Frye: Quail quandary hard one to fix
TribLIVE Sports Videos
I remember the smirk.
More than a half-dozen years ago, at the end of a Pennsylvania Game Commission meeting in Harrisburg, the agency announced it was rolling out an “upland game bird” series of pocket knives.
Each would come with a collectible tin highlighting one of the five species presumably most popular among wingshooters: ruffed grouse, woodcock, mourning doves, ring-necked pheasants and bobwhite quail.
The guy next to me leaned in close.
“What's it say when two of the five birds in your series aren't anywhere to be found?” he asked me with a shake of his head.
Such has long been the sorry state of pheasants and quail in this state.
Things have turned around with ringnecks, to a degree. The commission is back to stocking about 200,000 a year, providing put-and-take shooting, and efforts to create habitat and jump-start populations of wild pheasants appear to be working in places if not everywhere.
Scarce is the hunter who can say he's actually seen a wild bobwhite in Pennsylvania let alone shot one.
There was a time, into the 1930s, when hunters took up to 200,000 annually in Pennsylvania, said commission biologist Ian Gregg. By the early 1970s, harvests were down to about 50,000.
Now? The 2011 take was fewer than 2,300 quail, and no one knows if those were wild or stocked birds.
Bringing quail back in huntable numbers could take three decades, Gregg said, so there's no immediate fix available.
At the board's most recent meeting, he noted the commission adopted a bobwhite management plan in 2010 but has seemingly done nothing with it. Only this year is the commission starting to collect the historical data on quail and determine if there's any habitat left and whether it might be possible to create more. The delay has been a function of limited time and resources, said executive director Carl Roe, noting that all work is “driven by the bodies available.”
Commissioner Jay Delaney of Luzerne County wants to get that work started, and now, for the sake of small game hunting.
“This is another small part of that puzzle,” he said.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pennsylvania’s elk hunt brings unique opportunity to take record-size bulls
- Outdoors notices: July 28, 2014
- State lawmaker still pushing merger of Pa. Game, Fish commissions
- Fishing report: Pymatuning walleye fishing remains tough
- Catfish tournament set for Ohio River, tributaries