Making Habitat for Bob, Tom and Buck
There's no doubt about it. Quail habitat is good for most other wildlife. Creating good nesting, brooding and shrubby cover for bobwhites can also provide good habitat for songbirds, rabbit, wild turkey and white-tailed deer. Even if your hunting place is big timber, grassland or crop fields, managing for bobwhites on all or part of your farm is a great way to enhance deer and turkey hunting on your property. Here are a couple ideas on how to manage for Bob, Tom and Buck.
Plant Native Warm-Season Grass
Waist-high native grass (shown below) provides excellent habitat for wild turkey and quail. Native grass fields next to timbered areas provide excellent nesting cover, and recently burned or disturbed fields provide good strutting areas. I often find a few turkey nests each year in native grass fields.
White-tailed deer will use native grass fields for fawning and winter bedding. Think about it. The grass is brown. The deer is brown. The grass is at least waist high. What a great place to hide. How many deer do you see in native grass fields during the hunting season? There's a reason they're out there.
Edge Feather Field Edges
Edge feathering is great for quail and rabbits. This practice can also be used to funnel deer or turkey to your favorite hunting spot. A couple years ago during the youth turkey season I took my nephew hunting. We hunted a field edge that was edge feathered. Nothing could walk through the edge feathering so we sat up at the very end of the edge feathering. That morning we had several deer walk by and finally a bunch of turkeys. The turkeys couldn't walk through the edge feathering, so they just walked around it. Right to where we were waiting.
Overstocked woodlands are a hidden gem for woodland wildlife including bobwhite quail and wild turkey. Woodland restoration involves thinning out undesirable trees (opening up the canopy) and eventually re-introducing prescribed fire. The combination of fire and sun promotes the growth of native grasses, wildflowers and native legumes--food and cover for quail and turkey. The downed trees look rather messy, but this mess of trees provide ideal nesting cover for wild turkey. A couple years later you won't even notice the downed trees.
Open up the Timber
I don't recommend managing exclusively for bobwhites on big patches of timber. Big timber is and never