ALUM CREEK, W.Va. (WBOY) – More than 20,000 Bobwhite Quail will be stocked across West Virginia in an attempt to restore the population of the native bird, Gov. Jim Justice announced Wednesday.

According to a release from the Governor, Northern Bobwhite Quail were heavily populated across West Virginia as recently as the 1970s, but their population was hit hard by a few severe winters about 45 years ago. The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has already stocked more than 12,000 quail in Wildlife Management Areas across the state:

  • Burnsville Lake Wildlife Management Area 
  • Cross Creek Wildlife Management Area
  • Frozen Camp Wildlife Management Area
  • Greenbrier State Forest
  • Huttonsville State Farm Wildlife Management Area
  • Laurel Lake Wildlife Management Area
  • Pleasant Creek Wildlife Management Area
(Courtesy: Gov. Justice’s office)

As part of the Governor’s Quail Stocking Initiative, the DNR has also coordinated habitat restoration projects at the seven listed WMAs.

“I’ve missed these little rascals, and lots of people have,” Gov. Justice said in the release. He continued, “We’re trying to bring back something that people have missed,” Gov. Justice said. “And for generations to come, if we’re able to bring quail back, people will get used to it and love it, and they’ll miss it if it ever leaves us again.”

Babydog and Gov. Justice at the Claudia L. Workman Wildlife Education Center where he announced the quail stocking initiative (Courtesy: Gov. Justice’s office)

Bobwhites live in coveys, which are groups of 5-30 birds. Their young are the size of bumblebees and are able to leave the nest about a day after hatching. Up to three hatchings, or clutches, can be produced before the season ends in October. Adult bobwhites are almost exclusively seed-eaters, consuming the seeds of grasses and other plants.