Help with diy put and take quail

spring

Senior Member
Any suggestions on what to plant in open fields just to have a good hunting experience when put and take hunting. I have 3-4 acres to plant. Have done milo for past 3 years but had to spray for sugar cane aphids in milo last year. Hate doing that as it risks bees even though I only spray late afternoon. Deer eat all sunflowers. Tried sesame last year and did not germinate so replanted milo. Right now I have 1 acre in broomsedge (easiest of all just mow every few years) 3 acres in wildflower and switchgrass mix (cave in rock the short one).
someone mentioned burning, but my farm is super hilly and slopes sharply down to a river. I worry that burning the woods would cause severe erosion. I do have some flat flood plane I could try burning.
thanks again for all the ideas. Keep them coming.
flight pen plans anyone?

What is your objective when planting a food plot for the birds you're putting out right before you hunt them?
Are you mostly trying to have some cover to hunt through?
Have you ever seen the cover that will come up for free when you just disc through a field?
If you're looking to plant native grass, I'd focus on big and little blue stem along with Indian grass. Switch grass gets way too tall for easy hunting. That said, just discing and letting Mother Nature do it all for you is hard to beat for either wild or released birds.
As for building a flight pen, pages 20-23 of the link I sent you in this thread on February 2, 2021 will help you with the whole bird raising process.
Here it is again:

Much more info on raising quail here
 
Last edited:
Thread starter #22
Thanks spring. The dove/quail field is my front yard.
The 3 acres of switch grass has a good mix of wildflowers in it that my wife likes. I did plant the cave in rock variety, and it is about the same height as broom sedge but not as dense, yet.
I have 1 acre fallow that is almost a pure stand
of broom sedge that is kind of attractive in winter.
although my wife hated the electric fence tape around the sunflowers, she put up with it for the pretty flowers.
the 4 acre field will likely grow a mean crop of ragweed if left fallow. May just try light disking. And see if it is “pretty“ enough for the front yard.
 
The reality of it is you aren't going to have wild quail and anything you try to early release is going to get eaten and will be a waste of money. Any planting or habitat work you do is going to essentially be for looks, so if you want to put that money into raising some yourself, then you could do that. Improving the habitat isn't going to impact your quail one way or another. I know guys who have a several nice broomsedge and bluestem fields and another guy that dump them out in a brush pile in the middle of his pine thicket with nothing buy pine needles on the ground. The only difference is one looks "prettier" than the other if you take a picture. They are put an take quail either way. It looks like you have a couple of little small clearing areas in the woods, so why not put up some brush piles in those open areas in the woods, disc the edge of the field and let a little of it grow up, and you plant a dove field, have a manicured yard, etc... with whatever you want to do with the rest. That will keep the wife happy, and give you a little grown up corner to put quail in. You can make a course as short or as long as you want. I wouldn't get all caught up in the "habitat" aspect of it, because it really doesn't matter.
 

spring

Senior Member
If there's a shorter switch grass, as you mentioned, I wish I'd have known it as I planted some along with 3 other grass varieties about 6 years ago and that stuff is huge! :) I planted some additional native grasses in some areas about a year ago and left out the switch grass, even though it clearly has benefit to quail and other wildlife.
If you want dove, the milo you mentioned is a pretty easy option as it generally makes every year as compared to some things like dry land corn that can be very weather dependent. Brown top millet is another easy option. In general though, I've found that dove like large fields. Sounds like you've had some good luck with them on your place.
For released quail, food plots provide little bang for your buck if you're putting out birds and then immediately hunting them. I'd focus my efforts on the ground cover and the fun experience as compared to spending money on something that won't be eating it. Just my thoughts.
If your objectives though are aesthetics for your wife, just do whatever she says 'cause no matter what you and I think, she'll be right!
 

GLS

Classic Southern Gentleman
I've seen quail management de-emphasis (including removal) of Lespedeza on some of the land I have hunted both private and public. I've seen old patches that are impossible to hunt. Quail will run through the open ground underneath and flush on the far side and the height of the old patches is over the heads of the hunters blocking the view of the flush. As has been stated above, don't spend money on food plots which concentrate not only the birds, but the predators which feed on them. Food trails are better for reasons of expense and keeping the birds scattered reducing the effect of predators.
 
I've seen quail management de-emphasis (including removal) of Lespedeza on some of the land I have hunted both private and public. I've seen old patches that are impossible to hunt. Quail will run through the open ground underneath and flush on the far side and the height of the old patches is over the heads of the hunters blocking the view of the flush. As has been stated above, don't spend money on food plots which concentrate not only the birds, but the predators which feed on them. Food trails are better for reasons of expense and keeping the birds scattered reducing the effect of predators.
I agree with all this and I discovered it by accident. Years ago I had access to an old farm that had grown up in weeds and briars. I would release quail and work my dogs. I never made any effort at early release, but sometimes there would be a quail or two that I wouldn't kill. The place had begger lice and other weeds. Also, a guy lived on the place and had yard chickens. When I came back the next year, I found a semi-wild covey that hung around the old barns etc. These quail had not only survived, they had reproduced.
 
Not sure if you are familiar with the quail surrogator or how it works but it’s a great way to do an “early release” program. They are still the potato chip of the woods though and eventually get gone.
My neighbor has a surrogator, which species of quail is best suited for it? I am in central Ga. I have a small population of wild birds so don't want to release birds that might be harmfull, that may have a chance to survive knowing that few probably will. Shopping for chicks I see Northern, Wisconsin, Georgia giant and a few others . Any suggestions?
 
My neighbor has a surrogator, which species of quail is best suited for it? I am in central Ga. I have a small population of wild birds so don't want to release birds that might be harmfull, that may have a chance to survive knowing that few probably will. Shopping for chicks I see Northern, Wisconsin, Georgia giant and a few others . Any suggestions?
You definitely want the Northern Bobwhite!
 
Northern’s but that’s simply because that was what I could get. I gave it up years back but it was fun to open the top of that thing at five weeks and see all those quail fly out. I still have 2 surrogators and would like to sell them simply because they don’t get used anymore. Neat contraptions and fun way to do early release.
 

spring

Senior Member
My neighbor has a surrogator, which species of quail is best suited for it? I am in central Ga. I have a small population of wild birds so don't want to release birds that might be harmfull, that may have a chance to survive knowing that few probably will. Shopping for chicks I see Northern, Wisconsin, Georgia giant and a few others . Any suggestions?
If you have some wild birds now and want to keep them, be very careful about the idea of releasing pen-raised birds on your property. Several reasons. First, the released birds will not have the wariness of wild birds and will be very vulnerable to predators. As you attract more predators to your place, the risk to your wild birds will increase.
Secondly, there is a chance of some interbreeding between the wild birds and the released ones. Released birds often are bigger, slower, and not as adept physically to survive in the wild as birds that are genetically prepared for the challenge of staying alive. Genetic degradation of your wild bird population is a real risk if you mix the two populations.
Lastly, properties that annually bring in released birds often begin to bypass maintaining and creating brood and nesting habitat since they know a new supply of birds is coming in the fall. This ultimately changes the nature of property management that can again hurt your wild birds.
It’s all certainly fine to release birds in a effort to have some to hunt, but if securing the future of your wild birds is a priority, mixing the two efforts usually ends up eliminating the opportunity for one of them.
 
Last edited:
Top