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Game bird habitat development funds available for landowners

 

Private landowners looking to improve wildlife habitat on their property may qualify for financial assistance through the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife, particularly if they want to benefit bobwhite quail and ringneck pheasants.

Bobwhite quail and ringneck pheasant are prized game birds. However, populations of both have suffered from permanent habitat loss or lack of maintenance on existing habitat.

“It used to be that farming practices created and maintained a lot of the habitat that quail and pheasants needed,” said Gary Langell, private lands program manager for DNR Fish and Wildlife. “More ground was typically disturbed each year than what was planted and harvested. Many of those disturbed areas would remain idle for two or three years in a row before being disked up again and provided ideal nesting and winter cover. It is this type of habitat that we are lacking today, but it requires landowners to create and maintain it.”

The DNR Fish and Wildlife’s Private Lands Unit works with landowners to restore quail and pheasant habitat. A district wildlife biologist will meet with the landowner, inspect the property, and prepare a detailed management plan. The biologist will also discuss financial assistance programs that are available through the DNR Fish and Wildlife to help offset the cost of habitat restoration or maintenance. Qualified landowners are reimbursed for finished work in the amount agreed to by DNR Fish and Wildlife. Enhanced cost-share assistance is available to landowners in any of the division’s quail or pheasant priority areas.

“Each district wildlife biologist has a quail or pheasant priority area,” said Josh Griffin, south region private lands supervisor for DFW. “The more pheasant and quail habitat we can create or restore in these areas, the greater the potential for these birds to disburse into other areas of good habitat and maintain sustainable populations.”

To determine if land is in a quail or pheasant priority area, see dnr.IN.gov/dnr/wild/2352. htm.