Quail Forever

Quail Forever

In 2005, Quail Forever was founded to address the continued declines in quail populations and habitat. With more than 700 chapters across the United States and parts of Canada, the approximately 149,000 members spend considerable time and money supporting their namesake bird. As an offshoot of Pheasants Forever, both groups share the tagline “The Habitat Organization.” This statement is both a fitting motto and call to action. 

We’re lucky to have one of these chapters working hard on behalf of quail right here in southeast Indiana. Tree County Quail Forever is based in Decatur County and will soon be expanding as part of an overall revitalization of the chapter. Ryan “Spanky” Fields took over as president earlier this year. Along with other members, his goal is to use the solid foundation of the chapter as a starting point for an even more active agenda. 

I talked to Fields about his goals for the future of Tree County QU. There’s much to be done, but he’s focusing on a few key ideas.

Territory and Membership Expansion

Fields plans to extend the chapter beyond just Decatur county and move into Fayette, Franklin and a portion of Rush counties. This ties in directly with the intent to increase membership and increase the overall activity level of the chapter. In addition to including more territory, he has ideas for increasing the effectiveness of the meetings and banquets. One example is including an activity, such as shooting clay birds, at meetings to make them more fun and engaging. In order to make the banquets more accessible, Fields said they plan to reconsider the locations with an eye toward making attendance as easy as possible. 

The Future

Quite possibly the most important aspect of Tree County QU’s revitalization is prioritizing youth involvement. Fields said that without the youth there won’t be a future in hunting or habitat, and that many young folks have no clue about either. He recently took a live cock pheasant to his niece’s school for her to present during show and tell. 

The response was positive. Teachers and students were very interested, but surprisingly had little to no knowledge of what they were looking at. Fields was taken aback that a bird so common to many of us was a total mystery to the kids, and even teachers. The experience was pivotal in his conclusion that youth involvement had to be a major part of the chapter’s efforts. 

The plan is for Tree County QU to hold multiple youth events and instill the interest and importance of habitat development and conservation early. Fields is betting that kids (and their parents) will have a good time, see value in the experience and become committed to QU’s mission. 

I’ll take his bet. Having a bad time shooting, hunting and spending time outdoors is near impossible. It’s also important to note that his comments address the troubling, larger trends we’re seeing across many traditional outdoor activities – especially hunting. The issue isn’t simple, but it’s clear that if the next generation doesn’t think conservation and hunting are important we’re in big trouble. 


Even more so than other animals, upland birds can be very sensitive to environmental factors. Habitat, or lack thereof, plays a central role in determining the health of our quail population. Southeast Indiana has the potential to support birds, but not without the advocacy of concerned sportsmen. QU’s tagline makes the overall organization’s commitment to habitat crystal clear, and Fields sees the Tree County QU chapter increasing its time and money spent on the resource. Working extensively with private landowners as well as state and local government on habitat development and restoration is a primary goal for the group. 

More of Everything

In addition to specific goals and areas of growth for Tree County QU, Fields outlined a general mission of more members, more money, more projects and more benefits for quail. In short, he’s planning on a proactive approach focused on growth that benefits members of the chapter, Indiana’s sporting community and, of course, the wildlife. 

For more information, or to join, contact Spanky Fields at (765) 561-3139 or visit the Tree County QU Facebook page at

Contact information for chapter administrators: 

President: Ryan “Spanky” Fields; (765) 561-3139

Vice President: Josh Miller; (812) 560-9766

Secretary: Andy Cider; (812) 593-0557

Youth Coordinator: Austin Ortman; (812) 614-8777

Youth Coordinator: Jim Ingram; (812) 593-5103

Originally published in The Gad-A-About.

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