By Ben Robinson
By now I’m sure many of you are familiar with Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill (SVPH) in Harrodsburg, KY. We’re quite proud of this grassland restoration project and even more proud of the incredible response seen in the wild quail population. When we started the project in 2009 we had an estimated 6-10 wild coveys. As October rolls around we are gearing up for another round of fall covey counts and we feel confident that we’ll top the 40 covey mark!
The project continues to be successful thanks in large part to the hard work and dedication of SVPH property manager Don Pelly. Don will be the first to tell you that managing enough habitat to maintain a healthy population of wild quail is no easy task, but it is a rewarding one. Fields need regular prescribed fire and invasive species such as thistle and Johnsongrass seem to never disappear. Habitat management does require some effort, and it does require some money. If it were simple and cheap, we’d have to issue landowner nuisance tags to help prevent crop damage…
As budgets get tighter and tighter, SVPH had to figure out a method to help fund habitat management on their property. A wild quail hunt seemed to be the logical answer and in 2010, the first hunt in decades took place at SVPH. More than 500 tickets were sold at a chance to hunt this magnificent property and the lucky winners were not disappointed. In just a half day, the group flushed 10 wild coveys!
Including a generous donation from event sponsor Roundstone Native Seed, the event generated more than $15,000. All of which will be used for continued quail habitat maintenance.
Due to the overwhelming success of the first event, SVPH has once again decided to host a wild quail hunt. To find out more about the upcoming event, or to purchase your tickets, visit www.shakervillageky.org/quailhunt. Even if you don’t get drawn you can rest assured that your donation will be put to good use as SVPH continues to be a leader in private lands habitat management.