774-acre Bobwhite Hills WMA expands quail habitat and public access in South Carolina
Quail Forever’s Build a Wildlife Area® program is proud to announce the acquisition of the 774-acre Bobwhite Hills Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Lee and Sumter counties, South Carolina. Featuring longleaf pine savanna in the heart of the southeastern region of North Quail, the property officially opened today to an enthusiastic group of members and supporters. Quail Forever is currently working with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) to create a management and access plan that incorporates goals for hunting, wildlife viewing, hiking, and ecological research.
Bobwhite Hills WMA marks the first property Quail Forever has acquired east of the Mississippi River and located within the renowned southeastern Quail Range region where the historical significance of bird hunting has deep ties. Similarly, this purchase provides a huge boost to quail hunting prospects in The Palmetto State. “This acquisition will double the number of public quail hunting opportunities in South Carolina,” said Michael Hook, Small Game Program Leader at SCDNR. Public hunting opportunities will begin in the 2023-2024 season due to existing leases on the property.
The sprawling property abuts a 2,000-acre leased Wildlife Management Area and is a focal point of the USDA NRCS – South Carolina Longleaf Pine Initiative, the Bobwhite National Conservation Initiative, and is identified as a medium priority approach from the Conservation Bank of South Carolina, an important partner contributing to the successful purchase of the property.
“The bobwhite quail is an iconic game bird that, even as populations dwindled, continued to bring together generations of sportsmen,” said Raleigh West, executive director of the Conservation Bank of South Carolina. “The acquisition of Bobwhite Hills represents not only an opportunity to increase native quail populations, but also establishes a backdrop for continuing our state’s rich sporting traditions.”
Dedicated to preserving quail habitat in its historic range, the property was obtained from avid conservationist Mooney Player, the fourth-winningest high school football coach of all time in South Carolina history with a record of 154-34-7, and in the top 100. nation’s coaches. For several years, Coach Player searched for an entity to maintain and enhance the conservation work he had completed, while perhaps expanding opportunities for future South Carolinians to experience a wild quail hunt: Quail Forever responded to the call.
“There is a long list of important individuals and partners who, through their dedication and passion for this incredible resource, made the Bobwhite Hills WMA possible,” said Matt Holland, Quail Forever Grants Director. “Special thanks to Conservation Bank, South Carolina DNR, Kenny Barker, Tim Askins, Quail Forever South Carolina Chapter, Allen Bell and Mooney Player for their vision of a future filled with the whistle of the bobwhite quail. ”.
Bobwhite Hills WMA is a Build a Wildlife Area® permanent habitat protection project that contributes to the goals of Quail Forever’s Call of the Uplands® national campaign – a monumental initiative to save America’s highlands and cultivate the next generation of conservationists and hunters. Click here for more information and aerial images of the Bobwhite Hills WMA.
About Quail Forever
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. This community of more than 400,000 members, supporters, and partners is dedicated to protecting our highlands through habitat improvement, public access, education, and advocacy. A network of 754 local chapters spread across North America determines how 100 percent of its locally raised funds are spent – the only national conservation organization to operate through this grassroots structure. Since its inception in 1982, the organization has dedicated more than $1 billion to 567,500 habitat projects benefiting 22 million acres.