(originally published in Q.U. Magazine March/April 2003)
When I was a youngster staying on Uncle Jim’s rural farm in Virginia, the Johnny House was a place you ran to answer the call of nature. Back then we rated them as One Holers or Two Holers. If you train your own bird dogs you are probably familiar with a different type of Johnny House, often referred to as a Recall Pen.
The most common structures used are about four feet square and about six to eight feet tall. (Of course, in Texas they are twice this size.) The house has a screened in top area and ledges for the quail to fly up and sit on. Part of this screen area contains a door that can be lowered in order to let some or all of the birds out. The floor can be either solid plywood or hardware cloth. (I prefer a solid floor. Well talk about this later.) There is also a one way catch funnel located in the bottom of the house. This allows the quail to reenter the house but not leave again.
GREAT HUNTING RETREAT
This 980 acres will make a great hunting area. Over 400 acres of mature pines, the rest in younger trees. Abundant deer, quail, and turkey!
Are you scanning the classified ads and touring the countryside, in search of a piece of property to manage for quail? If the answer is yes, then maybe you need to be thinking about what characteristics would make you want to purchase a particular tract of land and what would cause you to pass on it. To help you with this process, lets discuss some various scenarios you are likely to run across.
There is every reason to believe that this strikingly beautiful color phase will remain a rarity in the wild in the future, as it has been in the past. – Herbert Stoddard
I was recently visiting a friend of mine named Harold Ray. He is known through out the field trial world as one of the best ever shooting dog trainers. He has won eighty championships and was elected to the Field Trial Hall Of Fame in 2007. Early in his career Harold was hired by Elvin and Inez Smith to be the trainer for Smiths English Setters. Last year Mrs. Smith passed away, and Harold was asked to go through some of the records and materials she had accumulated. During this process he came across a binder of very old issues of American Field magazine. Harold told me that one of them contained an article that discussed the red quail of the Ames plantation. At this point my ears perked up.
Johnny Houses for Quail II video is a great resource for those wanting to learn more about the use of Johnny Houses on their properties. This DVD produced by Daybreak Productions for Quality Wildlife covers the basics, the season of usage, field placement, preparing the house, Stocking the house, Usage, Maintenance, Disinfection and End of Season cleanup. Not only is this video informative; but Wildlife Biologist Jim Evans makes it really fun to watch!
When I was a kid, my dad and I would go to an old farm near Hawkinsville, Georgia and just go hunting. We never planted a food plot or put out any feed, yet each year we harvested enough quail to include on the menu for the family Christmas dinner. So why do we need to provide feed sources for quail today?
There are many factors that I could bring up, but let me briefly touch on two : high deer populations and sod forming grasses. I have been managing quail properties in the southeast for many years. Here it is common for me to see a proliferation of seed producing plants emerge during the spring on acreage that was control burned the previous winter. During the summer months these same plants are browsed heavily by deer. Though there is still seed production for quail, it is greatly reduced.
Managing Quail Fields is a DVD release from Quality Wildlife. This is a great resource for anyone raising, or managing the Quail Habitat on their property. Please watch the short preview below, and see how this can be a useful tool for your property! Wildlife Biologist Jim Evans makes this a really fun and a very informative video to watch.
This is Quality Wildlife’s first video, which gives a great overview of the history Quail Management, and reviews their products as well. We have included a short section on the history of Quail Management.
This DVD is included with the Covey Base Camp and available to anyone interested in learning more about our release system and products.
Recently, a client of mine said to me,“Jim, I have two questions for you. First, are my early release coveys running off the native birds? And second, can released quail reproduce?” These are probably the two most frequent questions I have had come my way during the past thirteen years of working on pre-season release quail projects. Whats really going on? Who are the real Survivors in the quail game?
Dr. Tom Eleazer received his degree of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Georgia in 1958 and served Clemson University as a veterinary pathologist, studying poultry and game bird diseases for 31 years. Tom is still actively applying his skills as a poultry and game bird disease consultant. In the past he has served as president of the South Carolina Wildlife Federation, served on the advisory board for the Institute of Wildlife and Environmental Toxicology, and also as a member of the Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Board for the South Carolina Wildlife Commission. He was also instrumental in the development of the vaccine for “quail pox”.
Now lets hear what he has to say about the question: Are pen-reared quail a disease threat to wild birds?
Over the years I have had the opportunity to work with many landowners that were devoted to having quail on their property. Questions about feeding quail seem to always arise at some point during my visit. For this reason I thought I would take a few minutes to share some thoughts with you on the subject and why for many of us, supplemental feeding is a necessity. Why do we even need to feed quail?As a youngster, my father and I hunted quail and never had to plant a food plot or put out any feed. The farms we hunted had residual crops scattered along the field edges and food never seemed to be factor. But I can also remember, during one of those hunts, when he took the time to show me the track of a game animal that was just starting to become re-established in the region it was a deer track.Today you could leave half the crop in the field and still have nothing left for quail because the deer would have eaten it all. Also, deer browse on many of the native seed producing plants. This activity further reduces the abundance of natural winter food sources that quail need. In a situation like this, supplemental feeding is critical to sustain a winter quail population.