To the editor: The quail population in this area of the Ozarks has diminished in recent years.  I guess that’s why the Missouri Department of Conservation is encouraging and even assisting landowners in the development of quail habitats on their land.

Developing a quail habitat requires eliminating fescue from pastures and replacing it with native grasses, woody shrubs, and forbs.  This is a relatively expensive and labor-intensive process.  The intent is to provide quail with “escape” cover to give  them protection from hot summer sun, harsh winter weather, and natural predators like hawks, owls, etc.

An additional predator unknown to me until this year is the Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative (HOEC).  In their quest to cut trees under their power lines, they also mowed down my quail habitat’s native grasses, low-lying shrubs, and forbs.  Cutting threats to the power lines is certainly understandable and appreciated.  However, mowing my native grasses, shrubs, and forbs was unnecessary.  They were not a threat to the power lines and never would be because of their height. 

You can imagine my disappointment when four years’ growth of quail habitat grasses, shrubs, and forbs was destroyed by a HOEC mower.

Mike Olberding

West Plains

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