The country’s oldest quail conservation group has closed its doors for good. Quail Unlimited (QU) president Bill E. Bowles announced last Friday in a statement that the company was closing due to financial difficulties and internal problems discovered two and a half years ago. Unfortunately, QU was unable to reconcile these difficulties.

“This has been a valiant effort by everyone and we should all be proud,” said Bowles in the statement.

The organization will be shutting down immediately. QU’s site now redirects to Quail Forever, which had purchased the QU mailing list along with other organizational material. Bowles and the QU Board of Directors formally recommended Quail Forever as “the future of quail conservation in America” and are urging members to switch over as soon as possible.

Quail Forever also released a statement on Friday stating that the conservation group will be there to support former QU members and that Quail Forever intends to maintain a voice for hunters and conservationists in the nation’s capital.

With the addition of the refugee QU members, Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever take on the mantle of the largest upland hunting conservation group in the country, a role they are eager to embrace. Quail Forever currently holds a four-star rating by Charity Navigator, which describes the organization as exceeding industry standards and outperforming most other charities in the conservation field. It is the highest rating Charity Navigator has.

According to the Albany Herald, Bowles and some former QU employees have been offered positions by Quail Forever to help make member transitions as painless as possible, as well as heading up future quail conservation efforts in the southeastern region. Bowles has accepted a position as the Quail Forever Southeast Regional Director.

“There is a little bit of a sadness in seeing [Quail Unlimited] go away, but every one of us knows it’s just a name.” Bowles said in an interview. “The work that we intended to do in that organization now gets a real opportunity to get done. We get to make up for the last two and a half years.”

The following is the full interview with former QU president Bill Bowles:

httpv://youtu.be/quYqtzbR24w

Included below is Bowle’s statement released on Friday.

Quail Unlimited Ceasing Operations

As we began to pick up the pieces of Quail Unlimited 2 ½ years ago, and tried to determine exactly what condition QU was in, we quickly realized that this was not going to be easy. As caring and determined members, we stood together and we overcame one obstacle after another, after another. This has been a valiant effort by everyone and we should all be proud. I would personally like to thank every member for your support. Our great staff and our great Board of Directors have stood the test and they have given their very best effort. However, the entire Board of Directors and I have made the difficult decision to cease Quail Unlimited operations and go out of business effective immediately.

I have a saying which is really a philosophy that I have shared with my staff since 1983. “We never have problems. However, we will have opportunities.” That is the case once again with our QU. There are a few large challenges that we are about to be faced with. Could we possibly overcome them? We might be able to, but it would require money that we do not have and it would be a huge distraction from our basic purpose – Quail & Youth. I’m left to reflect on how best to accomplish those goals in light of QU’s end, which leads me to recommend Quail Forever as the future of quail conservation in America.

I am reminded of a statement that my uncle shared with me many years ago. His statement was, “Your pride can sometimes get you into trouble, and your ego could keep you there.” We share in an obligation to our mission of supporting quail and youth. It is time for us to assure ourselves that we stay focused on our mission. It is my firm belief, at this time, that our beloved quail need us to unite our efforts. In the near future members will receive a letter from Quail Forever explaining exciting news and opportunities. We hope you will support them in these efforts. We all know that we are stronger when we work together for a common goal. Our quail and our youth will benefit from your membership in Quail Forever.

Bill E. Bowles

President

Image from Minette Layne on the flickr Creative Commons

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