Gov. Jim Justice held an event this week at the Claudia L. Workman Wildlife Education Center to announce a brand-new statewide initiative to stock Bobwhite Quail at Wildlife Management Areas across West Virginia.
Through the Governor’s Quail Stocking Initiative, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) will stock over 20,000 birds at Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) across the state. To date, the DNR has already stocked over 12,000 Bobwhite Quail, and will continue stocking from August through October, weather and habitat conditions permitting.
Transmitters have been placed on some of the quail to monitor survival and habitat use. Game cameras have also been placed at several locations to monitor through video and pictures.
The Northern Bobwhite Quail is a native species and was once found across West Virginia. However, the winters of 1977, 1978, and 1979 devastated their population. The state’s Bobwhite population reached its peak in the 1920s when the state was approximately 70 percent agricultural land but has faced sharp decline during the last several decades.
Through this reintroduction effort, landowners, hunters, and bird watchers alike will once again be able to hear the familiar “bobwhite” whistle.
Bobwhite Quail have been stocked at the following locations: Greenbrier State Forest, Burnsville Lake Wildlife Management Area, Cross Creek Wildlife Management Area, Frozen Camp Wildlife Management Area, Huttonsville State Farm Wildlife Management Area, Laurel Lake Wildlife Management Area, and Pleasant Creek Wildlife Management Area.
“This idea was generated by our Governor because he had an extreme interest in this program,” Director of the West Virginia DNR Brett McMillion said. “This has been an exciting project, and we do believe that there will be some natural regeneration.”