How Quail Unlimited Works

Mission of Quail Unlimited

­The Web site of Quail Unli­mited declares that the group's "overall vision is to restore America's quail populations for future generations" [source: Quail Unlimited]. QU believes that the most direct way to achieve this goal is through habitat improvement -- toward that end, QU chapters designate their own field projects, paying for them through local fundraising events as well as grant disbursements. Over the past several years, chapters have spent millions of dollars improving habitat conditions [source: Quail Unlimited]. Chapters also conduct outreach and education efforts with local landowners to promote land management practices beneficial to upland game birds. As the saying goes from the movie "Field of Dreams," "If you build it, they will come."

More than any other activity, Quail Unlimited members are known for planting seeds. The organization's National Seed Program receives and distributes millions of pounds of surplus grain seed donated by national seed companies. QU volunteers then plant the cover crops -- such as alfalfa, sorghum, sunflower and soybeans - which provide needed winter feed for quail. The organization boasts of planting seed on nearly a million acres (404,686 hectares) over the past five years, as well as planting hundreds of thousands of shrubs and trees. Quail Unlimited also sells its own brand of food plot mix, consisting largely of sorghum varieties adapted to different types of climate and soil [source: Quail Unlimited]. Other habitat practices of QU chapters and affiliated members include targeted spraying and prescribed burns.

Through school events, summer camps, scholarships and conservation and hunting workshops, Quail Unlimited claims to have reached nearly 1 million young people over the past five years [source: Quail Unlimited]. This is just one part of QU's youth development and research efforts. Several Texas chapters collectively donated more than $300,000 to sponsor a long-term research project on bobwhite behavior in the South Texas ecosystem, starting in 1998 [source: Brennan et al.]

Introduction, History, Mission, check. What do you do if you'd like to become a QU member and join efforts to save the quail? For starters, you can check out the next section.