Saturday, January 20, 2007

Wildlife Habitat, Species Re-Introduction and Family "Pets"

My mother owns 16 acres more or less in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. She and Dad bought this property in 1975 and built a house into which they moved in 1976. They have lived there since that time. Part of their land is the local Doe Hollow (doesn't everyone have a "Doe Hollow"?) and local hunters would do a drive every year with some success in Doe Hollow. Not so much anymore. However, the neighbors clearcut some of their property creating more browse and edge for the deer and they are coming back. I've taken a couple of deer here and seen many more. I've put out a mineral lick (legal times only) and this has helped the deer it seems. There isn't the hunting pressure there once was either. I'm very hopeful as I'm seeing more deer and more often.

Once upon a time there were a number of quail in the area. Dad liked hearing them call and he never hunted them seriously but did work his setter on the birds. In the spring of 1978 there was a severe ice storm while the quail were sitting their nests and both adult birds and all the eggs were destroyed/killed. So, since 1978 there have been no quail in the area. I've been thinking that I could pop for a few quail to release and bring quail back to the area. Mom is willing to spend some money on this as well.

Since my parents bought this place the neighbors have gone through changes as well. One adjoining property owner has sold part of her land to her daughter and been sent to "the home". She was a bit potty and had accumulated over 120 cats. Her daughter, living next door, had more cats. It is my understanding that the family went into the house which was stinking of cat urine, etc, and killed some 80-100 cats. They had to as the cats were feral inside the house. Approximately 20-40 cats were driven outside the open doors and have been hanging around, unfed, for weeks now. Rabbits which were on a high cycle generally in this area are non-existent as the cats have had their way. One often sees cats when out and about.

My problem is that if I'm going to reintroduce the quail I can't have the cats out and about. It has been suggested that I trap them and take them to the SPCA. I have a Havahart trap out but this hasn't been successful.

Now, this brings to mind a question have always had about some folks. Why would you have a pet, especially one you rescued from certain death after it was dropped by another uncaring fool, and not take care of it? Why, knowing that cats kill all sorts of wild game and song birds, would you let your cats run loose. Is such a person a hypocrite about animals?

So now I'm stuck with dealing with the cats. Oh, what to do?

Concerning Pen-Raised Quail
Bobwhite Facts and Fantasies - a PDF file

No comments: