The Arizona Game and Fish Department served as host agency for the prestigious Quail 7 National Symposium in Tucson on Jan. 10-12.
The symposium, which is the largest periodic meeting of quail scientists and managers in the country, marked the seventh gathering of experts who convene every five years to deliver and discuss findings on biology, ecology, conservation, genetics, economics, hunting, and social science.
The symposium involved two days of educational and informative presentations on Jan. 10-11, with several field trips on Jan. 12.
The presentations focused on quail populations, current trends, and the need for science-driven data to manage quail. Some potential areas to examine would include: changes in hunting techniques, land use practices, predation, and the effects of spring hunting on quail populations.
In Arizona there are four types of quail: Mearns, Gambel’s, scaled, and bobwhite.
Plenary speakers included Dave Brown from Arizona, Katherine Armstrong from Texas, Dr. Fred Guthery from Oklahoma, and Dr. Barry Grand from Alabama.
Brown, former game branch chief for the Arizona Game and Fish Department and retired Arizona State University professor, recapped the information learned from Arizona’s quail research over the last 40 years.
Armstrong discussed navigating the political process to promote quail populations.
“Collaboration is critical between wildlife agencies, hunters, land owners, non-profits, and quail experts,” she said. “I’m optimistic about the future of quail in this country. Habitat enhancement will be critical to recovery of quail numbers.”
Guthery, author of “Beef, Brush, and Bobwhites,” discussed the thresholds for wildlife populations amidst development.
Grand, of the United States Geological Survey, spoke about problem solving, explaining that such issues are much like writing.
“You need to identify who, what, where, when, why, and how,” he said.
Following a series of featured presenters, the symposium followed with a number of shorter educational presentations on quail, including translocation efforts, identifying population trends, and the importance of habitat and rain in overall quail numbers.
Quail VII sponsors included the National Bobwhite Technical Committee, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Safari Club International, The Wildlife Society, and the Arizona Game Rangers.