Habitat & Conservation  |  01/09/2024

Bobwhite Quail Efforts on the Rise in Virginia


A Virginia family wanted to make a difference for quail in their home state

By Phil Bastron

Perhaps Virginia is not the first state that comes to mind when you think of bobwhite quail. Like many other states in the bobwhite range, habitat loss in Virginia has led to sharp declines in a once thriving quail population. This trend was noticed by Quail Forever members Briscoe and Kenan White. Passionate conservationists, they wanted to make a difference for quail in their home state.

Meanwhile, Marc Puckett and Jay Howell, small game project leaders with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR), were developing a vision for a project that could change the trajectory of the state’s bobwhite quail population. Their focus of this vision was on one of the state’s wildlife management areas – Flippo-Gentry WMA. Located in Sussex County in the southeastern part of the state, Flippo-Gentry WMA spans approximately 1,700 acres, and is contiguous to Big Woods WMA, as well The Nature Conservancy’s Piney Grove property. Together, the properties total over 11,000 acres of managed conservation land in the area. The goal for Flippo-Gentry’s 1,700 acres was clear – establish the premier quail focal area on public land in Virginia to serve as a showcase for modern best practices in habitat management in the southern pine system while supporting a viable, measurable, and sustained quail population.

With DWR’s vision for the Flippo-Gentry project, and the White’s desire to make an impact for quail, a perfect match was made. A generous philanthropic gift from the Whites to Quail Forever allowed the project at Flippo-Gentry to begin at an accelerated rate, and work is now well underway. This long-term project aims to bring long lasting outcomes for bobwhite and other wildlife. Thanks to these visionary leaders and passionate supporters, the outlook for quail in Virginia is bright.

If you would like information on how to support quail restoration efforts in Virginia, please contact Phil Bastron, Development Officer, at pbastron@quailforever.org