It’s an early November morning, the hunter’s breath visible on the cool morning air as he slowly approaches the suspected covey in a covering of Little Bluestem. The hunter flushes the covey out of their hiding spot and slowly works behind them. His loyal and trusted hunting dog pads softly across the hardened earth as he circles to the front to stop the covey’s approach. Together the hunter and his loyal companion work as one in the attempt to come out with a full bag. In the flash of the eye the covey flies out and separates, testing the skill of the hunter.
It is about that time of year when quail hunters are gearing up for season; scouting out the best areas, and tracking the covey’s movements. But how do those hunters know which areas the quail are most likely to frequent you might ask. Well, they are going to begin in the areas that have the most suitable habitats for wildlife. A typical grass that those hunters will be looking for is Little Bluestem.
Little Bluestem is erect, bunchgrass, that can grow up to heights of three feet tall. These characteristics are what make it the number one plant for quail habitat as it provides ideal cover for nesting. Not only is Little Bluestem ideal for nesting, but the seeds are readily eaten by songbirds and upland game birds.
Brett Bamert, an avid quail hunter himself gave these reasons why Little Bluestem is his favorite native grass.
- Little Bluestem is a great wildlife enhancer as it provides cover, nesting, and food for ground birds and mammals.
- Its palatability makes it a great grass to include in seed mixes for grazing or haying for wildlife or livestock.
- It is a highly adaptable grass; being able to adapt to a wide range of soils and climatic conditions.
- Little Bluestem is effective in turning whatever moisture it receives into forage for grazing or haying.
- Little Bluestem is also a native grass that requires little maintenance after establishment.
- It is also a unique grass in how it changes to a reddish color upon maturity in the fall.
Native grasses, shrubs, and flowers all play a significant role in providing wildlife habitat. Weather they are there to provide nest, cover, or food they are equally important. Hunters know and appreciate this and work to help enhance the habitats. James Swan summed up the responsibilities of hunters as conservations when he said “The emotions that good hunters need to cultivate are love and service more than courage. The sentiments of the hunt then become translated into art.” (In Defense of Hunting)