Quail hunters and conservationists in Somerset, Kentucky, have formed the state’s newest Quail Forever chapter. The Cumberland Quail Forever chapter is committed to creating and improving habitat for bobwhite quail and other wildlife, and providing youth an opportunity to experience the outdoors.
Quail Forever is the quail conservation division of the national, 130,000-member strong Pheasants Forever organization. Pheasants Forever launched Quail Forever in 2005 to address the continuing loss of habitat suitable for quail and the subsequent quail population decline.
The chapter was started by lifelong friends, Doug Whitaker and Rob Edwards, who found their way back to Somerset, Kentucky, after living in various parts of the country. From witnessing the declining Kentucky bobwhite quail population, the friends decided to form a Quail Forever chapter to protect their favorite game bird. Less than a month old, the chapter has already started working with area landowners to promote habitat management. The chapter also participated in managed upland hunts to cultivate awareness for the chapter and gather community support for Quail Forever’s grassroots habitat efforts.
“If we want to see proper quail numbers, we have to have proper quail habitat,” says Doug Whitaker, the Cumberland chapter’s newly elected president and Somerset native, “Quail hunting has always been a part of Kentucky’s culture, but there has been a drop in bird populations in recent years due to habitat loss. However, the decrease in bird numbers has led to a significant increase in outdoor enthusiasts’ awareness of what is happening to this valuable resource, so we have a strong support base to assist in quail restoration.” Whitaker went on to say that the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ (KDFWR) upland efforts have been a large factor of this increased awareness, and that the chapter looks forward to partnering with KDFWR in habitat restoration and youth education projects.
“Quail hunters in and around Somerset have something to look forward to with the Cumberland chapter starting,” says Brian Nentrup, Quail Forever Regional Representative for Kentucky, “Doug and the other chapter officers are some of the most committed conservationist I have met, and I know they will accomplish great things for their community and Kentucky’s outdoor culture.”
“Traditionally, upland hunting has come second to other outdoor activities in Kentucky,” says Whitaker, “But now we are seeing that people are specifically becoming bird hunters. People are realizing the draw of this sport, and we look forward to passing this tradition along to another generation of Kentucky outdoorsmen and women.”
The Cumberland Quail Forever chapter
- The Cumberland chapter has also elected Rob Edwards of Lexington as Vice President/Banquet Chair, Josh Edwards of Somerset as Treasurer, Billy Dick of Eubank as Habitat Chair, and Larry Mounce of Somerset as Youth Education Chair.
- The chapter’s annual banquet has been set for October 6, 2012. Location and time TBA.
- For more information about the chapter, including upcoming meetings and events, please contact Doug Whitaker at (606) 425-7761 / Email Doug.
For more information on “The Habitat Organization” in Kentucky, contact Brian Nentrup at (317) 835-9705 / Email Brian. For all other information, contact Rehan Nana, Public Relations Specialist for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, at (651) 209-4973 / Email Rehan.