Outdoors: Spring rainfall raises hopes for quail population growth

A Northern bobwhite quail sits atop a fence post this month at Drummond Flats Wildlife Management Area.

JENA DONNELL/ODWC/Courtesy

Ducks Unlimited and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation honored valuable volunteer contributors and marked the acquisition of the final 125-acre inholding at Drummond Flats Wildlife Management Area this month.

The area was dedicated in honor of longtime Ducks Unlimited volunteer Charles “Skip” Hurlburt. In the spring of 2016, Oklahoma Ducks Unlimited held a memorial fundraising banquet in Hurlburt’s honor and raised more than $75,000 for conservation work in Oklahoma.

Those funds, coupled with funding from the Treeman Family Foundation, were used to ensure the future of conservation of wetland habitat at Drummond Flats WMA, said Richard Godfrey, Ducks Unlimited state chairman.

“We celebrated the partnership between DU and the ODWC while honoring our past state chairman, Skip Hurlburt, and recognizing the Treeman Family Foundation for all they’ve done for DU and for waterfowl conservation,” he said.

Hurlburt was a passionate, longtime Oklahoma Ducks Unlimited volunteer, Godfrey said. Hurlburt attended his first DU Dinner in 1989 in Pawhuska at the invitation of a friend, and as they say, the rest was history, Godfrey added.

He served as a member of many local committees in northeast Oklahoma, served as the area chairman of the Pawhuska committee, served in every state leadership position imaginable, and was the DU state chairman from 2007-09.

Years ago, DU and the ODWC teamed up to identify project ideas and funding opportunities and strategies to boost conservation in Oklahoma, and one of those projects was Drummond Flats, Godfrey said.

The wildlife management area covers 4,653 acres in western Garfield County. It is a historic overflow basin at the confluence of Turkey Creek, Elm Creek and Salt Creek, and is predominately wetland habitat with some surrounding uplands.

Working with the ODWC, DU and Wetlands America Trust secured the final 125 acres within the Drummond Flats historic wetland basin that remained in private ownership in 2016.

The parcels will all be transferred to ODWC later this year, expanding the WMA and eliminating the potential for habitat disturbances inside the waterfowl area, Godfrey said.

Kelly Bostian

918-581-8357

kelly.bostian@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @KellyBostian