great production years. Yes I am talking state owned land that the avg. Joe can access. Hard for me to believe that every piece of private property bordering this state land is heavily invested in intensive quail management. Yes I know state properties here cant take this type of pressure but improvement can be made in both habitat and hunter access. Several of our larger WMA properties south of the gnat line do have quail in fair numbers but so much more could be attempted. And these properties are not in SW Ga. by the way. Should Ga. just give up on quail? Help me understand? I know expensive but has any effort been explored to trans locating quail on a parternship with another state? I like to look at glass half full and try to fill it.
 
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spring

Senior Member
It is true that even most private land here in state of Ga. besides intensively managed plantations have low quail numbers and a lot of this is due to poor habitat and management. No need to argue but we all know horns is the state cash cow on both private and public land. Most private land owners have no interest in investing big money for quail when they can get just collect the money and provide a lease to a group of deer hunters WITH NO investment of time nor money. But help me understand how in Tx. on state owned Matador WMA that is approx. 20K acres that they can sustain huntable numbers with heavy pressure. A bad year there means 4.5k birds harvested, lets not even mention great production years. Yes I am talking state owned land that the avg. Joe can access. Hard for me to believe that every piece of private property bordering this state land is heavily invested in intensive quail management. Yes I know state properties here cant take this type of pressure but improvement can be made in both habitat and hunter access. Several of our larger WMA properties south of the gnat line do have quail in fair numbers but so much more could be attempted. And these properties are not in SW Ga. by the way. Should Ga. just give up on quail? Help me understand? I know expensive but has any effort been explored to trans locating quail on a parternship with another state? I like to look at glass half full and try to fill it.
You can't compare the management techniques and habitat in the areas of Texas that some years have a lot of quail with what it takes to get similar results in Georgia. Same issue in much of Oklahoma. In TX and OK, the main driver of a solid quail hatch is the amount of rain they happen to get. Completely different on the US east coast where we get loads of rain and huge effort has to be maintained to keep places from turning into a jungle. The cost of achieving a large quail population in Georgia is enormous compared to what they have to do. I could go into all of kinds of issues to explain this but that would take more time than I have at the moment. I would suggest that you listen to the two podcasts linked below. The first is with Dr Dale Rollins, one of the preeminent scholars on quail management in the country at Texas A&M. The second is an interview with Oklahoma State Professor Dwayne Elmore, as he explains the differences in Oklahoma habitat and ours. You'll learn a lot from both of these and have a much better understanding about the question you asked about why 20,000 acres in Texas is easy for the State to manage and why we don't have something similar in Georgia.

2020 Texas Quail Forecast by the Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation

Quail Forever Journal Editor Chad Love joins host Bob St.Pierre for a quail-centric conversation with Oklahoma State University Professor Dwayne Elmore.
 
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spring

Senior Member
It is true that even most private land here in state of Ga. besides intensively managed plantations have low quail numbers and a lot of this is due to poor habitat and management. No need to argue but we all know horns is the state cash cow on both private and public land. Most private land owners have no interest in investing big money for quail when they can get just collect the money and provide a lease to a group of deer hunters WITH NO investment of time nor money. But help me understand how in Tx. on state owned Matador WMA that is approx. 20K acres that they can sustain huntable numbers with heavy pressure. A bad year there means 4.5k birds harvested, lets not even mention great production years. Yes I am talking state owned land that the avg. Joe can access. Hard for me to believe that every piece of private property bordering this state land is heavily invested in intensive quail management. Yes I know state properties here cant take this type of pressure but improvement can be made in both habitat and hunter access. Several of our larger WMA properties south of the gnat line do have quail in fair numbers but so much more could be attempted. And these properties are not in SW Ga. by the way. Should Ga. just give up on quail? Help me understand? I know expensive but has any effort been explored to trans locating quail on a parternship with another state? I like to look at glass half full and try to fill it.
I would also encourage you to get involved with some of the volunteers efforts in Georgia that are making great progress towards improving public land quail habitat. Out of curiousty, have you worked any yet with any of the projects where Quail Forever and the Georgia DNR team up? I'm sure you're probably involved with things like this. I really admire those that actually get out and get involved as compared to hoping that others do all the work.
One of those efforts took place this morning.



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It is true that even most private land here in state of Ga. besides intensively managed plantations have low quail numbers and a lot of this is due to poor habitat and management. No need to argue but we all know horns is the state cash cow on both private and public land. Most private land owners have no interest in investing big money for quail when they can get just collect the money and provide a lease to a group of deer hunters WITH NO investment of time nor money. But help me understand how in Tx. on state owned Matador WMA that is approx. 20K acres that they can sustain huntable numbers with heavy pressure. A bad year there means 4.5k birds harvested, lets not even mention great production years. Yes I am talking state owned land that the avg. Joe can access. Hard for me to believe that every piece of private property bordering this state land is heavily invested in intensive quail management. Yes I know state properties here cant take this type of pressure but improvement can be made in both habitat and hunter access. Several of our larger WMA properties south of the gnat line do have quail in fair numbers but so much more could be attempted. And these properties are not in SW Ga. by the way. Should Ga. just give up on quail? Help me understand? I know expensive but has any effort been explored to trans locating quail on a parternship with another state? I like to look at glass half full and try to fill it.
Should Georgia give up on quail? Again, the Georgia DNR really has no say so in whether quail survive in the state, because they don't own and control enough land to move the needle. It is all habitat driven. The population in that part of Texas is better because there is vast amounts of land that holds completely different and better overall habitat than the pine thickets of Georgia. Have you been to that part of Texas?????? You are comparing apples and oranges. Years ago Georgia had a bunch of small farms, fencerows, and much better habitat across the state for quail than it does now. That has nothing to do with the DNR. I agree with you that there are some quail here an there across the state, and I said in an earlier post that there were WMAs with a few quail on them. I've hunted them, but it is just typically tough to find them. I'm not saying I'm against planting, burning, and improving habitat. What I am saying, is if you think the Georgia DNR is going to start a quail stamp program and all of a sudden there are going to be all these opportunities for public quail across the state, I've got a beach house in Kansas I will sell you. Like I've asked countless times, what do you want them to do? The state is never going back to like it was 50 or 100 years ago when there was better quail habitat and way more quail. It isn't going to happen. The Georgia DNR has absolutely nothing to do that. They aren't going to manage a single WMA in the middle of a bunch of pine plantations and create some quail Mecca everyone can go hunt. That just isn't realistic, and I prefer being realistic about stuff.
 
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I have never stated that I think The DNR can waive a magic wand and we will have a quail mecca over night. I am quite sure it takes time . In fact many yrs. And yes I am familiar with area I referenced inTX. I was stationed at Sheppard AFB. Since you stated that you are not against habitat improvement on public land then why cant money generated be used for this. This would be some sort of progress. Yes I am aware of national support organizations and I belong to them.
 

spring

Senior Member
I have never stated that I think The DNR can waive a magic wand and we will have a quail mecca over night. I am quite sure it takes time . In fact many yrs. And yes I am familiar with area I referenced inTX. I was stationed at Sheppard AFB. Since you stated that you are not against habitat improvement on public land then why cant money generated be used for this. This would be some sort of progress. Yes I am aware of national support organizations and I belong to them.
It's definitely good to be aware of the work that some volunteers are doing to help improve quail habitat. And since you were stationed at Sheppard, you probably already know about how different the habitat management needs are in Georgia compared to the arid climate of Texas. Why do you think one state is able to easily do little and have good habitat vs another? In addition, what might be a reason that it took volunteers yesterday to help the DNR with their public land management efforts? And on these small State tracts that have a few birds, are you good with every hunter that shows up there during the season killing some? Any thoughts on nesting during the subsequent spring?
Yes, I'm all for improving some of the public land for wildlife, but as a private citizen that manages land for quail, I'm a bit familiar with what it takes to have a huntable wild bird population, which very much informs and balances my opinion on the realistic likelihood of thinking that the government is going to do this for us. That said, if all some might want is a public grassy area on a state -owned property that is void of quail where citizens can put out a few birds they've bot and work their dogs, that sounds reasonable to me.
 
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