Quail to be reintroduced in Minnesota?


By Bret Amundson

An article in the Pioneer Press last weekend caught our attention. It was just a small blurb after the “deer baiting penalties” story from Dave Orrick.

“Quail Plan?”

State Representative Rick Hansen (South St Paul) has a farm in the southeastern corner of the state, where he has seen quail.  He introduced a bill that would make the DNR put together a reintroduction plan.   The plan would include habitat restoration and possibly a relocation process that would include transplanting birds the way turkeys were brought to Minnesota.

“There’s about 3,000 total quail in Minnesota, down in that southeastern part of the state,” Bob St Pierre, from Quail Forever said during an interview for this week’s MNSJ Radio show.  “That’s where the proposal is targeting.  If we can get grass on the ground, some sloughs, some hollows-it’s a little bit different cover, but if you get good habitat on the ground, good prairie grass on the ground, the quail can respond.”

NSC300x250But can the small bird survive a winter like we just had?  Hansen says that with “climate change,” we have a chance.  Looking back at the last 4 months, I’m not sure climate change helped.

“The challenge here in Minnesota, as we’re ALL challenged with right now, is the winter.  Quail are not hearty birds like pheasants are.  You get a good cattail slough, (and other) good habitat, pheasants can survive that, quail can’t.  A hard, hard winter like we have right now is going to have a massive impact on any quail population,” St Pierre continued.

While quail lovers and hunters may have an uphill battle ahead, is this bill a lost cause?

“If we can put grass on the ground, whatever birds you’re talking about, are going to respond.  So if there is a quail plan for Minnesota put forward by the legislature and the DNR, that’s good for pheasants, that’s good for quail, that’s good for turkeys and that’s good for sportsmen in the state,” St Pierre said.

quailforeverThe bill is asking the DNR to have a plan in place by January 15th, 2015.    Hear more of our interview with Bob St Pierre from Quail Forever/Pheasants Forever on this week’s MNSJ Radio show.  Find a time and a station to listen by clicking on “MNSJ Radio” on the left.

-Bret Amundson


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