Saturday, July 13, 2019

Back from the dead

Can't believe it's been over 3 years since I dropped a post on here. It's not that I gave up bird hunting, just that the time and energy I used to pour into this site have been going to a couple of other projects, which is the point of this post.

More Bobwhites

The first is something I'd been working on in the background for a few years and then we actually got it off the ground and it's been going wide open ever since. The South Carolina Bobwhite Initiative started as a never-say-die effort to restore wild quail populations in our state and it turns out that what was missing in previous attempts was having everyone on the same page and working in the same direction. Sounds simple, but when we assembled a partnership of what is now almost 30 federal and state agencies and NGOs things took off in a hurry.

I'm extremely proud of what we've achieved in a little over four years. For the last three years, whistle counts statewide have increased, a string of success we haven't seen since the 1970s. The model is working and momentum continues building. We've gone from zero full time quail biologists to four and will be hiring a fifth in the coming months.

Our partners include the SC Department of Natural Resources, the US Forest Service, NRCS, Quail Forever, Tall Timbers, Clemson Extension, the NBCI, NWTF, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Audubon and others. If you're interested in what we're up to, our Facebook feed is a good place to keep up with the latest. Our website has some general information but honestly is in need of makeover. In hindsight, having an agency IT department host it wasn't the best idea given the lower priority it receives, the dated technology they're stuck with and strict limitations on who can update it. Hopefully we'll have it freed this year and really start putting it to use. There's also an Instagram account.

All in all this effort is delivering amazing results at an early stage and the enthusiasm from bird hunters in our state and neighboring states is overflowing.

This is not a return to regular posting on the Wingshot blog. I may jump back on here if there is something that might be of interest, but for now the time will go to the project above and the occasional piece for someone else (thanks Chad and Ralph).