March 23, 2006

Knox County is Home to Missouriís 5th QF Chapter

Retired MDC Biologist Doug Rainey is named the chapterís Habitat Chairman.

Knox County, MO - Quail hunters and conservationists from Knox County, Missouri have formed the Whistling Bobs Chapter of Quail Forever (QF). The new chapter becomes the stateís fifth QF chapter to form since the new quail conservation group began last August.

Doug Rainey, a retired private lands biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDOC), was elected as the chapterís volunteer habitat chairman.

ďI cut my teeth hunting quail as a kid,Ē explained Rainey. ďI love quail and believe in the Quail Forever model, which is why I helped start two Pheasants Forever chapters in northeast Missouri prior to the existence of Quail Forever.Ē

During his 32 years with the MDOC, Rainey worked with landowners in northeast Missouri. He promoted federal and state conservation programs and helped landowners enroll environmentally-sensitive lands into those programs. Rainey helped form the Northeast Missouri Pheasants Forever (PF) Chapter in Scotland County in 1997 and the Ten Rivers PF Chapter in Lewis County in 2003. He retired from the MDOC in 2004.

Quail Forever was formed on August 10, 2005 by PF to address the loss of quail habitat and the subsequent quail population decline across the U.S. quail range. Unlike all other national conservation organizations, QF and PF empower local chapters with the responsibility to determine how 100% of their locally raised conservation funds will be spent. This local control allows members to see the fruits of their chapter efforts in their own communities, while belonging to a national organization with a voice on federal conservation policy in Washington D.C.

Missouri quail hunters harvested 3.9 million birds during the 1969 season. That number was cut in half by 1987 when 1.9 million birds were taken. In 1996, the harvest fell under a million and it dropped to under half a million in 2000. Biologists identify two main habitat issues causing Missouriís quail decline; the overwhelming presence of exotic grasses like tall-fescue that choke out wildlife, and the conversion of woody shrub cover to large canopy trees.

One quail habitat conservation tool available to Missouri landowners is the federal Conservation Reserve Programís new CP-33 component. CP-33, commonly referred to as Bobwhite Buffers, is a conservation practice targeted at improving bobwhite quail habitat through the creation of habitat buffers along row crops. There are 250,000 acres available for enrollment nationwide. Missouri has been allotted 20,000 of those acres.

ďWe are committed to making a tangible difference for Missouri quail through our chapterís local habitat efforts,Ē added Bill Wiseman, the chapterís president, a Knox City resident, and co-owner of Brush Whackerís Tree Service. ďThere are a variety of ways we can increase local quail populations through habitat work; prescribed burning, the Conservation Reserve Program, CP-33 buffers, and edge feathering to name a few.Ē

Joining Wiseman and Rainey as chapter leaders are Steve Peters and Daryl Huchteman, both of Edina. The chapter plans to hold their next meeting on Tuesday, April 4th at the NEMO Bow and Gun Club beginning at 8PM. The media and public are invited to attend. For more information on the new chapter and future chapter meetings, please contact Bill Wiseman at (660) 733-5530 or via email at bwiseman@marktwain.net. Or contact Doug Rainey at (660) 465-7085 or via email at rained@galaxycable.net. To learn more about starting a QF chapter in your area, contact Jim Wooley at (641) 774-2238 or via email at jwooley@quailforever.org.

The QF mission is accomplished through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, education, and conservation advocacy. In the first seven months since its creation, 44 QF chapters have formed in 19 different states. In addition to the new Whistling Bobs QF Chapter in Knox County, Missouri boasts chapters in St. Louis, Kansas City, Sweet Springs, and Springfield. In fact, the St. Louis chapter was the nationís first QF chapter to form; just three days after the organizationís launch.

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