Conservation Clays

9fdb678b-8d27-4702-a1ac-706cbbcb27cb By Aaron K. Kuehl, Quail Forever Director of Seed Operations

BANG! Habitat. 

If only it were that easy. But now, in some ways, it can be, if you throw out (pun intended) Conservation Clays, which are clay targets laced with native seeds. Launch the target into the air, take aim and pull the trigger, raining seeds down to the earth below.
Of course, it’s not exactly that easy. First, remember that everything you’ve learned about site prep and establishment still holds true. You’ll have the most success when seed falls on a well-prepared site followed by good management, but you’ll also get natural expression similar to what could be expected when native flowers drop their seed into the soil in a well-established stand. 
Perhaps the biggest value of conservation clays is the opportunity for outreach and awareness that it provides. But it takes a bit of planning. Here’s how...

First, order your conservation clay kit from the Quail Forever Habitat Store. Kits include seed, biodegradable stickers (to hold the seed in), colored chalk (so broken targets flash with a bit more color), 8 Pheasants Forever measuring spoons and detailed instructions. 

Second, get a box of your favorite clay targets and put together your assembly team. This is a great activity for shooting teams and conservation youth groups. This could also be an activity at a conservation day, fair or other event letting folks put together their own conservation clay target and taking it home.

IMPORTANT REMINDER. During assembly take the time to share how important hunting and shooting sports are to wildlife habitat. The Pittman-Robertson Act (Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration) distributes an excise tax on firearms and ammunition to states based on relative geographic area and number of licenses sold in each state. These funds are used to support wildlife restoration projects and hunter safety education.
Once the conservation clays are assembled and repackaged, put them away for your shooting event. This could be done the same day or could occur several months after assembly (just make sure to store those conservation clays in a cool dry area). 

Be sure to consider the following at your shoot:

Get any necessary permissions from the shooting range or other property owner.
Consider shooting them over a developing project to promote awareness.

Take the opportunity to again talk about the connection between shooting sports and conservation.

But most of all, be safe and have fun!
Conservation clay kits are available at the Quail Forever Habitat Store. Think Habitat!