Ohio Takes Action for Bobwhite Quail with First Quail Focus Area in Highland County

Bobwhite quail—a native species, as well as a current species of concern in Ohio—have a brighter future in the state after a successful landowner meeting established Ohio’s first-ever quail focus area. Forty-two landowners attended the meeting, voting to name the 9,930-acre, 10-year focus area the Fallsville Quail Heritage Area. Quail habitat restoration will be the focus of the area, which is located in Highland County, just north of Hillsboro.
Private landowner support was required to establish the focus area, as the area includes roughly 1,760 acres of state-owned public land and 8,170 acres of private land. The Fallsville Quail Heritage Area will follow the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative focus area model, as well as bobwhite habitat recommendations developed by researchers at Ohio State University.
“Successful landowner meetings, now and in the future, will be crucial to the success of the Fallsville Quail Heritage Area. We cannot meet our habitat goals for quail restoration on public lands alone,” explained Mark Wiley, wildlife biologist with the Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife. “Ultimately, this quail focus area will belong to the local community, and its fate will be in their hands. The first meeting was a success, and we hope to see interest in bobwhites turn to passion and soon to pride in a thriving quail population.”
Highland County has proven capable of sustaining wild quail for the past 10 years, but the population has been declining (see the 2014 status report), making this area crucial to stabilizing and increasing the population. Within five years, the goal is to establish and maintain 25 percent (2,475 acres) of the Fallsville Quail Heritage Area as quality quail habitat. This year, quail monitoring will identify the area’s current bobwhite population densities so specific 10-year population goals can be developed.
The Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife’s public land management staff will create and enhance quail habitat on Fallsville Wildlife Area, located in the heart of the focus area. Simultaneously, the state’s private land staff, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s Farm Bill wildlife biologists, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife program biologists, will work with landowners to create and manage quail habitat on private lands.
Barb Bauer, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s Farm Bill wildlife biologist for Highland County, stated, “The biologist's role in the focus area is to work for the landowner—do an inventory of the property, discuss the landowner’s goals for quail and other species habitat, and create a wildlife management plan. Additionally, we help identify programs to assist with the cost and labor to do these conservation practices.”
Those interested in getting involved are encouraged to attend the upcoming landowner field day—will be hosted by the Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife this summer—to learn about recommended quail habitat practices, such as edge feathering and field borders. Contact John Kaiser, Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife’s assistant wildlife management supervisor, at (937) 347-0938 for more information.      
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever in Ohio
Ohio’s 28 Pheasants Forever chapters and one Quail Forever chapter account for 5,530 members statewide. Those chapters have spent $10.2 million to complete 17,222 habitat projects since the first Ohio chapter formed in 1989. Those projects have improved over 141,700 acres of wildlife habitat in the state.
About Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever
Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 140,000 members and 700 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent; the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.
Photo credit: Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife
Fallsville Quail Heritage Area Contact
John Kaiser
Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife
Media Contact
Jared Wiklund
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever