Frankfort, KY – Hunters who did not get drawn for a quota quail hunt at Peabody Wildlife Management Area in western Kentucky still have a chance to hunt.
Wildlife Biologist Eric Williams, who manages Peabody Wildlife Management Area (WMA) for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, said opportunities arise when other hunters dont appear.
“Sometimes hunters dont show up for these quota hunts, so we have a stand-by drawing each hunt day to fill any open spots,” Williams said. “Theres no fee for the stand-by drawing.”
Williams said he has been surprised by how few people have shown up for the stand-by selections in seasons past.
“Either people dont know about the stand-by drawing, or they dont want to drive all the way here and not be able to quail hunt,” he said. “What they might not realize is that they can still drive a few minutes to the Homestead Unit and go quail hunting, even if they havent been drawn.”
Peabody WMA is subdivided into units. The Homestead Unit includes 5,600 acres open for public hunting. Quota hunts for wild quail are being held this season on the Ken Unit. This 8,200-acre unit is located in Ohio County, about 10 miles southwest of Beaver Dam.
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife conducts stand-by drawings if the quota hunters do not appear that day. Drawings are held at the Ken Unit walk-in gate at 9 a.m. Central time the day of each hunt. Interested hunters should call the WMA office at (270) 273-3568 for more information.
The first quota hunt on Nov. 26 is a mentor hunt. Other quota hunt dates this season include Nov. 29, Dec. 20, Jan. 7, Jan. 14 and Jan. 24.
Up to 13 hunting parties can participate during these days. Each hunting party is limited to three people. For the mentor quota hunt, each party must consist of at least one hunter 15 years or younger and one adult.
Hunters must follow statewide licensing, hunter orange and hunter education requirements. Hunters also must possess a $15 Peabody WMA user permit, available wherever hunting licenses are sold.
Hunters not drawn for the quota or stand-by hunts still have other options. In addition to the Homestead Unit, quail hunting is open under statewide regulations in the River Queen, Vogue and Joseph A. Baker-White City units. The Sinclair Unit is closed to quail hunting.
Intensive habitat work, including controlled burning of fields, wildflower plantings, brush pile construction and food plots, have increase quail numbers over the past two years, Williams said.
Grassland restoration efforts at Peabody are part of an ongoing cooperative research project between Kentucky Fish and Wildlife and the University of Tennessee to study the resident quail on more than 23,000 acres of Peabody WMA.
Peabody has 9,000 acres of open field habitat with about 3,000 acres converted to native warm season grasses. Officials want to increase the native grasses to 5,000 acres.
Except for the Ken and Sinclair units, quail hunting Peabody WMA is open under statewide regulations through Feb. 10. Check the 2011-12 Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide for more information.