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juneboy1

The end of Gentleman Bob

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mister grouse

i have to sign up for something with Nat Geo to access this article apparently; at least that is what the pop=up says 

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E.Young

I can't read the article but I've never shot a wild VA quail that wasn't one step above skin and bones, even early-season.

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quailguy
59 minutes ago, juneboy1 said:

So is this the reason Robert White has left the building in the south? The time frame and collateral damage make it very interesting.

 

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/09/widely-used-pesticide-makes-birds-lose-weight/

I dunno, but the time is close.  My bet is that Robert left the South due to a multitude of problems. Planting of loblolly pine plantations, clean farming, too much herbicide and no doubt pesticides too. Back in south PA we had one covey of bobs for a while. Until the new farmer mowed up the hedgerows and planted the field with beans which were assiduously sprayed. Then Robert moved away and never returned.  

 

Clean farming was/is imho the main reason Robert has departed so many areas. Back when we had dirty cotton and weedy corn we had bobs  ‘Course that was before anything but DDT being sprayed on crops and it was expensive.  

Edited by quailguy
Add’l info

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MTRookie76

I believe it.

 

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WAGinVA

The VA lead quail biologist expressed his concerns re neonicotinoids to me several years ago.

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SelbyLowndes

I couldn't access the article without signing up for something ( which I won't do).  I get the gist of it from the other responses here though.  Dirty rotten shame in my opinion!...SelbyLowndes

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Dave in Maine

Keep in mind that for young gamebirds, the first food they eat on their own is … bugs.  They need the protein for the rapid growth they go through.  So I can see a rapid bioaccumulation of residual pesticide wreaking havoc.

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airmedic1

In Nebraska the demise of quail can be directly related to the retirement of old farmers.  When i first started hunting quail there were a bunch of old farmers, in their 60's that farmed 160-320 acres.  They were diversified with small fields of different crops, corn, milo, and soybeans so they had an income if one crop failed.  They also raised livestock, pigs, cows and maybe sheep.  Their fields were often small because of the terrain, 40-80 acres and separated with overgrown fences.  There was usually a creek or overgrown draw running through the section and It was not uncommon to have three families living on one 640 acre section. Most of them let us hunt their farms and there was cover everywhere.  They had a hard life that was satisfying and good but I am sure they didn't have a lot of money.  When they retired their kids didn't want to come back to the family farm so it was sold.  The big farmer that bought the ground tore out the fences, filled the draws, cut down the trees and drilled an irrigation well for a center pivot. At about that time, clean farming with all of the herbicides and pesticides began to be normal. All of that cover was lost and along with it the birds.  We would find a dozen or more 15-20 bird coveys on one section and now you would be lucky to find a single quail.

The farmer that bought the ground had to do that to be able to raise enough money to pay for his investment .but it was sure hard on the birds

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quailguy

Back in the early 1990s a large local farming operation in southern PA where I lived began for the first time spraying herbicides on their hay fields. I have forgotten why, but it has something to do with yield. I knew one of the farm workers on that farm and asked him how many dead pheasant hens he had bailed up in the hay from that sprayed field. Dozens he said. This crap was sold to the farm as not harmful to birds.  

Modern, chemically aided clean farming is killing off game birds, farmland birds and potentially even bees. 

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sharptail grouse
1 hour ago, airmedic1 said:

In Nebraska the demise of quail can be directly related to the retirement of old farmers.  When i first started hunting quail there were a bunch of old farmers, in their 60's that farmed 160-320 acres.  They were diversified with small fields of different crops, corn, milo, and soybeans so they had an income if one crop failed.  They also raised livestock, pigs, cows and maybe sheep.  Their fields were often small because of the terrain, 40-80 acres and separated with overgrown fences.  There was usually a creek or overgrown draw running through the section and It was not uncommon to have three families living on one 640 acre section. Most of them let us hunt their farms and there was cover everywhere.  They had a hard life that was satisfying and good but I am sure they didn't have a lot of money.  When they retired their kids didn't want to come back to the family farm so it was sold.  The big farmer that bought the ground tore out the fences, filled the draws, cut down the trees and drilled an irrigation well for a center pivot. At about that time, clean farming with all of the herbicides and pesticides began to be normal. All of that cover was lost and along with it the birds.  We would find a dozen or more 15-20 bird coveys on one section and now you would be lucky to find a single quail.

The farmer that bought the ground had to do that to be able to raise enough money to pay for his investment .but it was sure hard on the birds

Bingo. You got it.

Herbicides and insecticides (they are both "pesticides") no doubt have some contribution, but tearing out all the edges has contributed more than anything and airmedic1 summed it up nicely. If you want to blame pesticides for the disappearance of something look into amphibians, more specifically the surfactants added to herbicides to make them more effective.

 

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spring

Most landowners are going to implement "best use" economics into their properties, be that shopping centers, residential development, row crop farming, or timber. If you want quail, you have to largely sacrifice financial returns and be willing to put money into a property rather than look for ways to pull it out. For the vast majority of landowners, the idea of an economic sacrifice is heresy, but for those that are able to count their covey rises as a dividend, or are able to realize that seeing your dog on point on a part of your property that didn't have birds before will prolong your lifespan, the elusive quail will somehow find a way to become prolific again, as you'll invest in the habitat management needed to prove the naysayers wrong.  It can be done. 

 

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1971snipe

I'm not going to sign up for the newsletter to see the article now either; maybe later.  But I agree with what you guys are saying.  The small quail lease I'm on now, I've been on for ~15-16 years, and went there as a guest for 2-3 years before that.  The landowner-rancher has been having health issues for several years, and turned the ranch over to his son-in-law, who has been systematically cleaning fence lines, removing stands of cactus, planting pastures of Bermuda grass.  Coveys have gotten fewer in number, and in fewer spots.  I used to have coveys named, and always was careful not to overshoot a covey, even when they would combine in late season. 

 

Last week I went out there for the first time this season and was really dismayed to see more clearing of brush, and two areas cleared and plowed, including a small plum thicket.  It's still early into the season, and we didn't hunt hard, but for the first time ever, since I've been going there, I found no quail.  I plan to talk to the rancher but I don't think it will do any good.  

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spring
7 hours ago, 1971snipe said:

I'm not going to sign up for the newsletter to see the article now either; maybe later.  But I agree with what you guys are saying.  The small quail lease I'm on now, I've been on for ~15-16 years, and went there as a guest for 2-3 years before that.  The landowner-rancher has been having health issues for several years, and turned the ranch over to his son-in-law, who has been systematically cleaning fence lines, removing stands of cactus, planting pastures of Bermuda grass.  Coveys have gotten fewer in number, and in fewer spots.  I used to have coveys named, and always was careful not to overshoot a covey, even when they would combine in late season. 

 

Last week I went out there for the first time this season and was really dismayed to see more clearing of brush, and two areas cleared and plowed, including a small plum thicket.  It's still early into the season, and we didn't hunt hard, but for the first time ever, since I've been going there, I found no quail.  I plan to talk to the rancher but I don't think it will do any good.  

 

That's a basic example of economic best use.  Too many people are over-analyzing the problem. 

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Jim Vander

When I first moved to Tidewater area there were 10-12 coveys I could reliably find within 15 minutes of me. Between development and ag practices they have disappeared. I  subscribe to heaven high hell deep view of land ownership but spare me the stewards of the land nonsense I hear from the farming sector. 

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