Quail Trail looks to boost economics, bird numbers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 4, 2007

During the past five years, the Alabama Quail Trail has brought together more than 40 quail hunting locations around the state, including the Cottonwoods Sportsman&8217;s Lodge and the Yellow Creek Ranch here in Marengo County, to foster quail-hunting enthusiasm, tourism and conservation.

By pooling the resources of the member preserves, the trail has been able to launch a national advertising campaign, as a way to draw interest to the sport and its wide range availability in the state. By creating the idea of Alabama as a destination for quail hunting, the trail hopes to achieve its three founding interests.

Montgomery Smith, with Cottonwood&8217;s Sportsman&8217;s Lodge, said he has seen a difference since joining the trail when it was formed five years ago:

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And while the trail already has an economic impact on its members and the communities hunters visit on their trips to the state, Atkinson said the trail is also a way to curb the trend of loss of quail population, which has diminished the state&8217;s once thriving numbers. To curb this he said the group is working to promote conservation.

The trail achieves this aim through educational programs, technical assistance and other activities that encourage development of critical nesting, brood-rearing, and escape cover habitats. For example, the group has conducted various field days, short courses on land management, and distributes several guides on important aspects of quail management such as beneficial native warm-season grasses and management of the Northern Bobwhite Quail.

The Alabama Quail Trail also supports and promotes quail research.

According to Gothard, the AQT has contributed close to $50,000 to the Alabama Quail Research Project.

Furthermore, the AQT is working with Auburn professors to research the economic impacts of quail and quail hunting in Alabama.