From Minnesota With Love: Quail Forever in the Black Belt

ABOVE When it comes to top-shelf quail hunting and hospitality in Alabama’s Black Belt, that dog will hunt.

Tucked between Alabama’s coastal plain and its Appalachian foothills are 23 counties that make up the state’s Black Belt, a sparsely populated but environmentally blessed region that Interstate 65 motorists seldom see.

Getting some of those 80-miles-per-hour denizens to come witness the Black Belt’s upland forests and inviting historical haunts was just one goal of a new partnership between the nonprofit Alabama Black Belt Adventures and Quail Forever, a Minnesota-based conservation group.

The partnership was cemented with a March visit from Howard K. Vincent, president and CEO of  the two groups Pheasants Forever Inc. and Quail Forever. Vincent and others were treated to a grand tour of several Black Belt hunting lodges and plantations to witness firsthand the area’s hunting, fishing and hospitality prospects. The Black Belt chapter is now the sixth Quail Forever group in the state, as officially announced at the Alabama Wildlife Federation’s NaturePlex in Millbrook.

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Along with Quail Forever staffers, the tour included representatives from Realtree, Browning firearms and apparel, “The Flush” television program on Outdoor Channel, LandLeader TV on RFD, Covey Rise magazine and Shooting Sportsman magazine.

The group enjoyed hospitality from such notable destinations as the Shenandoah Plantation and Rex Pritchett’s Great Southern Outdoors Plantation in Union Springs, High Log Creek Farm and Hunting Preserve near Hurtsboro and Thomas Harris’ Gusto plantation in Lowndes County.

“Quail hunting has been a Southern tradition for many generations and, in spite of the decline in wild coveys, it remains a popular gentleman’s sport, ” says Pam Swanner, director of Alabama Black Belt Adventures. Hunting and other outdoor activities in the Black Belt represent a $1 billion economic impact, Swanner says, supporting more than 11, 000 jobs.

Sponsors included Alabama Power Co., Yeti, Jon Kohler & Associates, National Land Realty, Tutt Land & Co. and John Hall and Co.

Text by Dave Helms

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