Friday, September 23, 2011

Ohio's Vinton County Home to New Quail Forever Chapter

McArthur, Ohio - Quail hunters and conservationists in southeast Ohio's Vinton County have formed the state's fourth Quail Forever chapter. The Appalachian Quail Forever chapter is committed to creating and improving habitat for bobwhite quail and other wildlife.

Quail Forever is the quail conservation division of the national Pheasants Forever organization. Pheasants Forever launched Quail Forever in 2005 to address the continuing loss of habitat suitable for quail and the subsequent quail population decline. That decline is reflected in Ohio's quail numbers. Last year, 18,000 Ohio hunters harvested just 14,000 quail. "It all starts with habitat," says Randy Young, the Appalachian chapter's newly elected president. Young hails from McArthur, is a forester and has been an upland hunter his entire life. "I have worked on creating upland habitat for years, and from that I have seen firsthand the positive impacts that proper habitat can have for upland populations. We are right on the belt of quail habitat in Ohio, so we decided our main goal of the chapter would be improving bobwhite habitat. There are plenty of old areas that, with the proper help, can be converted into great habitat for quail, pheasant and other wildlife."

The chapter recently held its first meeting at Twin Oak's hunting lodge. During the inaugural meeting members of the community joined Quail Forever for an evening fish fry, a clay target practice for youth and an informal guitar jam session, all with the goal of adding to Ohio's longstanding upland hunting tradition.

"The 2010-2011 winter dealt Ohio quail quite a blow," says Charlie Payne, Quail Forever's Regional Wildlife Biologist in Ohio, "So, the Appalachian Quail Forever chapter is pledging to make a difference when the bobwhite need it most. After working closely with the Appalachian chapter, I've seen the group is willing to make great strides in lending a hand to Ohio's quail populations."

Appalachian Quail Forever chapter
• The Appalachian Chapter has also elected Don Cotner of Albany as Treasurer, Hunter Young of McArthur as Habitat Chair and Steve Blake of Albany as Youth/Education Chair.
• The chapter's first meeting will be held at 7PM on Thursday, October 6, at the Vinton County Community Building, 31935 State Route 93 North, McArthur.
• For more information about the chapter, including upcoming meetings and events, contact Randy Young.

Ohio is home to 28 Pheasants Forever chapters, 4 Quail Forever chapters and over 5,800 Pheasants Forever and/or Quail Forever members. For more information on "The Habitat Organization" in Ohio, contact Charlie Payne at (614) 632-8393 / Email Charlie.

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever empower county and local chapters with the responsibility to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds will be spent - the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure. As a result, chapter volunteers are able to see the fruits of their efforts locally, while belonging to a larger national organization with a voice on federal and state conservation policy.