Every organization has its humble beginnings. The Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch was hatched around the tailgate of a pickup one evening in 2005 after a successful quail hunt. The 2005 season was a great one, and quail hunters’ spirits were high. But knowing that one didn’t have to move very far east before quail (and quail hunting) were only memories, our discussion focused on the future, and not on the laurels of our past. Indeed we should heed the lessons observed over the past 30 years from east Texas to the Atlantic Coast. Someone pondered “we need to get ahead of the curve and get serious about planning the route now, before ‘all’s quiet on the western front.”
The idea of a quail research ranch was bantered around – our own laboratory to devise and evaluate land management schemes aimed at enhancing bobwhite abundance. It was also suggested it would be great to have a ranch to demonstrate good management to other “students of quail.”
The egg was laid and after an incubation period of about two years, the dream became reality.
It started slowly but quickly gained momentum. Through the generosity of The Conservation Fund, a 4,720-acre ranch in Fisher County was purchased in October 2006. As fate would have it, the W.T. Martin Ranch was just about to come on the market near Roby. It was prime land, not grazed too heavily, and featuring a landscape dotted with “quail houses” (brush cover)—the site was indeed a “plum” for our purposes The Conservation Fund stepped up to hold the property while the intricacies of the non-profit application process were sorted out. In March 2007, the Ranch was granted its own 501( c)(3) nonprofit status as a charitable foundation.
The Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch fledged. The deed was transferred on December 30, 2007.