SAN ANGELO Texas Cooperative Extension’s Texas Quail Index is marking its third year with a training April 26-27 at the Texas A&M University System Agricultural Research and Extension Center at San Angelo. The center is located north of town on U.S. Hwy 87 North.
On April 26, activities will start at 1:30 p.m. at the center, then reconvene at 6:30 a.m. April 27 near Tennyson.
Dr. Dale Rollins, Extension wildlife specialist at San Angelo and TQI founder, said cooperators conduct various quail counts and evaluate different aspects for quail habitat in 40 Texas counties and six wildlife management areas.
“About half these sites report results consistently,” he said. “The TQI isn’t for everybody; it does take about 60 hours of work annually to conduct the various counts. But I believe cooperators realize a good dividend on their investment of time and labor relative to what they learn about quail dynamics and habitat on their particular ranch.
“We’re now recruiting for additional cooperators, especially along the more eastern parts of bobwhite range and on sites harboring scaled quail,” he said. “We’re assembling a nice database of information on quail population dynamics and related factors like predator abundance and habitat conditions. The Index is also a good tool for involving and educating the many wildlife management co-op members the state now has.”
Day-one topics will include: “Texas Quail Index Objectives,” “Descriptions Of Various Indices,” “Logistical Concerns,” “Reporting,” “Supplies” and “Review and Critique of Year – Two Efforts.”
The first day will end with a 7 p.m. meal at San Angelo’s Crossroads Restaurant.
On day-two, “hands-on” practices will be conducted on the Bond Ranch at Tennyson north-east of San Angelo. Exercises will include: “Whistle Call Counts,” “Dummy Nest Transects and Critique,” “Forb Richness Sampling and Habitat Photo Points” and “Scent Stations and Critique.”
Adjournment is set for 11:30 a.m. following distribution of supplies.
Rollins said Extension received some special funding from the Texas Legislature in 2002 to address the decline in quail numbers. The TQI has been the major impetus of that funding.
“I believe we get the most bang for the buck’ by training landowners how to monitor quail happenings on their ranch and then use this site information for future educational efforts,” Rollins said.
“The out-of-pocket dollar cost to the ranch is minimal. We use low-tech items like hula-hoops and T’-posts to establish and monitor the counts,” he said. “Time is the major investment. But it’s that level of personal commitment that helps hone a quail manager’s abilities.
“We’re not looking for landowners only. Cooperators might be landowners, but they could also be interested volunteers, Extension agents or wildlife professionals. We’re also encouraging the involvement of graduates from Extension’s youth Bobwhite Brigade to volunteer, ” Rollins said.
“As the old saying goes the best fertilizer is the footprint of the farmer.’ In Extension education, we hang our hats on that premise.”
Individual registration is $20 due on arrival. The fee covers handout material and the meal.
For more information call Rollins at (325) 653-4576 or e-mail email@example.com